Damn the Constitution – Full Reparations Ahead!
San Francisco parades ‘Reparationspalooza’ – the most radical agenda in display of defiance
Early this week, a hearing to discuss the status of the San Francisco Reparations Plan convened at the chambers of the Board of Supervisors (our City Council) in City Hall. An email obtained by yours truly had been sent out by a representative of the SF Human Rights Commission (the office sponsoring the SF Reparations Plan committee), indicating that prior to that hearing, they encourage other city departments to spread the word “far and wide,” calling for employees of the city’s legislators and aforementioned Board of Supervisors, their legislative aids, the Mayor’s office, the SF Reparations committee, the SF School District commissioners, and via a massive blast to all city department heads, to attend a pre-Reparations hearing rally on the steps of City Hall. Reports indicate two hundred eventually showed up.
The Board of Supervisors consists of eleven district supervisor council members, as San Francisco is divided into nearly equal population sectors, those pie slices’ representatives are elected by voters of that district. Earlier this year they held a Reparations Plan hearing, months ago, when the initial Reparations plan was considered a draft. For this week’s hearing, lasting over five hours, the final version was presented to the eleven Board members including PowerPoints and hours of individual testimony, with aim to convince them why the plan should (must) be implemented; some arguing even the proposed $5 million per qualified individual is not nearly enough money as reparations to compensate for past atrocities. As was the case in the earlier draft hearing, this Reparationspalooza brought out the most bizarre people making bizarre statements. Ignorant, overzealous and unrealistic, one may say they were. Others may say those speakers were coached and exploited. In the end, over one hundred people spoke.
One common element during public comment: all those which stood to speak were in support of reparations. Not one voiced dissent. And more disturbing was the fact so many speakers and rally attendees were city employees or work for commissions and agencies – people which would personally, directly gain financially should the SF Reparations Plan be enacted and monies paid out. If that’s not an obvious conflict of interest, I don’t know what else is.
Never was there mention of the unconstitutionality of such a move to actually enact reparations, nor the violations of federal and California State civil rights act(s), nor supreme court rulings. Those who attended the rally and post-hearing public comment failed to indicate that the fourteen members of the appointed SF Reparations advisory committee (which created this plan) each received $12,500 for their time – collectively nearly $200,000 of taxpayers’ money – to ultimately come up with an unworkable and wholly unlawful set of proposals which encompasses segregation and neo-apartheid.
Defiance is the name of this most unfortunate and exploitative game. Defiance, denial, obfuscation, all seeking to ram this through – damn the constitution! Speakers present and members of the Board of Supervisors each seemed resolute and in unity: the time has come to show the world bravery and resolve.
Most media locally and nationally choose to ignore the unconstitutionality of reparations. Headlines instead report solely on the plan’s advancing ever so closely to being implemented. On the rare occasion a dissenting voice (such as from yours truly) somehow breaks through, opposition is marginalized and discredited.
To most if not all members of the Board of Supervisors, to journalists, activists, the mayor London Breed (who personally sees SF Reparations to be a life’s accomplishment), it’s simply a matter of San Francisco finalizing an approval vote and then just start writing those checks. Reality cannot be more clear: the level of exploitation and disservice to the public is astounding.
Richie Greenberg is a long-time San Francisco resident, political commentator and former candidate for mayor. He was founder of and media spokesman for the recall of DA Chesa Boudin. He currently is spearheading the effort opposing the SF Reparations Plan.