It is always a pleasure when some out-of-town news organization from the far reaches of the world — I would include San Francisco in this — parachutes into our community and asserts sweeping conclusions about a complex debate.
Recently, someone fed one of these news organization a line that the ongoing hoo-ha in San Mateo is all about housing. Certainly, that fits one side of the narrative. But even the issue of housing is more complex than it can be portrayed by ill-informed journalists. To say that the San Mateo contretemps is so one-dimensional is a disservice to, you know, everyone. It would be more accurate to see it as a fight over change — how much, how rapidly, what kind, who it affects and in what ways. This is nothing new. The homes we occupy likely were the object of dismay when they were built.
The real issue is how we choose to manage inevitable and unrelenting change. If you doubt that, take a look at the highly useful and informative demographic data posted regularly on the website of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association. According to Marin Economic Consulting, the county’s population declined more than 1% last year and nearly 3.5% in the last three years.
When all you have is a hammer, the old saying goes, everything looks like a nail. I would posit that, in politics, if all you want to do is win, then everything looks like a fight. Real leadership is going to focus on what we can do together to manage change. Meanwhile, as we roll into yet another election cycle, keep a wary eye out for those who look to exploit fear and division.
WHERE WE ARE: Always on the road, I wonder where the Peninsula ends and the South Bay begins. There is a sign in Daly City declaring it the “gateway to the Peninsula,” although I saw the sign as I was driving north. I saw another news article saying Gilroy is in the South Bay, but it is at least 38 miles from Milpitas, which really is at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. Is it a geographic definition? If so, then it should include San Francisco, correct? Is it a metaphysical definition, like Silicon Valley? Or do we just know it when we see it?
WHO WE ARE: In further mulling over the heated rhetoric of the last several months, I am struck by those who say they speak for the Latino community, or the Asian community or the immigrant community. I speak for none of them, of course, being none of these things. Heck, it is an ongoing struggle to speak coherently for myself.
But does anyone have an exclusive and complete understanding of any of our communities? We all know enough to realize the label Latino can cover anyone from Mexico to Argentina, Asian can cover anyone from China to India and immigrant can cover just about anyone.
It would be more useful, perhaps, as public officials debate our ever-changing community, that there be a recognition of the entirety of our community as multifaceted, multilayered — ethnically and politically.
MY EYES, MY EYES: Somehow, I regularly receive Facebook postings from U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The other day she posted a video of herself weightlifting what looked like about 100 pounds. The move she was making is called a Power Snatch. You can’t make this stuff up.
A LITTLE CAMPAIGN STUFF: If last year’s win by now-Supervisor Noelia Corzo raised questions about the value of amassing endorsements, it has not dampened the enthusiasm for them among candidates. In the race for District 1, Burlingame Councilmember Emily Beach is touting her endorsement by California Treasurer Fiona Ma; Millbrae Councilmember Gina Papan has been endorsed by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. And former San Bruno Councilmember Linda Mason says she is “not planning on running at this time.” … The effort to recall Amourence Lee appears to be falling well short of the necessary signatures for the ballot, but her reelection campaign may face some challenging headwinds. The news here last week that Nicole Fernandez, district director for state Sen. Josh Becker and veteran Democratic activist, may run against Lee apparently prompted an immediate show of support among some of the high-profile and outspoken critics of the embattled mayor.
WELL, DUH: As the old saw goes, revived inexplicably this week by a columnistic colleague, guns don’t kill people — people do. Yes, and they usually use guns. He was making some point about SUVs, I think. Here’s another point — you have to be licensed to drive a car.
Mark Simon is a veteran journalist, whose career included 15 years as an executive at SamTrans and Caltrain. He can be reached at email@example.com.
You need a license to drive a car? Tell that to all the unlicensed drivers out there. Or the folks who have had their licenses suspended. Oh wait - suspended licenses are still licenses… Let’s not get into what is needed to be an American citizen because there are a number who fail that requirement, yet…
Thanks for your column! Speaking for the Reading Community on a Hill in Daly City, Gateway to the Peninsula, I completely endorse it. Don't change a thing, or do.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.