Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Over beers, Brian McConnell and his buddies came up with the idea to put a measure on the San Francisco ballot to rename a city sewage plant after President Bush. Ha, ha, ha.
OK, they've had their laugh, and they even gathered more than the necessary 7,168 signatures to qualify their measure for the November ballot. It's Proposition R. The question is: Do Ess Eff voters want to give San Francisco bashers yet another reason to believe this is a city run by brats?
If voters in the Special City approve Proposition R, which would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the "George W. Bush Sewage Plant," that vote will say more about San Francisco than it will say about Bush himself.
And don't be surprised if a small town in Texas or Alaska decides to name a dump after San Francisco sweetheart and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Or worse.
The bottom line (no pun intended): If you are one of those people who complain about the low level of discourse in American politics today, you should not support a measure sure to escalate the effluent-slinging.
But if you like toilet talk, Proposition R will guarantee buckets more of it -- with a war of words that, no doubt, will end in Mutually Assured Scatology.
The city's reputation also is riding on the outcome of Proposition V, an advisory measure that, if passed, would tell the San Francisco school board to rescind a 2006 vote to terminate the highly popular Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program.
San Francisco voters should support the measure -- and not simply because the school board's action re-enforced the city's well-worn image as a liberal haven intolerant of all things not unabashedly liberal.
This is a program that really works for students who may not be interested in the chess club or student council. Attorney Michael Bernick is an anti-war Democrat who was director of the Employment Development Department under Gov. Gray Davis. Bernick supports JROTC because it teaches teamwork, on-time performance and improves basic literacy and math skills. "This is a program that takes a wide variety of students, including a lot of students who don't have other structure and activities, and has very dramatic impacts in terms of helping to build that structure, motivation and focus," Bernick told me in the thick of the fight last year.
One other thing: A city that believes in choice should not take away a program that offers students a better chance of making it into college. Only zealots would do that.
The other rap on San Francisco: that it's the XXX-rated city. If Proposition K, which would decriminalize prostitution, passes, make that XXX-squared.
The measure promises to "reduce institutional violence and discrimination against prostitutes." Don't believe it. Existing law already prohibits violence against prostitutes.
But by decriminalizing prostitution and prohibiting the city from seeking funds to go after human trafficking, Proposition K would protect human traffickers, legitimize street prostitution and make it less likely for authorities to intervene when adults peddle young teens for the sexual pleasure of dirty old men.
In passing this measure, the city would be rolling out the welcome mat for those who would pimp out 14-year-old girls and boys, as well as those who traffic in the human sex-slave trade. This isn't compassion. It is human exploitation.
You don't have to be a conservative to see the reasons to vote against Propositions K and R, and in favor of Proposition V. Spokesman Nathan Ballard told me Mayor Gavin Newsom "is against the Bush sewage plant (frivolous), against the prostitution measure (would encourage sex trafficking), and for JROTC (a worthwhile program, shouldn't be a political football)."
It's a matter of common sense, really, and simple decency.
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