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Family Quarrel

Sep
5
2003

Sen. John Burton is challenging Prop M, the ‘aggressive panhandling’ measure that Mayoral front-runner Gavin Newsom is championing as part of his bid for office.
The smarty pants response here is to say it’s a family quarrel and that Burton, who is reaching the end of his legislative political career, is just trying to keep his name in the papers.
But that’s not entirely fair. Burton is a classic Liberal. And he’s proud of it. There aren’t enough of his sort around any more; politically savvy, not always politically correct, Democrats who really do want to fight for the little guy.
It’s something that many of those who like to pat themselves on the back for their “progressive” politics have forgotten. Anyone who thinks about why Prop M is necessary — it’s not, Burton’s right about that — does so with a heavy heart. But this small city has a big problem. Too many people are living and dying on its streets.
But the measure, like its forerunner, Care Not Cash, has support because the San Francisco City Hall isn’t doing its job. And many people, particularly the city’s young and wealthy, feel comfortable allying themselves with business interests as a way to fix what’s wrong.
In that respect, Burton is fighting an uphill battle. The city’s political ground is shifting. But at least Burton’s fighting. Unlike the seven people running for Mayor against Newsom, he does it in a smart and provocative manner. The signs Burton posted around town this Spring and Summer — “St. Francis was a beggar on the streets of Assisi” was my favorite — were a nice way to remind the city’s more fortunate of their good luck. Ideally, that’s what a ‘progressive’ government does.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 1:08 PM | Permalink

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