Former School Board president Kim, 33, was the first member of the Class of 2010 to introduce legislation on the first opportunity two weeks ago. This past week, her third in office, she became the first newly-inaugurated supervisor to make a big headline — with accompanying frightening Web comments — with her “refusal” to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at Board meetings, something she did for four years previously as a member of the Board of Education (she does stand for it, as she does for the Star-Spangled Banner at sporting events).
Then on Wednesday, she became the first new supervisor to be subject of a public calling-out via the medium of video, in which an animal-rights activist remonstrates Kim for a “refusal” to set up a meeting.
Kim was in New York City this week. She made the trip to fulfill a speaking obligation at her old high school, where teachers and students alike applauded her stance against the pledge, she told the Appeal. Meanwhile, the pledge flap appears to have died down: the story led some local television broadcasts earlier in the week and is on a few spooky right-wing Web sites, but has gone no further (though Kim was approached by FOX News for an interview on the matter, and the 24/7 cable news grist mill may yet see fit to make hay on the story).
The locally-produced video calling-out is the brainchild of Andrew Zollman of LGBT Compassion, an animal-rights group that has made protesting live chicken sales at the Heart of the City Farmers Market — which graces UN Plaza near City Hall in District 6 every Wednesday and Sunday — its mission. During his pickets of Raymond Young Live Poultry, Zollman photographed and video-recorded a litany of what he says are violations of both state animal cruelty laws and local public health statutes. He tried to meet with Kim’s predecessor Chris Daly with no success, and was evidently dissatisfied enough with Kim’s office that he was compelled to create a video for the occasion.
Staffers for both Daly and Kim say they have told Zollman that the chicken sales issue is in the purview of the Department of Public Health, who have not seen fit to shut down the market (Meanwhile, Zollman and his group are accusing one of the Raymond Young Poultry workers of assault, and are represented in San Francisco Superior Court in said case by former mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez, on whose 2003 campaign Kim was a volunteer).
Nevertheless, Zollman attempted numerous times to set up a meeting with Kim in order to present his case to shut down the chicken sales but was rebuffed, he told the Appeal. The final straw was last Monday, when Zollman says he received a voicemail in which a Kim intern told him “a meeting is not in the offing.” He circulated the video, entitled “Supervisor Jane Kim ignores farmers’ market’s problems,” to members of the media last week, after Gonzalez filed a lawsuit against the chicken sellers.
Kim staffers did contact Zollman on Friday to schedule a meeting, but the question remains: why go hard after Jane? Zollman says it’s because Kim is a new supervisor who promised to clean up city streets; holding her accountable early will bring results, he told the Appeal.
Others suggest that Kim’s a target of ire in part because she’s a young woman. Women in politics get a raw deal, according to Jessica Grounds, executive director of Running Start, a nonprofit that prepares young women for the political life.
“Young female candidates get slammed for inexperience, while their young male counterparts are seen as ambitious and assertive,” she told a women’s rights Web site. “And there’s an enormous media bias in the way women are depicted in the news.”
When the Board of Education took up the issue of banning JROTC in public schools, Kim was the only member to receive death threats – odd considering that two other members, one of them now-Supervisor Eric Mar, took the point on the issue. SFUSD attorneys told Kim it had to do with her age and her gender. “For some reason, young women are more of a target,” she told the Appeal. “I’m not sure why it is – maybe it’s a power thing? People feel they can get away with it?”