Thursday, March 4, 2010

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority (MUNI) is in deep financial distress. But San Francisco is "The City That Knows How." As a result of MUNI's latest belt-tightening measure, raccoons will no longer be allowed to ride the buses for free. Raccoons will now be charged the same rate as seniors and students. The picture shows indignant raccoons complaining to the bus driver who has just given them the bad news.

It all seems a bit unfair. The raccoons never complain about the buses showing up late, and don't object to the smell of the non-paying homeless people asleep on the benches. When the gang-bangers decide to have a turf war on one of the buses, the raccoons just hide under the seats until it's all over, and never say a discouraging word about MUNI. I intend to attend the next MUNI budget meeting as a representative of the Rights for Raccoons lobby. This is clearly unfair discrimination.

Meanwhile, MUNI will be meeting on March 30 to impose another round of service cuts and fare increases, and they're doing it by side-stepping the public and the state environmental review requirements by extending the "state of emergency" past the current June 30 expiration date. This past Friday, MUNI officials approved a plan to close the $12.1 million deficit for the remainder of this year by making deep service cuts and increasing the cost for those purchasing monthly express bus and cable car passes. The plan also includes nearly doubling the cost of senior and disabled monthly passes. And who is going to be expected to suffer the brunt of these draconian measures? Innocent raccoons.

NOTE: And speaking of MUNI, at least one member of the Board of Supervisors did not get his job immediately after being released from the lunatic asylum as "cured." Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has proposed a hugely popular city charter amendment to end the guarantee that MUNI drivers be the second-best paid drivers in the nation. Former mayor and notorious prior speaker of the California Assembly, Willie Brown, says "it's a slam-dunk win" for Elsbernd. He goes on to say "there is no way labor can explain why such a pay guarantee should be in the city charter, especially in these lean times. The best the drivers could do would be to put their own 'reform' initiative on the ballot and hope no one reads the fine print." As Brown says, everyone running for supervisor will have to choose a side, something most will be loath to do. The move opens the door for similar action on police and firefighter pay and pensions, particularly for the middle managers who earn as much as most big city mayors. Brown grudgingly declares "when it comes to crafty politics, Elsbernd goes to the front of the class."

NOTE: Well, the other shoe just dropped. On Tuesday, former governor and current attorney general Jerry Brown finally formally announced that he's running for governor. This will be a third-term run for Brown. Although California has a two-term limitation, Brown is exempt since he left the office before the term limitation was imposed. If he wins, he will now have the distinction of being the youngest elected governor in California, and the oldest elected governor in California history. It will also likely be the most expensive gubernatorial election in American history. He already has a $13 million war chest, and will be running against one of the two Republican gazillionaires who come from Silicon Valley.

Brown, whom Californians over the age of 45 remember as "Governor Moonbeam," has one of the longest and most visible political careers in California history. He has been the California secretary of state, the mayor of Oakland, the state attorney general, and a three-time Democrat competitor for president of the United States. That high recognition factor certainly helps him, particularly since the majority of California voters today aren't old enough to remember his first two terms. But there are plenty of us old folks around to make sure they get a good look at his political past.

More recently, the hand-picked successor and close personal friend of Brown's, Gray Davis, was recalled for his crazed spending and social welfare policies. How badly that might hurt Brown remains to be seen, since Davis was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger who quickly turned left and out-spent Davis while coming up with schemes even crazier than those of Davis or Brown. There's no incumbent to throw out, so the strong anti-incumbent mood of the country and the state may not have the effect it would if he were an incumbent. And his party is in power in the legislature, but not in the executive mansion.

Current polls show Brown and Republican Meg Whitman running neck and neck. But that could change overnight. Whitman has spent megabucks attacking her competitor, Jerry Poizner (who is the current state insurance commissioner and the only Republican holding statewide office). Whitman's name has been out there, while Brown was lying low. "Whitman has vowed to mount the largest opposition research effort in recent memory to remind voters of the 'target-rich environment' of Brown's long history as a career politician," says the San Francisco Chronicle. Of course, Brown will hit Whitman back with "political novice."

