Debra J. Saunders

When voters support "Care Not Cash'' obstructionists -- Alioto, Ammiano, Gonzalez and Leal -- they lead City Hall politicians to believe the electorate is not serious.

Binder has a nicer way of looking at what I see as schizoid voting. "Sometimes we overlook the pragmatic center of San Francisco," Binder noted, referring to less ideological voters "who generally have the votes to swing the balance of power from one side to another. They just want a city that works, and they want to be proud of their city."

Fine, but if the voters are angry at the advance of squalor downtown and in the neighborhoods, and if they want action, they won't get what they want by sending mixed messages that tell "progressives" they can keep stonewalling.

In politics, only strong numbers talk. Look at what happened after Arnold Schwarzenegger's solid victory at the polls. When it looked as if he might just squeak into office, Sacramento Democrats were ready to pounce on the new governor. Then, when the numbers proved to be so great that savvy partisans were forced to admit that voters were rejecting politics as usual, they began tripping over each other in their eagerness to show they got the message.

San Francisco is a beautiful city. There is no excuse for the rancid smells. There's no excuse for letting sick people degrade themselves and the streets they inhabit.

Yet there would be no need for excuses if voters didn't repeatedly vote against their own wishes. So, if San Franciscans don't strongly back Gavin Newsom, the man with the plan, maybe they're not serious about cleaning up their city.

Debra J. Saunders

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