Mentors should do no harm: Someone can chop the you-know-what off of any adult who takes advantage of his power over a young person who is in his trust ["Hands-On Experience," Jonathan Kaminsky, feature, 12/7]. Any service agency or program that supplies adults as teachers or mentors is accountable for setting standards of behavior and then monitoring these relationships. Adults who work with children have a duty of care. They must safeguard children from emotional, sexual, and physical harm.
SF Weekly continued its snarky ideological broadsides against San Francisco progressives with its unfortunate piece, "Progressively Worse" [Benjamin Wachs and Joe Eskenazi, feature, 11/23]. While honest examination is always good, this piece makes wild and unfounded assumptions about both progressives and the electorate. Nobody I know is "overjoyed" that John Avalos placed second — but many of us see his strong showing — despite being dramatically outspent by corporate-backed Ed Lee and other moderates — as a sign of renewed progressivism that can be rallied and deepened. Nobody I know wants to "subsidize homeless people who choose to drink themselves to death" — a blatantly absurd caricature. To say progressive issues "appeal to people concerned with gentrification or carbon offsets" is to grossly minimize an agenda that spans concrete everyday concerns such as local hiring, universal healthcare and expanded affordable housing. Why not do something of actual public value and investigate the city's shifting electorate, the move to the center and the monied interests behind those trends? Why skewer a movement that, despite its mistakes and need for growth, has accomplished many things — universal health care, reducing environmental waste such as plastic bags, a landmark local hiring law — that improve people's daily lives and our city's ecological future? What is the point of trying to degrade a movement that's dedicated to making the city a place we can all live in, where sustainability and socioeconomic equity and balance are core values? What's the point?
Christopher D. Cook,
activist and journalist
Joe Eskenazi and Benjamin Wachs respond: By any measure, progressives — who did accomplish the tasks Cook notes — are on the outside looking in. Asking "what happened?" isn't a hit piece: It's the question that our story tackled.
Mayoral candidate John Avalos' integrity is respected even by his ideological opponents in City Hall. He has big ideas. Yet, like his predecessors, he was unable to reach voters outside of core progressive enclaves. Progressive commenters, however, are searching for silver linings in their man's distant second-place showing rather than examining why this was the ceiling for Avalos — or any progressive.
That they see signs of "renewed progressivism" in his lopsided loss is no surprise. Progressives have seen every recent election, win or lose, as signs of "renewed progressivism." It's as regular as Christmas — but there is no Santa Claus.
The "point" is, journalists do not give a free pass for good intentions. Since progressive outlets seem incapable of self-reflection, it falls upon others to examine how the progressive movement can be so successful — yet so bad at building on success.
Blog Comments of the Week
PSA should reflect reality: How about a gay PSA showing real gay people? ["The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage PSAs," Oscar Raymundo, the Exhibitionist, 12/12]. No, not the "dream husband," just a couple of regular guys — two cops or two Iowa farmers, simply two guys anything — who have been together, showing their real lives, expanding waistlines and wrinkles they have earned from the stress of everyday life. I am sick of cutesy and 20-something.
In response to the Occupy SF's proposal to start a credit union: Good idea, I hope it works ["Occupy SF Protesters to Open People's Reserve Credit Union," Erin Sherbert, the Snitch, 12/2]. Community-based credit unions are an interesting way to work around the resentment to big banks, and they are fully insured and regulated while directing their focus on local/community economic concerns.
Lots of questions for the proposed Occupy credit union: This is almost too funny; do they even understand interest rate risk? What about liquidity risk? What about the regulations the credit unions have to deal with, or capital asset ratios?