[Hpn] San Francisco, CA - "Dilbert and Dan Fost: Humor in the Business Section" - ChronWatch - December 03, 2003

editor editor" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Wed, 3 Dec 2003 00:29:55 -0500


"Dilbert and Dan Fost: Humor in the Business Section"

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by Jim Sparkman - ChronWatch - December 03, 2003

San Francisco, CA - As ChronWatch has noted on many occasions,
the Business Section of the San Francisco Chronicle is a joke.
It is not a funny joke like Dilbert, but a sad joke.  What with
anti-business types like David Lazarus and Alan Saracevic
holding forth, what else could it be?

On Sunday, the Chronicle editors apparently agreed with this
assessment by publishing the most outrageous and preposterous
business item one could imagine in a major newspaper.

Dan Fost authored a piece suggesting that there is no need to
worry about the poor economic climate in the Bay Area.  What was
his rationale?

To Dan, itís simple.

The Bay Area is home to more liberal causes than any other place
on earth, and Dan sees this as our economic salvation.  All
these non-profit outfits with a huge cause and a small budget
will come together to form an economic miracle in San Francisco
equal to the Silicon Valley.

The best I can tell, Dan is serious, although his accompanying
photo causes one to wonder.

No need to sweat the problems of Levi Strauss.  Who cares if
Chevron moved to San Ramon.  Everyone knows that Bechtel is an
evil company with conservative ties, and David Lazarus has
warned us that Wells Fargo is outsourcing everything, including
our money.

To the good Chron-types, it would be good riddance if the whole
lot went away.  Now, Dan promises us that ''the business of
liberalism'' will rise up in an economic storm to replace
them.

Discard that old tie-dyed image of the Bay Area as an island of
leftist politics--a place where old hippies hawk organic hemp
sweaters from the backs of Volvos.

Think instead of Progressive Inc.: corporate headquarters for
the nation's eco-economy, a hefty portfolio pumping big bucks
into the region.

>From big-name nonprofit groups to businesses with a social
mission, the progressive organizations of the Bay Area employ
thousands of people and generate millions of dollars.

Some of the best-known brands in the progressive universe have
roots in the Bay Area, from the Sierra Club--the grandaddy of
them all, established in 1892--to Mother Jones, Working Assets,
the Rainforest Action Network, and even newer, nimbler groups
like Moveon.org.

In recent years, groups from the Rudolf Steiner Foundation to
the Electronic Frontier Foundation have left the East Coast and
put down roots in San Francisco, knowing they'll find friends
here.

The nine-county Bay Area plus Santa Cruz County is home to more
than 9,000 nonprofit organizations, according to Census Bureau
data.

One-fourth of Stanford MBA graduates last year, 88 in a class of
365, also earned certificates in public/nonprofit management.  A
Green Festival in San Francisco last month featured 300
businesses--from solar energy to fair-trade coffee--and
attracted 20,000 people.

Progressive Asset Management in Oakland has about $650 million
in client relationships, while San Francisco's Parnassus
Investments oversees $1 billion in socially responsible mutual
funds.

Companies like San Francisco's Working Assets, which donates a
portion of its profit to progressive causes, and Berkeley's Clif
Bar, which sets high standards for sustainability in its energy
bar business, top $100 million in revenue per year.

Even the nonprofit Sierra Club, headquartered in San Francisco
and with 700,000 members across the country, boasts a budget of
$80 million.

And the Bay Area's nonprofit organizations boast power beyond
mere numbers.  ''They're incredibly influential,''' said Jay
Harris, publisher of Mother Jones, a crusading magazine produced
in San Francisco by the nonprofit Foundation for National
Progress.

''They move laws in Congress.  They get people elected or not
elected.  Mother Jones' journalism has influence in the national
press as a pointer to interesting topics and stories.'''

Stephen Roulac, chief executive of San Rafael's Roulac Group, a
global real estate advisory firm, sees the Bay Area playing a
historic role in an evolving global dynamic.

''It's our view that Northern California is the epicenter of the
21st century renaissance,'' he said.

''Just as the critical parts of Italy around Florence and Venice
in the 14th and 15th centuries led to major transformations in
society and arts and culture, the same thing is happening in
Northern California.''

Much as Silicon Valley once boasted of a tech-driven new economy
that was going to flower across the world, now green-oriented
advocates see the same thing happening--but in a business
movement devoted to treating workers with respect and keeping
the environment clean, while still making money.

There is more, much more, in Danís rambling, nonsensical piece,
but I canít stand to write about it.

Dan goes on and on about the many liberal causes without
acknowledging that they are basically a drag on the economy.
His item has nothing at all to do with any serious discussion
about business matters.

Dan lists 100 typical firms that are to form the core of this
economic miracle.  All totaled they may equal the economic
impact of the Hooterís at Fishermanís Wharf, and they would be a
fraction of the impact of a new Wal-Mart.

Who knows what the future holds, though?  If Matt Gonzalez gets
elected, he will fire all of Willie Brownís friends, and replace
them with his green friends.  And the ranks of the homeless will
grow by leaps and bounds as the word spreads across the
country.

The City will enter the power business, costing a big bundle to
support another bureaucracy.  And hosing will be built for all
the homeless.  And more non-profit advocates will spring up to
stoke this new green economy.

The fundamental problem that Dan doesnít realize is that all
these advocacy groups are consumers of wealth.

They donít generate wealth.

In fact, they spend what others generate, others like Chevron,
Wells-Fargo, Bechtel, Wal-Mart, and even Hooters.

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