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The Politics of Dis

Oct
4
2003

Leave it to the SFWeekly’s Matt Smith to come up with the best, and the most exhaustive, analysis of the San Francisco Mayoral race. He’s too hard on everyone involved but he’s right on the important stuff.
In essence, he voices the complaint you hear in most parts of town: Why doesn’t this city have better politicians? What’s the matter with San Francisco that the people who seem to care the most — or give the most time — to its civic life are a bunch of goof-balls? Or, if they’re not goofballs, they come off looking silly or insincere because they forget the nicities: showing up on time, being considerate or even polite.
There’s no easy answer. Term limits play a role, certainly. So do the cynical machinations of the Brown-Burton machine. It’s dying but nothing’s sprung up to take its place. That’s part of the reason for all the confusion we see. District elections, which keep the Board of Supervisors tied to specific neighborhood agendas (in a city of 700,000 and shrinking, that’s insane) are also a factor.
So we’ve got a race that, so far, features little more than petty back-biting and silly prank-oriented gamesmanship. Some mayoral debates are more like dis-fests than actual debates which makes anyone who listens to the rhetoric of the city’s inclusive, progressive politics — a rhetoric everyone seems to embrace — ring more and more hollow.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 5:31 PM | Permalink

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