Really, I'm sympathetic to the San Francisco Chronicle's need to sell newspapers. And all I have to do is pick one up to know the familiar birdcage liner is in trouble. It's shrunk to a sliver of its former self.
But I could sure do without its periodic campaigns to demonize someone or something in order to attract attention. Last summer it took aim at the 200 or so of San Francisco's homeless people who take refuge in Golden Gate Park. Day after day, a columnist bashed the campers and the authorities who didn't remove them.
This week, the Chron found a juicy target in the city's sanctuary ordinance and the slightly dopey measures city officials have taken to comply with it.
What's a "Sanctuary" law? It's a promise to undocumented immigrants that local authorities won't turn them over to immigration police unless absolutely required to do so by law. As recently as April, San Francisco pols were proud of how San Francisco enforced its ordinance. From the mayor's website:
That all sounds pretty sensible and probably most of us here agreed -- until the Chron broke the news that the city was dealing with undocumented Honduran juveniles picked up for dealing crack by flying them home at city expense. Hmmm. That does seem a little wacky. And now mayors, and juvie bureaucrats, and the U.S. Attorney, and judges are all throwing around this hot potato in a desperate attempt to leave someone holding responsibility for the (now ended) policy. It's hard to blame the Chron for having some fun with this.
However, as is often the case, our elected Public Defender Jeff Adachi made one the few sensible responses to the revelation:
Wouldn't want to take context into account when we're in a panic, now would we?
Meanwhile, out in the 'hood, tenacious folks from Brigada Contra Las Redadas (Brigades Against the Ice Raids) were holding a sign outside the Police Station at 17th and Valencia yesterday afternoon. They live in another reality. Out here, according to their flyer:
Somehow, I bet real life is a little more like this for most of our undocumented workforce than it is like the Chron's picture of a foolish, "illegal"-coddling paradise.
But I don't have to sell papers.