Outfoxed • Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism • exposes Fox News

Published on Dec 22, 2014

Outfoxed shows how the Fox News channel is used to promote and advocate right-wing views. SUBSCRIBE http://youtube.com/subscription_cente… Follow Robert Greenwald http://twitter.com/robertgreenwald Celebrate 10 years of Brave New Films with our Boxed Set: http://bravenewfilms.org/10th WATCH MORE: http://bit.ly/1znT0LQ

3:09 During the first few years that Murdoch’s ownership of Fox’s DC affiliate, he had a hands-off approach to new content; partially due to their success. One day orders came from Murdoch’s offices that the network should cut away from their regularly scheduled program and broadcast the RNC’s fawning tribute to Reagan: “we were ordered, from the top, to carry propaganda; Republican, right-wing propaganda”. It foreshadowed what Fox News would later become.

6:30 Former Fox News reporters and bookers say that they are afraid to be seen “talking to the wrong people”. Working for Fox meant you were constantly being monitored. It created a culture of fear. If you challenged the heads of the network On ideological matters, you were history.

10:45 “Some People Say” – FOX uses the phrase “some people say” to mask opinion as news.

19:04 Fox News contributors are under paid contract for their appearance; if they deviate from the party lines, they might not get asked back onto shows.

21:22 Fox News went after Richard Clarke as soon as it was apparent that he was going to paint the Bush administration in a bad light. For Fox News, “mudding” arguments is almost as good as winning them. So, they didn’t need to definitely prove that Clarke, a former member of the Bush Administration, was angling for a position in a Kerry Whitehouse, they just had to make it look like a possibility.

22:28 They put weak-looking , lesser known liberals up against photogenic, self-assured conservatives.

26:29 Republicans accounted for 83% of the guests while Democrats accounted for 17% of guest on the network’s most prestigious show. Of those democrats, most were either centrist or conservative.

27:50 Stories they Cover…Stories they Ignore – Management set the tone for stories: Jesse Jackson was always to be painted in a negative light, as were immigrants. Culture war issues – abortion, affirmative action, gay marriage – were often covered while ignoring issues regarding the economy, health care, and the environment.

34:38 O’Reilly’s show is a good example of everything that is wrong with Fox News —
Stories are selected to prop-up the Republican party and their point of view; O’Reilly is very hostile to guest who disagrees with him; and he distorts and misrepresent things.

42:00 Many Fox News stories are meant to generate fear; for example, stories about what to do if there’s a “dirty bomb” attack. Fear is a great motivator and organizer; even when there is no real evidence for it. Terrorism is the ultimate fear-baiting; and when people are fearful, they are more likely to support military interventions. Talking about terrorism also means that you can avoid talking about other issues, like the economy.

46:29 Fox made the decision to present the Iraq war as a success. “The senior producer told the two or three writers for her news hour…’now, just keep in mind that it’s all good. This is such a fair and balance issue. Keep it positive. We got to emphasize all the good we are doing”.

48:43 Knowledge Networks Poll – It’s a simple survey about fact regarding current events. The more likely people were to watch Fox News, the more misinformed they were and the more likely they were to back the Bush Administration.

50:49 Fox News repeats and propagates the Republican Party platform. It was widely known that the Fox reporter covering the 2000 Bush campaign was married to a Bush campaigner. This wouldn’t have been allowed at CNN.

52:47 Election Night 2000 – The first guy to call the election for Bush was the head of Fox’s New’s election analyze division; Bush’s first cousin. He called it a clear win, when in fact it was too close too call.

59:16 The Republican send out “the message of the day” so that conservative talk radio, Fox News, and Republican elected officials will all be talking about the same issues, in the same way.

58:41 2004 Election; coverage of Bush was always glowing, while Kerry was shown in a negative light.

1:02:51 During the 2004 election, Fox News painted a very rosy picture of the American economy and by selecting statistics which showed just that. Of course, they credited Bush for the “good” economy. When the stock market had a bad day, they claimed it was because of fear over the prospect of a Kerry presidency.

1:05:28 Murdoch is foremost a politician and this is what makes him dangerous.

1:06:57 The Fox Effect – It made other news organization more conservative because they saw how well Fox did.

1:09:13 A Call to Action – Media control is a political issue. People need to demand accuracy.

