Garcia: Yank game to send message 

I know I’m part of a high percentage of San Francisco residents that do a slow burn when our elected officials start passing resolutions blasting regimes in China, Africa, Burma and a number of other countries they couldn’t find on a map for policies and indiscretions that don’t quite meet The City’s politically correct and self-righteous standards.

And that’s especially true of Burma, which has actually been Myanmar for years. It’s a place Supervisor Chris Daly should help save after he departs our town for Fairfield later this year.

But I have to give credit to City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor David Campos for being early out of the gate on the idea of getting Major League Baseball to move next year’s All-Star game out of Arizona if state leaders don’t change their frighteningly misdirected law that requires law enforcement officials to harass people that are “suspected” of being illegal immigrants.

The idea of boycotting Arizona businesses with ties to San Francisco is so difficult that it’s nearly unworkable — it would have jeopardized a new $323 million contract with the San Francisco International Airport, which houses Arizona-based U.S. Airways, among others. And while Daly and others may not see the ridiculousness involved in calls to boycott Arizona Diamondbacks games here, most clear-thinkers do, since Hispanics make up 30 percent of major-league rosters and they clearly have no support for Arizona’s rash immigrant-scanning policy.

But the very specific act to target one high-profile event is a powerful message that has proven effective. It’s based on a similar action 20 years ago when Arizona (once again) refused to honor the national holiday for slain civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and there was so much public pressure that the NFL moved the Super Bowl out of Arizona, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Arizona got in line after that, and now that it’s crossed it again, it’s time to bring out the heavy lumber.

“With about 460,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona, I sympathize with the problems they’re facing, but this law is so over the top that there’s no doubt it will lead to racial profiling,” Herrera said. “I think it’s pretty likely that law enforcement officials won’t be stopping blond, blue-eyed children from Sweden.”

Several national columnists also are calling on baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to pull the game. The bet here is that he will.


Supervisors posture while pilfering funds

The next time you see a parking ticket flapping on your windshield, don’t take your anger out an overly efficient San Francisco parking control officer. Think instead of your politically charged Board of Supervisors, which is doing its best to make life miserable for every car owner who dares come to town.

This week, shortly after holding up a $7 million allocation to Muni that would have helped reduce the transit agency’s gnawing budget deficit, a few on the board’s so-called “progressive” bloc held a demonstration alongside members of Muni’s drivers union to protest proposed service cuts.

That would be the same members of the Transport Workers Union who rejected a plan to reduce their salaries that would have saved San Francisco approximately $15 million this year — and greatly reduced the need for those same service cuts.

Likewise, the board’s majority has balked at a number of other budget packages to offset the deficit, and now finds itself needing to find tens of millions of dollars without any new ideas. Instead, it’s looking at a host of fee hikes and other hidden taxes — like adding more than 5,000 parking meters in San Francisco, extending meter enforcement to Sundays, nights and holidays, and possibly yet another increase in residential parking fees and parking garage rate hikes.

That proves once again that when you hitch your rail car to an ideological post, there’s just no way to get out of the yard.

You should start calling your supervisor now.


Moms reinforcing efforts to find children’s killers

Most people view Mother’s Day as a chance to say thanks, but for some families it’s just another painful reminder.

Loss will do that to people, which is why some of them will be gathering on the Polk Street steps of City Hall at 10 a.m. Sunday to remind others why some holidays feel like recurring nightmares. That’s where a group of parents whose sons and daughters have been murdered will congregate to ask officials not to stop in their efforts to find the culprits. They are all part of a group whose children are the victims of unsolved homicides.

“No matter how much time goes by, there’s not a minute we don’t think about our kids,” said Elsa Casillas, one of the leaders of the effort. “We still have hope that the suspects will be found.”

Casillas’ son Alberto was shot to death in his car by unknown assailants in the South of Market area three years ago following an altercation at a nightclub. San Francisco homicide inspectors [(415) 553-1145] have posted a $250,000 reward for information in the case, but all the leads have gone cold.

“We won’t give up,” Elsa said. “We’re asking others not to either.”


New Civic Center art piece armed and giant

It appears the best way to get public art in San Francisco is not to debate it — just install it overnight before a million critics descend. That will explain how a giant copper statue of Buddha found a new space at the Civic Center Plaza this week — three heads, six arms and a certified car-stopper.

It’s another one of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s temporary art installations — this one courtesy of a museum in China — that he likes to place around town. This one is a lot more dazzling than the giant black spider that appeared on The Embarcadero not long ago, but that piece had its fans too.

After the giant foot-sculpture and the massive peace-sign projects got publicly axed years ago, there has been little discussion about permanent art fixtures in San Francisco. Chances are this Buddha might have gotten a thumbs-up — all six of them.

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Ken Garcia

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