“Trump Bet Americans Would Like His Un-Presidential Antics. He May Be Right.” by Neal Gabler

President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One while departing from the White House on July 12, 2017. President Trump is traveling to France, where he will meet with the president and will attend Bastille Day events on Friday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


Is America one big con game?

July 13, 2017 (billmoyers.com)

Political pundits have been intoxicated lately by explanations as to why Democrats always seem to be behind the eight ball — never mind that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote; that liberal positions on issues like health careclimate change and income inequality are held by a majority of Americans; or that Republicans are more unpopular.

The idea, promoted in The New York Times with three different op-eds in the past month alone, is that Democrats don’t plug into traditional American values the way Republicans do, and it’s those values that swayed the last presidential election, especially in the Rust Belt, and in the recent special congressional elections, Trump’s general unpopularity notwithstanding.

Daniel K. Williams, a religious historian, attributed the Democrats’ recent loss in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to the fact that the party had become too secular to appeal to religious minorities and baby boomers, too removed from America’s religious traditions.

There has never been a president whose values are so antithetical to traditional American ones — never one less self-reliant, loyal, tough, disciplined, religious or virtuous.

Democratic pollster Mark Penn and former Manhattan borough president Andrew Stein penned an op-ed in which they called for the Democrats to reject the “siren calls of the left” and move to the center to attract working-class voters “who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs.” In short, Republicanism lite.

And then there is the analysis of Times columnist David Brooks, inaptly titled “What’s the Matter With Republicans?” because it really was aimed at what’s wrong with Democrats, since in his view nothing really seems to be wrong with the GOP. Republicans subscribe to traditional American values forged on the frontier, things like self-reliance and self-sufficiency, independence, loyalty, toughness and virtue; Democrats seemingly do not.

None of these criticisms is new. In fact, they are pretty hoary. But they actually seem a lot less persuasive now that Donald Trump is in the White House. There has never been a president whose values are so antithetical to traditional American ones — never one less self-reliant, loyal, tough, disciplined, religious or virtuous — so the argument doesn’t hold much water to me.

I want to suggest something else entirely that helps explain the love for Republicans and Trump in the supposedly old-fashioned precincts of the South, Midwest and West. I want to suggest that beneath or beside these so-called “traditional” frontier values — which we ourselves promote so self-aggrandizingly — there’s another set of values, no less American, and probably much more so. According to some historians, they, too, were forged on the frontier as a form of survival.

They have nothing to do with the Protestant ethic — quite the contrary. They are not values of virtue but of success, promoting deception and the fast con, easy cash, hustling and the love of money. If the first set of values might be called “Algeresque,” after Horatio Alger, the popular 19th-century American author who wrote stories about poor ragamuffins rising to great wealth through hard work, this second set might be called “Barnumesque,” after P. T. Barnum, the 19th-century promoter, hoaxster and circus impresario, who played on his countrymen’s gullibility.

As Michael Winship wrote on this site recently in astutely pointing to Trump’s hucksterism, Trump is a chip off of P.T. Barnum’s block. I’d like to focus here on something else: Unfortunately, he isn’t the only one. For all our pieties about the benefits of hard work and decency, this is far more Barnum’s country than Alger’s, which may be the Democrats’ real problem. If anything, they are too virtuous for their own good, too beholden to moral values.

Of course, no one wants to come right out and say that America is a land of hustlers, least of all politicians and pundits. It is a kind of sacrilege. Everyone prefers the Alger scenario of social mobility, which historian Henry Steele Commager described as one in which “opportunities lie all about you; success is material and is the reward of virtue and work.” This is one of the bulwarks of America. To say otherwise is to engage in class warfare, and class warfare, we are often told by conservatives, is a betrayal of American exceptionalism.

But as much a bulwark as this is, just about everyone also knows it isn’t exactly true — even, it turns out, Horatio Alger himself. “He constantly preached that success was to be won through virtue and hard work,” writes his most perspicacious biographer, John Tebbel, “but his stories tell us just as constantly that success is actually the result of fortuitous circumstance.” Or luck, so long as you aren’t lucky enough to be born rich. Those idlers — the Trumps of the world — are Alger’s villains.