Time to think outside nation-states (democracy.earth)

Bitcoin approaches a decisive moment: are you in control of your private keys? Meanwhile, we discuss a step further: disintermediating politics.

The news we see every day are bad omen for the nation-state era: tech giants enforcing the status quo by providing surveillance tools to old powers, corrupt and innefficient nations barely being able to handle elections without being hacked, borders that make some people powerless. The bright side is many people around the world are realizing it is time to think and build alternatives outside the nation-state, and in July we met them.

At OuiShare Fest 17 in Paris, Virgile Deville and Pia Mancini from our foundation met innovators from all over Europe and the Americas. In summary, we discussed how to move on from the current political chaos:

“What I’d like to share is this notion of not feeling trapped in the existing system. There’s a way to build alternative systems.” – Watch Pia’s message for the Oui Share community below.


Aligned with this spirit, Civicist interviewed Santiago Siri for an article that tries to imagine the technologies and institutions needed to disintermediate political power: “Coding for a World Run by Liquid Democracy”. It is a time to long for an alternative government, and to despair of one.

Some concrete projects for alternative systems were hinted this month as Ethereum tokens became popular. After all, you can’t have a new political system without disrupting the global economy. How do you raise 25 million without a bank involved? We interviewed Herb Stephens about how ICOs work, the current state of Ethereum, tokens and financial sovereignty outside of the current structures of centralized banks and centralized markets.

Def Con hackers made quick work of electronic voting machines

Published on Jul 31, 2017

At Def Con — an annual hacking conference held in Las Vegas — hackers were given the rare chance to crack into US voting machines. It took one person just 90 minutes to hack in and vote remotely on one of the machines.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sai

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/techinsider
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/techinsider
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/businessins…
TUMBLR: http://businessinsider.tumblr.com/

Updates ~ Announcements, Tuesday 8/1 – Friday 8/4 (from Adrienne Fong)

Check Indybay for other events: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/event_week.php?day=30&month=7&year=2017&topic_id=0®ion_id=0&news_item_status_restriction=0


A.  Construction of first border wall segment to begin sooner than expected along Rio Grande

     Federal officials plan to start construction this fall on 3 miles of border barrier through a South Texas wildlife refuge.


B.  New Netanyahu “peace” plan is straight out of apartheid South Africa (July 28, 2017)


C.  Petition: Disavow Trump’s Call For Police Brutality


    Please see item #2 Demonstration for tomorrow, Tuesday, August 1st


~ San Francisco ~

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board



Tuesday, August 1 – Friday, August 4

Tuesday, August 1

1.  Tuesday, 8:30am – 10:30am, Pack the Court: Free Sidney – Mother, Survivor of Domestic Violence

100 Montgomery St., with Judge Nelson

**Special Courtroom Access Instructions** 
1) You can access the building from the Montgomery St. side, the entrance is right next to ‘Proper Food’
2) Go up to the 4th Floor
3) Access courtroom #20

Sidny has been schedule for bond hearing for Tuesday, August 1st at 9am in Suite #800 with Judge Nelson. 

Sidny is a community member from South Central LA who was violently picked up from her home by a Border Patrol Raid in Los Angeles. 

She is the mother of 2 children and a survivor of domestic violence in her home country. She has spent more than 2 months away from her children at Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield! 



2.  Tuesday, 5:30pm – 8:00pm, Demand SFPD Denounce Trump’s Call to Police Brutality At Police Night Out

Mission Playground
19th & Linda Streets

This is in response to President Trump’s speech given on Friday, July 28th, advocating for rough treatment of people in police custody.

Demo is being called at Mission District, however “Night Out” is being held at various districts by SFPD:http://sanfranciscopolice.org/nightout

This will be at an event that the San Francisco Mission Police Station will be hosting as part of the annual “Night Out”, which is ”…an annual community-building campaign designed to promote neighborhood camaraderie and strengthen the relationship between police and communities to help make our neighborhoods safer to live.”

The event is a nationwide community-building campaign, launched to build relationships between police and their communities, in an effort to make neighborhoods safer.

