Return to Laura Drawbridge main page
Return to gratuitous commentary page
5-21-95 - NOTES ON THE NATIONAL SCENE...let's see, Ex-President George Bush has his teeth sunk in the backside of the National Rifle Association for calling federal agents "jack-booted thugs", the National Rifle Association has its teeth sunk in the backside of the ATF, the ATF has its teeth sunk in the backside of the citizens' militia, the citizens' militia has its teeth sunk in the backside of President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno, in the meantime the New York City police take advantage of Clinton's National Police Memorial Day photo opportunity to go on a three-day drunken rampage shooting off their weapons, traipsing naked through their hotel assaulting women and spraying bystanders with fire extinguishers while the Washington DC officers look the other way.......in the meantime Clinton offers the observation that anyone who disrespects men in uniform are "offering aid and comfort to the enemy," against the backdrop of troubled Army veteran Shawn Timothy Nelson hopping in an Army tank in San Diego and mowing down cars, fire hydrants, traffic signs and everything else in his way...one can imagine a "Question Authority" bumpersticker on the back of that tank and I, Laura Drawbridge, have to confess I'm enjoying this immensely....
ON THE LOCAL BEAT.....it was a very sad scene Tuesday night at the May 16th City Council meeting watching the inevitable come to pass as the city of Berkeley fell one short of the votes necessary to fund the Rose House, a facility for AIDS patients which would have represented this so-called compassionate city's first baby step toward addressing an overwhelming need for supportive housing for AIDS patients. While the small but vocal group of citizen opponents felt no need to disguise their prejudice and homophobia, the City Council took great and comical pains to disguise theirs. Landlord Mary Wainwright, representative for District 2, pointed out that years ago she had actually reduced the rent of one of her tenants dying of AIDS, thus satisfying her compassion quota for the century. Betty Olds, starchy District 6 representative, assured the public that she supported housing for AIDS patients just not this project at this time in this neighborhood, etc., same kind of thing from Mayor Shirley Dean. District 5 representative Diane Woolley-Bauer at least had the grace and or prudence to have a prepared statement explaining her opposition point by point, unlike her colleague District 8 representative Polly Armstrong who took the prize for making by far and away the most bizarre statement of the evening, expressing a hope that all the people she loved who had died of AIDS were listening in as she cast her vote against the Rose House facility and quote, "know she's doing the right thing."
We at free radio immediately went to work taking a poll of dead AIDS patients and found the opposite to be true; an overwhelming majority of the deceased favor the Rose House facility, the few who oppose the project oppose it on the grounds that nobody should have to live in a neighborhood full of bigots.
Two final notes on the matter; those of you who blew off voting in the mayoral run-off can blame yourselves for handing that crucial fifth vote to not only the Council but every commission in town, insuring the failure of this and probably other affordable housing efforts. Yes, voting does matter.
Secondly, why not pressure ex-interim mayor Jeffrey Leiter and all his rich buddies to privately fund the Rose House? I appreciated his stepping out in support of the project, but I would appreciate his putting his money where his mouth is, and it would go a long way toward restoring the image he wanted to have as a can-do kind of guy, since right now all he's managed to accomplish is making Berkeley the panhandling/anti-panhandling joke of the nation as it sends constitutionally flawed anti-panhandling legislation through a gauntlet of right-wing courts in the hope of economically cleansing its commercial districts. Come on, Jeffrey! We know you secretly listen to free radio and we know you've got the money! Step out and do the right thing! Just a word from Laura Drawbridge here on 104.1.