This is America the Deceitful. And many Americans like it, I presume because it seems to let them thumb their noses at their supposed social betters, just as Trump has done.

Perhaps it was because the American dream was so riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions and outright lies that Americans constructed (and lived) an alternative in which success goes not to the industrious but to the insolent. This is the thesis of historian Walter McDougall’s provocative story of the early republic, Freedom Just Around the Corner. As he writes, it is the unexceptionalism of so many Americans that really makes America exceptional.

“To suggest that Americans are, among other things, prone to be hustlers,” McDougall notes, “is simply to acknowledge Americans have enjoyed more opportunity to pursue their ambitions by foul means or fair, than any other people in history.” And: “Americans take it for granted that ‘everyone’s got an angle,’ except maybe themselves.” This idea, that you succeed through grift and guile, has made many Americans more cynical than idealistic, more Barnum than Alger, and, yes, more Trump than Obama.

Barnum understood the financial implications of the swindle. He was a brilliant self-promoter and ballyhoo artist who sold an unsuspecting public on things like seeing George Washington’s 160-year-old nurse, or an “authentic” stuffed mermaid, and then made additional money by exposing his own frauds, realizing that people actually liked being fooled and being debriefed on the foolery. In this, he was merely a progenitor of what would be a long string of knaves, cheats, con artists and rascals who became an American type and who later turned the heist movie into an American staple. Virtuous heroes were dull. These rapscallions weren’t, and it wasn’t lost on most Americans that these con men were subverting those hallowed values David Brooks celebrates.

But as evident as the financial rewards were, it has taken a long time for anyone to see the political implications of the hustle, and now Trump has. He prides himself on not having earned his wealth, on his serial bankruptcies, on stiffing contractors and on gaming the tax system, the last three of which he regards as just clever business. Even his hint of having taped his conversations with former FBI director James Comey was a form of deceit.

Many of us, myself included, wondered why this didn’t bring him public scorn and create not just a credibility gap but a credibility canyon, but that’s because, as political observers, we were working from the traditional values manual and not the subversive one. I suspect, for all that platitudinous op-ed nonsense about the attraction of traditional values, this is a very real source of Trump’s appeal, as it is of the Republicans’.

Working within this other tradition, Trump makes no bones about being a hustler. He is shameless. Some people admire that. The Republicans, for their part, give lip service to virtue and are as self-righteous as they come, but everyone knows they are really about gaming the system, too. This is America the Deceitful. And many Americans like it, I presume because it seems to let them thumb their noses at their supposed social betters, just as Trump has done.

So, while people bemoan the end of moral certitude and a lost halcyon past, Trump the trickster and his Republican henchmen are creating a new America adrift in moral chaos. This, too, has a Barnum antecedent. As Barnum biographer and cultural historian Neil Harris wrote of Barnum’s destruction of traditional forms of evidence and authority, “When credentials, coats of arms and university degrees no longer guaranteed what passed for truth, it was difficult to know what to believe. Everything was up for grabs.”

Not a bad description of contemporary America. The pundits may say that what ails Democrats is insufficient religiosity or moderation or self-reliance or whatever the cliché happens to be, but in a time of moral turpitude, it may be insufficient rascality that really hurts them.

Trump has gambled that many Americans would enjoy his unpresidential, con-man antics. He hasn’t entirely won that gamble. Most Americans don’t. But there are enough who do, especially among Republicans, to let him wreak havoc. After all those years of our hearing Algeresque bromides, President Barnum is now in charge, and he is working hard to reveal America as one great big con game.


Neal Gabler is an author of five books and the recipient of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Time magazine’s non-fiction book of the year, USA Today’s biography of the year and other awards. He is also a senior fellow at The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, and is currently writing a biography of Sen. Edward Kennedy.


THU, 7/13/2017 – Occupy.com

In February, college sophomore Trevor Hill stood up during a televised town hall meeting in New York and posed a simple question to Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. He cited a study by Harvard University showing that 51% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism, and asked whether the Democrats could embrace this fast-changing reality and stake out a clearer contrast to right-wing economics.

Pelosi was visibly taken aback. “I thank you for your question,” she said, “but I’m sorry to say we’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is.”

