San Francisco Mayor Brown: Is he like NYC Mayor Giuliani? FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 25 Apr 1999 11:29:36 -0700 (PDT)


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Is it fair to compare San Francisco Mayor Brown's treatment of homeless
people with that of New York City Mayor Guiliani?  Why or why not?

See related article below:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/1999/04/24/state1453ED
T0014.DTL&type=printable
FWD  Associated Press - Saturday, April 24, 1999

     DOES SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR ASPIRE TO BE HIS NEW YORK COUNTERPART?

     Jordan Lite, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Willie Brown, who strives to make this city as spiffy
as his snap-brim fedoras and Italian suits, called himself the
``ayatollah'' when he was the powerful speaker of the California Assembly.

The same approach in a city known for letting it all hang out has cost the
Democratic mayor some early supporters. Advocates for the homeless, already
in a perpetual state of rage over his efforts to end loitering and public
drunkenness in parks and plazas, are fuming over his latest call for a ban
on panhandling along street medians and freeway ramps.

Now Brown is taking aim at jaywalkers and bad drivers, threatening a police
crackdown. Crossing streets outside the crosswalks can mean $77 fines;
driving through a stop sign carries a $104 fine and running red lights can
cost $271.

``This is an aggressive, all-out war on people who do bad things while
driving or walking,'' said Brown, noting that vehicles hit and killed 41
people last year, up from 23 the year before.

``The numbers are shocking,'' said Brown, who also wants to assign some of
the 200 new officers he's asked for in the next budget to traffic detail.

Is Brown following the lead of that other famously tough-talking mayor?

`It's hard to imagine the former speaker of the California Assembly, a
great liberal, emulating Rudy Giuliani,'' says Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic
political consultant in New York.

But ``going after jaywalkers, going after the homeless are certainly pages
out of the Giuliani book, anything emulating quality of life.''

Brown's press secretary, Kandace Bender, insists Brown's motives are
different than Giuliani's.

``Mayor Brown doesn't have any contact with Mayor Giuliani,'' she says
during an interview in her office, where both men stare down at her from a
blown-up Newsweek cover on America's 25 most dynamic mayors.

Still, his critics say the declaration of war is just another example of
Giuliani-like authoritarian rule.

Brown's administration is ``head over heels enamored with Giuliani's
policies,'' says Paul Boden, executive director of the Coalition on
Homelessness who was cautiously optimistic about Brown when he was elected
and now is a frequent critic.

Giuliani doesn't seem to mind. His spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said the
purported copycatting comes as no surprise.

``This is a clear example of how the administration's policies and programs
transcend politics and are being accepted as a blueprint for governing
cities across America,'' Mindel said.

But San Francisco jaywalkers aren't happy, even though police say they
don't foresee issuing more fines, posting extra officers or putting up
pedestrian barriers like they did in New York.

``I think it's sort of ridiculous,'' said Wayne Herrerra, 51, a native San
Franciscan who was zipping across busy Market Street on Thursday.

``San Francisco has always been liberal that way,'' Herrerra said. ``I
think he has more important things to do -- like the homeless -- that need
attention.''

Brown wasn't always so interested in street-level politics. Before
announcing his candidacy four years ago, he declared that ``street lights,
dog doo and parking meters are not my cup of tea.''

But while Brown leads all challengers as he seeks a second term in
November, he faces an electorate exasperated with skyrocketing rents, the
intractable homeless problem and a lack of progress in fixing Muni, the
city's slow and unreliable public transportation system that may prove to
be his Achilles' heel.

In other words, it's a good time for a quality of life campaign, says Rich
DeLeon, chairman of San Francisco State's political science department.

``He sees Giuliani getting reelected around quality of life; even though
these are Republican examples, he's pragmatic enough to assess it,'' DeLeon
says. ``He's just got to throw something out there to give people to talk
about other than these big issues.''

END FORWARD

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