Thursday, October 8, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

Lots of fun going on in The City in politics, animal politics, and general nonsense this week, as always. Mayor Gavin Newsom received a semi-endorsement of his gubernatorial candidacy from former President Clinton, Attorney General Jerry Brown picked up major endorsements from an unexpected source, and sea lions are becoming a major constituency in San Francisco (they're here legally, but have not yet been given the power of the vote).

NOTE: On October 5, at a gathering of the party faithful in Los Angeles, Bill Clinton came up just short of endorsing Mayor Gavin Newsom for Governor of California in the upcoming elections of 2010. He announced his "full support" for the mayor, yet strangely did not use the word "endorsement." It may yet to out to be a simple oversight, but we know the Clintons are politically-cagey, holding back their trump card until it absolutely has to be played.

In addition, it would be very unusual, though not unheard of, for a former president to make a direct endorsement of a primary candidate when the race is highly-contested, as is this one. But then ex-presidents from the Democratic Party have been doing a lot of strange things lately, such as harshy criticizing the foreign policy of a sitting president. And we all know that the Clintons are great grudge-holders. Jerry Brown was a primary candidate running against Clinton in 1992. Brown was less than kind to Clinton during the debates and beyond.

Clinton made a twenty minute speech at the gathering, then went into full rhapsody about Newsom's accomplishments. "San Francisco may be the greenest community in the entire country, and it's because of his leadership." Nearby (even though this was Los Angeles) was a solar panel being used as a prop for the speech of "support." More telling was that the speech took place after Brown had announced his formal candidacy, yet Clinton did not mention Brown's name at any time during the gathering.

"California," Newsom and Clinton agreed, "should lead the world, not just the nation, in terms of the green economy." Neither seems to have noticed that California's economy is already red on the balance sheet and brown in the formerly green and fabulously productive Central Valley which is being denied life-giving water in order to protect the useless Delta smelt. "Green" apparently means something quite different to the eco-fascists from what it means to the farmers, farm workers, and anyone with eyes who now drives through the formerly lush green farmlands. And putting thousands of people out of work and on public relief while destroying the Valley's immense contribution to both feeding the world and the state's economy in order to protect a useless fish doesn't sound very "green" to me. See: The Fish That Conquered California.

One thing Clinton's "support" is supposed to do is increase Newsom's ability to raise money. Newsom desperately needs that ability. At the end of June, Brown had $7.4 million in his war chest to Brown's $1.2 million. And here's the zinger. Until Brown announced his candidacy for governor this month, he was still running for re-election as Attorney General, which only allowed him to collect about one-quarter the amount of money from each donor that he can get as a candidate for governor.

Oh, the "unexpected source" for Jerry Brown's campaign. Newsom is not well-known in Los Angeles, and the local politicians (particularly Mayor Villaraigosa), don't much care for him. But his "movie star" power has made him well-known among the Hollywood crowd, particularly for his "gay marriage, whether you like it or not" declaration. Yet a couple of days ago, a huge Hollywood fundraiser for Brown was announced. And these aren't exactly small-time unknowns. The Dreamworks executive team, including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen are planning a major fundraiser for Brown on November 18. Geffen has had his arguments with the Clintons, and at one time said: "All politicians lie. But the Clintons are uniquely good at it, and seem to take great pleasure in it."

Final twist: The proponents of California's anti-gay marriage amendment, Proposition 8, have announced that they have filed papers with the federal court to have Jerry Brown removed as the Attorney for the People of the State of California. Although it is not a legal requirement, the Attorney General represents the people's side when a California law is challenged in federal court. Jerry Brown is a gay marriage proponent and was openly hostile to Prop 8 when it was still a ballot measure. The legal papers declare that Brown cannot and will not effectively represent the will of the California vote which was upheld by the California Supreme Court. There were even allegations of collusion between Brown's office and the office of the plaintiffs seeking to overturn Prop 8, though Brown's representatives have thus far denied it. The question is, given his almost nearly identical stand on gay marriage, how is our illustrious mayor going to be able to use that against Brown?

