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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coit Tower Prop. B Challenges Voters to Think for Themselves

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge To protect -- or serve?
  • To protect -- or serve?

When pondering how to vote on the Coit Tower Proposition B on the June 5 ballot, voters may be reminded of the joke about the indecisive rabbi. Well, this voter is.

In that joke, two men with a dispute come to the rabbi for adjudication. The first man states his case. "You're right," says the rabbi. The second man makes his rebuttal. "You're right," says the rabbi. The rabbi's wife breaks in: "They can't both be right!" The rabbi ponders this. "You're right, too."

Prop. B is a one-paragraph "declaration of policy" which, if passed, would "prioritize" the funds generated by Coit Tower for the landmark's upkeep and would "strictly limit commercial activities and private events" at the site. Opponents of the measure -- both San Francisco papers and Recreation and Parks Department boss Phil Ginsburg, namely -- have characterized this as NIMBY ballot-box politics which could deprive other city facilities from Rec and Park funds.

Proponents, meanwhile, accuse the city and Rec and Park of allowing Coit Tower to rot while using it as the city's champagne room to generate funds for the city or its favored nonprofits.

Well, you're right! You're right, too!

Lazy voters, meanwhile, will not be able to easily play the "who's endorsing this?" game to blindly vote for or against a measure based on who likes it or hates it. As noted above, both local papers have come out against it. The power of the press ain't what it used to be -- but it's still something.

Meanwhile, a bevy of neighborhood groups, unions, political clubs, and local politicos ranging from Tom Ammiano to Quentin Kopp are in favor -- as are five sitting supervisors.

It looks like voters may actually have to -- gasp! -- make up their minds based on the merits of a policy decision.

Jon Golinger, the chairman of the "Protect Coit Tower Committee" -- and a member of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (which might as well change its name to the "Politically Influential Telegraph Hill Dwellers") says his group has done no polling. "That would be a pricey endeavor," he says. But he adds that the campaign is "going incredibly well."

Perhaps. But come June 5, we'll know if he's right. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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