72 year old Brown shows no signs of slowing down, and this is likely to be a true donnybrook. Brown will slam Whitman for spending so much of her own money on the race, and Whitman will slam Brown for spending so much of the taxpayers' money in the past on his wacky projects. Whitman will no doubt hang the notorious Rose Bird around Brown's neck. Brown appointed Bird as chief justice of the California Supreme Court. She was so bad at what she did, and so clearly out of touch with the California law and electorate, that after an outrageous ruling in a death penalty case that nullified the death sentence of a cold-blooded murderer, she was recalled and replaced by the people, along with two of her fellow far left justices. More of Brown's judicial appointments were removed from office for various improprieties than those of any other prior or subsequent governors.

Brown is anti-death penalty in a state which is pro-death penalty. He promised, then and now, that despite his personal beliefs, he would support the law of the State of California. Nevertheless, as the current attorney general, he refused to argue the people's position in the Proposition 8 "gay marriage" case. As candidate for mayor of Oakland, he ran on a promise that the murder rate in that gang-heavy city would drop to one equal to Walnut Creek (a peaceful and relatively crime-free East Bay suburb). During his first year in that office, the number of murders increased from 60 the prior year to 109 in 2003. By the time he left, the murder rate had settled down, but still never went as low as the rate prior to his taking the office.

Note: Boo-hoo story of the day. San Francisco illegal immigrant supporters got out the violins for a local family which will be "torn apart" by an ICE determination that the wife intentionally overstayed her visa date. The City is to blame, say the advocates for the illegals. Despite an ordinance prohibiting the police from reporting minors who commit crimes to the feds unless they have been convicted, in the wake of several horrendous murders committed under that rule, Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the police to ignore the ordinance and report any minor who is here illegally when the minor is arrested for a crime.

The thirteen-year old son of the wife was taken into police custody for assault and extortion for beating up a fellow student and robbing him. The hearts-and-flowers crowd's mantra is "but he only got 46 cents," as if that were some sort of defense. But while investigating the crime, the police discovered that Tracey Washington, the wife, and mother of the boy, is no longer entitled to be in the United States because her visa had expired in May of last year. So wifey and her two kids are being deported.

She will leave behind her husband of eleven months, Charles Washington, and his thirteen year old son from a prior marriage. Says Charles: "I feel like they've taken my right to have a family." Charles is black, and a natural-born American (as is his son). Tracey is white, and comes from Australia, where both her children were born. So naturally, they kicked off their show at the Asian Law Caucus. I don't get it. But, that's San Francisco.

Attempting to make the underlying cause of the deportation sound somewhat innocent, the lawyer for the family said "their hopes that [the illegals] could remain by virtue of the marriage to an American citizen were doomed by the 13-year old's schoolyard folly and the city's crackdown." After all, the victim was not seriously hurt, and the bully apologized. Isn't that sufficient to simply ignore California and federal law?

Tracey's argument for failing to file any requests to stay until December, 2009 (seven months after her visa expired) was the fault of the oppressive immigration laws and evil government bureaucrats. "The application cost several thousand dollars and a federal immigration office told them there was no filing deadline." But the law is clear, and they knew it. Applicants for permanent visa status based on marriage to a U.S. citizen must file the application within ninety days of entering the United States. The law is designed precisely to prevent illegals from searching out a potential husband or wife among the legal citizens. A huge number of those marriages are shams, designed solely to avoid the immigration laws.

Although I am not unsympathetic to their plight, these are not sweet innocents caught up in an oppressive law that they knew nothing about. The whole thing was calculated, and it failed. Too bad, so sad. The marriage was planned way back when the couple met in Australia, while the future husband was on a vacation six years earlier. Surely, they could have come up with a better plan over those six years. Washington says he cannot move to Australia because he also has a daughter here with whom he shares custody with a former wife. And that is our problem, how?

NOTE: San Francisco High Schools are going to be instrumental in preparing future race-baiters for the colleges and halls of academia. They will now offer courses in the ninth grade in ethnic studies. That's left-speak for "anti-caucasian" studies. As if they haven't just spent eight years being indoctrinated in "diversity," and "white ethnocentrism," and "Northern European arrogance," they will now get special courses in intensive hate studies. So far, only the state universities and colleges (not the University of California) have indicated that they will accept the courses for college credit. Naturally, San Francisco State University has offered to provide special assistance to the program. You know, SF State, the home of the black students riots, the militant Muslim Students Association, and physical attacks on Jews.