The footage went viral. It was powerful because of the clear contrast it set up. Trevor Hill is no hardened left-winger. He’s just your average millennial – bright, informed, curious about the world, and eager to imagine a better one. But Pelosi, a figurehead of establishment politics, refused to – or was just unable to – entertain his challenge to the status quo.

It’s not only young voters who feel this way. A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64% of Britons believe that capitalism is unfair, that it makes inequality worse. Even in the U.S., it’s as high as 55%. In Germany, a solid 77% are skeptical of capitalism. Meanwhile, a full three-quarters of people in major capitalist economies believe that big businesses are basically corrupt.

Why do people feel this way? Probably not because they deny the abundant material benefits of modern life that many are able to enjoy. Or because they want to travel back in time and live in the U.S.S.R. It’s because they realize—either consciously or at some gut level—that there’s something fundamentally flawed about a system that has a prime directive to churn nature and humans into capital, and do it more and more each year, regardless of the costs to human well-being and to the environment we depend on.

Because let’s be clear: That’s what capitalism is, at its root. That is the sum total of the plan. We can see this embodied in the imperative to grow GDP, everywhere, year on year, at a compound rate, even though we know that GDP growth, on its own, does nothing to reduce poverty or to make people happier or healthier. Global GDP has grown 630% since 1980, and in that same time, by some measures, inequality, poverty, and hunger have all risen.

We also see this plan in the idea that corporations have a fiduciary duty to grow their stock value for the sake of shareholder returns, which prevents even well-meaning CEO’s from voluntarily doing anything good—like increasing wages or reducing pollution—that might compromise their bottom line.

Just look at the recent case involving American Airlines. Earlier this year, CEO Doug Parker tried to raise his employees salaries to correct for “years of incredibly difficult times” suffered by his employees, only to be slapped down by Wall Street. The day he announced the raise, the company’s shares fell 5.8%. This is not a case of an industry on the brink, fighting for survival, and needing to make hard decisions. On the contrary, airlines have been raking in profits. But the gains are seen as the natural property of the investor class. This is why JP Morgan criticized the wage increase as a “wealth transfer of nearly $1 billion” to workers. How dare they?

What becomes clear here is that ours is a system that is programmed to subordinate life to the imperative of profit.

For a startling example of this, consider the horrifying idea to breed brainless chickens and grow them in huge vertical farms, Matrix-style, attached to tubes and electrodes and stacked one on top of the other, all for the sake of extracting profit out of their bodies as efficiently as possible. Or take the Grenfell Tower disaster in London, where dozens of people were incinerated because the building company chose to use flammable panels in order to save a paltry £5,000 (around $6,500). Over and over again, profit trumps life.

It all proceeds from the same deep logic. It’s the same logic that sold lives for profit in the Atlantic slave trade, it’s the logic that gives us sweatshops and oil spills, and it’s the logic that is right now pushing us headlong toward ecological collapse and climate change.

Once we realize this, we can start connecting the dots between our different struggles. There are people in the U.S. fighting against the Keystone pipeline. There are people in Britain fighting against the privatization of the National Health Service. There are people in India fighting against corporate land grabs. There are people in Brazil fighting against the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. There are people in China fighting against poverty wages. These are all noble and important movements in their own right. But by focusing on all these symptoms we risk missing the underlying cause. And the cause is capitalism. It’s time to name the thing.

What’s so exciting about our present moment is that people are starting to do exactly that. And they are hungry for something different. For some, this means socialism. That YouGov poll showed that Americans under the age of 30 tend to have a more favorable view of socialism than they do of capitalism, which is surprising given the sheer scale of the propaganda out there designed to convince people that socialism is evil. But millennials aren’t bogged down by these dusty old binaries. For them the matter is simple: They can see that capitalism isn’t working for the majority of humanity, and they’re ready to invent something better.

What might a better world look like? There are a million ideas out there. We can start by changing how we understand and measure progress. As Robert Kennedy famously said, GDP “does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play . . . it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

We can change that. People want health care and education to be social goods, not market commodities, so we can choose to put public goods back in public hands. People want the fruits of production and the yields of our generous planet to benefit everyone, rather than being siphoned up by the super-rich, so we can change tax laws and introduce potentially transformative measures like a universal basic income. People want to live in balance with the environment on which we all depend for our survival; so we can adopt regenerative agricultural solutions and even choose, as Ecuador did in 2008, to recognize in law, at the level of the nation’s constitution, that nature has “the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital cycles.”

