Eber: I left part of my heart in San Francisco

San Fran has always, it seems to be a very liberal city.  Yet, until the mid 1960’s it had a Republican Mayor, George Christopher.  That was only 50 years ago.  In 1978—just ten years later it became a radical city.  The murder of the Mayor George Moscone and the murder of Supervisor Harvey Milk started the spiral toward totalitarianism, bullying and intolerance.  Today the city consists of the very rich and the very poor—the middle class has fled—schools are 13% white (segregated) and the poor are being kicked out of town—no housing.

To understand where we are today, we have to understand the past.  Corruption?  Seriously, no one believed the “twinkie” defense of Dan White, a Supervisor who killed the pair.  Eating too many twinkie could give you diabetes and a tummyache, but not cause you to kill people.  Everybody knows there was more to the murders—but the VERY light sentence for White, after killing two leading member of the community was a joke on justice—and evidence that corruption was behind the sentencing—what didn’t the ruling powers want to know?

Forty years later we still do not have an answer—but, you can go to your neighborhood grocery or convenience store in San Fran and still buy as many Twinkies as you want.  The real question to be asked is this:

“What does Dianne Feinstein know, when did she know it and why did she allow it to be a secret all these years.?”  Either outlaw Twinkies in San Fran or tell the truth.

I left part of my heart in San Francisco by Richard Eber

Richard Eber, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views   4/24/19  

My family and life go back a long way in San Francisco history.  These roots were planted during the Gold Rush in 1850’s when my ancestors immigrated from Germany and France. Apparently, they landed in the “City by the Bay” on a Clipper Ship and never left.

During this 170 year period, there have been a lot of up and downs including surviving the Earthquake and Fire back in 1906, the stock market crash in 1929,  and the first gathering on American soil for what was to become the United Nations in 1945.

My Grandfathers brother Dr. Alvin Cerf best friend was Diane Feinstein’s dad Dr. Leon Goldman.  My Mom, who is still with us at age 99, recounts going over to dinner at the Goldman’s and seeing Diane as “a stunning young girl” of 11.

There has always been a feeling of pride among the locals for San Francisco as a place of second chances for new arrivals where diversity ruled supreme without government interference.  Growing up there I was largely unaware of racial prejudice because of having friends of all nationalities.

“The City” as it was known, was unique.  Much like Tony Bennett’s iconic song “I left my heart in San Francisco”, a sense of pride has existed with me, long after I moved away.

What happened to this place where my Victorian mannered Grandmothers took me to lunch at Blum’s on Polk Street. They proudly observed while I was forced to eat my entire sandwich with the bread crust discreetly removed in order to partake in their famous homemade cakes and ice cream.  

Over the years San Francisco was a magical locale that brought us unique characters such as  Enrico Banducci, Empire Norton, Herb Caen, Melvin Belli, and Jesus Christ Satan, to name a few. Let’s not forget Francis Ford Copula writing the screenplay for The Godfather while sipping multiple espressos at the Café Trieste in North Beach. A place that gave us the Beatnik Generation and later the Summer of Love in 60’s, was a rare outpost of freedom.

This is where Harvey Milk, when he arrived San Francisco as a gay, broken down refugee from Wall Street, was able to start a new life where he could be himself.  Having met him on the campaign trail in 1973 while working with another candidate, I proudly helped him in his second run for office.

Eventually, after folks got to know him, Milk became a Supervisor in times when all elected officials were chosen on at large basis.  Even my Grandma Ruthie, who by that time was over 85, voted for Harvey. Nana rationalized Milk was soft spoken, kind, with good manners. This reminded her of traits she wished my Dad had more of.

Somehow this all ended that fateful day on November 27, 1978 when Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former Supervisor and policeman Dan White.  The San Francisco I grew up with abruptly ended.  This was an American Pie moment when  “I Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry” time capsule.

Diane Feinstein career was jump started when she then became mayor. The old City’s last gasp was covering up the dark side of the Mayor Moscone’s life which involved corruption, drugs, and ladies of the night. The weak prosecution of White including the famous “Twinkie Defense “was a result of the agreement with his defense team and the DA Joe Frietas, to stay silent on Moscone’s indiscretions in return for leniency.  Because of this, White never testified at the trial.

When the manslaughter verdict was reached, riots broke out in the Castro by the rightfully outraged gay community.  Ironically , killing Milk was an afterthought for the deranged White.

The former laissez faire government which prided itself on personal freedom started to evolve to the extreme left where it resides today.  Instead of allowing individuals to find themselves, government has tried to “legislate morality” which resulted in just the opposite effect taking place.  In attempting to be inclusive for all people, a kind of liberal fascism has resulted.

San Francisco has squelched free speech and the first amendment by broadening the definition of so called “hate crimes”.  This kind of intolerance was demonstrated to me about 10 years ago when I was thrown out of a neighborhood bar in the Marina District for admitting to be a Schwarzenegger Republican.

At the same time the liberalism of San Francisco has been evident trying to please everyone by implementing governmental policies that are intended to be inclusive for all. This has resulted in the city tripping over their feet trying to force more affirmative action and diversity.

San Francisco’s tourist business has continued to thrive while providing literally billions of dollars of income. This has resulted in an abundance of revenues for discretionary spending to appease those who demanded more government control over people’s lives.    

 To administer this empire, a coalition of developers, unions, and old money has continued to prosper.  Add high tech and some heavy duty environmentalists to this mix which gives us the ruling elite of today. Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Willie Brown, Kamala Harris, and Gavin Newsom are all products of this powerful political axis which goes back to the days when Joe Alioto was Mayor.

Finding new ways to distribute their new found wealth has not been difficult.   Pay and pensions to city workers including those in public transit, are among the highest in the nation. Union labor reigns supreme. This is where benefits to same sex spouses were first implemented on a widespread basis.  Taking care of the homeless, restroom choice for Transgender folks, and making the wealthy pay higher taxes are among their innovations.

While protecting existing tenants with rent control, collateral damage ensued with high market rates charged for vacant property.  This has contributed to San Francisco shrinking middle class that has been replaced by high tech workers and their inflated incomes. Residential property sells for an average of over a million dollars per unit.

 In addition landlords living under rent control have no inventive to improve property since increasing their revenues rarely occurs. There is also a high vacancy number because getting rid of bad tenants is so expensive with Draconian rent control laws favoring tenants.

At the same time Sam Francisco is administered by a cumbersome bureaucracy who make getting anything done difficult and expensive. Diversity and inclusiveness are more important than the task at hand in this wannabe socialistic utopia.

Without doubt the cities’ generosity is to be commended in assisting some 7500 homeless people living within their borders. As they have found out, taking care of them is not enough.  Even if housing can be found for these individuals, other problems such as alcohol, drugs, and mental illness make it virtually impossible for the Homeless to co exist with their neighbors.

Providing free shelter, food, and clean needles has been rewarded by their negative behavior.  This includes crime, panhandling tourists, garbage everywhere, and even human excretion in plain view.

Despite this scenario, local government and their wack-a-doo associates view the homeless as heroes and business people as villains in their anti capitalist world view.

This contrasts from the words of the John Phillips composition Scott McKenzie once sang:

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

A long time has passed since then. For me some of these flowers have wilted over the years with San Francisco’s bigoted leftist politics, congestion, rampant pan handling, cronyism, etc.., In spite of this, I still love the place. It will always be my home in some ways

 It is my hope “Baghdad by the Bay”, as some call it, will eventually rise from the ashes and take on its former splendor to once again become that special place I remember so well.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.