On Guard: New Year’s resolutions to jump-start San Francisco in 2015

No one keeps their New Year's resolutions. I've still got that extra 20 pounds, and decades after Mayor Willie Brown promised to fix Muni in 100 days, the 5-Fulton still packs people armpit to armpit.

But that shouldn't stop The City from dreaming of becoming better. And if the last year has taught us anything, it should be this: San Francisco is constantly bubbling with change.

With that in mind, I present to you New Year's resolutions for San Francisco, culled from a year's worth of reporting. Some are easy, some are pie-in-the-sky. All invite conversation.

Stop the evictions, boldly

Mayor Ed Lee has 50,000 housing units in the pipeline (though many are rebuilds), but that won't solve the housing crisis here and now. San Franciscans are displaced every day.

Let's get the old Mayor Ed back, the one who rallied to save the I-Hotel in 1977. Picket-Ed, picket! Rally Ted Gullicksen-style, and declare a moratorium on evictions, or provide more housing in a community land trust to those who lose their homes.

1977 Ed Lee has a lot to teach 2014 Ed Lee.

No more San Francisco soul-searching articles

From the San Francisco Chronicle's recent “A changing Mission” to the New Yorker's Lusty Lady coverage, everyone is asking if The City is losing its soul. Are beatniks' goatees greying? Do tech workers subsist on the newborns of native San Franciscans? We've reached peak thinkpiece. Stop them, please.

Feed people

A city study said every fourth San Franciscan cannot afford nutritious food, subsisting on unhealthy scraps in a city booming with wealth. It should make us queasy, but the study quickly faded from headlines. Poverty always does.

City Hall bathroom parity

BART escalators are constantly out of order due to an excess of human excrement, as the homeless don't have a reliable place to answer nature's call. Until we innovate our way out of the filthpocalypse, I propose we let the mayor and the Board of Supervisors live the way our 6,500 homeless do: Without access to toilets, and dignity, until they fix the problem.

Stop public transit man-spreading

Fellow Muni riding men, you don't need five feet of room to spread your legs sitting on that Muni bus. New York City has an ad-campaign now to stop the practice, but do we need outreach to remind us to be polite? Close your legs, dudes.

Create a new neighborhood: Conwayville

Tech workers don't like interacting with San Francisco. They use Google buses to circumvent Muni, skyways to avoid sidewalks, Soylent and catering to avoid restaurants. Ron Conway, tech investor extraordinaire, spends millions of dollars monkeying with our elections to tech's benefit.

Let's go the next logical step, and create a glass bubble around part of Valencia Street, with an Elon Musk-style Hyperloop tunnel to a sister bubble in the Marina. We'll deregulate Conwayville, leaving tech to Kickstart its sidewalk maintenance and use Patreon to pay for its police.

Techies won't be bothered by picketing for housing justice, and we don't have to hear them whine about a lack of Wi-Fi-enabled cafes. Everyone wins!

Give students a voice

Talks are in the works to give teenage students under 18 a chance to vote for school board members. These down-ballot races may not matter much to San Francisco plentiful 20- to 30-something transplants, but they heavily affect families. Let's encourage democracy in our youth before the requisite cynicism sets in.

Rename the 'sharing' economy

Airbnb rents rooms for cash, but says it “shares” services. Let's rename Uber and Airbnb-style apps the “contractor” economy, as the tech darlings make enormous profits by requiring non-employee workers to pay for their own health care, taxes, and other business costs.

Hell's bells, let's go wild, and create new protections for those workers. Mandatory health care, deeper criminal background checks, you know, extravagant stuff.

How about you? I've only got a small slice of newsprint to trumpet a few desired changes, but I bet you've got ideas too. Send your New Year's resolutions for San Francisco to joe@sfexaminer.com, and I'll sum up the best ones online next week. Happy New Year!

On Guard covers issues concerning The City's political left. It prints the news and raises hell each Tuesday. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com.

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