S.F. Babylon: A Decade of Scandal, Hypocrisy, and Weirdness (Pt. 1)
Over the past decade, we have oftentimes felt as though we are living in an adult playground run by a feisty bunch of hypocrites, philanderers, and drunk-dialers. This, we have to admit, makes San Francisco a pretty exciting city in which to gather the news. Narrowing down the top 10 San Francisco SNAFUs of the decade was no easy task, but we did it. Today, we offer you part one of our list, in descending order of absurdity.
10. Bored President? - Everybody knew that former San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin was a bit of a trash talker. But at the beginning of 2008, somebody leaked a memo from Port of San Francisco director Monique Moyer complaining about how late in the evening, Peskin seemingly drunk-dialed port staff, including Moyer. During those phone calls, he threatened to eliminate jobs and "screw with" the budget because port staff disagreed with him over waterfront building-height limits, the memo said. "Things get heated from time to time in the legislative arena," he explained to the Chronicle.
Aaron Peskin via Paolo Vescia
9. Rotten Tomatoes - In early 2008, a new planning director named John Rahaim showed up, and he brought his unstable boyfriend, a chiropractor named Lance Farber. On February 22 after the two men had a "lover's quarrel," Farber overturned furniture, crushed tomatoes into the walls and carpet, and set the couple's mattress on fire. That caused thousands of dollars in damage to the residence in which they were staying, which happened to be an historic fire chief's home owned by the city. Farber, who cops apprehended soon after the conflagration for a DUI, was also charged with felony arson and vandalism. In the end, he skated with three years of probation and fines of up to almost $50,000 to repair the home. These days, San Francisco isn't as hospitable to its incoming employees.
8. Burned Man - By 2007, a lot of Burners had started to complain that the Burning Man festival had lost its spontaneous edge. Most people did what most people do -- they whined about it and then dropped a hit of Ecstasy and made sweet monkey love while wearing their sand goggles. In other words, they didn't do shit. Paul Addis was different. The former San Francisco resident prematurely set the 60-foot Burning Man ablaze. For this spontaneous act of rebellion, Addis was rewarded with jail time. There was much debate after Addis' arrest whether he was a hero or villain. But other run-ins with the law at the time -- including allegedly trying to burn down Grace Cathedral -- suggest he was more of a kook than anything else.
7. S.F.'s Badboy Supervisor Grows Up - Chris Daly is one of those progressive politicians that seemingly had a soap box surgically attached to his feet. He's all about keeping San Francisco gritty and filled with homeless people, and not so stoked on housing for middle-income families. You know, like his. So when Daly bought two houses in suburban Fairfield this year (and one as an investment property!), and claimed he wanted his children to grow up near their grandparents (read: where people don't get shot on the streets and public schools aren't god-awful) that was hypocrisy at its finest. No telling what new progressive policies Daly intends to impose on his bougie new bedroom community.
6. Sanctuary Shitty - Edwin Ramos, a gang member and illegal immigrant from El Salvador, had twice been a recipient of the kindness of San Francisco and its sanctuary city policy. Though he committed violent offenses here in his youth, he was never turned over to federal immigration authorities. Instead, he was allowed to stay here, and on June 22, 2008, he allegedly shot and killed a father and his two young sons (Ramos apparently mistook the father for a rival gang member). After the Chronicle reported the story, Gavin Newsom reversed the city's sanctuary policy and mandated that youth offenders be turned over to the feds immediately after being arrested. The Board of Supervisors considered that an overcorrection, and voted to delay the time youth offenders would be reported to ICE to after they are convicted.
By Ashley Harrell and Will Harper