It was a joyful Saturday on JFK Promenade in San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park, celebrating its 150th birthday.
A large crowd gathered on a breezy sunny windswept afternoon as Mayor London Breed signed into law legislation designating a 1.5 strip of land car free forever. There was music, roller skating, dragon dancers, people of all ages, City officials who soaked in this momentous victory.
It took decades of tireless advocacy. The People prevailed and put San Francisco on the map as a leader in listening to the desires of people who want an oasis free of cars.
Following is a photo montage which conveys the victory better than words.
I posted this Blog less than three weeks after Chesa Boudin was sworn in as District Attorney on January 8, 2020. From Day One the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) has waged a vicious campaign to bring down this Progressive DA. Now, with the assistance of the most right wing wealthy contributors appealing to a paranoid and fearful electorate, the POA and their law and order followers are pushing hard for their Political Coup d’etat.
I just watched the SFPD video of the Jamaica Hampton shooting. At 3:45 into the video someone shouts, “Get a POA rep out here!!!” The video is available on Youtube. It is disturbing.
DA Chesa Boudin is doing what a fair minded prosecutor should do. He is reviewing all the evidence before reaching a prosecutorial decision.
This drives the POA into a state of apoplexy. Its current boss, Tony Montoya, is in a tough reelection fight. Mr. Montoya is rallying his Base with a continuing assault on the new DA.
During a December fracas with SFPD in the Mission District Jamaica Hampton, 24, struck an officer with a glass bottle and fled. For this Mr. Hampton has been maimed for life. For now DA Boudin is not pressing charges against either Mr. Hampton or the cops who shot him.
POA has undertaken a scorched earth policy to undermine the District…
The chaos at the Hall of Justice on Friday is illustrative of what’s at stake as reactionary forces try to bring down Progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Boudin ran and was elected on a platform of Justice for all. Which means holding renegade cops accountable for their law breaking.
The forces of law and order are spending millions to oust Boudin and give free rein to the cops, once again.
Excerpted from Mission Local 5.6.2022
On Friday San Francisco Superior Court Judge Russell Roeca pushed back the preliminary hearing of former SFPD Officer Chris Samayoa, who shot dead Keita “Icky” O’Neil in 2017.
The hearing was delayed until July, a decision that caused outrage among O’Neil’s supporters, who were thrown out of court for the outburst.
“I’m so emotional, this is affecting me more than I thought it would,” said April Green, O’Neil’s aunt who attended Friday’s hearing at the Hall of Justice. “I was believing in a system that I thought was fair. I don’t know how to respond to this.”
“Oh my God,” Green loudly said from the second row, appearing in disbelief. “Oh my God, oh my God.”
A sheriff’s deputy on the opposite side of the room told Green to quiet down.
James Conger, an attorney with the District Attorney’s office who is prosecuting Samayoa, argued the defense is “doing District Attorney shopping. In other words, the recall is in June, and they hope it succeeds and they’ll get a better deal with a different District Attorney,” he said during the hearing.
“April, please,” Conger told her quietly from his podium.
The side of the courtroom where O’Neil’s supporters sat then began speaking frustratedly. One young man in the third row said something to a deputy, causing a deputy to approach and chastise him. “Step outside,” he ordered. Green and another woman seated in the row ahead began calling to the deputy, telling him to bother them instead of the young man. Suddenly the court erupted in chaos, with O’Neil’s supporters talking over each other and four deputies swarming the area.
“You’re fucking with us, you fuckin’ pigs,” O’Neil’s supporters said as they left the courtroom.
“The judge has ordered the court closed,” another deputy yelled. “If you fail to leave, you will be detained.”
“Are you serious?” O’Neil’s supporters said. One woman at the front said, “You are evil. Evil. Evil!”
O’Neil’s group walked out, and a deputy locked the door. Meanwhile, Judge Roeca told Samoya’s defense attorney Julia Fox the hearing would occur on July 14.
