Editorial: Can The City really lead the nation?

That didn’t take long. Voter tabulations scarcely cooled when events both political and economic cast The City’s future in a disturbing light. Not only did “progressives” strengthen their hand in local governance, but the beloved 49ers announced that the planned stadium at Candlestick Point won’t serve as their preferred gridiron.

Those stories are related. The Board of Supervisors, more resolutely leftist than before with the re-election of District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, has oxymoronically shown its clear irresolution regarding The City’s participation in sports.

That weakness, along with other factors, mightily sapped Mayor Gavin Newsom’s ability to bid for the 2016 Olympics. The supes wanted to punt to voters any agreement to host the international games. Likewise, when the Niners offered to build the new stadium with mostly private funds — thereby sparing voting taxpayers the $100 million bond they’d authorized in 1997 — officials indicated that such a windfall, too, should go to the ballot.

So it was left for team owner John York, also miffed by a proposed parking garage, to give them a tutorial on decisiveness. In a Wednesday evening telephone call to city officials, York said the Niners had found better ore in Santa Clara. Even without consulting an abacus, the businessman knew that taking the issue to voters would cost him a $6 million campaign.

The ballot-happy supes apparently don’t know how to enter such financial calculations into their political imaginings. And who knows if they saw the unintended consequences to the Olympics, dependent as the games are on a new stadium. If they did, some of them might be taking perverse satisfaction.

There’s more. Redevelopment plans at Hunters Point include the traditional Olympic Village housing for the world’s competing athletes. Those units, post-games, would add housing stock to this shelter-limited metropolis.

Perhaps the “progressives” have nursed an ideological animus toward redevelopment so heavily participated in by private enterprise. Perhaps they should direct The City to build housing as a strictly government project. Any officials tempted to turn down a Google-sponsored Wi-Fi system in favor of a costly municipal one could be so persuaded.

They and the mayor didn’t feel that way about universal health care, which, knowing The City couldn’t fund it, they mandated businesses to undertake. That project, enacted earlier this year, was supposed to work as a model for the state and the nation. But this week a group of restaurateurs — whose very ability to survive is at stake — filed a lawsuit that could demolish any notion The City can set policies to be emulated elsewhere.

To think: Just Wednesday morning The City woke up thinking its much-discussed values had washed over the nation’s electorate. Maybe. But here at home our political leaders are stumbling. Not a good week, this, for the mayor.

editorialsOpinion

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton announced that funding would be diverted from the police budget toward the black community in June 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City directs $60 million toward Black community services and housing support

San Francisco released new details Thursday for how it plans to spend… Continue reading

The Stud, The City’s oldest gay bar which is vacating its longtime home at Ninth and Harrison streets after more than 50 years, on Thursday, May 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City’s nightlife recovery fund approved but struggling business owners fear relief may come too late

As San Francisco’s nightlife scene approaches nearly a year of a complete… Continue reading

Riordan Crusaders versus St. Ignatius Wildcats at JB Murphy Field on the St. Ignatius Prepatory High School Campus on September 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner)
State allows high school sports to resume, but fight is far from over

For the first time since mid-March 2020, there is hope for high… Continue reading

Most Read