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The Stranglehold On San Francisco

By Jim Kirwan
San Francisco Civic Center
Beginning in May of 2009, a series of clearly cloudy "plans" were put forward to steal the San FranciscoCivic Center, from ordinary citizens by privatizing access to the Civic Center, City hall and virtually everything central to government and the arts in San Francisco. Using legislative slights of hand and by using a series confusing file numbers, along with an ever-shifting purpose behind a Civic Center CBD; this convoluted and semi-secret "plan" is about to be passed, without public-comment, if the Finance Committee can get away with it on January 4, 2011.
This "plan" would lock-out the poor who will be paying for it twice, once in the taxes that have already been paid to do what the plan calls for and again to this private-for-profit CBD that will benefit the Landlords within Civic Center. This will exempt the rich that will directly benefit from its' unconstitutional directives and will eliminate the ability of the public to demand equal access to their own civic center and thereby to their own city government. Here is how this began.
"The Civic Center Community Benefit District (CBD) Proposal is contained in a report called the "Management Plan" which is a slick bound volume presented by the "Steering Committee" and MJM Management Group. The report contains no disclosure of who the steering committee is composed of. All we know is that the resolution from the Library Commission supporting the CBD states "Whereas, the San Francisco Public Library is a founding member of the Civic Center CBD Steering Committee." What we do know from the Management Plan is:
"In May 2009, the Friends of the Library funded by a grant from the Office of Workforce and Economic Development (OWED) contracted with MJM Management Group to investigate the possible creation of a CBD in the Civic Center neighborhood. Even earlier in 2009, property owners and others interested in forming a CBD form the Civic Center CBD Steering Committee. Since that time, the 25 member Steering Committee, with the assistance of MJM and OWED, conducted extensive outreach to the community and property owners . . . ."
There is no explanation of what "outreach to the community" means. There was no hearing in front of the Supervisors. No discussion in front of the Library Commission before the day its endorsement passed. As we have seen before, they don't want the broader community to know about it.
So, except for the fact that the San Francisco Public Library is a founding member and the Friends and Foundation of the Library acted as the fiscal agent, there is no information on the parties involved and it is impossible to identify their motives."
However it is possible to track the Library Commissions history and track record by the way in which they came into existence in the first place while they were busy privatizing the San Francisco Public Library in June of 1997. (1)
The Rich Really Are Exempt: "But it is not impossible to identify the motives of the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library. Privatizing public resources, and exclusion of the public to do so, is their bread and butter. The MJM Management Group offers no information on their website except a mailing address and programs they already manage including, Union Square, YerbaBuena Gardens and Mission Bay Parks. They are a legal corporation and their agent is Doug Murken, an attorney with the law firm of Seifer Murken Despina, et al." (2)
"The resolution to establish the Civic Center Community Benefit District is set for a public hearing and adoption on January 4, 2011, with yet another file number, file No. 101525. This was adopted without committee reference, again at the request of the Mayor. Only the request for the hearing was adopted and the resolution itself that will establish the CBD is not publicly available. According to a letter contained in the file, the residents of Opera Plaza who are high-end condominium owners circulated a petition and received signatures of 173 property owners requesting to be exempted from the Civic Center CBD. This letter addressed to Michela Alioto-Pier, although Chris Daly is their supervisor, contains the understanding of the Opera Plaza residents that the Steering Committee has agreed to exempt them, and that based on this understanding a new Management Plan "has been developed."
It is instructive that the high-end property owners, who are the residents of Opera Plaza, are the "community" had received the "extensive outreach" mentioned before. Having heard the pitch these residents recognize that the relatively modest cost estimates are merely an inducement for unknown future costs. The fact that these residents want to be exempt should be taken as a warning.
This presumably means that the estimates of the taxpayers' costs will be revised upward to accommodate the swells from Opera Plaza being exempted. What we might say about this from a "good government" perspective should reflect total shock. Every sort of due process has been bypassed. We don't have a final version of the resolution that will be passed on January 4, 2011, or any transparency of the process that got the Opera Plaza residents excluded. We can certainly say unequivocally that there has been no respect for the informed consent of the taxpayers that are on the hook for this nonsense.
This would be different if this did not represent a complete attack on democracy and involves the privatization of Civic Center, and if it was not conducted by the same people who caused so much harm by privatizing our public library." (2)
This shoddy pieced of stealth was put together by some third rate politicians in concert with proven privatization power-brokers to strangle the democratic process while ridding themselves of those people that routinely ask the questions that keep any society free and viable.
To insure passage of this CBD, Supervisors have emptied the files of any complaints: which is why they keep changing the file number. In fact because of a mayoral mini-scandal involving the outgoing Mayor, who is moving up to Lt. Governor, and the Board of Supervisors: The Board of Supervisors on June 4, wants to call up File No. 101525 and approve it with no public comment ­ if they can manage that. Which is why your interest is needed to stop what is being attempted here.
Conveniently, because of the overwhelming and threatening air of "suspicion" that is everywhere today; this program has its own fascist element that will soon see checkpoints appearing inside San Francisco's CivicCenter; in the guise of "Ambassador-enforcers" (Uniformed mercenaries) who will answer only to the Board of the CBD, and to no one else. Of course these 'Ambassadors' will not bother any of the obviously rich; because their reason for being (by design) is to harass and evict all those that are not on easy-street and those who do not kneel to the CBD or to any of its sponsors.
This criminally-inclined program was created by people that have always seen their titled mission in life as something quite literal. Many of these individuals actually believe that they are Lords of the Land, despite all the rules which San Francisco has imposed upon their supposedly sovereign titles that do not actually reflect any royal status whatsoever.
If you want the whole story of this impending stranglehold, please see the second footnote which is an interactive website for "Let's Keep San Francisco's Civic Center Public." The Date this travesty comes up for public comment is January 4, 2011 ­ at 3 pm in front of the Board of Supervisors, in City Hall; or write to the Board of Supervisors because they will need to hear from anyone that opposes this stealth-document: File No. 101525.
If this can happen in San Francisco, then no city will be safe from these types of continued attempts at the privatization of city governments, nationwide. Also while it might not be possible at this moment to do much about TSA or VIPER: This story and its actual outcome could be the first of many set-backs for the still unopposed forces of PRIVATIZATION that have swept over this country as clearly as the blizzard-conditions have nearly frozen the Eastern Seaboard since before Christmas: The difference is that the snow will eventually be gone; while privatization, once unleashed will eventually completely destroy whatever it sets its sights upon. So far we have watched it destroy competition in every field where it has made an entrance, now it wants to go after civic government as well!
Privatization has smashed the public sector into a billion now useless pieces and decimated this society in the process. San Francisco will be the first transparent and very public challenge, to the privatization of citygovernment in America. This potential travesty should also bring about real consequences for this blatant attempt to privatize city hall, and to kill the ability of the public to challenge its own city government, by preventing the least among us from appearing before the government when their views are needed the most.San Francisco could also send a message about the pending 'security check-points' in Civic Center that are not only not needed, and are Unconstitutional as well.
If this passes here's one sign that lots of people are going to learn to hate.
1) High Tech Barbarians at the Gates, The Plunder of the San Francisco Public Library
2) Let's Keep San Francisco's Civic Center Public
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