Commentary: Quentin L. Kopp

Cow Palace Out to Pasture?

 It has been observed: “How do you know when a politician is lying?” The answer is: “When he (or she) opens his (or her) mouth!” 

I observed that in person last month during the highly successful Grand National Rodeo and Junior Livestock Show at the Cow Palace when State Treasurer Fiona Ma, former S.F. Board of Supervisors and State Assembly member and now a candidate for re-election as state treasurer, was allowed foolishly to address the crowd of about 5,000. 

In May 2019, State Sen. Scott Weiner tried to convey the 68-acre Cow Palace to land developers with a bill establishing a Cow Palace Authority composed of representatives from Daly City, San Francisco and San Mateo County. His legislation would have forced the state, owner of Agriculture District 1A, to transfer the property without compensating California taxpayers. (When exposed to such duplicity, Weiner amended his bill to require payment of the Cow Palace at market value to the state by San Francisco, Daly City and San Mateo County. In 2008, an appraisal determined it was worth $147 million; by 2019, its value exceeded $300 million!) 

Fortunately, the bill was stopped. But then-Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma was the very first person to testify in support of the Cow Palace death sentence. On Oct. 8, 2022, just three years later, Ma falsely declared to the rodeo crowd she had “saved” the Cow Palace in 2009 from extinction. It was in fact the Cow Palace governing board and staff which did so by attracting events and tenants after the 2008 recession caused termination of state funding. The Cow Palace today possesses savings of about $6 million from gross receipts. Ma isn’t responsible for that surplus or “saving” the Cow Palace, which is why it is said: “The honesty of many politicians has never been questioned. In, fact, it’s never been mentioned.”

 Mark Twain once declared: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, but your government only when it deserves it.” Examples abound. 

So-called “sanctuary cities” represent one example. As illegal immigration rises nationally at our southern border, our national government countenances it. The words “illegal alien” are panned by contemporary purveyors of journalism. One U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit judge in San Francisco on Sept. 9, 2022, Judge Carlos Bea, chided his colleagues for calling illegal aliens “non-citizens” in an immigration ruling after the majority declared readers of the court opinion might find the word “alien” to be offensive! 

In the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 22, Karl Rove of political action committee American Crossroads noted that, in fiscal year 2021-2022, 2,156,639 illegal aliens had been apprehended on our southwest border, more than 25% higher than the prior year’s 1,734,686 and over four times more than 2020’s total of 458,098. Arizona, Texas and Florida must deal with surging illegality. As Rove observed, when Texas’s governor shipped 500 illegal aliens to Chicago, 7,400 to Washington, D.C. and some 1,500 to New York City, that is a pittance of the number border states receive. Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. – like San Francisco – are “sanctuary cities.” They should embrace illegal aliens, not feign indignation and allow Vice President Kamala Harris to proclaim “our border is secure” without contradiction. The count doesn’t include the illegals who weren’t caught by the Border Patrol whose department chief Alejandro Mayorkas testified at a congressional hearing there were about 338,155 more who escaped capture in the 2021 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2020-Sept. 30, 2021) which, if extrapolated, means more than 482,000 uncaptured more illegal aliens in this fiscal year. 

Our state and local governments, however, ignore our sanctuary status and attack border state political officials. And, thanks to California’s legislature and governor, as of Jan. 1, 2023, you needn’t be a citizen to be a California law enforcement officer. (I can’t wait for some knucklehead legislator to sponsor a bill to allow illegal aliens to be cops.) Our Sacramento heroes in this fiscal year’s budget (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) have now conferred “full-scope Medi-Cal benefits” upon California’s illegal aliens 60 years of age or older, imposing a state-mandated program for local governments like San Francisco to spend an estimated $858 million annually on California’s estimated (per the Pew Research Center) 2.2 million illegal aliens. Previously in 2015 and 2019, Medi-Cal coverage was legislatively enlarged to include illegal aliens’ children and, in 2020, to adults aged 19-25 years.

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment in my legal and political lifetime has vexed gunowners and opponents alike. In California and elsewhere, the National Rifle Association once constituted a major election force. That’s now untrue in California, which, during my 1986-1998 State Senate years, could stop bills supposedly hostile to its members. Last month, an astute Californian in La Mesa reminded national newspaper readers that “modern” gun control started in 1967 when then-Gov. Ronald Reagan approved gun-control legislation resulting from the Black Panthers using guns. Thus, Blacks were the cause of attempts to suppress firearm sales. The gun deaths of six Stockton grade-schoolers in 1987 inspired broader registration and other controls by then-Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti from Los Angeles, which I supported. The N.R.A. thereafter tried to recall Roberti and failed. The N.R.A. never endorsed my two Senate re-elections and has lost power in California, but not in southern states.

On the eve of an election, a candidate asked a reporter: “Did you hear my last speech?” The reporter replied: “I certainly hope so.”

 I convey warm best wishes to all faithful (and even unfaithful) readers for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving. Remember our military veterans on 11 November.

Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, member of the SF Ethics Commission and retired judge. 

1 reply »

  1. Senator Kopp, thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy of Fiona Ma. We have an abundance of hypocrites in local politics, Dean Preston is a great example. According to a UC Berkeley professor, Preston has blocked housing for 8,587 people and voted against housing for 28,708 people. Now he is pushing Proposition M, to impose a tax on private property owners who aren’t using their personal real estate as he sees fit. Worst of all, Prop M can be completely changed later by the Board of Supervisors; Duplexes and Single Family Homes will be added, the amount of the tax will surely increase, and the time period that counts as “ vacant “ will be decreased. The Board of Supervisors should not control private property, vote No on M, M for Misleading.


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