SFPD will arrange for arts and crafts, games, music, food and a chance to meet a K-9 unit at the event:https://missionlocal.org/2017/07/neighborhood-police-event-to-take-place-at-mission-playground/

Article: Bay Area law enforcement taken aback by Trump’s speech (July 28,2017)


  Note: There is nothing in this article from Chief Scott, SF Police Commission, nor the SF POA

Info for demo: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/07/29/18801136.php

3.  Tuesday, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, Other Voices: The Saudi – Iran Conflict and the Trump Factor

Midpen Media Center
900 San Antonio Road
Palo Alto

A Middle East Update With Foreign Correspondent Reese Erlich 

The Middle East is one of the most complex regions in the world. Since the 20th century, it has experienced several wars, uprisings, and invasions. Today there are four failing states and three ongoing wars. 

But underneath all the conflict, there are two common actors: Saudi Arabia and Iran. They are bitter rivals, whose feud goes back almost 40 years. Each country believes it is the rightful leader of the Middle East and feels threatened by the other. But they’ve never declared war on each other. Instead, they support opposing groups in other conflicts, like the civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. This has only created more violence across the region, and the feud continues to escalate with no end in sight. 

(Text source: ‘The Middle East’s cold war, explained’ at vox.com 

Added to this combustible mixture is Donald Trump’s obvious contempt for Iran and his vow to tear up the historic nuclear accord negotiated with that country by Trump’s predecessor. Is a new Middle East war brewing? Perhaps even a new U.S. Invasion? 

Sponsor: Peninsula Peace and Justice Center

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/07/28/18801105.php   /  http://www.peaceandjustice.org/saudi-iran/

Wednesday, August 2 

4.  Wednesday, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, PEACE VIGIL

Montgomery & Market Sts.
On the steps facing Market St., below Feinstein’s office, directly above the Montgomery BART / MUNI station

Join us at the large PEACE or IMPEACH banner!

Topic varies each week but are related to Peace and Justice issues

All are welcomed!

5.  Wednesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Housing is a Right: Why the Market Won’t Fix the Housing Crisis

The Women’s Building
3543 18th St.

People require shelter, which means that housing should be a basic human right.  Nobody should be outbid for a roof over their head. We desperately need to put forward the idea that homes are not commodities, and neither is the ability to move about and live healthy lives in our cities.

There is a crisis of affordable housing, which the vast majority of us are pushed into competition for.

Join the International Socialist Organization for this public meeting on “YIMBY” and socialist housing perspectives.



Thursday, August 3 

6.  Thursday, 11:30am – 1:00pm, You’re Invited: Free City Launch Celebration

1170 Market St. (@ UN Plaza)
Plaza outside City College Civic Center

Supervisor Jane Kim and the Free City Coalition invite you to CELEBRATE FREE CITY. Residents of San Francisco made history when they voted to make City College free. Our City is the first in the nation to provide universal higher education for its residents.

SPONSORS: The Free City Coalition is AFT 2121, San Francisco Labor Council, Community Housing Partnership, Jobs with Justice San Francisco,San

 Francisco Rising Alliance , and the CCSF Solidarity Committee. Free City is a partnership between City College of San Francisco and the City & County of San Francisco, backed by the voters of San Francisco.



7. Thursday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Youth are the Truth Climate Justice Summit

Oakland City Hall, First floor, Room 3
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

Free – Food & Drinks provided

Come hear the youth of Oakland share our stories and solutions for environmental and climate justice.

We’ve been working all summer with the Rose Foundation’s New Voices Are Rising Program’s Climate Justice Youth Leadership Academy, in partnership with Rooted in Resilience, to learn about solutions for justice, for people and for the planet.



8.  Thursday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Presentation & Discussion: A Communist Analysis of Fascism

Revolution Books Berkeley
2444 Durant St. (off of Telegraph Ave.)

A presentation and discussion about what is fascism and bourgeois democracy and why both are different forms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. We will get into what needs to be done to drive the Trump/Pence Regime out of power and to prepare for revolution. 

The discussion will be based on “Some Points on Strategic Orientation for the Next Period,” by the Central Committee of the RCP and two works by Bob Avakian: “The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era” and “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy…and Why the Clintons and the Democrats are No Answer.”

For more event information:  http://www.revolutionbooks.org/    /  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/07/30/18801157.php 

Friday, August 4

9.  Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, “Mother’s on the March Against Police Murders”

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St.

Vigil every Friday on the steps of the Hall of Injustice. Demand DA George Gascon charge police officers with murder.