Green stood out in the hallway of the Hall of Justice in a ring of supporters with Conger, looking forlorn. She bemoaned that without a district attorney who presses charges on police officers, Black and Latino men would be vulnerable to police use-of-force and killings.
“I believe the judge already made his mind up,” Green told Mission Local. “Did you notice how extra police officers appeared just before he gave the decision?”
She worries the case will change with the postponement. The first time Boudin called her to let her know that he pressed charges, she was “in disbelief. A white man in a position of power cares for a minority man and brought charges. They know if he is not in office, [Samayoa] is walking.”
O’Neil’s supporters fear that postponing the matter to July may alter the case, since District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office is prosecuting Samayoa, and he faces a recall election in June.
On Dec. 1, 2017, Samayoa shot O’Neil, who was unarmed, video footage showed. O’Neil was pursued as a potential carjacking suspect. In November 2020, District Attorney Chesa Boudin filed felony criminal charges against Samayoa for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, excessive force, and assault with a firearm. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors granted O’Neil’s mother a $2.5 million settlement.
Top photo – April Green, the aunt of Keita O’Neil, talking to supporters after she and others were thrown out of the courtroom in the Hall of Justice. Attorney James Conger, right, is prosecuting Officer Chris Samayoa for the shooting of O’Neil in 2017.
For the latest manifesation of the Far Right extremists increasing their judicial and political power in America one need look no further than the pending Supreme Court decision taking away a woman’s right to control their bodies.
The United States is going to extremes to thwart anything deemed liberal and progressive.
In my home City of San Francisco wealthy reactionaries, tapping into fear and paranoia, want to overthrow the progressive District Attorney in a Recall election. It will take place on June 7.
This is one battle being waged by fervent reactionaries attempting to destroy anything which resembles progressive thought and action.
Taken to its most severe manifestation this totalitarian way of governance manifested itself in Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The German government, 80 years after the destruction of the Nazi regime, plans to make permanent a living memorial so people never forget the assualt on humanity.
The Voice of America reported Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021, the Anti-Defamation League said in its annual assessment released in late April.
There were 2,717 incidents last year, representing an increase of 34% over 2020 and the highest on record since the New York-based Jewish civil rights group started tracking such cases in 1979. The ADL divides antisemitic incidents into harassment, assault and vandalism.
One day in the future America may be creating a similiar memorial for its legacy of genocide, racism, discrimination and abolition of individual rights.
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 5.5.2022
In 2020, the German Bundestag advocated creating a documentation center for the victims of the German war of extermination and the Nazi occupations.
The center aims to shed light on how the devastating Nazi dictatorship with its war, destruction and extermination, including the atrocities of the Holocaust, affected all of Europe. Its focus will be placed on victims in Poland, the Baltic States, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Greece.
Two years later, the federal government approved a proposal by Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth for the realization of the “German Occupation of Europe in the Second World War” (ZWBE) documentation center, which was designed by the German Historical Museum (DHM).
The new documentation center’s goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the present. “Above all, this remembrance should be directed toward the future and make clear how important democracy, the rule of law and active diversity are for the European project and for our country in the heart of Europe, how crucial our commitment is in and for Europe,” Roth said.
The idea is to illustrate the dimension of the Nazis’ reign of terror across Europe. With its decision to establish another memorial and documentation site in Berlin, the German government is advancing key remembrance policy projects decided on in the previous legislative period.
The Bendlerblock building in Berlin was the headquarters of a military resistance group. On July 20, 1944, a group of Wehrmacht officers around Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg carried out an assassination attempt on Hitler that ultimately failed. The leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot the same night in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock. Today, it’s the German Resistance Memorial Center.
The World War II Documentation Center is not the only memorial in need of a home — three other memorials are supposed to be built in the German capital: for the victims of communist tyranny, the Polish victims of war and Nazi terror, and Nazi victims among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Top photo – 1943 photo shows Jewish women and chaildren being deported from the Warsaw Ghetto
We acted as ushers and met Kathy Boudin at the inauguration of her son Chesa as San Francisco District Attorney on January 8, 2020.