Says Jacob Perea, dean of the School of Education at SF State: "We're not really looking for the 4.4 GPA students. We're looking for the 2.1 or 2.2 students." That's what passes for "higher education." A bunch of half-wits being admitted to college so there will be a sufficiently large contingent of race warriors. Perea established the "Step to College" program at SF State. Included with his agenda, with the cooperation of the local high schools, is the provision that the ethnic studies program will give the students truly unearned credit toward college. Not only is the program "pass-fail," which would be bad enough. But nobody who enters the program can actually fail. If it appears a student is headed toward failure (and how stupid do you have to be to fail one of these courses?), he or she is simply "removed from the program." Which guarantees a 100% pass rate. This is how the post-racial liberal/progressive governments spend the taxpayers' money.


Tennessee Jed said...

Jerry Brown seems to me like a bad old piece of pork that just keeps coming back. Sorry to hear about the racoons having to pay, though. As for 9th grade ethnic studies, you are pulling our legs aren't you?

AndrewPrice said...

I have to tell you, I am feeling quite giddy about California making Brown their next governor. I think he's exactly what California deserved. This is the state, after all, that intentionally sends the likes of Pelsoi and Stark and Maxine Waters and Boxer and so on and so on to Washington to mess with the rest of us.

If anyone can anger the gods of sanity enough that they finally choose to pull California into the ocean. . . it's Gov. Moonbeam.

Get out if he wins Lawhawk!

BevfromNYC said...

You know Hawk, it really is a toss up on which of our states has the craziest and/or most corrupt politicians. Though I do believe that NY will win the booby prize this week - [Prediction: David Patterson will resign the Governorship tomorrow]

Anonymous said...

Tennessee: I'm convinced Brown's a vampire. We're never going to get rid of him. The raccoons are adorable, but I made up the part about them protesting the fares. They'll pay, just like all the rest of of suckers. I wish I had made up the ethnic studies garbage. Unfortunately, it's real.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: I'm already making my plans for getting the hell out of Dodge. Not to mention the recent earthquakes are making a circular pattern that seems to point to California being the next stop. Eek!

Anonymous said...

Bev: What worries me is that your scandals and crazy politicians might start to make ours look normal. Although I don't think you have anything to top Pete Stark. It's just that until his brief stint as Ways and Means Chairman, most people outside of California had never heard of him.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--I'm surprised that your Supervisor Elsbernd hasn't been "disappeared" by the rest of the Board. I can't imagine that anyone in that city government actually has the good sense to do something like demanding fiscal discipline.

Anonymous said...

HamiltonsGhost: I don't think the remaining Board members have enough guts to do something like that. But they are working on a voting plan that would make it nearly impossible for Elsbernd to get re-elected. They change their method of getting elected almost as often as Massachusetts changes its methods for appointing Senators. LOL

Anonymous said...

This interactive graphic that I'm attaching doesn't actually apply to the article, but it's the most startling visual of the unemployment situation I've seen so far. A picture is truly worth a thousand words, and since this was my article I'm diverging from, I'm allowing the diversion on my own ruling on a point of order.

National Unemployment by County.

After it loads, click on "Play," and watch the map change by month. Seeing the numbers is one thing, seeing this kind of progressive cancer in living color is much more illustrative.

Hat tip to John Bryant

Unknown said...

Lawhawk. Meg Whitman's inexperience couldn't be any worse than Brown's experience, and at least she'll put another "R" in the governors column. It looks like she at least has a shot at it. I might go off on a "lost weekend" if Whitman wins the governorship and Campbell wins the Senate seat.

Anonymous said...

CalFed: I suspect the raccoons could do a better job than either Brown or Boxer, and they're much cuter. I can't get too enthused about Whitman (or Poizner, for that matter), but I know I won't be voting for Brown. I had to deal twice with Chief Justice Rose Bird and her leftist court. In one case she just made no sense, and in the other she outright defied the law and the legislature, and simply ruled the way she wanted.

Writer X said...

Gov. Moonbeam would make for better theme songs and t-shirts than Gov. Whitman.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry after reading your post this week, LawHawk. Crazy doesn't even begin to describe what happens in your city. Will the city begin a raccoon adoption program? Perhaps with TARP funds?