10.  Friday, 3:00pm – 4:30pm, The History of American Trotskyism – Study Group

New Valencia Hall
747 Polk St. (@ Ellis)

The origins of this U.S. homegrown revolutionary movement are full of lessons for today’s new wave of resistance. The study is based on a history written by its principal organizer, James P. Cannon. It covers struggles in the labor movement, campaigns to defend political prisoners, and work with international radicals in the years 1928-1938. 

Free. Books available for purchase.

Sponsor: Bay Area Freedom Socialist Party

Info: 415-864-1278  or  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/07/15/18800861.php

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Wednesday, August 9

Wednesday, 8:00am – 11:00am, August Action: March for Nuclear Abolition & Global Survival

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Ave.

Meet at Corner of Vasco & Patterson Pass Roads for Rally

Shuttle from Dublin-Pleasanton BART station

   – Must make reservations in advance call(925) 443-7148

8:00am – Rally (Corner of Vasco & Patterson Pass Roads)

9:00am – march to gates of Livermore Lab

Rally, March & Nonviolent Direct Action

Commemorate the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the place where new US nuclear weapons are still being developed today; Change the future! where those who choose will peaceably risk arrest. RSVP for Peace Camp the night before at Lake Del Valle. All ages are welcome!

Info: (925) 443-7148



Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP, announces his bid to be the Democratic party’s nominee to challenge Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on May 31, 2017, in West Baltimore.

July 24 2017 (theintercept.com)

ONE UNHERALDED REASON for Trumpcare’s many difficulties was a sea change in public opinion. A new Associated Press poll finds that 62 percent now agree the federal government has a responsibility to provide health coverage to all Americans, up from 52 percent in March. Republicans looking to take away coverage ran headlong into this wave of support for a bigger governmental role in health care.

“Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. — once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away,” President Trump concluded.

Indeed, when Kansas Republican Jerry Moran issued the statement that effectively killed the bill’s hopes, his opposition was described in the press as having come from a conservative direction. And while it was cloaked in right-wing rhetoric around choice, the politics of the statement leaned decidedly left. “We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans,” said Moran, fully aware that protections for pre-existing conditions, couples with lower overall costs, require a robust government intervention in health care.

Capitalizing on the new politics, progressive groups have distributed a “People’s Platform” that includes a Medicare-for-All single-payer system. And in state capitols, activists have demanded single payer, hoping a demonstration project proving the concept will catch fire, the way a universal system in Saskatchewan in the 1940s migrated to the rest of Canada.

The movement has won some incremental victories, but has yet to get over the top. Vermont passed the framework legislatively and then abandoned it. Colorado’s quiet effort was crushed at the ballot box. California has spent 25 years trying to pass something without success, and this year’s effort is stalled. A Medicaid buy-in bill in Nevada this year drew a veto from its Republican governor. New York’s odd conservative control of the Senate seems to foreclose a solution there in the near term.

There is one state, however, where a combination of fewer institutional barriers and existing health care structures could make health-care-for-all an achievable reality: Maryland.

It will take a grassroots groundswell and electoral victories, especially in next year’s governor’s race. One prominent gubernatorial candidate, former NAACP president Ben Jealous, has ardently endorsed single payer. “We have the opportunity in this state to make sure that we don’t have any more neighbors burying loved ones because they didn’t have access to health care,” Jealous said at an event where Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed him for governor.

If elected, Jealous would face fewer procedural obstacles than those that have dogged California in its long battle to establish a single-payer system. While Maryland, like California, has robust Democratic supermajorities in the legislature, there is no two-thirds requirement to raise taxes, and no budgeting straitjacket mandating certain percentages of state spending to education or other priorities.

And while states do need federal waivers to incorporate programs like Medicare into a state-run program, Maryland is the only state to already hold a Medicare waiver. It enables a unique system known as all-payer rate setting, which serves as the basis for universal health care in several industrialized nations. In other words, while other states would have to begin from scratch to overhaul their health care systems, Maryland has a head start.

MARYLAND IS THE only state in America where all hospitals must charge the same rate for services to patients, regardless of what insurance they carry. There’s some variance between hospitals, but every patient in a particular hospital pays the same. Other states experience huge, seemingly random differences in hospital costs, depending on the insurer (or lack thereof).

Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission has set hospital reimbursement rates for over 40 years. The state obtained a federal waiver to include Medicaid and Medicare in its all-payer system, with the goal of keeping cost increases below Medicare growth. And it’s worked, creating the lowest rate of growth in hospital costs in America.

In 2014, to prevent hospitals from making up profit margins through volume, Maryland tweaked the system, adding global budgeting. “The traditional way it worked, every hospital got a rate card,” said Joshua Sharfstein, an associate dean at Johns Hopkins’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a former head of Maryland’s Health Department. “Now you get a number, which is the total revenue for the year.”

Because the global budget doesn’t change based on the number of admissions, this creates hospital incentives toward better outcomes. “It makes the health system focused on keeping people healthy rather than just treating illnesses,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizen’s Health Initiative, a state advocacy group. That includes increased preventive treatment, using case managers to connect patients to primary care, eliminating unnecessary tests, and encouraging good health outside the hospital walls.

Three years into global budgeting, the state is “meeting or exceeding” its goals, according to a January Health Affairs study. Hospital revenue growth is well below counterparts nationwide, or the growth of Maryland’s economy. Plus, state hospitals have saved $429 million for Medicare, more in three years than it targeted for five. Most important, every state hospital (all of which are nonprofit) and every insurer in Maryland are on board with the system.

If a centralized rate-setter bands every insurer together to negotiate prices, all payer can functionally act like single payer in terms of bringing down costs. All payer reduces hospital and insurer overhead, since billing costs are known in advance. And because the Affordable Care Act caps the amountsinsurers can take in as profits, lower hospital costs should flow back to the individual in the form of smaller premiums.

This is why five countries — France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and The Netherlands — use all-payer rate setting as the basis for their universal health care systems. These countries have been found to control costs far better than America’s fragmented system.

The system only applies to hospital payments, not primary care doctors or clinicians. However, last year Maryland submitted a “progression plan” to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with the goal of expanding the system by January 2019. That would line up with the swearing in of Maryland’s next governor.

Other states have looked to Maryland as a model. Pennsylvania has adopted global budgeting for rural hospitals. And in the wake of its single-payer failure, Vermont moved to an all-payer accountable care organization, where providers are paid based on health outcomes for the population. “In some ways it’s more radical [than single payer] if you’re able to get the incentives right,” said Joshua Sharfstein. But the true test of Maryland-style all payer is whether it can support universal coverage for every resident.

MARYLAND HAS A DISCOURAGING history with single payer. Health Care is a Human Right Maryland, an affiliate of Physicians for a National Health Program, did push a bill for several years in the state legislature. “In 2012, we had the bill in the House of Delegates, we lined up what we thought were enough votes in committee,” said Dr. Eric Naumberg, a member of the group’s leadership council. “But the leadership said you can’t bring this to the floor, and then we had seven votes instead of 12.”

Naumberg’s group has since focused on rallying support at the national level. “There are a lot of roadblocks set up for state single payer,” he said, including waivers necessary to incorporate Medicare and Medicaid and potential challenges under federal law regarding employer-based coverage.

Indeed, local politicians aren’t getting pushed yet. “I am not hearing a groundswell of support for a single-payer system or radically re-doing what we currently do,” said Shelly Hettleman, a member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore. “My constituents want to fix the system rather than totally reinvent it.”

However, with Maryland’s novel all-payer structure, you could potentially reinvent health care outcomes by merely tweaking the system. For example, expanding all payer across the health care system, along with tight regulation of insurers to keep premiums low, could mimic some benefits of single payer. Even Vincent DeMarco, who flat-out rejected the notion of state-level single payer, agreed. “If we can do that, we can achieve the same goals in a way that’s doable,” DeMarco said.

Maryland has a relatively low number of uninsured, about 6.7 percent of the population as of 2015. With a cost control mechanism already in place, getting them covered could prove cheaper and easier than other states. “I think you can combine alternative payment approaches with single payer, but you don’t hear about that much,” said Joshua Sharfstein.

Dan Morhaim, a House of Delegates member and an emergency room physician, suggested that the state could offer a benefit package he likened to tiers of coverage in education. “There’s public school, and if you are well-off you pay more to get tutored or go to private school. And you try to bring up that floor broadly and consistently.”

