Saturday, June 20, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

The City has had a fairly dull week--by San Francisco standards. In fact, over the past ten days, it may have lost its preeminent position to Berkeley. But don't despair. The Phoenix is the symbol of The City, rising regularly from the ashes to assume its number one position as craziest city west of Shangri-La.

NOTE: Let's start with spending the taxpayers' money on litigation while the crime rate continues to rise, and the streets continue to sink. In a 49 page rambling brief, Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart joined in the suits attempting to overturn Proposition 8 (the "anti gay marriage" initiative). Not satisfied with joining the Boies and Olson arguments previously filed, The City felt it necessary to embellish a bit. In words that even law students know are irrelevant surplusage in a formal court document, the brief went far beyond the actual argument of denial of equal protection of the laws. Stewart said Prop 8's "real aim was harming gays and lesbians and expressing moral disapproval of them." Guessing what the "real aim" was is fine for the political arena, but it's not a valid legal or constitutional argument. If she had simply said "it harms gays and lesbians" she would have been making a naked allegation, but those appear in briefs all the time (even though they shouldn't).

City Attorney Dennis Herrera made sure the pleading included a further "motivation" argument: "Proposition 8 was motivated by hatred of gays and lesbians and violates their constitutional right to be free of discrimination." "Motive" is not even an element of a crime, let alone a constitutional appeal, but that doesn't stop City lawyers who oppose the measure. Most gay rights groups oppose the filings in federal court because of the likelihood of a major constitutional setback if the Supreme Court finds that marriage is not a basic constitutional right which can be addressed by the federal courts.

The groups had already made major gains at the ballot boxes, and once the State Supreme Court had ruled on California's law, they were satisfied to take it back to the voters again. The suits change the whole dynamic, they believe. But logic, legal improbability, and the wishes of the very group most affected will never stand in the way of an ambitious, politically-correct City government. So far, the only gay and lesbian group that has even considered joining in the suit is the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and they have expressed their serious doubts. It is still to be established if the Center for Lesbian Rights discriminates against gay men.

NOTE: After a surprising citizen vote to restore Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps in reaction to a City School Board antiwar agenda, the school board showed its good faith by reinstating JROTC in San Francisco schools. Well, no, actually the board didn't. One of the advantages of the program is rigorous physical training. Before the school board kicked JROTC out of the schools, the program had been allowed as a substitute for the physical education requirement. By reinstating JROTC, but denying the PE credit, the board has created a situation where many working-class students will not be able to fit an extra class into their schedules.

The board suggested that the physical training cadets get in JROTC is vastly inferior to the regular PE courses. Board member Mark Sanchez essentially described the program as "gym for dummies." So before the program was banned, 1600 students were enrolled in JROTC. After reinstatement of the program but denial of credit for PE, enrollment is down to less that 500 students. And it's all because The City states it doesn't like the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In truth, they simply don't like the idea of citizens voluntarily serving their country in the military, period. It's still unclear if the Obama Youth Corps will have sufficiently tough PE standards to satisfy the board.

NOTE: SF Gate (online Chronicle and Examiner) reporter C. W. Nevius ran an article decrying the horrors of denying work to illegal immigrants. It's the usual "work that others won't do" argument, with some frosting. Unlike legitimate locals, he says, illegals fit the description of local merchant Michael Gardner: "They come in here with great personalities; they're on time, ready to go. They say, 'If you need me to work until 8 on a Friday night, I'll do it.'" No word on exactly how many illegals Gardner has been hiring. One of Gardner's most renowned products is custom zoot suits (look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's).

Gardner says he "estimates" that he pays $25,000 to $30,000 per year, plus benefits. Not bad, unless you know that a household income in that range in San Francisco will get you a studio apartment in a high-crime neighborhood, and a few shelves in the kitchen stocked with generic everything. But Gardner's not too worried, he has the support of County Supervisor David Campos, himself a former illegal immigrant. I guess if you can't get a job selling zoot suits, you can always run for public office in The City by the Bay.

