Warren Hinckle

Hijacking The Democratic PartyWarren Hinckle Characture

Voltaire said that when you hear the news, wait for the sacrament of confirmation. I have some news, and if it is confirmed in the June 8 election, the sacrament you will need is Extreme Unction because it will be the death of the Democratic Party as San Francisco has known it.

This is the handiwork of the irrepressible Chris Daly, operating under the big wingspan of Aaron Peskin. The two Supervisors, one termed out and the other about-to-be, a few years ago decided it would be lonely out there in the cold, and conspired to create a permanent government – conspire is perhaps too weighty a word, it seem more that they more sort of drifted to the same power-hungry conclusion by doing what comes naturally like two whales in heat in sexual congress; what else did you expect them to do?

The idea was beautiful in its way – if they could no longer serve as members and keep the Board of Supervisors on the path of their self-styled “progressive-ism” they would do the next best, yea a neater thing, and control the Board of Supervisors by taking control of the Democratic Central Committee. What is that? It is a party organization largely ignored except by inside-baseball type political junkies but actually wields enormous power.

“On the flip side of that, over two decades—only 3 supervisorial candidates with the DCC endorsement have failed to be elected. In this lopsided Democratic-registration city, the coveted endorsement of the DCC makes being elected to the Board a dead cert thing.”

Witness: In the last 20 years, only 2 candidates, Ross Mirkarimi and, yes! Ed Jew, were elected to the Board of supervisors without the DCC endorsement.

On the flip side of that, over two decades—only 3 supervisorial candidates with the DCC endorsement have failed to be elected. In this lopsided Democratic-registration city, the coveted endorsement of the DCC makes being elected to the Board a dead cert thing.

I am still researching this matter for an election edition of the Argonaut, a venerable San Francisco title, b. 1877, for which Ambroce Bierce once toiled and which I publish periodically as the spirit moves. But I will share what I know now as it is of particular interest to the West Side of the city because the stealth artists who are planning to hijack the Democratic Party on June 8 (when they have fielded a slate of candidates to pack the DCC the way Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court) intend, current DCC members who have knowledge of their plans say, to diminish the local influence of West Side, more moderate Democratic voters, by rewriting the DCC bylaws to give even more clout to East Side voters powered by the tenant-rights political cartel.

If they succeed in their well-prepared plan by electing their candidates for the DCC, the result will be much sooner than later a mayoral veto-proof majority on the Board of Supervisors of left-ideologue, anti-business Supervisors of the flavor of Avalos and Mar.

I am indebted in much of this ongoing research to longtime DCC member Arlo Hale Smith Jr., the son of the long-serving former District Attorney Arlo Smith. Smith Jr. got into the fray when he gained the ire of Supervisor Daly by even thinking about voting for the moderate, Feinstein-ite Scott Weiner for DCC chairman instead of Daly’s partner-in-crime Aaron Peskin, who looms now to be Chairman-for-life much like Duvalier styled himself in Haiti of unfortunate memory.

Daly threatened Smith in an e-mail in 2008 (of which I have a copy) that he would never eat political lunch in this town again if he voted for the offending Weiner because, if elected to the Chair Peskin was wanting to warm, (Weiner) “would be in a position to influence close endorsement votes” which “would make it less likely that our candidates would win the endorsement of the Party.” He wrote that “Aaron, Michael Bornstein (Peskin’s chief FACILITATOR on the DCC) and I “not only had a slate for 2008” but were working on “fielding a progressive slate for the DCC in 2 years” (that would be the present 2010) that would pick up all the marbles. Daly told Smith that if he crossed Daly/Peskin he “would never receive the endorsement of the Guardian, Tenants Union, Sierra Club and Milk Club” – which are political appendages of, and provide the storm troopers for, the burgeoning new Machine which would be the rival of Tammany Hall, both in control of local political office and, as fire follows smoke, corruption.

After that last threat, Smith began digging into the record of past DCC endorsements which were on the more moderate side UNTIL the balance of left/moderate DCC members began to shift left under Peskin’s tutelage in 2008.

The present takeover plan-in-action in this election was formed in the year of our Lord, 2008, but Peskin laid the mechanical for it in 2006, by codifying in the DCC bylaws endorsements for Supervisor, et al., by the 50 percent, plus one vote rule. This makes controlling endorsements a breeze, compared to the former DCC standard—which is the practice of the state Democratic Party—requiring a 60 percent vote for endorsement. (Thus Gavin Newsom didn’t get the party endorsement against his Southland rival for Lt. Governor—if that standard had been 50 percent, plus one, the Gav would have had it made.

If Daly/Peskin makes its bones in the June 8 vote, Peskin will go from Ayatollah—the nickname which I, alas, gave him, because of his antics in North Beach under which he was elected to the Board—to Commissar of the Central Committee. And Daly will be enabled to pull the strings of “progressive” Supervisors from his swimming pool in the burbs.

