Election '99 - Pre-Game Warm-up BY HOOPS MCCANN

Coalition on Homelessness, SF (coh@sfo.com)
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 20:30:10 -0800


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Election '99 - Pre-Game Warm-up
By Hoops McCann
Street Sheet - November 1999 10th Anniversary Issue

	I've been writing Street Sheet articles since 1994, and it's 
happened where people say, "Is that really true? Did everything 
happen the way you said it did?"  With the exception of a literary 
license to make it all fit, the answer is "Yes." Or at least 99 
percent of it's true.
	There was the time we had No Good Joe fresh-outta San 
Quentin, crashing on my floor at The Seedy Mission Flat, and him 
pissin' on the floor later that night. A week or two later, the two 
of us hadda go toe-to-toe (ended in a draw, no cops involved) over 
some bullshit deal.
	There was also that Walk Down Hyde St. with the sidewalk 
sale, and that rainy day buying Total Stranger Maria breakfast at the 
Slop Joint on 6th St. - or that summer I was stranded in the Central 
Valley and some Biker Babe bought me a deli sandwich and sent me on 
that Greyhound with what spare change she could wring from her food 
stamps.
	And let's not forget about that winter night at Powell and 
Market, when we got that Little Invalid Women back OK to the Mission 
Hotel, or the Guy With The $1,000 Cowboy Boots in under the wire at 
the MSC-North Shelter just as the raindrops were starting to fall.
	The whole point of writing all that was to show things that 
go on all the time in The City, but maybe you don't read about 'em in 
the pages of the ExChron, or any of the weeklies. Thank God for 
STREET SHEET and the one true voice for people who otherwise would be 
Nameless, Faceless Wanderers in the World of Print.
	You want the straight dope on what it was like living at the 
Mission Rock Shelter (now a parking lot), or when it's 8:30 in the 
morning and it's Welcome to the Jungle down at the GA office to get 
the royal runaround for a hotel voucher to some sleaze-bag hotel? All 
you gotta do is hand your buck over to a Street Sheet Vendor, and 
there you have it, my friend.
	But sometimes, all that reality to can be a bit much to 
stomach, especially if you've ever tried the spaghetti at Glide when 
the cook's mad.
Sometimes, better to just turn on the tube, watch the big game, and 
try 'n forget it all. But even then, you're not always safe.

