Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
For me the reality of the awesome task ahead has hit and I'm ready. There are no words that can describe the palitable momentum that I feel. I am buzzing with sheer joy at what is at hand. I live for a "Land Use and Economic Growth" meetings these days. I believe that this is one of the most far reaching Committees as far as impact to the feel and taste of San Francisco. Budget is good but there is something very wonderful at play in Land Use. Plus you get the added bonus of San Franciscans who come to the Board meetings to sing songs with little recorded devices. Amazing. Or to watch the venerable Sophie Maxwell yield power with such grace and precision. This is the most awe inspiring stuff ever. Quite frankly its like a night at Charlie Horse with everyone and everything happening at once but no vomit and much more reading.... the book kind darlings!
Yet the other side of "wielding power or saying that you want to be an elected official" is the hard part of dealing with the public and their expectations. (Again that was the hard part of Charlie Horse as well but thank goodness I excell at that!) Everyone wants theirs and they want it yesterday. People trying to protect their home values, businesses, intrests, kids and with every right to do so. The general public is angry already and that starts the conversation off in a way that often prevents both sides coming to an agreeable solution. This fear is based in the idea that government is one thing and the working class and lower are separated from this "government thing". That is not true at all. Just ask my new hero Jazzie Collins what you can do, I bet she can name 100 in a minute flat! Maybe everyone should spend some time running for office of some sort; I know I certainly have a lot less time to bitch and moan. In fact its not so complicated at all to get up to speed. I belive history and precidents are the things one must learn that take longer, but as I learned at the Dynamic Adaptability Conferance emotion and passion supply the drive and thoughts to create answers and make solutions possible.
This decision to care on a whole hearted level and without anything to loose has been the best decision ever. I am taking myself out of my comfort zone. WAY out. I used to believe that strength had something to do with where you came from; but now I know it's where we are going. In this journey I have found that we knew the solution all along. I like to think of myself as part of a community. I often hear that communities have no idea how to change things that they don't like or are causing discorse. Usually there is another force involved or in opposition. Both sides are equally right to have an opinion. Both do not have the right to believe the solution is going to be black or white or yes and no decisions that make up the final solution. It will probably be somewhere in the middle and if it is a good resolution should require that the community be an ongoing part of the solution. Bi partisan politics and refusals to bend lead to the inabilty to actually solve problems. Does our Government want us to go without health care and become bankrupt? Sure looks like it. Is over 7,000 homeless not a alarming tragety that we can't open our minds and be part of a solution? Sure looks like it. I was recently fuming over the Haiti relief benefits being held EVERYWHERE. Not that I think Hatian people should suffer or that people should give their money else where by any means. But.... and its's a big one.... What about the 7,000 plus refugees living in our city causing so much anger and resentment; that we decide if they can sit on the side walk or not by law. Why are we criminalizing the people who need help most this is insane!
Yet the solution does not lie only on the coffers of the city. It relys on the community getting in volved. We should demand that the SRO's be run in a more respectable fashion. For example we all know that if you live in a 6th street SRO you have crack and prostitution and petty crime galore. Now add cronic filth, bed bugs, rats, roaches and on and on. Third world living conditions in our city. We are responsible for these conditions; maybe not quite as much as say;.....the managment, but as much as the city and state government for allowing people to be treated this way. Yet with all our money spent on corporation bail outs and keeping the city a float where is the money to fix these problems? Where is the money for the after school programs that are being cut going to come from. It is time for us as a community to ban together and find it. We must get more involved in the solution. We are not owed a solution. They are something that is earned before its owned. If in one month I can raise enough to qualify for public funding for my campaign, in one show raise almost $1300 for a homeless organization then I believe the solution is at hand and its easier than we think.
Community must stop relying on others to do this for them. SRO's are NOT the problem. The Managment or Mismanagment is the problem. We need to enforce that people be treated with dignity by the people providing the care or remove the managment. This care must be more strictly regulated. We must stop letting giant corporate investors and large institution from buying all the affordable housing. Without affordable housing and rent controll across the board we will never end homelessness because it will continue to be perpetuated by special intrest and developers. This cycle must end. Small business must jump through so many hoops that they can hardly open without having to wait far too long to pass inspections and comply to the miriad of rules. We need friendly and user friendly services for all kinds of people. Communities must use their voices not to criminalize but to bind and create success. a sucessful SRO or restaurant or business is going to help the community not just part.
Our personal intrests really are based in healthy communities. We must keep it based there and hold the government accountable for helping in this struggle. If we don't want Walgreens on every corner we are going to have to help in the solution. We must fight for just laws. We must utilize businesses that are thriving and not penalize them to encourage more growth. We must not criminalize the people who need help but take to task the people who exploit their misery. Mostly we must find ways in our communities to raise funds to help the schools, the people, and each other. We are not just part of the solutions that we seek, we are those very solutions.