San Francisco: 1968-78; Attack on Public Sector Workers; More on Jerry Brown & the Budget …

by on June 28, 2011

To the Editor:

Just after the Summer of Love, and like many who first came to San Francisco when they were service men and women, so were the tail end of the beatniks,the hippies, the flower children and the peace mongers. The City was in the hands of the conservatives but change was happening for the good. District elections helped to make it possible for the board to be diversified. Mayor Moscone was a breath of fresh air. The assassination of Milk and Moscone almost wiped out 11 years of liberal progress in 5 minutes. Those years also made San Francisco a great small city into a great big city. It was a time before franchise names and old S.F. traditions. Reasonable rents and mom and pop neighborhood stores.

I am forever thankful to have been there when it seemed the collision of all collageswere taking place. I can still hear the sound of the real fog horn, and bongos at Aquatic Park and Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. I often think of “What if JFK,MLK and RFK were not assassinated, and add Harvey and George to those thoughts.” THOSE WERE THE DAYS I THOUGHT WOULD NEVER END … and thankful for those who made and recorded it for history.

Jerry Pritikin

To the Editor:

Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” seems somewhat relevant to the attacks on public‑sector workers around the country. According to Klein, a society, like an individual, that suffers a trauma — a natural disaster, an economic meltdown, a political upheaval — is initially so stressed in its wake that if ideologues move quickly enough, they can ram through “reforms” at what amounts to the political speed of light.

Ergo, “the Shock Doctrine,” is ripe for ruthless privatization of formerly public property, elimination of social programs, busting up of worker groups, and the suspension of minimum wage laws. “Crises are, in a way,” Klein writes, “democracy-free zones — gaps in politics as usual when the need for consent and consensus do not seem to apply.”

For example, Wisconsin is facing a $137 million budget deficit; its unemployment rate is about 7.4 percent; and it has the 10th most foreclosures in the country. This is the “shock.” This opened the door for Wisconsin’s anti-union laws. These are the “reforms” that Wisconsin imposed while Wisconsin citizens are in economic “shock.”

Could these “reforms” get the “consent and consensus” in better economic times? Scott Walker is a Republican and so is a majority of Wisconsin’s legislature. Unions contribute heavily to Democratic candidates. By eliminating the power of public‑employee unions to negotiate contracts and work rules, some would say that he and the legislature are essentially gutting the power of these unions and by doing so, hurting the Democrats campaign contributions.This is obviously the strategy Republicans are trying to replicate in other states.

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Wow, editorialize much? Jerry Brown’s veto was right; the budget given him was bandaided and scotch taped together. They didn’t even use baling wire, which would have held better. Grandiose predictions based on flimsy evidence do not a budget make. Go back to the drawing board.

Andy Sweet
Bakersfield, CA

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