San Francisco’s two bastions of progressive media, The San Francisco Bay Guardian and Beyond Chron, have been in a bit of a tiff lately. Most recently, Beyond Chron’s Randy Shaw is peeved at the Guardian’s fierce opposition to the tax breaks that moved Twitter to the mid-Market area and newly elected Supervisor Jane Kim’s role in shepherding the deal though the Board of Supervisors. However, like all good progressives, the Guardian and Beyond Chron have now found something to agree on–hating a Republican. In this case, it’s life-long Republican (now sudden Democrat), District Attorney by way of SFPD chief, George GascÃ³n.
In his first piece as a Guardian columnist, Quentin Kopp lays into GascÃ³n at the dawn of his reelection campaign. Kopp is a long-time fixture in San Francisco politics. He’s a former supervisor, judge, state senator, mayoral candidate, talk radio host, high speed rail advocate and largely the reason BART goes all the way to SFO. Kopp’s clearly been around the block a few times, so when he talks it’s wise to listen.
Above you can see a video of Kopp giving state senator Roy Ashurn an epic political smackdown over high speed rail. It ends with Kopp declaring, “I have an impeccable reputation for honesty, integrity and independence!”
Yeah, he’s also really entertaining. Kopp’s got everything you could ask for in a Guardian columnist and his first piece for the weekly doesn’t disappoint–it’s a scathing review of a GascÃ³n campaign event. It starts:
If the April 12, 2011 breakfast meet-and-greet featuring appointed District Attorney George GascÃ³n at a West Portal Avenue eatery constitutes a barometer of the campaign for that important public office, San Franciscans are in for a tepid exercise in municipal futility.
Kopp’s criticisms appear to be twofold. He gripes that GascÃ³n was being intentionally vague about issues inside the D.A.’s office and, most notably, that GascÃ³n uttered not one word about corruption–implying that as a newfound, and ever-so-quickly integrated, member of San Francisco’s political establishment, GascÃ³n wouldn’t have the temerity to bite the hand that feeds him/keeps giving him jobs.
Shaw agrees with Kopp’s assessment that GascÃ³n is all hat and no cattle. Like Kopp, Shaw is similarly scathing:
Appointed District Attorney George GascÃ³n, however, has become nearly invisible. Either due to wanting to avoid missteps before the November election, or being in over his head as a District Attorney who had never represented a client in a criminal case, the innovative leadership some expected from GascÃ³n has not emerged. In fact, his highest profile has been responding to Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s criticisms over alleged police wrongdoing at the Henry Hotel and other SRO’s, which occurred while Gascon headed the SFPD.
Shaw argues that, while San Francisco’s criminal justice culture is notoriously hostile to outsiders, GascÃ³n has, possibly intentionally, accomplished virtually nothing of note during his tenure as D.A.. While Kopp seemed to expect GascÃ³n’s lack of accomplishment, Shaw seems genuinely upset by it.
“Gascon will not be the first public servant whose track record of success ran aground in San Francisco,” writes Shaw, “but it is disappointing to see the self-silencing of an iconoclastic leader who once seemed unafraid to pursue change against great obstacles.”
Even though this doesn’t quite count as a “kiss and make up” for the two lefty rags, it’s at least something.