NOTE: A fatal stabbing occurred at Kezar Stadium (the original home of the 49ers football team) on Thursday night or early Friday morning. Comments on the SF Gate online article included "And that's all we're going to get with SFPD on the case--the ID of the murdered victim and a statement that there are no current suspects. Doesn't matter, anyway, District Attorney Kamala Harris won't prosecute if they are part of her voter demographic." Surprisingly for San Francisco, that comment got 38 thumbs-up to 5 down. But another commenter said "No known address? More than likely a bridge dwelling dumpster diver" the comments were 36 favorable to 34 unfavorable. Murder is bad, but murdering a homeless person is really bad.


StanH said...

Wow, Lawhawk, SF must be utterly tied in knots over gay marriage? You would think that there would be other things more important like street sweeping, silly me. With Boise and Olson involved you’d recon they intend to go all the way to SCOTUS, I guess that’s not far enough for your fearless City Attorney’s? Typical politicians, huh?

JROTC is an honorable distinction for a kid wanting to serve their country, this is an anathema to egalitarian sensibilities of SF, wow. These kids should get some kind of a medal for courage for their open display of patriotism in SF this can’t be easy.

Illegal immigration is a source of much of our countries demise IMO. I’ve written my Reps. Several times asking for a list of laws that I can ignore, I’m still waiting. SF is so proud of their humane treatment of their dumpster divers perhaps you can erect a Statue of Liberty for the West Coast of a bum urinating in the bay and instead of holding the torch of freedom he could be flicking everyone off!

StlDan said...

I wonder when they will just go ahead and appeal directly to the world court? I feel so fortunate to live in Missouri, we have the Geographical, Population and political center of the U.S. here. I feel very over regulated but, we are one of the least restrictive and regulated Sates in the U.S. I am often amazed when I travel and sometimes frightened to find I have broken laws in other jurisdictions, unintentionally. When I cross the bridge to Illinois, I feel as though I am entering another Country and swear I have reached for my breast pocket to see if I had my passport. I can not imagine living in Cali as you do Lawhawk. May the Conservative Forces be with you.

Writer X said...

"Gym for dummies"? Yeah, like most regular PE classes are geared for geniuses.

By the way, LawHawk, I understand that George Gascon, the former Mesa Police Chief, just accepted the job as San Francisco's Chief of Police. No one in Mesa (Mesa is next to Phoenix)was too sad to see him go. The only people who will miss him are the illegal immigrants.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, You live in an insane land. I am liking the idea of building a wall around the city more and more all the time.

Unknown said...

StanH: The gay community in San Francisco is very active, but not particularly vicious. About forty percent don't care about gay marriage, another 50% are sure they will win at the ballot box, and only about 10% are having a hissy fit over Prop 8. This is more of a leftist move than a gay action.

StlDan: In San Francisco, if you accidentally forget where you are and light up a joint or a crack pipe, no problem. But don't light a cigarette within twenty feet of any business entrance, or on the beach, or in any city park.

WriterX: We're too busy filing lawsuits and screwing JROTC to notice if we finally have a new police chief. But the SFPD did catch a burglar who broke into a restaurant late last night, ate twelve lobsters, and fell asleep at one of the tables. Word is he won't be tried for burglary, but faces twelve counts of cruelty to animals (OK, that actually happened in Maine, but as Al Sharpton says "It could have happened here." And in SF, the cruelty to animals part would be true as well).

Unknown said...

Andrew: In the wake of the announcement of new spinoff CSI: Los Angeles, SF is making its own bid. The CSI team will search out clues with a divining rod and a taxpayer-sniffing dog. When they discover the identity of the perpetrator, the District Attorney will congratulate the team, then ask the only appropriate question: "What race, sexual-orientation,or ethnic group does the innocent-until-proven-guilty alleged criminal belong to?"

Individualist said...

"But don't light a cigarette within twenty feet of any business entrance, or on the beach, or in any city park. "

Lawhawk, if I ever get a chance to get back to San Fransisco I had the idea of taking about five packs of cigarettes and chopping them up, placing them in an incense burner like the priets use during lent and walking around the nightclubs with it just so that I could tell the PC Police "Look I am not smoking it" when they confront me. But that would get me in trouble I guess. Good Post!

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