This is Our City. Take it Back!

May 9, 2018

I’ve been wondering about Supervisor Jane Kim’s mayoral campaign slogan: “This is Our City. Take it back!”

I suppose I’m wondering: Take it back to what?

An arts friendly city?  It can’t be that.  Supervisor Kim opposed new resources for the arts and affordable housing for artists. (See below.)  The hotel tax allocation for Grants for the Arts has steadily dwindled during Supervisor Kim’s tenure.  And she blew $24 million dollars for permanently affordable arts education space for a very disadvantaged community.  Twenty-four million dollars, and we hadn’t yet started a capital campaign to raise more.

How about take it back to an equitable, affordable city?  It can’t be that either. Supervisor Kim’s local control model ultimately produces fewer units of affordable housing and exacerbates San Francisco’s now famous income inequality between rich and poor.  Moderate and middle-income households need not apply.

Take it back to what exactly?  Pre-tech?  Should we tell them to leave?  Start checking people’s papers?

What exactly does that mean?

I arrived in SF in 2009.  Did I beat the cut-off date for new arrivals?  Acceptable new arrivals?  I’m starting to wonder.  Should I expect a loud knock on my door from the Department of Take Back Our City?

I’m worried my accent will give me away.  Going to get my supplies ready in case I need to lay low come June 6th.  Candles.  Canned food.  Bottled watta (doh!).

Maybe I’ll prepare a list of qualifications.  I have a SF Public Library card; I’m a regular user and usually return stuff on time.  SFPL rocks by the way, easily one of the true treasures of the city.  I go to Giants games from time to time.  I confess I don’t buy at the concessions, but $14.50 for a Budweiser?… I, just, can’t.  I need to buy more Giants apparel; when they knock on the door I’m going to be wearing the whole ensemble down to my briefs.  Do the Warriors count?  Or will they count only after they move here?  I hear the tickets at the new arena are going to be crazy expensive though, so not sure how that’s going to fit in the “This is Our City. Take it Back!” calculus, which seems to have a class-warfare kind of vibe.  It gets complicated; I’m going to approach mentioning the Warriors with caution, just to be safe.

At the very least, if we’re going to build a wall after getting rid of the riffraff, I propose we commission local artists to dress it up a bit with some cool murals. We’ll have to be sure to check the artists’ papers of course, and do something about restoring funding for the arts as we’ll have lots of wall to cover.  We should pay the artists a living wage for their work, even though they’re a scrappy lot and can live off practically nothing, or so the legend goes.  I don’t know where to source a wall; I know the President looked at swatches in San Diego recently so he may have some leads.  The beauty of the wall is we can paint both sides, so whichever side of the wall I wind-up on, I’m going to advocate for the artists.  On our side we can paint a message: Thank God They’re Gone.  I don’t know who decides what gets painted on the other side, but we (I’m assuming I’m still part of “we”) can suggest something like: Don’t Even Think About It, or, Stay the Fuck Out.

The more I think about it, the more this campaign slogan impresses me as just a bit fascist and hateful.


P.S.  Where did the 49ers go?  Should I mention them in my interview?

Supervisor Kim’s deletions of Mayor Ed Lee’s 2011 draft Central Market plan:

  • Create a mini-grant program to fund artists and arts organizations that will implement this type of programming.
  • Create incentives for developers and property owners to develop and maintain facilities for arts organizations and uses.
  • Support privately-funded development of housing that includes live/work housing for low-income artists that engage the local community.
  • Provide support to catalytic commercial and housing development projects—including arts and culture establishments as stand-alone or mixed-use projects—that transform large portions of vacant property.