Thus the June 8 election could be a scary game changer in San Francisco politics. It depends on the votes, on the West Side, for DCC candidates in Assembly District 12. I have not got around to the Argonaut formulating its endorsements, but civic leader and general do-gooder Jim Haas has sent out a cry for help to a gazillion e-mail recipients where he lists the moderate or plain old fashioned independent, non-machine candidates for A.D. 12 and I have no present reason to quarrel with his picks, by name: Andy Clark, Ron Dudum, Dan Dunnigan, Bill Fazio, Tom Hsieh, Mary Jung, Meagan Levitan, Connie O’Connor, John Shanley, Arlo Hale Smith, Mike Sullivan, Matt Tuchow, Alex Volberding.

So be alert to the consequences when you vote, but, this being San Francisco, you should of course do your own thing.

Warren Hinckle needs no explanation.

June 2010

Get Dirty

By Warren Hinckle

Hatchet-wielding overpaid City hall bureaucrats have quietly devised and implemented a plan to cut the annual costs of street cleaning by weaning the West Side of San Francisco from weekly street cleaning to twice a month.

The eastern side of the city will continue to receive weekly street cleaning, sources say.

The new plan will primarily affect Districts 2, 4 and 7.

These areas will be cleaned only on the first and third weeks of the month, rather than weekly. The abbreviated street cleaning program launched in August. Adhesive stickers were produced for the Dept. of Parking and Traffic to stick on the current street signs giving city warnings to move your cars on a street-cleaning day. Put up on the West Side of town only, the stickers advise residents that street cleaning will now happen only twice a month in their area.

Only 20,000 stickers were ordered, so it is clear that they were not designated for citywide signs.

The recommendation that the West Side of San Francisco be left dirty twice a month came from a private consultant firm hired by the city, according to sources. The cost of the consulting contract has not been ascertained.

There appears to be elements of class analysis and voter ballot box power in the independent consultant’s recommendation to leave the greater west side of town to clean up its own streets. The presumption appears to be that west side home owners are more tidy than east side renters, thus can manage better without the city’s traditional weekly street cleaning. The west side has far more individual homeowners and taxpayers who historically have carried the burden of tax bonds regularly approved by the majority of renters on the city’s east side. And they get less street cleaning for their money?

But wait, as the annoying voice-over intones in those late night tv infomercials says, there is more:

The wankers at Dept. of Parking and Traffic apparently remain undecided about which other neighborhoods in addition to the Westside prime victims will get half the street cleaning they pay for. There has even been a turf war between DPW and the Dept. of Signs (or whatever the hell it is called) over who gets to put the stickers on the Street Cleaning signs. DPW could have done it more efficiently, but the Signs geniuses won that tug of war, costing the city more for the process of putting up the stickers saying Only Every Other Week (mark your calendars well!) - but the stickers don’t stick very good and cherished O.T. may be required for this folly.

Such intermural city department turf wars are nothing new. I recall growing up near 14th and Vicente and when you walked up the hill to Taraval to catch the L streetcar there was always sand all over the streets, piling up in the gutters and blowing in your eyes with the slightest of winds. The streetcars in those days dropped sand to apparently help the breaks break, don’t ask me why. I asked a city worker why no one cleaned up the annoying sand and was told that DPW said it was the Muni’s responsibility because they dropped the sand, and the Muni said it was DPW’s job because the sand was gathered along the sidewalk — so — Stalemate! — no one cleaned up the sand.

Back to late nite tv ads, There Is Still More! As the wingnut planners continue to cut costs (some residents who park on the street remain grateful for one less possible street cleaning ticket a month, there is always some good to come from the bad) the same DPW gang is busy sending out the trash can police to REMOVE as many trash cans as they can from the sidewalks. The rationale here appears, absurdly, that people will thereby not put their home garbage in the trash cans, thereby depriving the monopoly garbage collectors from their two pence, a high charge from which the city does not get anywhere near its fair piece for awarding the monopoly contract. (Dare ask Quentin Kopp about this and he will chock in anger and his valued civic life will be imperiled, so don’t raise this sore issue of garbage rates with the dear old peanut.)

An unscientific inspection of some of the remaining trash cans that haven’t been disappeared by DPW zealots shows evidence not of household garbage but of greasy McDonald wrappers, Starbucks cups, bags of doggie poopie and the like that even good citizens are unlikely to carry with them for blocks when there is no trash can to dump such in. So where does it now go? The streets.

In sum: The brainiac who came up with this idea wanted to save money and keep the streets just as clean as when they were dirty. This is city planning at its best. There will be less street sweeping and at the same time fewer trash cans to put the trash into. This is supposed to keep things clean. As Chico Marx said, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”