It would obviously still be a huge lift. Entrenched interests still see their survival attached to the status quo. While all hospitals in Maryland are not-for-profit (which is no guarantee against profit-taking), insurers, drug companies, and doctors not currently under price regulation can be expected to put up a fight. And with state balanced budget requirements, you would have to finance a state-run health plan, opening up the tax wars even though individual out-of-pocket costs could drop.

Two things work in Maryland’s favor. First, there’s the renewed support for single payer generally, particularly among progressive activists. Morhaim said that a recent op-ed he wrote for the Baltimore Sun about de-linking health insurance from employment got a wider response than he’s ever seen. “My email box flooded,” Morhaim said.

Second, there’s the promise of the Ben Jealous campaign. He can be expected to put single payer at the top of his agenda for the next year, to a public growing more open to the idea. And Jealous is not a novice at getting the seemingly unattainable done in Maryland politics, mounting lobbying campaigns that helped legalize same-sex marriage, abolish the death penalty, and pass a state version of the DREAM Act. “We are not here simply to elect me governor,” Jealous said at a recent speech. “You do not elect politicians to make change happen, you elect politicians to make it a little easier for a movement to make change happen.”

Jealous’ boldness has already moved Democratic primary opponents in his direction, of which there could be as many as seven. Alec Ross, a Hillary Clinton adviser during the 2016 campaign, who has a controversial plan to have investors loan working mothers money for child care, says he supports a state-based public option. Liberal State Sen. Rich Madaleno endorsed a public option as well, and has said he would “treat health care as a human right.”

Madaleno’s website rejects the idea that states can manage a single-payer plan alone. “One of the cornerstones of single-payer is that the government can negotiate and enforce prices. States can’t do that, only the national government,” it reads. But Maryland actually does precisely this kind of negotiation for hospitals, and could expand it.

Jealous’s nomination, followed up by the defeat of incumbent Republican Larry Hogan in November, would at least put single payer on the agenda in a state with a lot of relative advantages to getting it done. He would have a lot of policy support, with a deep well of knowledge in leadership roles at nonprofit hospitals, as well as from the many members of the part-time legislature who work in the health care system when not in session.

Would Maryland politicians be willing to fight for single payer? “I think the political system would be willing to take that on if the person who argued for it won the election,” Morhaim said. “It’s up to the voters.”

We (theintercept.com) depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our nonprofit newsroom strong and independent. Join Us 


David Dayendavid.dayen@​gmail.com@ddayen

“SF Supervisor Peskin ramps up drive to rename Justin Herman Plaza [aka Chelsea Manning Plaza]” by J.K. Dineen

July 27, 2017 (sfgate.com)

For decades, Justin Herman Plaza has been a place where protesters gather to march up Market Street, an open space for skateboarders to grind and BMX riders to do flips, the site of mass pillow fights on Valentine’s Day and where Cal football fans rally before the Big Game against Stanford.

Now the plaza is subject of something less physical — its very name.

This week, Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a resolution recommending that the Recreation and Park Department strip mid-century redevelopment czar Justin Herman’s name from the plaza, temporarily renaming it Embarcadero Plaza while city policy makers come up with a new moniker.

Herman, who died of a heart attack in 1971, was a driving force behind the redevelopment that displaced thousands of residents — mainly African Americans and Japanese Americans — from 60 city blocks of the Western Addition and Fillmore district in the 1960s. His policies also moved mostly poor people from parts of Chinatown and South of Market.

Peskin said that Herman, who presided over the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency from 1959 to 1971, “personified a dark chapter in modern San Francisco history.”

“This is a public admission that the city made mistakes” in its urban renewal policies of the 1950s and 1960s, Peskin said. “This is a cathartic and important first step in a two-step process.”

While the renaming seems to have broad political support — all 10 of Peskin’s colleagues co-sponsored the ordinance at Tuesday’s board meeting — the effort will inevitably prompt a re-examination not just of Herman’s role in the city history, but also a debate over whose name the space should bear.

“When you name a street or a monument or a park after a person, you are making a statement about what the community values,” said Rachel Brahinsky, a professor of urban studies at the University of San Francisco who has studied Herman’s legacy. “It’s a way of deciding which side of history the city wants to uphold.”

Even before Peskin’s resolution there were campaigns to rename the space after another person. One group wants to call it Maya Angelou Memorial Plaza, after the late poet who spent her formative years in San Francisco and was the city’s first African American street car conductor.