JB1000 said...

Have you guys checked the Governor's mansion is Sacramento? I mean, the governors could just be nuts but maybe there is something in the Governor's mansion that makes them nuts.

Anonymous said...

WriterX: I don't think he would still be called Governor Moonbeam. He finally got married and she seems to have turned him almost normal (if such a thing can ever be said about an ultra-liberal). He's not quite the zen priest he used to be, but he's definitely a believer in big, big government.

I just found out that the raccoons were all ninth graders trying to get to their ethnic studies programs. Undoubtedly, they'll pass. Raccoons are smarter than most of San Francisco's human ninth graders.

Anonymous said...

JB 1000: Welcome. I'd consider your suggestion, but there's even a Jerry Brown story there (he's been in politics so long that there are thousands of Jerry Brown stories). Brown succeeded Ronald Reagan as governor, but Brown's father was governor previously. Jerry spent eight years of his life in the old, gorgeous Victorian governor's mansion. But it was deteriorating badly, and became unusable. Reagan commissioned a new governor's mansion, which was nearly finished when Jerry Brown came into office.

Brown was in his "lower your expectations, live a simple life, Buddhist priest" mode at the time, so he auctioned off the new mansion and lived in a rented apartment. To this day, we still don't have a governor's mansion. And right now, we couldn't afford one.

So I guess we'll just have to chalk it up to a "governor's curse." It seems to have infested New York as well.

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk - You have a governor without a mansion and we have a mansion without a governor! Is it because we are at opposite coasts?

Anonymous said...

Bev: Can we trade? It's much safer for both of our states if we don't have a governor. A governor's mansion is a secondary concern. If we could eliminate the legislatures, we'd be even better off. Omigod--they're going to put me on the anarchist terrorist list!

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS: (Don't you just love that?) Late this afternoon it was announced that federal authorities have granted the illegal Australian mom mentioned in the Diary a temporary reprieve. Oh, goody, goody. That's another way of saying that they'll ignore the rules and cave in to the violins. The latest information shows that she also paid a visit to the future husband in 2003 here in San Francisco. That trip would have covered the application costs, and then some, but nobody seems to care.

She got a 60 day extension to have her application completed and reviewed. That means the 90 day requirement has now been stretched to 330 days to fend off some negative press.

The attorney for the scofflaws had the chutzpah to say: "The case should encourage [Mayor Gavin] Newsom to follow the new city ordinance and not have youths deported simply upon arrest." Newsom responded publicly: "We notify federal authorities about felony arrests of undocumented aliens, and they sort out the immigration issues."

Apparently, the feds will diddle around long enough that the young thug will have time to grow up and commit one of those horrendous murders. But then, he only robbed his classmate of 46 cents.

More proof that a good sob story is more important than the rule of law.

StanH said...

At least the raccoons are clean, perhaps the gang bangers and urban outdoorsmen can learn cleanliness and etiquette from their furry MUNI patrons.

From a far, Willie Brown seems like a nice guy for a leftist moonbat and 2300 miles.

A political prediction from me, I believe Jerry Brown, and Babs Boxer both lose in November, and California tacks too the right.

If you’re in this country illegally, get your ass out. If we take these things on emotion it renders our laws irrelevant, and we’re a country of laws.

SFHS’s are continuing the dumbing down of America…criminal!

Anonymous said...

StanH: Willie Brown and I have been friendly enemies for years (ever since his "gimme my delegates" speech at the Democratic convention that nominated McGovern). Brown was never the race-baiter that he has often been accused of being. He spent much of his early career pointing out that the very real segregation in San Francisco wasn't much different from Mississippi, it just wasn't enforced with police dogs and firehoses. He was a canny Speaker of the Assembly, and knew more parliamentary tricks than the Republicans, which earned him their eternal dislike.

But I will say in all fairness, he was the best mayor San Francisco has had in over a quarter of a century. Much of the chaotic and nonsensical growth that Dianne Feinstein created was brought under control and directed into rational, pro-business development under Brown. He's a charmer, and when I ran into him last in 2006, I had a hard time remembering why I had been so mad at him. He is very critical of Obama's lack of coherence and pathetic leadership. He has nothing much good to say about the current Board of Supervisors.

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