By Tom Temprano
There was a big vote on affordable housing this week at a rather unlikely spot: The SF Board of Education. A kerfuffle was brewing over the school district’s plan to transfer a dusty ‘ole parking lot at 16th and Mission to the city in a land/cash swap so that the city could build desperately needed affordable family housing.
What seemed like a no-brainer given the dearth of affordable housing units for families in San Francisco/the mind-boggling epidemic of evictions and displacement in the Mission/the fact that there are plans for a monstrous market-rate condo development already in place for that intersection/common goddamn sense and decency grew contentious because the site had long been discussed as a location for teacher housing and the leadership at UESF was understandably miffed at this being taken off the table. As early as the morning of the vote affordable housing activists were looking at 4-3 loss and came out swinging.
Parents, students and organizers from the Mission and SOMA – huge shout out to Angelica Cabande and SOMCAN for their stellar turnout – formed a line through the Board of Ed chambers to voice their support for the transfer. By the time I reached the podium I was the last speaker of at least 50 and the deal had already been sealed, the votes had been counted and a unanimous decision of support was assured. Given that the last time I’d addressed a school board I was in the 3rd grade reading a haiku I’d written, and in the interest of brevity as the poor members of the board had already gotten an hour-long earful, I decided to make public comment in the 17 syllable format with which I am familiar.
Here it is:
Is a public schools issue.
No children, no schools
This was not the world’s best week to be a classist, empathy-incapable techie.
Whether a fake one, as was the case with the angry Googler viral video gone bad, or a real one like Greg Gopman, CEO of Startup AngelHack. Gopman’s nauseating Facebook rant that dehumanized the Mid-Market residents who have lived in the neighborhood long before he decided to grab a tax break and leave Florida to set up shop here aroused an incredible outcry from across the Internet.
As an aside, being the CEO of a company that does something as utterly unbeneficial to society as organizing hackathons does not give you the moral high ground to denigrate anyone else’s’ perceived lack of contribution to the greater good.
To me, the real loser in this wasn’t Greg Gopman – I’m sure that his friends will continue to attend his little hackathons – but the people of San Francisco who have a mayor who takes smiling selfies with a guy like Gopman. The key to the city has been handed to folks like him and it’s clear that as far as the mayor is concerned the rest of us are, in Gopman’s own words, “guests” in his “civilized” town.
Movie time: I was about to go see Thor 2 while spending the Thanksgiving weekend in (scenic) Reno, but was too full from dinner and broke from some unfortunate spins at the Roulette table to justify spending two-digits worth of dollars on the sequel to a movie I hadn’t seen and whose character was my least favorite member of the Avengers. So, I opted to go back to my hotel room and watch the National Dog Show instead which was clearly the right choice, because, you know, puppies.
Tom’s Top Two Things To Do This Weekend
This weekend I plan to take in as much queer theatre as possible. Why trade a kidney for tickets to the book of Mormon when some of our community’s finest and funniest are putting on amazing shows? Plus, you might need to sell that kidney to afford the deposit on your $4000 one bedroom in NEMA (does anyone else say NEMA like they used to say Zima in the commercials in the 90’s – NEEEEMAH).
- Nicole Kidman is Fucking Gorgeous. Running Thursday-Sunday, December 12-15 at CounterPULSE.
Three of the most brilliant queers I know have created this singing, dancing, seemingly indefinable theatrical experience that has less to do with my second favorite Aussie actress (Team Toni Collette) than it does with their experiences as artists in a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco.
- The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes. Running Thursday-Sunday, December 12-15 & 19-22nd at The Victoria Theatre.
At this point, this drag queen cast take on one of TV’s all time camp classics has become as synonymous with the holiday’s in San Francisco as long lines for tamales at La Palma and having your boyfriend tell you that you’re too selfish and drink too much to adopt one of the puppies out of the window at Macy’s.