May she Rest in Peace.
Excerpted from The San Francisco Chronicle 5.1.2022
Kathy Boudin, a former member of the radical Weather Underground who took part in a robbery that killed three people, an act that sent her to prison for 22 years and left behind a young son who would become the district attorney of San Francisco, died Sunday at 78.
Chesa Boudin, who was 14 months old at the time of the fatal robbery and was left with a babysitter, was raised in Chicago by the leaders of the Weather Underground, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers.
Her son, Chesa Boudin, speaking to The Chronicle on Sunday, said he took a red-eye flight to New York overnight and was able to say his final goodbyes. In a statement, he said that “my mom fought cancer for seven years in her unshakably optimistic and courageous way. She made it long enough to meet her grandson, and welcome my father home from prison after 40 years.”
While imprisoned, she taught literacy programs, helped gather funding for college programming in the jail, worked with fellow inmates who were HIV-positive, and earned her master’s degree in adult education.
“She always ended phone calls with a laugh, a habit acquired during the 22 years of her incarceration, when she wanted to leave every person she spoke with, especially me, with joy and hope,” Chesa Boudin said. “She lived redemption, constantly finding ways to give back to those around her.”
Upon her release, Kathy Boudin accepted a job with the St. Luke’s Hospital HIV/AIDS Center, where she helped create programs for women.
Kathy Boudin, David Gilbert and Chesa Boudin – November 2021
Kathy Boudin and Gilbert reunited immediately after Gilbert’s release, Chesa Boudin said.
“My dad was here with her every day,” Chesa Boudin said.
After more than two decades of incarceration, Kathy Boudin became the co-director and co-founder of Columbia University’s Center for Justice, where her work focused on the criminal justice system and the harm caused by mass incarceration.
Kathy Boudin was a fugitive when she was arrested for the Brinks robbery. She’d fled from an explosion in 1970 at a Manhattan town house where the Weathermen made bombs. The daughter of civil liberties lawyer Leonard Boudin, Kathy Boudin had grown up in a home in which law and politics were debated.
Supervisor Connie Chan’s proposal to open JFK Promenade to cars crashed on April 26, 2022 when seven of her fellow legislators said NO. The newly minted JFK Promenade is a signal victory for “Progressives” who fought a pitched battle against Supervisor Chan and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
There will be a settling of scores at the ballot box in the newly drawn boundaries of District 1 in San Francisco. Some Political observers are already saying Connie Chan is at risk. Why? The inclusion of the Sea Cliff enclave into the District. Wealthy moderate voters. The area in Red on the Map above shows the additions to the District 1. The toney Sea Cliff, north of Lake Street and Presidio Terrace.
I would argue Connie’s political problem lies elsewhere. It is her flat out betrayal of the “Progressive” base which lifted her to victory.
The San Francisco District 1 Supervisor eked out a 123 vote victory in the 2020 election. (Connie Chan 17,030 – Marjan Philhour 16,907). A victory in large part the result of her environmental commitments. Candidate Chan earned the nod from the influential national political group Sunrise. Featured in a recent issue of The New Yorker.
Once in office in 2021 now Supervisor Chan proceeded to turn her political back on the crucial “Progressive” segment of her voters. Beginning in March 2021, in well documented actions, Supervisor Chan was worked on by the influential Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Work which continued through 13 months and up to the final vote which made JFK Promenade a reality.
Supervisor Chan held the first of 14 documented meetings with FAMSF CEO Thomas Campbell, FAMSF management, Platinum Advisors, the well paid and politically connected lobbyist for FAMSF. See Attached Public Records Request 4.5.2022
Supervisor Chan phone log of conversation of her office phone call with Platinum Advisors 7.27.2021
“Progressives”, particularly those who waged this political battle,will be waiting to teach the Supervisor a tough lesson at the ballot box. You do not betray the people responsible for your success. The people who waged this battle have long memories and will not soon forget her betrayal.