Measures like these could dethrone capitalism’s prime directive and replace it with a more balanced logic, that recognizes the many factors required for a healthy and thriving civilization. If done systematically enough, they could consign one-dimensional capitalism to the dustbin of history.

None of this is actually radical. Our leaders will tell us that these ideas are not feasible, but what is not feasible is the assumption that we can carry on with the status quo. If we keep pounding on the wedge of inequality and chewing through our living planet, the whole thing is going to implode. The choice is stark, and it seems people are waking up to it in large numbers: Either we evolve into a future beyond capitalism, or we won’t have a future at all.

Originally published by Fast Company

“If you blinked, you missed yesterday’s net neutrality protest” by Tony Romm

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
 Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Organizers say they reached more than 10 million users, but some of the largest tech companies seemed to hold back.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and other companies, activists and startups that rallied in support of net neutrality on Wednesday probably aren’t going to stop the Trump administration from killing the rules currently on the government’s books.

But the organizers of the so-called “day of action” insist they reached more than 10 million users with their message, while generating at least 2.1 million comments urging the Federal Communications Commission to rethink its plans. That’s a drop in the bucket, seeing as the tech companies that took part in the protest reach billions of users every day — but the event’s planners stress that they’ve touched a nerve.

The initial tally comes from Battle for the Net, a collection of liberal-leaning consumer advocates that helmed some of the Wednesday protest. Those 10 million include anyone who saw (or, more likely, just dismissed) pop-ups and banners on supporting websites like Reddit and Medium.

And Battle for the Net collected its roughly 2.1 million comments by midnight Pacific Time through its own website, using a pre-written note to the FCC that touted the need for rules that prevent internet providers like AT&T and Verizon from blocking or slowing down web traffic.

Some of the web’s largest companies — including Amazon, Facebook and Google — took a more reserved approach. They didn’t darken their webpages, like some companies did during a massive online protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act, and their alerts to users weren’t always easy to find.

Instead, they pointed users toward a webpage set up by the Internet Association, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group for the industry. Its activism hub sought to explain the debate around net neutrality, and it included a link to the FCC’s website where users could comment.

By the end of Wednesday, the group told Recode that its portal had attracted 1.3 million viewers, with about 500,000 web users clicking through to comment at the FCC. It is unclear, however, if those web users redirected to the agency site actually submitted anything.

On one hand, protest organizers insist that their efforts to fight FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proved resonant. The 2.1 million comments generated by Battle for the Net represented something of a record for the group, said Kurt Walters, the campaign director for Demand Progress, one of the groups that leads the coalition. When they last tried to rally web users — a 2014 protest in favor of the rules currently in place — Walters said they generated only a third of the comments that they obtained on Wednesday.

But even Walters and others involved in the “day of action” seemed aware of the obvious: That Pai, as chairman of a Republican-led agency, still has the votes to scrap the Obama administration’s open internet protections, which subject internet providers to utility-like regulation.

“We’re not naive. There’s a chance what the public wants, and what the facts show will be best for consumers, doesn’t always carry the day,” Walters told Recode. “But what we have from this historic day of activism, from all of the polling … [is] we know this is both good policy and good politics to stand on the side of the free and open internet and Title II net neutrality.”

For now, the agency will continue to accept comments on Pai’s plans until June 17, before kicking off another round of deliberation. In total, the FCC has received 7.3 million comments in the debate from both sides of the net neutrality fight.

By Thursday morning, though, the FCC’s own comment database reflected that it had received more than 718,000 submissions related to net neutrality on July 12. That number is incomplete. Not every comment shared with the FCC immediately appears on its website. Some, when posted, have fake names, include incendiary rhetoric or don’t address the right topic. And the 718,000 comments that have been posted surely include some from those on the other side of the issue.

Among the tech leaders involved in Wednesday’s action was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who published a note on his profile calling on the FCC to preserve strong net neutrality rules — and for Congress to codify them more firmly into law. By Thursday morning, his message had attracted more than 84,000 likes. More than 5,700 Facebook users shared that post with their own friends; more than 4,000 left comments. (Consider, though, Facebook’s potential reach if it had been more aggressive: It announced two billion monthly users in June.)

