Monday, July 27, 2009

Omigod! They Painted Our Bridge White!

Last night while San Franciscans were sound asleep, some wise guys with very large paintbrushes painted our beautiful Golden Gate Bridge white. Is there no end to the sheer perversity of human beings? OK, it's a spoof, as BevfromNYC surely recognized immediately. It's actually the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. But I included the picture to point out that San Francisco is not the only big city with beautiful bridges and crazy politicians.


San Francisco is infamous for its elected officials ignoring the genuine business of The City while passing multiple resolutions that have no legal effect, and darned little effect of any kind anywhere outside the Bay Area. But an item in Sunday's New York Post caught my eye. While San Francisco has passed resolutions demanding the immediate withdrawal of U. S. troops from Iraq, New York City felt it had to go us one better and nominate a council candidate who wants the U. S. to withdraw from South Korea.

Local politicians are supposed to run on platforms like "free food for the masses," and "bread and circuses for everyone," and "elect me and I'll solve the downtown traffic and parking problem in my first five minutes." They're supposed to make high-falutin' statements with no actual meaning like "Where would this town be without this great city of ours?" They're not supposed to include in their platforms matters that the municipality can do absolutely nothing about and has no business talking about in terms of municipal legislation anyway.

But it is comforting to know that San Franciscans aren't the only ones who have to put up with this nonsense. It's equally comforting to know that other cities have politicians who are as out-to-lunch and disorganized as ours. New York would be electing its first Korean-American city councilman. We could have done that years ago, but our Korean community is concerned largely with city real estate development. Still, the Superintendent of San Francisco's failing school system is Korean-American, so that has to count for something. John Choe is one of six candidates trying to succeed Councilman John Liu in Flushing. Flushing is located in the New York City Borough of Queens.

Candidate Choe said: "Korea is at the front line of the liberation struggles against imperialism." This was reported in the Workers World newspaper, which is sort of like the San Francisco Chronicle, only not as left wing. He was also reported by the New York Times to have said in 2006 at a city conference on "Preparing for the Rebirth of the Global Struggle for Socialism" that "From the very beginning, when the U. S. intervened and occupied Korea, the Korean people have been resisting and struggling. And I urge all of you here to help us in our dark days trying to win back freedom and independence from the United States and its military."

Choe now wants to bring his initiative into the agenda of the Council as a sitting councilman. But alas and alack, this seems to offend a few people (or a few thousand), so Choe has sort of denied that he believes what he said. Or maybe he was denying that he said it at all. It's not entirely clear yet. But his campaign supporters have rushed to the closest microphone to claim that Choe is the victim of a smear campaign. Of course there is the additional problem that as recently as a week ago, Choe told the Post: "I may have said something like that. Korea, I believe like any other country , should be given the right to self-determination and independence and not have the military of other countries on their soil." He neglected to mention if he thought the army of North Korea would be "an occupying army."

His predecessor Chiu, for whom Choe worked as chief of staff, is presently running for City Comptroller. He has stated that Choe "is being stigmatized by McCarthyism. There's no way he made those comments, no way." Somebody forgot to tell Chiu about Choe's more recent recantations of his denials. To add to the brew, Choe has already received the endorsement of the Queens Democratic Party. However, if the Queens Democratic Party is anything like San Francisco's, a little bolshevism isn't going to do any damage.

If Mr. Choe is somehow unsuccessful in his attempt to turn the New York City Council into an arm of the U. S. State Department planning foreign policy, there's always work for him out here on the left coast. If Gavin Newsom is successful in his run for California governor, we will have an opening for a new mayor. Mr. Choe would fit right in. Now re-paint the bridge gold, OK?

14 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

I'm honestly stunned. Fascinating read Lawhawk. Unless this guy is a brainwashed North Korean agent, then he's an idiot. Holy cow!

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: He's a North Korean agent, an idiot, or just an emigrant from San Francisco (which could actually all be one category).

BevfromNYC said...

That bridge is in Staten Island. Why do they need a bridge anyway? Who goes to Staten Island?

What surprises me is not that he was campaigning for a pull out of troops from South Korean (or not), but that he wasn't campaigning from a jail cell. Our politicians usually are in jail either before , but most certainly after they run. In the case of our State Senate though, they serve their terms in office concurrently with their jail sentences. [okay that may not be entirely accurate, they serve just during the criminal investigations]

I want to do an ongoing diary about life on NY like the one you do for SF, Law, but I get confused every time I start. It makes so much sense in my head, but when I write it down, it's just like a bad dream. ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

His campaign slogan, I think, is "a vote for Chloe is a vote for Kim Jong Il."

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: I used to go to Staten Island because the ferry was cool (and cheap). It wouldn't have been nearly as much fun on a bridge. San Francisco's ahead of you on the other thing, too. All you have to do is have a District Attorney who's part of the in-crowd, and all criminal charges mysteriously disappear. And the best part is that San Francisco has de-criminalized so much that it's hard to get convicted of much of anything.

As for writing a NYC feature, I would love for you to do it. Here's the trick. Take the last five days of your most liberal major newspaper (the Times?). Put them up on a dartboard, and toss three or four darts. Believe me, you'll have plenty of material. NY like SF has so many goofy tales to tell that all you need to do is to let fate decide which ones to cover.

StanH said...

It would seem that city councils are like a roving carnival that travel around from city to city spreading their insanity. Why bother electing these clowns just gather your local urban outdoorsmen put them in a council room and let’em have at it, the results will probably be similar, and when they do something that brinks on insanity you can say to yourself, “oh well, what do you expect they’re bums.”

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: Great slogan. They could also have a campaign song: "She Wore A Yalu Ribbon" or "Tie a Yalu Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree." His predecessor (Chiu) had a peculiar affinity for all things Red Chinese, so why not have a campaign song that makes them both happy?

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: William F. Buckley had a couple of very apt things to say about politics. He said that he would have more trust in the first five hundred names in the Boston Telephone Directory than he would in the Harvard faculty. He once ran for mayor of New York. A reporter asked him what he would do if he was elected. His reply was that first he would place safety nets under the windows of the editorial offices of the New York Times. Second, he would demand a re-count.

Writer X said...

Choe must have enrolled in the Obama School of Non-Apology Apology. Is it a sickness within the Democratic Party?

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: It's a state of perpetual confusion. It's always hard to keep track of which lie you're supposed to be telling at the moment.

BevfromNYC said...

Law and Writer X: It's so hard to keep track if you follow this one simple rule. If Biden makes a policy statement, Obama will apologize and say what we really mean is the opposite. Pretty clever actually. I would call that "nuanced".

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: There's one problem with that. It requires following Biden constantly. He frequently contradicts himself, so you have to be cautious about which lie, gaffe, or looneyism Obama is responding to. I figure it's just easier to figure they're both liars. They haven't let me down so far.

USArtguy said...

We in fly-over country certainly have our fair share of political clowns, but you guys on the coasts take the pie in the face.

LawHawkSF said...

USArtguy: I think there is also something about big cities and population density. Like rats, if you shut too many of them up in a tight space, they go crazy and start to eat each other. Since cannibalism hasn't been legalized in San Francisco and New York City yet, instead of eating their fellows, the craziest rats go into politics.

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