A competing faction wants it to be called David Johnson Plaza, after the 90-year-old African American photographer and community activist known for his black-and-white photographs that captured the Fillmore district before parts of it were bulldozed.

Ironically, one public official who will play a role in the renaming process worked as a special assistant to Herman in the late 1960s. Recreation and Park Commission President Mark Buell did stints in Herman’s office in 1966 and ’67 and again in 1970, after returning from the Vietnam War.

Buell would support renaming the plaza, even though he says Herman was a complicated leader who did a lot of good for the city. He said that removal of thousands of families and destruction of Victorian buildings in the Western Addition was wrong, even if many of the units were dilapidated and owned by predatory slumlords.

“I would be the first to say it was a flawed approach,” Buell said. “The flaw was the cultural disruption of the community, that part of the fabric of the city.”

He said that Herman was “a product of his time.” The urban renewal program Herman oversaw — similar to what Robert Moses carried out in New York — was driven by federal government programs offering two-thirds of the funding to rebuild “deteriorating communities.” That enticement led to the destruction and rebuilding of big chunks of many cities.

Buell also cited Herman’s positive accomplishments: He was ahead of his time in hiring a diverse workforce. He personally paid for Bayview leader Eloise Westbrook to go to Washington, D.C., to lobby for increased funds for public housing in a San Francisco that — even in the 1960s — was far too expensive for many people. He also battled hotel owners over the Yerba Buena redevelopment and pushed for integrated affordable housing in Diamond Heights.

Buell also said Herman wasn’t operating in isolation — he carried out his duties under three mayors, who had ideas of their own.

“There is a lot of blame to go around,” Buell said.

San Francisco resident Julie Mastrine, a performance artist who has spent a lot of time at Justin Herman Plaza, has gathered more than 11,000 signatures to rename the plaza. At first she said that she thought Angelou would be an appropriate namesake but became more of a Johnson partisan after learning more about the photographer.

Either way, she wants it changed. “It upset me that this place I enjoy so much is named after someone I don’t think should be honored in this way,” she said.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s wife, writer Jacqueline Sue, put together a package of information about her husband and has been lobbying members of the Board of Supervisors. Johnson, who was originally from Jacksonville, Fla., turns 91 next Thursday. He came to San Francisco after serving in the Navy to study with Ansel Adams and in 1971 sued the San Francisco school district over desegregation enforcement.

He said he gets a kick from the idea the plaza might one day bear his name.

“I think it’s a splendid idea,” Johnson said. “If it’s going to happen, it’s good that it’s happening now. Not next year or five years from now.

“I never met Mr. Herman,” Johnson said. “But I met a lot of the results of his work. Many of my friends lived in those fantastic, beautiful Victorians in the Fillmore. That entire area got wiped out.”

David Glassberg, a University of Massachusetts history professor, said naming public spaces after individuals “calls attention to places and keeps the memory alive of people who otherwise might be forgotten.”

At the same time, he said, there is a logic to naming parks or plaza after “something that makes it easier to find.”

“Embarcadero Plaza is not a bad name,” he said.

J.K. Dineen is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: JDineen@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @sfjkdineen

“This Plan is Your Plan, This Plan is My Plan” (with a tip o’ the hat to Woodie Guthrie)

This plan is your plan / This plan is my plan

From Mendocino / To Escondido

Healthcare for all is / All we’re asking

This plan was made / For you and me.


Oh, single payer / It is a great plan

It covers health care / Throughout our life span

The status quo? Whoa! / It’s gotta go!  So…

This plan was made for you and me.


Billions we’ll save on /Administration

We’ll lower costs through / Negotiation

With what we save we’ll / Treat every patient

This plan was made / For you and me.


Our politicians / Often resists change

‘Cause contributions/ They like to a-rrange

They dine with corporate chums / And then throw us the crumbs

This plan was made for you and me.


We’ve got the money / Don’t doubt it honey

But so much flows to / Insurance companies

We’re gonna pool our wealth / Invest it in our health

This plan was made / For you and me.


It covers dental / It covers vision

For all our children/ And men and women

No need for co-pays / Farewell deductibles!

This plan was made/ For you and me.


It’s all-inclusive / It’s universal

It really isn’t / So controversial

Now we pay more for less / We’re tired of this mess!

This plan was made / For you and me!


Lyrics:  Health Care for All – Marin