NOTE: Those of you who have visited our fair city and spent some time on The Wharf or Pier 39 know about our sea lions. Since the Environment Protection Agency called them an endangered species many years ago, any attempts to control them have been rebuffed. Pier 39 used to be populated by fishing boats. Today the docks are covered in sea lions with no boats in nearby sight. But they congregated around Pier 39 because it was developed into a major tourist attraction and the sea lions were the big show. A trade-off, of sorts. And Fisherman's Wharf still had plenty of fishing boats. Between the Wharf and Pier 39 there is a generally open area where Bay cruise boats tie up and move in and out constantly. So there has been a sort of buffer zone between the beasts and the children.

However, last year produced a very fecund breeding season, and we are now up to the top of our waders in sea lions. They've barked at each other, and gotten into enough fights, that they're starting to ignore the buffer zone and are camping out on the docks at Fisherman's Wharf. Attacks on swimmers at Aquatic Beach are not becoming somewhat commonplace. Sea lions are very cute and amusing, so long as you're at a distance. Many reach ten feet in length and can weigh up to 600 pounds. They are carnivorous predators, and if they feel a human is encroaching on "their" territory, they will attack--with very large canine teeth designed to slice into the bodies of large fish.

Even liberal San Franciscans find themselves pitted against eco-extremists. It all depends on how you define "control." Fishermen and others dependent on the fishing industry (not to mention swimmers) are proposing erecting barriers on the working docks and sonic measures to keep the sea lions out of Aquatic Park. Nobody wants to harm the sea lions, but extremists believe that any attempt to regulate the chosen parking places of the sea lions violates the Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Meanwhile, as the initial debate goes on, fishing boats find their crews unable to get to their boats because of hordes of aggressive sea lions. Oddly, spraying them with large quantities of water does tend to get them to move on. The whole point of getting onto the docks in the first place is to dry off in the sun. Extremists object to this as being cruel and dangerous to the existence of the tender sea lions. Other measures suggested are carefully-crafted rubber barriers (sea lion-safe) which would simply keep the beasts off the working docks. "But where will they go if they can't get onto the docks" cry the extremists. I have a suggestion. How about historic and world-famous Seal Rock, directly below historic Cliff House, on the ocean side, where hundreds of thousands of sea lions gathered for thousands of years to do exactly the same thing they're doing now in the Bay?

Seal Rock (it's actually a whole lot of rocks) is still used by sea lions, but most now go for the comfort and lack of danger on the Bay docks. Of course, the danger on the ocean side is from natural predators such as sharks and orcas (killer whales). The only "danger" on the Bay Side is man's creations (the docks). So isn't it actually the extremists who are destroying the natural environment and interfering with nature's plans? And I have one final question. Since the last endangered species population study was nearly fifteen years ago, has anyone actually checked to see if the sea lions are, in fact, endangered? The early findings were questionable, at best. But now, as I look down at that black mass of fat, happy sea lions, I find it very hard to believe that this animal is in any way endangered, except possibly from obesity from their happy, lazy, overeating unnatural environment.

NOTE: More than a year after the brutal murder of local businessman Tony Bologna and his two sons by an illegal immigrant with prior San Francisco felony arrests, the Board of Supervisors will take up the issue of San Francisco's sanctuary policy. Previously, the City only reported illegal immigrants to the federal authorities if they were convicted of a felony. They were particularly reluctant to report to INS (now ICE) "youthful offenders." The argument was that they were often here because their parents brought them in illegally when they were small children with no choice in the matter. That's comforting. The current policy of reporting all felony arrests by illegal immigrants was proposed after Gavin Newsom saw the Bologna murders as good political hay.

The proposed sanctuary ordinance will go to the full board after a two-to-one vote in favor of the legislation by the Public Safety Committee. (The last time any Public Safety Committee in San Francisco actually protected public safety was back when it was called the Committee of Vigilance, or the Vigilantes) City policy now requires that juvenile or not, anyone arrested on a felony charge be immediately reported to the federal authorities if they are here illegally, even if their parents "forced them" to come here. But this ordinance, which apparently has a veto-proof majority on the full Board, will nullify one of the few worthy acts of Mayor Newsom. This ordinance would formally institute the earlier policy of reporting only convictions, not simply arrests. Just like the guy who murdered the Bolognas.