Zuckerberg even personally responded to one critic, who questioned whether Facebook itself had violated net neutrality through Internet.org, a project to provide free or low-cost, but limited, web access in countries that lack broadband. In India, at least, Facebook previously had faced immense blowback for its rollout of the initiative.

“There’s an important difference between blocking or charging extra for content, and providing services for free to help people who are not connected,” Zuckerberg said. “Blocking or charging extra clearly hurts people and violates net neutrality. Giving people free services just helps and does not violate net neutrality principles or the regulations in most countries.”

More than 2,400 Facebook users interacted with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s call to action. She, like Zuckerberg, also directed viewers to the Internet Association’s activism website.

Google, for its part, did not include anything near its venerated search bar. Instead, it dispatched an email to followers of its “take action” policy website, encouraging them to sound off at the FCC in defense of existing net neutrality rules. The company declined to detail again on Thursday how many users receive those alerts.

Twitter had been the most aggressive, and for the first time, it ran a promoted tweet touting one of its own policy position. But the company did not immediately release data related to its protest activities.

Go to:  https://www.battleforthenet.com/

Berkeley Homeless Encampment: First They Came for the Homeless

Tom Lochner: Homeless encampment on Adeline Street (eastbaytimes.com)

Protesters set up tent city on Adeline in Berkeley

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN) (berkeleydailyplanet.com)
Tuesday October 11, 2016 

A group of about 20 homeless people have set up a small tent city on a median in the middle of Adeline Street near the Berkeley Bowl grocery store to protest the way the city of Berkeley is allocating aid to people who live on the streets.

Mike Zint of the advocacy group First They Came for the Homeless said he and other homeless people are upset with the services that are coordinated by the Berkeley Food & Housing Project, which is also known as The HUB.

Zint said the center is disorganized, makes it too hard for people to get help and homeless people are being sent out of the area for housing.

Zint said he and other people set up a protest camp outside the Berkeley Food & Housing Project’s office at 1901 Fairview St. last week but the city raided the camp. Protesters set up a new camp on Sunday night on the median in the middle of Adeline Street between Ward and Stuart streets.

The Berkeley Bowl and a Walgreen’s store are about a block away to the south and a Sports Basement store is about a block away to the north. There are also several small businesses nearby, including a bakery and two Pilates and yoga clinics.

Zint said protesters picked the site because it’s near The HUB and the Ashby BART station.

The protesters have set up a large sign that says, “Honk To Keep Affordable Housing in Berkeley” and Zint said they’ve been getting a lot of community support.

Berkeley city officials haven’t responded to requests for a comment on the homeless encampment.

“They don’t want the homeless to be in Berkeley,” Zint said. “I’m seriously disabled and there are thousands like me.”

Zint said, “Tents are a step in the process of getting people off the streets because otherwise they’ll be exposed to the elements and die.”

He said the next step would be to create “tiny homes” that would be like shacks, sheds or trailers and include a kitchen and a common area.

Zint said he wants to keep the protest small for now but it would be possible to expand tents to three adjacent medians in the middle of Adeline Street so that up to 1,000 homeless people could be accommodated.

He said the protesters are “mobile” and if the city moves them out of the Adeline Street site, they have “a target list” and will move on to Mayor Tom Bates’ home and then to the homes of City Council members.

“We’ll be proper but we’ll be annoying,” Zint said.

He said the homeless camp is drug- and alcohol-free and people at the camp provide their own security to keep everyone safe.

“We won’t tolerate criminal activity,” he said.

Michael Moore in Trumpland (with Spanish subtitles)

Michael Moore en Trumpland’ es un documental dirigido por el ganador de Oscar Michael Moore. En esta película documental, Moore se adentra en Ohio (uno de los estados más republicanos) para intentar abrir los ojos a todos aquellos que se están replanteando votar a Donald Trump. Durante uno de sus monólogos, habla de los peligros de una presidencia de Trump. Michael Moore, que nos ha traído antes ‘¿Qué invadimos ahora?’ o ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’, intenta explicar como las aspiraciones que tiene Donald Trump son completamente reales y además ponen en peligro el futuro de los Estados Unidos de América. Durante un divertido espectáculo que el mismo protagoniza, Moore intentará que se den cuenta de que Hillary Clinton es mucha mejor opción.