	*	* 	*	*	*	*	*

	"Welcome to Kezar Pavilion. I'm Hoops McCann. I'll be calling 
Election '99 play action along with the irrepressible Big Bad Brad. 
Tonight, we have another classic match-up for the big Power Struggle 
match, this time pitting the Haves versus Have-Nots.
	We've had some great tussles here in the past, like Landlords 
Vs Tenants, or that heart-stopper when the Coalition on Homelessness 
prevailed over The City as it attempted a direct-deposit side-deal 
with the hotel owners - attempting to deny The People their full GA 
benefits, and their dignity as human beings, and treating them like 
some '7-year-old who's been bad and isn't gonna to get their 
allowance'.
	This time, Big Brad, I'm afraid it doesn't look like the 
Have-Nots have much of a chance, especially as we get ready for our 
first event: The Shopping Cart Spin-Off."
"No, Hoops, it sure doesn't. But it's funny, we've said the same 
thing each of the years leading up to this 10th Anniversary game, and 
by the mere fact that Coalition on Homelessness is still working the 
Have- Nots' corner, I say we might be seeing the same matchup for the 
next 10 years. These Have-Nots have a tremendous amount of fight, 
kinda like what the Mets showed in the baseball playoffs. I have no 
idea where they get it. Besides, I like the Coalition's style. This 
shopping cart controversy - which I think could prove disastrous for 
Da Mayor's victory plans - that Coalition reminds me of one of those 
paddleballs. Try to bat them away - and they only come back harder!"
	"No argument there, Big Brad. But the odds against the 
Have-Nots hanging onto their Little Corner of the World seem to have 
multiplied ten-fold over their normal 100-1 odds. Hotel fires that 
have displaced some 600 people over recent years, not to mention the 
most recent one at the King on Valencia where some disgruntled 
soon-to-be-evicted person torched the joint, killing one and sending 
80 others into the street. Key injuries like these certainly work 
against their game plan to find decent, low-income living 
arrangements.
	Plus, there was the closing of Mission Rock, and the closing 
moments of that Willie Brown-dominated game was a real horror-show 
for Have-Not supporters. And let's not even get started on the 
sky-high rents and all the Love-A-Lofts going up all over town. How 
can the Have-Nots put up a fight here, let alone trying to come up 
with a victory?"
	"Well, Hoops, the question they'll have to answer at some 
point is how to stop Downtown Willie Brown. It's more like they say 
on ESPN. 'You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him.'
	Good luck! This guy is everywhere and nowhere at the same 
time. He says there's no Matrix, but like his predecessor, the 
man-who-would-be-a-contender Frank Jordan - his  cops are still left 
and right all over the field delivering citations for 'nuisance 
crimes'- and when Slick Willie said  homelessness is a problem that 
can't be solved, and reneged on pre-season commitments he made to 
play in the 'Homeless Summit'. I just about spilled my morning coffee 
all over my favorite blue Hawaiian shirt. What?! 'Not solvable'? Read 
the polls, buddy, it's No. 1 on San Francisco voter's minds, even 
ahead of this nightmare traffic we got."
	"Yeah, Big Brad, and how about that thing I read in the paper 
the other day about how The City's Adult Assistance Program sends the 
Have-Nots to substandard hotels flunked a variety of benchmarks. 
Places like the Drake, the Alder, the Seneca - with everything from 
damaged ceilings and walls to broken radiators and faulty smoke 
detectors. Talk about page from your basic 'Quality of Life' 
playbook..."
	"Hey, before they get started down on the court, can we talk 
about MUNI, the thing Downtown Willie said he was gonna defeat in 100 
days, then when he got elected and fell back down to reality, saying 
'Schedules?  We don' need no steenkin' schedules' - or something like 
that. How long did it take you to get out here, anyway, Hoops?"
	"From Fifth and Market? About an hour counting the half-hour 
wait - about par for those rookies. Tell you one thing, though. Come 
holiday season when all those drivers on are on injured-reserve and 
using up their sick days, you can damn-near beat a 14-Mission 10 
blocks on foot just about every time."
	"OK. Last thing, Hoops. Tell us, what's your take on the 
Mission? I mean besides it becoming SOMA-South with all those dive 
bars getting snatched up and painted over. What's happening in the 
'artist community' in that part of town?"
	"Well, they're still coming here like they always have, from 
way before the Beatnik days and the '60s and '70s music scene. But 
with these City higher-ups letting all this Ellis Act move-in 
eviction bullshit to go through, and creating a San Francisco where 
if you're an artist, you're not only starving, but now you're gonna 
be homeless pretty soon - if you're not already.
	Big Brad, I've lived here 20  years, and I've never seen 
anything like this, where wholesale changes are coming into play, and 
the whole vibe is changed. The Mission used to be cool. Now you have 
these class wars, people graffiti-ing condos and SUVs, parking-space 
wars, and even racist bullshit that used to hardly ever happen in the 
'multi-cultural Mission'. I used to 'dig the scene' - as they used to 
say - with the Oye Como Va out of the boom-boxes next to the 
McDonald's parking lot on 24th. But now, I'm tempted to start passing 
out my resume faster than a Vegas Poker Dealer.
	It ain't happening, but it's tough to leave. Even with all 
the messed-up deals in this city, there's something about it that 
will always draw artists and writers to it. There's too much too left 
to discover, and too much more that needs to be said."
	"And on that note, we invite our friends at home to stay 
tuned for the Game of the Year."

HOOPS MCCANN


















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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
coh@sfo.com
http://www.sfo.com/~coh