San Francisco's homeless population shouldn't sit idly by as Mayor Ed Lee tries to hide them from cameras during the upcoming Super Bowl festivities. (Mike Koozmin/2014 S.F. Examiner)

New direction for a new year

http://www.sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/on-guard/

Ah, New Year’s resolutions. One year later, and the rent is still too damn high, corporate lapdogs continue to find a warm home in City Hall, and Muni still isn’t running on time.

We’ve made some progress. San Francisco rent is still face-smackingly expensive, but our elected officials are cooking up rent control adjustments. And though Mayor Ed Lee and his cadre of tech pals still call the shots at City Hall, the election won us Supervisor Aaron Peskin, a check on Lee’s power.

Still, our beloved City by the Bay has many proverbial pounds to shed in the new year.
Here are some picks for San Francisco in 2016:

Homeless should photo-bomb every Super Bowl TV shot
This year, Mayor Lee pledged to essentially sweep all the homeless out of the way of the Super Bowl City, which we’re hosting, somehow, despite the Super Bowl taking place in Santa-Not-San-Francisco-Clara.

Hell with that. Homeless of San Francisco, if Lee doesn’t want football-lovers to see you, put your “need cash for food” signs right up to the lens of every, single, Super Bowl, camera.

Make photo-bombing a political statement — and assert your right to exist.

Elect our elected officials
Speaking of Mayor Lee, he’s inherited an odd power from former Mayor Willie Brown: appointments. Though it’s rare in U.S. government, when San Francisco supervisors leave office, our mayor can appoint someone else to the seat — an exceptional power, studies show.

No special election. No placeholder. Not even a “not in service” sign. Lee gets to appoint a potential lackey, shoring up his power.

We should support Supervisor John Avalos’ measure for special elections, in lieu of appointments. The king-making appointment power is the kind of mustache-twirling law that perpetuates voter dissatisfaction. Time to nuke it.

Bring back the weird
When did San Francisco embrace normcore? With all our new tech workers and the financial-types who follow them, some days The City feels like an impromptu GAP khaki commercial.

Since you dealt us this hand, tech folk, it’s now on you to bring weird back. In 2016, ride a fuzzy pink bike, join hands with radical faeries and resurrect The City’s wacky subcultures and include all San Franciscans — not only those who enjoy gadget-gazing.

Tell Ron Conway to keep it in his pants
The piles of money tech “angel” investor Ron Conway shovels out of his pocket into local politics has reached ludicrous heights: $50,000 this election against Peskin (some say as high as $128,000), at least $49,000 last election and even more in years prior.

The idea that Conway and his tech cohorts “bought” San Francisco is a local cliche, but only because it’s true. Let’s ask Conway to keep his money in his pants, shall we?

Turn SFPD officers into guardians
New shields, new tactics and more may soon be on the way to the San Francisco Police Department. These solutions are needed, but some play at the fringes.

Reports detailing discussions from police chiefs internationally chew the meat of the issue: Somewhere along the way, U.S. police changed from guardians into warriors.

Perhaps one solution is for The City to financially help police to actually live in our community. Only 27 percent of SFPD officers live in San Francisco, according to the department. How the hell are police supposed to care about San Franciscans when they aren’t residents themselves?

Reform the DCCC
The local arm of the Democratic Party is little known in The City, but it packs punch: The Democratic County Central Committee serves as a key rubber-stamp in elections.

It’s also as conservative as a local Democratic body could be. This year, it backed down from recommending major police reforms, endorsed candidates favored by big-business instead of the grassroots and one member even openly supported the republican-backed Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which equated money with free speech.

If you’re an active and engaged citizen, you should get your tookus down to the DCCC and help kick out the elephants in Democrat clothing. An election for the body arrives in June.

How about you, dear readers? I’ve only got a small slice of newsprint, I’m sure you’re bristling with ideas. Send me your New Year’s resolutions for San Francisco, and I’ll sum up the best ones online soon. Happy New Year!

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com.

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