If you've never been to San Francisco, you might not know that it is a small city and that is feels like a small town community for those of us who try to keep the place running. We're on the coast and get new families all the time but, the same families have been in our police and fire fighter forces for generations. The same families have been grocers and butchers, carpenters, beekeepers and teachers -- except for those that are getting squeezed out of their family businesses by retail chains. San Francisco liberals have to band together and fight tooth and nail to protect our family owned businesses, our open spaces and our local public schools, just like you do.
We have to fight developers who prey on our community just like all working people do nowadays. They come here and see a business opportunity to build expensive housing none of us can afford, hotels for tourists and office space for businessmen who need to be local for their China or South America business. These developers don't realize they're pricing our working families out of the market, causing our taxes to go higher than we can afford or tearing down housing that will wind up putting people on the street with nowhere to go. San Francisco liberals, these days, spend a lot of time just trying to keep people in their homes when we're not fighting to hold on to our own homes.
My dog is a hunting dog. We don't exactly hunt anything because I'm one of those people that would more likely shoot her own foot off if you put a gun in my hands but you can't take the hunt out of the dog. Instead, I use her nose to find animals that dispossessed families have dumped in parking lots and in the park in their desperation over not being able to provide for them any more. The dog sniffs them out and I set traps for them. There is a large colony of abandoned cats now in Golden Gate Park and if you saw them, your heart would break because although there are some feral ones, there are many who don't know why their family dropped them off in this coyote rich environment. They only know they went from being someone's pet to some animal's potential dinner.
I know we're supposed to be "godless" here -- that's one of the things you're supposed to think of when someone says "San Francisco liberal" -- but nothing could be further from the truth. There are four places of worship within a half mile of my home and a lot of the city business is conducted through the network these congregations form. The biggest, most beautiful piece of architecture you can see from my kitchen window is St. Cecelia's and there are two modest storefronts used by evangelical congregations on the streetcar line a block away. You might of heard of Glide Memorial Church. Even those of us who aren't everyday churchgoing people go there to sit and listen and sing and volunteer with the work the church does among the poor. Or, we are the poor. Either way. Glide is part of the backbone of this city. We don't make a big deal out of this. We don't talk about it very well but, that's the truth.
It really upsets me to hear the talking heads and certain politicians say "San Francisco liberals" as if we all have high paying jobs at Apple Computer, drive big cars, make too much money and spend our free time finding fault with the rest of the county. We are losing jobs just like everyone else. Our clinics are closing just like they are everywhere else. (The average waiting time in our local Emergency Room is eight hours. Bring a book.) Everything we need to survive is going up in price while our wages lag behind and while the dollar falls. Poverty is doing good business in this town. And our kids are leaving because they can't manage here and are forced to leave family and friends behind to go somewhere else where wages keep up better with prices. Where they have a chance to have a livelihood they can sustain.
"San Francisco liberals" are the service workers that say goodbye to these young people, their children. The ones who fight the special interests at City Hall to try to keep our family businesses open when those big chains try to buy their way in. The ones that walk picket lines when our few remaining unions need help because foreign interests seem to get more attention from our government than our working families do.
We may do it dressed in pink or with funny hair or big angry signs, but that's all we're really doing. We're trying to keep this town for our families, for our neighborhoods just like most of you are doing, when either of us have the energy to borrow from our working lives to share.
That's who San Francisco "liberals" are. Nice to meet you.