It was a celebratory windy, sunny afternoon on now official JFK Promenade in San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park. A struggle which has been ongoing 50 years.
The celebration was attended by San Francisco officials City Attorney David Chiu, SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin, and State Senator Scott Wiener.
The Senator made pointed remarks talking about the “Shit” advocates for JFK Promenade confronted. Wiener talked about SB 228 which passed the legislature in 2020 and made possible the expedited decision to create JFK Promenade. Absent this State law creation of JFK Promenade would have been mired in bureaucratic infighting for years.
It was two years ago today in the depths of The Pandemic that Mayor London Breed decreed JFK Drive to be a car free zone for The People.
Two years on, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, following a lengthy pitched battle, voted YES on behalf of future generations in an era of Climate Change.
Thousands of citizens rallied for over a year to make JFK Promenade reality.
Overcoming entrenched opposition from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Prevailing despite citizens who feel it their birthright to drive their climate killing cars anywhere anytime.
San Francisco strikes a blow for the environment and reaffirms it will be a leader in preserving open spaces for The People.
THE SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS JUST VOTED TO MAKE JFK DRIVE IN GOLDEN GATE PARK A PERMANENTLY CAR FREE SPACE.
The People must give the Bicycle Coalition, Walk SF and thousands of people of all ages and abilities credit for this truly historic event in San Francisco.
In this moment of victory we cannot ignore, forget or forgive the Institution which did everything in its power to kill Car Free JFK Drive. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Wealthy. Entrenched. Politically connected.
The People prevailed and overcame a monied, well connected political force which spared no expense in its non stop effort to destroy car free JFK Drive.
It is a joyous day and makes San Francisco a true leader in the Climate Change debate.
Connie Chan’s year-long siege to attack car free spaces – JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park and The Great Walkway along the Pacific Ocean – in San Francisco will have its day of reckoning tomorrow, April 26, 2022.
The Board of Supervisors will decide if they have any core beliefs when it comes to climate change and the environment. Or just choke on the fumes of political expediency.
Confronting Supervisor Chan’s 10 Supervisorial colleagues will be her proposal to permit pernicious climate killing cars onto JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park after a marvelous two-year absence.
Connie Chan has already driven back the 24/7/365 Great Walkway (aka Great Highway) along the Pacific Ocean into a weekend only car free area. A sneak attack on The People launched behind closed doors when the Supervisors were on summer break in August 2021.
Now Supervisor Chan is closer than ever to achieving the biggest climate-killing victory in her lifetime. Only in San Francisco could a faux “progressive” politician like Connie Chan attack car free public spaces and achieve her coup d’etat.
Amsterdam, Brussels, Helsinki, Oslo, Paris, Utrecht – to name several large cities – have successfully turned their municipalities into largely car free meccas.
This past year Supervisor Chan has aligned herself with the most strident fossil fuel advocates and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (FAMSF) to further her goal to extinguish car free spaces. It is a well documented, tawdry tale.
Connie Chan’s betrayal of the Green New Deal Pledge which she advocated in 2020 is shameful.
Sadly, advocates of a car free JFK Drive – and there are thousands – have refused to openly condemn Connie Chan’s duplicity.
San Francisco is hard core money driven politics. It is NOT Civics 101.
Connie Chan is a fierce political warrior who knows how to play the City Hall insider backroom game in her adopted City.
Let’s hope the good government types who play by the rules do not get taught a tough lesson in how San Francisco really works.
French voters have the common sense to turn away its reactionary presidential candidate.
It’s disconcerting that America seems to be headed in an entirely different direction.
France 24 – April 24, 2022
Emmanuel Macron was elected to a second term as French president on Sunday evening with 58.2% of the vote, according to an estimate from the Ipsos polling institute. His far-right challenger Marine Le Pen won 41.8% of the vote in an election that saw the country’s highest abstention rate in 50 years.