Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dufty's SF Homeless Talk:
No Homeless People or Housing Advocates

Former member of the Board of Supervisors, failed mayoral candidate and cog in the Willie Brown Machine Bevan Dufty has served as Mayor Ed Lee's housing czar since February and I'm not aware of him holding any regular public meetings of his own with the public. Dufty, like so many appointed or elected political hacks in this town, is happy to appear as a guest at forums other folks organize, but don't hold your breath waiting for him to organize his own public engagement.

Next week, Dufty is a guest of the City Club's series of City Summit chats and he'll deliver a supposed "frank talk on city homeless policy and housing", according to promotional materials. The talk is on June 5 and takes place during a luncheon. Price to attend, if you're not a member of the City Club? It will cost you $45 to hear what Dufty has to say.

A quarter-page ad in the SF Chronicle last week stated Dufty will be joined by the paper's editorial page editor John Diaz. The paper and its web site are listed in the ad as sponsors of the talk.

No current or former homeless individuals are part of the event, and the same goes for affordable housing advocates. The exclusion of such people says a lot about what is wrong with the June 5 meeting and maybe Dufty's approach to his job.

The failure of Dufty, Diaz and the City Club to include a homeless person or housing advocate reminds me of the hearing GOP Darrell Issa held a few months back on contraception and women's related health issues. Issa's invited panel was an all-male roster of speakers. Invite members of the effected population? Good luck with that.

As far as I can tell, the housing czar job was created as political patronage and payback for Dufty, because of his key role helping Ed Lee become interim mayor in January 2011 and other favors Dufty has done for the Willie Brown Machine. Maybe the only folks to directly benefit from creating this czar position are Dufty and his former mayoral campaign aide Amanda Kahn-Fried, who now serves as his housing aide.

While Dufty and Kahn-Friend enjoy their patronage positions at City Hall that deliver salaries and benefits to them, I doubt they've moved anyone from the shelters into permanent housing or improved any of the myriad safety and access to beds issues in the shelters. If I'm wrong about this, let Dufty and Kahn-Fried show us evidence of their direct roles making life better for the homeless of San Francisco.

It is not too late for Dufty to insist that the City Club and the SF Chronicle add speakers from the homeless community to his luncheon talk.

1 comment:

John Iversen said...

keep up the fight!