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by Silicon Satan

As Americans unite under the wise leadership of George W. Bush to fight the war on terrorism, it is time for San Franciscans to join together in a crusade of our own against a foe equally bent on disrupting our way of life. For while they hijack not jetliners, but shopping carts, and are armed not with box cutters and bombs, but with paper cups and cardboard placards, can there be any doubt that the homeless are intent on holding our city hostage?

Of course, if we are to be successful in our struggle against this unwashed enemy, we will have to rally behind a man who is as qualified to lead our fair city as President Bush is to lead our great nation. Which is why we must do all we can to ensure that Gavin Newsom becomes the next mayor of San Francisco.

His track record as a supervisor clearly shows that he is a man of principle, vision and compassion. Even in the darkest days of the housing crisis, he never abandoned his belief in the rights of property owners, tirelessly defending tenancies-in-common and the Ellis act. For he understood that this crisis should not be seen through the prism of class warfare, but rather as something which affected all San Franciscans, rich and poor; and that eviction protections attempted to solve one aspect of it, only by exacerbating another: the shortage of luxury condominiums. How comforting it was back then to know that there was someone in local government who truly felt the pain of the city’s neglected upper classes—among them, one friend of mine who, while converting his triplex back to a single-family residence, had to spend six months shivering in the fog in a rented oceanfront house in Pacifica, because he was simply unable to find any executive-class temporary accommodation in San Francisco.

Yet Supervisor Newsom is not some zealous ideologue who unquestioningly supports the rights of property owners in every single instance. As the holder of the mortgage on a $3 million house, he is well aware that the right to own property is dependent on the fulfillment of certain responsibilities—and that this is no less the case even if that property consists of nothing more than, say, a leaky tent, a moldy sleeping bag, and a few greasy sweaters. And so, perhaps for no other reason than because he feels it is his duty to hold his inferiors to the same high standards of responsible property ownership to which he himself adheres, he has been at the forefront of the campaign against shopping-cart abuse, unafraid to see the homeless stripped of the filthy rag piles, soda can collections, and other offensively pathetic possessions which for all too long—with reckless disregard for how this sad, smelly spectacle upsets the esthetic sensibilities of their betters—they have pushed around our city’s sidewalks.

Of course, some of you will object that Mr. Newsom has led a sheltered life and simply has no understanding of the poverty and deprivation that cause the homeless to behave the way they do. Yet you might be surprised to learn that the supervisor—as he told the San Francisco Sentinel in a recent interview—is not a creature of privilege, but grew up in a family which had to make do on a mere $74,000 a year. Now, while that might be considered a lot of money by some people, it must have barely sufficed to keep gentlefolk like the Newsoms—who, after all, have to deal with club fees, caddy tips, prep school bills and numerous other expenses beyond your comprehension—above the poverty line.

So those of you who have gone AWOL in the war on the homeless—who would excuse their obnoxious, cart-trundling behavior on the grounds that they have gotten a few tough breaks in life—should ask yourselves this: despite the hardships he endured as a child, would you ever find Supervisor Newsom pushing around a shopping cart—except perhaps on Wednesday nights in the Marina Safeway, before he met the gorgeous Ms. Guilfoyle?