Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: On the California Anti-Corruption Initiative

On The California Anti-Corruption Initiative

Editor:

What can I say? My home town, San Francisco, is like no other.  We
are at the forefront of change, especially radical change. Policy
A? Oh, that started in San Francisco. Entitlement B? Burned into
every contract since, I don’t know when.  Look towards San
Francisco for the essence of … corruption?

The fine citizens of the City and County of San Francisco (at one
time referred to as “The City That Knows How” and, in an earlier
time, “Baghdad By The Bay”) have hearts as big as tomorrow … and
trust in elected officials that stretches from here to Washington.
We show our thanks to elected officials in unilateral partisan and
non-partisan votes. Tribute is shown in other ways, too. As a young
San Franciscan, I remember the change of the Golden Gate Park’s
Main Drive to John F. Kennedy Drive and, a few years later, the
South Drive became Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Within the city limits, we are graced with the following named
public properties: Willie Brown Bay Bridge, Diane Feinstein*
Elementary School, Nancy Pelosi* Way, John Burton Highway and the
Jackie Speier* CalTrain Locomotive (all individuals referenced are
living … and those marked * are CURRENTLY serving in elective
federal offices!).  The naming of public property might be
considered appropriate by some, but it is unlikely that an
individual moved to electorally challenge those office holders
would feel the same. More likely, legal minds might be motivated
to seek adjudication regarding the value in kind of such day in
and day out advertising for an office holder.

The next step would be to determine if campaign finance violations
have occurred.  In San Francisco, however, the Ethics Commission
seems to gingerly overlook such transgressions by public
commissions and boards responsible for this practice of naming.
Legislative prohibition of such naming is overdue. These practices
may seem innocuous. It makes our democratic process is less fair.

The previously mentioned CalTrain is operated by California
Department of Transportation. Aside from naming locomotives after
federal office holders, not much goes on that the public can see.
The two highways that enter the City  have more than their fair
share of potholes. Further, the reader is challenged to find any
significant stretch of either US101 or Interstate 280 that does
not suffer from a majority of signs rendered useless by being so
obstructed by vegetation or other environmental encroachment that
might, with regular attention be controlled. California needs to
stick to job of public works not public aggrandizement of elected
officials.

The proposed California Anti-Corruption Initiative is envisioned
to change this sorry state by making it illegal to affix or
associate the name of ANY living individual to any publicly owned
bridge, right of way, vehicle or other property. A practice that
accrues an advantage to an elected official (as such naming of
public property invariably does) is a corrupt practice and has no
place in California. It is the intention to draft wording for an
citizen initiative to circulate in 2020 for an upcoming election.

Harold M. Hoogasian, President
Hoogasian Flowers, Inc.

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