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Friday, 7 July 2006

San Francisco

SF and Me

By Richard Carreno
Los Angeles:
Was in San Francisco last week. Hadn't been there since 1995, traveling with Hunter. Time to revise opinions. Has the city changed, or have I? Found it, as before, quite Eastern. But, now, also somewhat European -- broad boulevards and cafes lining the streets.

You know the old line, 'What city do you prefer? San Francisco or Los Angeles?' Of course, it's comparing apples to oranges. Never mind. It's really a display of the tension which exists between the lifestyles of Northern California and Southern Californication. (Of course, in other states, such an either or would be quite ridiculous. Which do you prefer? Pittsburgh or Philadelphia? For God's sakes, come on!)

Also, SF quite progressive, given the new mayor and his attitudes toward the 'homeless' and drug use (viz. 'Containment Areas'). Of course, the hills are still a bit of a bother. Not enough erosion in 11 years, at least, to my liking.

Also, city is down to one daily, The Chronicle. This was the same paper -- under different ownership -- that used to own the Worcester Telegram. (Now owned by The New York Times).

July 4 edition: Of course, the paper had cliche story of blubbering new Americans -- just sworn in. (Why do they always cry? Visions of more money no doubt makes them weep). This story is above the fold. Under the fold, paper plays a staff story about undocumented (ie. illegal) workers. Interesting juxtaposition. Some play by the rules. Most don't. Go figure.

The San Francisco Chronicle bills itself as 'The Voice of the West.' Alas, it's a mediocre regional paper, somewhat less in quality than The Philadelphia Inquirer, even. (Robert J. Rosenthal, the paper's vice president and managing editor, used to be editor of the Philly paper).

Be that as it may, someone's doing the right thing on the editorial page. Scathing attack on King George and his Adminstration of Royalties. This, when we, on this day, were celebrating the defeat of that other King George. The nut of the editorial was that Americans are complacent -- not rising up against the tyrannies of our current King George. (I used to say that Americans would indeed rise up -- when petrol reached $3.00 a gallon. I was wrong. It's more than that now in California. And rising -- thanks to King George and his Petrologists).

I digress. Back to the editorial. It concludes, 'The men who signed the Declaration of Independence were not doing so to commission an annual party. They were making a covenant with history that requires day-to-day vigilance to defend the liberties it asserted. Honor them by speaking out.'

Whilst we still can, I might add.

This insight and boldness from what is now a Hearst newspaper of all things. Again, how things change. (One of the grandest additions to the New York archy scene is Foster's addition to the Heart Building there).

Saw the other Hearst Building -- San Simeon Castle, off Route 1 -- whilst driving up. Quite a sad place.

A happier place I visited was SF's City Hall -- the site some years ago of Ray and Julia's wedding. Happy anniversary, guys!