In a year overflowing with dubious achievements, it’s never easy singling out those individuals who proved themselves worthy of postseason honors. But as San Francisco and its Bay Area brethren constantly show, when it comes to dumb political acts, they know no shame, and the term “standout performance” generally takes on a whole new meaning. Yet, the time has come to honor those who topped a year of regrettable actions, supercilious statements and pubic gaffes. That’s why they are taking home an annual Yorkie award, a tribute named for the owners of the San Francisco 49ers, who took one of the most successful and storied organizations in sports history and turned the team into one of the most hapless franchises this side of the Los Angeles Clippers.
To their credit, John York and Denise DeBartolo York handed the reins of the team to their son, Jed, who has at least shown a passion for professional football if not the experience or know-how to run an NFL team. But there’s no getting around the fact that the 49ers were completely mediocre this season and, worse yet, dreadfully boring — something that must have late 49ers guru Bill Walsh diagramming X’s and O’s in his grave.
As with every year when we hand out the Yorkies, we try to suggest that the winners may want to avoid future inclusion on this list. But as 2009 showed, there continues to be a host of repeat honorees, proving that publicly embarrassing acts may truly be just a cry for help.
Congratulations to our recipients — and good luck in 2010.
Chris Daly (Suburban Geek Division): The blustery man-child of San Francisco politics, Daly outdid himself last year when it was revealed that the supervisor who has gone to extremes to block middle-class families from the opportunity of homeownership in The City was now a proud middle-class homeowner in the lovely town of Fairfield (through foreclosure sales, no less).
The hypocrisy that emanates from Daly reached its zenith at year’s end when he verbally flipped off police Chief George Gascón for having the audacity to start to clean up Daly’s crime-ridden Tenderloin without asking for the supervisor’s consent. Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it.
Jeff Adachi (Public Panhandler Division): In a town full of chest-thumping politicians, Adachi stood out for his endless grandstanding and continual whining about how he needed more funding while every other city department was having its budget slashed.
The San Francisco public defender said he could no longer serve the Community Justice Court because of budget cuts, but somehow dragged himself to every public hearing to beg for money — an act that grew so tiresome even his alleged allies on the Board of Supervisors finally told him to take a hike.
David Campos (Safe Haven Division): Only in San Francisco could a lawyer try and come up with a law that defies the law and then insist that it was legal after being advised by the courts and San Francisco’s own attorney that it was, well, not.
But that would be Campos, who is intent on San Francisco being a place where undocumented juveniles accused of felony crimes cannot be turned over to immigration officials until they’ve been convicted. We know he’s sincere on the issue, but wishful thinking doesn’t make a wrong a right.
Ross Mirkarimi (Sandbox Division): The speechifying supervisor has become the scourge of sports lovers everywhere, leading the charge to turn Sharp Park Golf Course, a popular blue-collar layout in Pacifica, into a nature preserve, and then, mystifyingly, trying to stop a city desperately in need of more playing fields from putting them in place.
Mirkarimi is living proof that you can get burned a lot more easily sliding on fuzzy ideology than artificial turf. Can the ball-playing public award penalty kicks?
Kamala Harris (Etch-a-Sketch Division): San Francisco’s ambitious district attorney decided to let some first-time drug offenders clear their records by going through a job-training program — even though they weren’t eligible for the program because they were undocumented immigrants.
This rather loose interpretation of the law drew headlines after one of the offenders in the Back on Track program, who had been arrested several times previously, robbed a Pacific Heights woman and then allegedly drove a sport utility vehicle into her, fracturing her skull. If Harris finds herself off track in her run for attorney general, we’ll know why.
San Francisco Chronicle (Big Spin Division): The once-mighty Voice of the West suffered (again) the steepest decline in circulation among U.S. newspapers — and then announced that this was a good thing.
Now that the circulation has dropped 300,000 from the time I started there, it has a “more healthy” audience, the publisher said. If only the same could be said of the newspaper.