Editorial: How to lose an Olympic bid

Now The City knows what placing its backside in front of an airborne javelin feels like. It’s a blow, a really sharp blow, and it’s all because San Francisco’s political class ambled out on the field with its “Look at me!” attitude, its jerky movements omni-directional.

Omni-directional as in indecisive. Did The City want the 2016 Olympic Games or not? The U.S. Olympic Committee, considering bids from other worthy cities, pondered the mixed signals. With word that the 49ers were off again about keeping the team’s stadium at Candlestick Point (if they really are on again, it’s too late), the committee found little to lure it.

No question: Mayor Gavin Newsom wanted to host the games. Showcasing The City would have provided him just the kind of headgear plumage needed to vault his political career. So was he blindsided by the Olympian rejection? Any more than he was when the Niners opted for Santa Clara?

In fairness, if the mayor ever looked over his shoulder when charging up Mount Olympus, he couldn’t see the Board of Supervisors behind him. Sure, they indicated, they wanted the Olympics. But their support seemed lukewarm at best, with some supervisors even making noises about putting elements of the plan on the ballot.

A pity, this loss. It would have been the perfect chance to gain even more international cachet for The City, its high-tech communities, its vaunted humanitarian values. But as any world-class athlete will explain, winning requires focus.

Sustain Mayor Newsom’s foot-patrol veto

So there was this plan to yank San Francisco police officers out of their four-wheeled crime-fighting machines and send them on foot to patrol The City’s most crime-friendly neighborhoods. Now we were getting down to crime-fighting at the roots.

At least, that was the brainstorm of some of the more left-leaning supervisors, and there was nothing theoretically wrong with it. Foot patrols bring with them an obvious communitarian appeal, and they’ve been known to pacify some hostile urban settings.

The SFPD resisted, naturally, claiming the plan would lengthen response times — i.e., the speed with which officers arrived from summons to scene — and the patrolistas scoffed at such balky bureaucratic impulses.

Other objections emerged, having mainly to do with an attempt by the Board of Supervisors to micromanage police operations, and Mayor Gavin Newsom, repairing relations with law enforcement, vetoed the plan.

Political calculations aside, the mayor was right. Sound management may call for officers strolling through the Tenderloin and Western Addition, and legislative oversight is a must — but not when supervisors presume to dictate how many police officers can be sent where and when.

Some supervisors may try to overturn the veto. We hope, rather, they sustain it. They’ve made their point about the desirability of foot patrols. Now let the chief orchestrate them.

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