The author and major proponent of the measure is attorney and San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, himself an illegal immigrant from Guatemala. He says: "San Francisco has always been at the forefront of civil rights, and what we do here usually sets a precedent for the restof the country. Hopefully, we'll do the right thing." Like all good civil rights and immigration attorneys, he firmly believes that the police are out to get persons of color, and routinely make phony felony arrests so that they can report the offender to the feds. Youth are arrested for crimes they didn't commit, or for minor offenses like graffiti that are overcharged as felonies. Even if cleared in court, they can be split from their families." But they're here illegally, Supervisor Campos, as were you, and mean old cops don't have anything to do with that fact. And since we believe in keeping families together, the families can go back to their home country along with the poor innocent youth. Presto-changeo, no family separation.

But remember, we're talking about which degree of sanctuary The City wants to offer. Somehow, lost in the whole discussion, is the fact that sanctuary policies of any description have no constitutional basis, and cannot be enforced outside the physical limits of whatever crazy city decides to pass one. Supporters say the measure will help public safety because illegal immigrants will be willing to cooperate with police. If that's so, how do they explain the "don't snitch" attitude prevalent among native-born African-Americans?

Immigration is a field of the law which belongs solely and exclusively to the federal government. A spokesman for Newsom's office said: "Federal law also says the city cannot prohibit its officials from providing information to federal authorities on someone's immigration status. That makes Campos's legislation unenforceable and could put officials who follow it in legal jeopardy." The City Attorney agreed, in a written memo to the Board of Supervisors.

So why is the Board not worried about that minor detail? The Bush-era Justice Department knew all about San Francisco's sanctuary policy and did absolutely nothing about it. Why would the Supervisors worry about penalties from the Obama/Holder Justice Department? They're home free, and they know it. The usual suspects from the liberal "living constitution" law schools have, of course, declared the ordinance to be completely constitutional, without any explanation of how or why. They probably got their constitutional law education under Professor Barack Obama.

NOTE: Mark Morford is still not entirely up-to-speed but he's getting there. Today's screed is entitled: Behold! Canada's most disgusting export--Nothing like Alberta's's [sic.] revolting oilsands to destroy your optimism? Hang on, folks, here comes the opening: "Are you having one of those days? One of those moments where you feel like you've endured a simply relentless onslaught of negative news and economic hardship coupled to endless rounds of cretinous politicians--all of whom enjoy fully paid health care on your tab--debating whether or not you'll be able to sfford to see a doctor ever again, all to the point where you say, you know what? I need just one more. Just one more really good, depressing story to put me over the top, ruin not just my day but maybe taint my entire month, a tale so vicious and disheartening I immediately start yelling at my girlfriend for no real reason and slam the cupboard because I realized I'm out of peanut butter, and I absolutely refuse to smile at anyone because they're all clearly complicit in making this world a bleak and miserable hellpit of oh my God you suck.

His life-endangering crisis? "The eco-nightmare that is Canada's monstrous, pollutive, disgusting hellholes of rapacious greed and pollution and destruction and sheer capitalistic joy? Apparently it's something about a "massive, soulless industry and a major first-world government shoving a giant middle finger in the face of all notions of progress and environmental integrity." "They rape, maul and utterly devastate everything we supposedly hold dear, all in the name of filthy profit." I get the feeling he just came home from a screening of Michael Moore's Capitalism--A Love Story.

My best guess is that he is describing attempts to use Alberta, Canada's vast wasteland of oilsands to produce synthetic petroleum. I'll have to take his word for it that "it could last us until we lose what's left of our souls and/or entirely block out the goddamn sun, whichever comes first. The problem, of course, is getting the toxic gunk out of the ground."

