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I supported Carlos Quilez.  I support Mike Wilson.  So why am I supporting in the 4th District a candidate with support from the same coalition I’m opposing everywhere else?  The same reason I endorsed Marks a couple of years ago for Supervisor – we need more working class progressives in office.  We don’t often have an opportunity to put one there.  And while I don’t want entrenched local and extra-county interests dictating local development policies, we need jobs.  We need unions.  We need union jobs.  And I believe Marks will make an excellent swing vote; at least I have great hope he will.

Let me start with a little bit of history.  As you know, much of my politics is conditioned by Bay Area experiences.  I lived in San Francisco from 1989 to 1995.  This was a major transition period from the “old San Francisco” of racial and economic diversity to a more affluent young white liberalism producing a new SF culture of what Harold Solomon called “homogenized arrogance” and what the SF Bay Guardian referred to as “the world’s first economically cleansed city.”  I watched unbridled gentrification strip SF and the surrounding areas of their character, forcing the working classes into long commutes from the burgeoning sprawls in the Valley.

This was precipitated by a number of factors, some of them arguably inevitable.  San Francisco is already the second most compact city in the country, and everybody and her grandmother wants to live there.  Property values were bound to skyrocket, as the bohemians unwittingly aided in the gentrification by moving into the ethnic minority heavy neighborhoods thus diluting the yuppie fears of the swarthy masses.  Even Hunter’s Point and the Tenderloin are out of range for the people who have lived there for decades.

And then there are the factors which weren’t inevitable – the short-sight of progressives who boldly took on and sometimes defeated the “downtown interests” but who paved the way for gentrification. (more under the fold) Read the rest of this entry »

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