Wiener’s anti-tent comments backfire, bring more tents to homeless

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

Look out, folks. This homeless tent saga is starting to resemble a ping pong match.

The tents are taken, the tents are back, the tents are taken, the tents are back.

San Francisco police officers shot and killed a homeless man, Luis Gongora, last Thursday. They claim he came at them with a knife.

Quick on the draw, Mayor Ed Lee ordered the Shotwell Street tents cleared. The boys in blue tore apart the tents of the homeless, in the rain, Saturday night.

By weekend’s end, new tents rose in their place.

Tara Spalty and other homeless advocates replaced six of the Shotwell Street tents faster than it took to read the last few paragraphs. They certainly had the means. A GoFundMe campaign by her and others raised more than $18,000 to buy tents aplenty for The City’s homeless.

That ain’t the end of the tale. Supervisor Scott Wiener (also a state Senate candidate) went to his favorite medium — Facebook — to sound off in his characteristically Wiener-ian way.

He questioned Gongora’s possession of a knife and whether any homeless person should arm themselves (even for defense at night) and slammed the tent encampments as a “wild west.”

But if Wiener’s soapboxing was meant to discourage tent handouts, it backfired. Spalty and company are newly inspired, and Wiener’s Facebook proclamation is now pinned to the GoFundMe tent fund website, the perfect political pinata.

The fund has replaced 350 tents citywide since it started, Spalty said, and is now back in force.

“As long as they keep sweeping without having a place to put people,” Spalty told me, replenishing homeless tents “will remain necessary.”

***

Speaking of the mayor, as Lee’s approval ratings continue to tank, the scuttlebutt is his office may be interviewing replacements for his Chief Officer of Sounding Mayorally Competent: communications director Christine Falvey.

When asked directly if she’s flying the coop for a less stressful career, Falvey half-answered.

“I am recruiting for a communications position here in mayor’s office … Cantonese speaking … have interviewed a number of people,” she wrote, in an email.

It’s not quite a yes, but it sure isn’t a “no.”

***

Did you know District Attorney George Gascon takes political hit orders from Supervisor Aaron Peskin? Neither did I. The idea sounds like complete bunk.

Gascon and Peskin are about as politically aligned as oil and water, peanut butter and sardines. They reside in different political spheres.

Still, that’s the allegation of pro-development group, the SF Bay Area Renters Federation, or BARF. BARF contends Donald Dewsnup, a (far too) active member of BARF found himself in the clink for felony voter fraud as payback from Peskin.

Dewsnup is notorious for shellacking people’s reputations both on social media and “IRL,” as the kids say (in real life). Peskin, among others, was his frequent target.

But Dewsnup needed no shadowy cabal to catch him. He posted photos of his allegedly fraudulent ballots on message boards, and — seriously — dared people to file charges against him.

Still, BARF insists his subsequent jailing is The City’s conspiracy of the year.

“I am shocked the DA would harass a housing advocate, who happens to be homeless, for trying to vote,” BARF leader Sonja Trauss wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “It’s nakedly vengeful and political.”

More like someone’s tinfoil hat is wedged on a wee bit too tight.

***

With all the political bashing, it’s nice to see someone yearning toward the positive. Enter Equipto, the Ess Eff native and rapper who (you may remember) gained notoriety for calling out Mayor Lee in a viral video.

Now the rapper wants to unite city natives, and longtime San Franciscans for a party celebrating “peace, solidarity, unity and positivity” —Frisco Day.

It’s meant to celebrate those natives (and long timers) who hold on to living in San Francisco, and those fighting to return. An antidote to gentrification, to remind S.F. of our community.

As we stood at the Shotwell Street homeless camp, Equipto told me he hoped the event would bring people together. It’s needed, he said, because so much lately has torn us all apart.

It’s this Friday — the date is 4/15 — at Dolores Park, at 4:15 p.m. Of course.

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

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