He goes on: The numbers are simply astonishing: The amount of land, water, natural gas, and CO2 emissions required to produce a single barrel of synthetic oil from the oilsands is staggering enough, but when you add in all the contaminated rivers, the toxic tailing ponds (2.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools' worth, and counting), the decimated landscape, the dead animals, the increased cancer rates among anyone living with a 100-mile radius, well, you've got more than enough charming data to effortlessly destroy any glimmer of positivism you might've enjoyed from composting your pizza boxes."

I kept reading to find out exactly what he was talking about, what facts he had to support it, and why we should care about a badlands area in Alberta, Canada. Since I couldn't find any of those, I'm going to assume it's the same thing as the arguments about the original Alaska Oil Pipeline (one of the most productive and eco-enhancing developments of all time) and the subsequent attacks on the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (aka, mosquito heaven), oil-drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Delta smelt. In other words, another crazed eco-freak getting his panties in a bunch over a development because it will destroy nothing worthwhile while at the same time producing profits for those vile capitalists.


Writer X said...

Mark Morford has a girlfriend? She must be as equally as psychotic. Or she's a blow-up doll.

I love all these politicians who try to "out-green" each other. A solar panel prop? Nice touch. The California governor's race will make for a great soap opera. Thanks, Lawhawk!

AndrewPrice said...

I think your city should let the sea lions take over the entire waterfront (and whatever else they want) as a warning that extremist environmental policies. I think it would be funny to have constant videos of liberal San Franciscans running for the lives from sea lions that have moved into grocery stores and townhall. ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - I was watching the opening ceremonies for the President's Cup which is being held in San Franciso. Bush 41 gave a wonderful speech, then Gavin Newsome bid everyone welcome by stating how the cup wasn't really about golf, but about "diversity" and how San Franciso was proud to be the greatest city for openly promoting diversity. I could only think to myself "Really, I didn't know that. I thought it was about friendship and golf." Silly me, I guess he set me straight (no pun intended.)

StanH said...

I love the Sea Lion story that’s perfect enviroweenie good intentions gone bad, funny.

You can be certain that Slick Willy holds a grudge, if by endorsing Newsome sticks it in some way to Brown you can certain that he’ll not miss a lick. Clinton being the politician extraordinaire will always leaves his options open for a glorious reunion with Moonbeam.

Morford’s girlfriend is probably a he-she?

Immigration policy in this entire country is nuts, SF is just a little nuttier.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: If you've seen the women of San Francisco (outside of the Financial District), you'd know why there's such a high population of gay guys. The rest, residue and remainder are fair game for any straight guy who regularly has hallucinations--like Morford. I'd have to guess none of them last long.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I think we share many of the same sick fantasies. Arf, arf! Move on, petty human.

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: I saw the Bush speech. When they introduced helmet-head Newsom, I changed channels. Your description of the speech sounds like par for the course. These liberals can't stay on-topic to save their lives. Newsom's own friends and associates make mine look like the United Nations. He is all diversity talk publicly, and all country-club privately (except when he's chasing women in bars).

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: I've been practicing balancing a beach ball on my nose while barking and clapping my faux flippers together. I plan to run for the Board of Supervisors next time on the "Save the Sea Lions" ticket. "We're black, we're beautiful, and we can outswim you."

StanH said...

That’s a hell of a good idea Lawhawk. You might stand out even by SF standards. LOL!

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: It will be a tough race. I'll be running against one of the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" reps from the Castro District. It's not easy for a faux sea lion to compete with a faux nun. But at 600 pounds, I can probably just land on her/him, and end the race quickly.

StanH said...

That’s great Lawhawk, the funny part is you’ll probably win. So don’t start this campaign unless you’re prepared to serve, or would it be perform?

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Have you considered recruiting PETA for your campaign? I understand those sea kittens are hard workers at the polls.

LawHawkSF said...

Hamilton'sGhost: I considered it, but then it occurred to me that we sea lions are the biggest consumers of sea-kittens in the Bay Area. They would have mixed emotions, but ultimately would come down on the side of the seaweed eaters.

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