one stuck big wheel

Coalition on Homelessness, SF (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 22:04:50 -0800

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Hey Folks-

While good ol' WILL-LIE Brown is still contemplating the flavor of 
his foot of the day, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, heir to the Harvey Milk 
San Francisco progressive mantle, has announced his write-in 
candidacy for Mayor.  In his role as President of San Francisco's 
Board of Supervisors, he was instrumental in derailing Mayor Brown's 
latest plans to get rid of homeless people through direct application 
of the principles of Social Darwinism. There's a ray of light in our 
latest dark horse.

The postings I've seen here lately on establishing a national 
alliance of homeless people and their advocates is interesting.  I 
would like to make a friendly proposal:
why don't we all get behind the National Homeless Civil Rights 
Organizing Project?  I'll be posting information soon on where the 
regional offices are and the procedures to report civil rights abuses 
against homeless people throughout the U.S.

The time is ripe to make poverty the number one issue in the next 
presidential race.  Let's go for it!

chance martin
Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
A cart with one stuck big wheel
Oct. 14,1999
1999 San Francisco Examiner


MAYOR Willie Brown is in denial again. He denies he ever had a plan to
take shopping carts from the homeless, and he ordered the cops to stop
following the plan.

Basically, the Emperor is saying he never was naked, and would his
minions please bring him some clothes.

With three weeks to go before an election in which Brown has to run hard
to beat two of the least popular men in San Francisco, he decided to
finally do something about the homeless - namely, snatch their carts.

Unfortunately, he grabbed an issue with a stuck wheel and it started
swerving in the opposite direction. Not that many people care about the
homeless and their carts. It's just that the homeless have a way of
defeating San Francisco mayors, the way Vietnamese guerrillas defeated
one great power after another.

So now Brown is pulling out of his cart interdiction campaign and voter
pacification effort before he's even started, and denying he ever wanted
to take away the homeless' shopping carts.

Police Chief Fred Lau is taking the fall, saying he accidentally issued
the order - as if anyone from meter maid on up ever does or says
anything without getting the OK of Willie Brown.

Points to Lau for loyalty. But you have to wonder how long he'll put up
with Brown. You also have to wonder what this election would be like if
Lau, not Frank Jordan, were the former police chief running for mayor.

Naturally, Brown's PR machine shifted into gear with bananas in the
crankcase. His spokesperson said they weren't going to take carts away
from the homeless, they were just reaching out to help the homeless.

Sure. They could get in much better physical condition if they had to
drag duffel bags around town instead of pushing carts.

Brown told the press he had "no idea" where they got the impression cops
were about to seize carts. Once again, the press used an unreliable
source - the mayor.

For almost four years, Brown has been in denial about lot of things,
sometimes infuriatingly, sometimes entertainingly. But never has his
state of denial been stable or convincing.

Brown denied his responsibility for fixing Muni, despite his promise to
fix it within 100 days, and asked voters to "live in the real world."

Unfortunately, they do. He doesn't. This is one guy you can be pretty
sure never pushed a shopping cart, even in the most exclusive of gourmet

Brown denied he had ex-girlfriends, and denied he was turning Treasure
Island, where one non-ex-girlfriend lived, into a private pleasure dome
for his rich friends.

He denied he would use The Examiner as toilet paper. Not that he was
asked the question directly.

He denied that homeless were camping in Golden Gate Park - until live TV
footage of the homeless encampments caught him with his well-shod foot
in his mouth.

He denied he wanted heat-seeking helicopters to find the homeless in the
park - it just sounded like a good idea at the time, he said.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. That's the story of the Brown

Roust the homeless. Let them lie where they are. Let a developer throw
up a highrise, and another and another. Talk a lot about double-parking,
while eliminating single-parking.

Hey, it goes with the double-talking.

The irony of all this is that I feel just as divided over Mayor Brown as
I do over the homeless. I think that's the case with a lot of other

I want the homeless out of my face and someplace where they don't deface
the streets and parks of San Francisco, but I feel charitable toward
them. Most can't help their condition, and many are quite friendly

Similarly, I want Willie Brown to quit leading his band of well-dressed
aggressive panhandlers in defacing The City with highrises and lofts,
but I feel charitable toward him, too. He's so much fun to watch.

Brown is the Greg Louganis of flip-flops and the Brian Boitano of 180s,
360s and 720s. He has no fear of changing his mind and does it with such

When Brown denies something, he doesn't play with semantics or try to
redefine "is." He redefines his entire self.

Presto-spare-change-o, which Willie Brown are we looking at?

Is it the mean Willie who wants to take away the transport of the
wretched of the Earth? Or is it good, liberal Willie doing outreach to
save the poor?

Neither, of course. It's just a politician, a great
legislator-turned-mayor, trying to do in public in San Francisco what he
used to do in private in Sacramento.

Way back then, he didn't have to deal with poor people's carts. He took
away legislators' desks and gave them offices with no windows. He could
do what he wanted with impunity. No one watched. No one fought back.

You can intimidate, defeat and mess with the heads of legislators. But
the homeless don't have term limits. They've survived Camp Agnos and
Jordan's Matrix Program. They'll survive Brown's homeless cartwheels.

1999 San Francisco Examiner   Page A 2


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6,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
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chance martin
Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
vox: (415) 346.3740
Fax: (415) 775.5639