Open letter to Berkeley Mayor and Councilmembers

July 7, 2017

Dear Mayor & Councilmembers,

I hope that you will consider attending the FTCFTHomeless Benefit. I think it is wonderful that they are stepping up to the plate to provide for a potta-potty.

Though I have not been empowered to speak for them, here’s my opinion. Let’s all enjoy the process which is step by step approach. I applaud that these two groups have developed a positive & creative event. Then the next step outside of the benefit is to determine if the proposed nearby site (of which there are more than one) & details would be amenable to local government I’m glad to share with you this announcement.

Best Regards
Gianna Ranuzzi (forwarded by Mike Zint)

Party for a Potty! Benefit for FTCFTH and FNB
Sunday July 9, from 6 – 10 pm in Fellowship Hall – 1924 Cedar St. at Bonita Ave.

Why the Potty? If you were homeless, you would know. First They Came For The Homeless and Food Not Bombs will unite to hold a joint benefit at BFUU featuring music, dancing, juggling, poetry, politics, and a performance of shadow puppetry. Drs open at 6 pm for socializing & FNB smoothies & snacks.

FTCFTH is a homeless rights/ intentional community. It serves to shelter homeless until cities can provide affordable housing. It operates a drug-and-alcohol free camp on Adeline at the Oakland/Berkeley border, next to “HERE” and “THERE” signs. Food Not Bombs has been cooking and distributing food to people in need for 35 years.

Suggested donations of $5 – $20 No one turned away for lack of funds!

“Petition demands Justin Herman Plaza be renamed” by Adam Brinklow

Sue Stokes


July 7, 2017 (sf.curbed.com)

Herman’s hand flattening Fillmore haunts his legacy

petition demanding that the city rename the Embarcadero’s Justin Herman Plaza picked up more than 9,500 signatures in the last two weeks, within striking distance of its 10,000 signature goal.

Petition author Julie Mastrine takes umbrage with a public space honoring Herman, the head of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency from 1959 until his death in 1971, because of his hand in flattening the Fillmore during the 1960s.

She writes:

He was responsible for bulldozing much of the historically Black neighborhood, the Fillmore District, causing mass displacement of thousands of Black residents.

Herman made sure hundreds of beautiful Victorian homes and businesses were demolished. To make way to widen Geary Blvd., he evicted 461 Black-owned businesses and over 4,000 Black families.

In his 1993 book City For Sale, urban planner Chester Hartman (a former faculty member of both UC Berkeley and Harvard) credits Herman for expanding the power and influence of the Redevelopment Agency, taking it from a small group of 60 city employees to a team of more than 460.

But Hartman also notes that revilement of Herman goes back even to the director’s own lifetime:

In the downtown high-rise office buildings, banks, and City Hall he was Saint Justin, while in the Western Addition housing projects and streets of the Mission barrio he was the white devil.

Thomas Fleming, editor of San Francisco’s Sun Reporter newspaper, called Herman the “arch-villain of black depopulation” in a 1965 article.

Indeed, even Herman himself warned in 1960 that “without adequate housing for the poor, critics will rightly condemn urban renewal as a land-grab for the rich and a heartless push-out for the poor and nonwhites.”

But if that was something that kept him up at night, his actual redevelopment of the Fillmore did a remarkably poor job of accounting for it. San Francisco author Paul T. Miller wrote in his 2008 dissertation to Temple University:

According to the Redevelopment Agency’s own statistics, 2,009 new housing units were 254 constructed in the [Fillmore], an area that formerly housed over 8,000 people. […]

Herman admitted that of the 4,000 households displaced in 255 phase A-1, only one family moved back.

Note that of the thousands who signed Mastrine’s petition, only 172 are from San Francisco.

But Mastrine points out that San Francisco supervisor Aaron Peskin was the latest City Hall honcho to vouch for a rechristening, telling the San Francisco Chronicle in May, “I would welcome a public conversation about changing the name.”

The petition does not directly address what the new name of the plaza should be but does say, “Some have suggested renaming it after poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, San Francisco’s first black female streetcar operator.”