Black Privilege loses to White Power, White Politics and White Privilege in SF June Election’s Proposition I

I am a Black man who feels privileged to have lived in a city like San Francisco since 1960. I loved the challenge of bringing forth a ballot measure with the intent of bringing out the best in San Francisco. But the miscalculation of not counting on the worst of San Francisco showing up at the polls was my biggest rookie mistake.

San Francisco City Hall

The nearly 98,000 votes of support were proof that this was no “frivolous” ballot measure as one person believed. But the 131,000 votes that opposed it only made me philosophical: I’m deflated but not defeated. A setback is really a step forward for those who are determined.

I wrote Proposition I aka “Relocation of Professional Sports Teams”, to bring attention to SF City Hall’s racism, corruption, covetousness, and greed by using the construction of the new $1 billion Golden State Warriors “Chase Center” arena as the low hanging fruit of proof.

Disabled, I used $200.00 from my social security to file the ballot measure, which was written on my Samsung cellphone. Then I got a shot in the arm support when an Oakland, CA insurance executive donated $5,000.00 to my GoFundMe account, “Stop the Warriors from moving.” This same executive; a White man, contributed an additional $55,000.00 of support.

I formed the Good Neighbor Coalition; with GREAT help, and laid out harsh criticism of SF City Hall led corrupt tactics, which I claim is the foundation for this 18,000 seat arena being built across the street from a new Children’s hospital.

A year later, I now see the defeat of Proposition I, 58% to 42%, with over 228,000 votes counted so far. Half of The City’s current 478,000 registered voters, voted in this June primary and we know the higher than normal numbers were due to the forced election of a new mayor per City Charter.

Another rookie mistake on my part was thinking I could win without publicity. And the fact that for years I’ve been accusing the main print media of being racist against the SF Black community did not lead to any sympathy from them, which I admit I needed even though I stand by my criticism of the San Francisco main print media.

Ultimately, I am convinced that gullible voters of San Francisco were misled by the opposition of White power, politics, and privilege in high places bent on having the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors relocate to The City. Common sense says that people who vote, will not support stealing from one’s neighbor. Nor would they support those who attempt to avoid paying their debts, which was laid out in the ballot measure. Could I have made my measure clearer? 98, 000 voters understood Prop. I.

White Power:

Professional sports teams in America are owned by 99.9% White people. These billionaire owners historically use their power to bully municipalities, communities of color and loyal fans to foot the bill for their playpen stadiums and arenas. When their blackmailing tactics fail, they then simply get revenge by packing up their toys and relocating to some blindly excited community by promising the moon to the new community while at the same time mooning the old loyal community. With no sympathy or empathy for the people who helped them become rich enough to purchase the world’s richest toys, these billionaires rarely if ever lose this game.

White Politics:

In San Francisco, when the 49ers took a $1.3 billion stadium project out of the city, the owners had the nerve to ask for and receive from SF politicians a break on their last year’s Candlestick Park lease of $5 million, for a mere upfront $1 million. Why would a politician make a business deal with a business that was not in the best interest of the Black SF community that in this case, just lost a $1.3 billion stadium project? Or how did this same politician convince 10 other colleagues this was in the best interest of The City?

This same White SF politician was described as lacking “Integrity” by The City’s Ethics Commission and was then voted almost two years later to be temporary mayor for six months by the majority of his colleagues in another City Hall scandal.

The Golden State Warriors are suing to get out of paying $40 million in upgrades for their current Oracle arena home in Oakland. Team owner’s position: since they are leaving 7 years before their 20-year bond agreement to refurbish Oracle is paid, they should not have to pay for an arena they are not using. This was the linchpin of the ballot measure, believing no voter would support billionaires stiffing communities for millions. But I knew the fix was in when all main print media of San Francisco and 30 top SF Democrat politicians all refused to mention the pay your bill aspect of the ballot measure when they all recommended a “No” vote.

White Privilege:

When the Golden State Warriors were sold for $450 million in the year 2010, the San Francisco population was approximately 805,766. Today the new owners can take pride in a team that is worth $2.6 billion. The City population over the same time has increased to 884,363.

Most of the 78,597 new residents who relocated to San Francisco are White and many of them know the importance of voting, so of course, they registered. In no way am I suggesting all White people voted against Proposition I. I am merely pointing out the fact that newcomers; regardless of race, are more likely than not to vote no on something they do not understand due to little or no history in San Francisco.

For instance: If a politician claims the Warriors were here (SF) first as his or her reason to reject Prop. I, a newcomer might believe that and vote accordingly. How would that same newcomer voter, vote if they heard the real story, the Warriors left San Francisco because they were forced the out of The City due to lack of support for their entire nine years as the San Francisco Warriors? Or what about having something in common. The newcomer and a professional basketball team coming to San Francisco at approximately the same time. Then there is the “I hate sports” newcomer who would not even bother reading the measure language. Just checks no on his or her ballot.

White privilege syndrome has been in San Francisco since the gold rush days. But it has increased with a careless boldness that shows no signs of guilt or shame in 21st century San Francisco. With the spirit of a carpetbagger, they are intent on changing San Francisco with their money and sense of entitlement and they gravitate only to longtime White privilege San Franciscans. But they are slick in doing their dirty deeds using the alias, “Progressives.”

The new owners of the World Champion Golden State Warriors were looking to build a new arena before they became champs of the NBA. Instead of building on 130 acres in a Black Oakland community, they used their White power and privilege with help from City Hall’s White politics to build on 11 acres in a San Francisco White community, across the street from a Children’s hospital.

I see the reason for the move as greed by owners of a sports franchise for which I accept. What I do not accept is White power, politics, and privilege poaching from a Black community with no sympathy or empathy for the community that supported the Warriors for 47 years. And in the process rewarding a City Hall that has treated its own Black communities like they deserve no privilege to benefit from the place they helped build.

So, the solution: Back to the drawing board (Samsung cell phone) for another ballot measure where power, politics, privilege and newcomers can understand, a world-class city helps its neighbors; it does not help itself to its neighbor’s jewels. Or the true meaning of, “It’s better to give than receive.”

1983 to 1993 Bible Study teacher at SF juvenile hall. Currently prison reform activist and author of Case Game - Activating the Activist; an autobiography.