By Tom Temprano
Even though workers and management at BART have settled on a new contract, it appears that Rail Rage will continue here in the Bay Area. SEIU Local 1021, which represents many BART workers, is understandably pissed about BART Management’s high-dollar PR efforts to demonize workers during negotiations. According to a recent Matier & Ross article, BART spent $165,680 on PR consultants which, if mainstream media coverage of the negotiations was any indication, can buy you a lot of uncomfortable anti-working class sentiment.
SEIU is ready to take the BART Board of Directors to the mat, starting with Director Zakhary Mallet, who publicly compared BART workers to spoiled children that needed to be punished. Word has it that the union is launching a 2014 recall campaign against Mallett, which seems suitable punishment for a spoiled child who threw a tantrum in public.
Also on SEIU’s list is former BART Board President Tom Radulovich. A couple names being floated as potential challengers to him in 2016 are Christina Olague, whose experience as a planning commissioner and supervisor and resurgent support from San Francisco progressives would make her a formidable challenger, and Jane Martin, whose transportation justice work at POWER is exactly the kind of approach to BART policy that progressives would love to see.
Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is setting out to increase affordable housing in The Big Apple with a voracity and commitment that should make us all jealous. Even though his city is now more affordable than ours, DeBlasio has promised to put the heat on developers to build affordable housing on-site in all new major residential developments.
Our mayor out here in our little, more expensive, apple, has spent the months since seeing his luxury housing initiative, 8 Washington, go down in flames talking about his ongoing commitment to affordable housing. This commitment doesn’t include putting pressure on developers to build said housing in the midst of their high-end developments, which, given all the cranes I see building big money housing, could lead to a huge increase in the number of affordable units overnight. While developers clearly have an interest in building high towers for high incomes, it should be the job of our city officials to discourage this kind of economic segregation.
Nothing is official until the Department of Elections says it is, but if my inbox is any indication a whole lot of queer and progressive folks will soon be announcing their candidacies to run for spots on the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Education.
Fortunately my inbox also tells me that there are liquor sales aplenty at BevMo, which will certainly prove helpful in a stressful election year like this.
MOVIE TIME: I didn’t watch a movie this week but I did watch hours worth of the most San Francisco-centric coverage national TV audiences have seen on a Sunday in ages.
My takeaway from the 49ers game had less to do with the ultimately heartbreaking play of Colin Kaepernick and more to do with the media shitstorm that followed the game. The fact that San Franciscans are more outraged about Richard Sherman’s post-game interview than they are about the fact that the 49ers are keeping our name while leaving our City for (scenic/gorgeous/world-class) Santa Clara, and taking many of the economic benefits of having them here with them, is downright sad.
As for “Looking,” we can debate the accuracy of the portrayals of gay San Francisco life on the show until we’re all blue in the face, but what we can’t debate is that it has ruined my plan to get a Dolly Parton autograph belly tattoo.
Tom’s Top Two Things To Do This Weekend
1. The Walk for “Life” West Coast, Saturday January 25. In San Francisco we often like to complain about large-scale events that flood our city with people who don’t understand sidewalk speed minimums and are apparently taking their first ever trip on public transportation despite being in their mid-40’s. These events like Fleet Week, Bay to Breakers and The America’s Cup do arguably bring in an annoying, though benign group of people who slightly disrupt our day to day life.
The group of people who come into our City for The Walk for “Life” (please note and use the quotes) aren’t benign – they’re fucking malignant to the core. I seriously hate this fucking event more than any other event ever, which is why it’s so important to go and to remind these assholes that though they may be marching on them, these are our streets and our streets don’t want their feet, signs and bile anywhere near them. Details on the counter-protest are here. Please come with as many middle-fingers as you can find.
2. Go to the beach and take selfies so that all your friends who moved from San Francisco to New York and are caught in blizzards can remember that even though they may now have cheaper rent, we still have that sun, baby. Also, don’t forget to use #polarvortex to make it sting all the more.