Friday, March 16, 2007


Last night I flipped past SFGOVTV, a local cable channel that carries meetings of the Board of Supervisors, its committees, and some other local boards such as the Board of Education and the Taxi Commission.

Seeing our elected reps and other civil servants in action helps explain the bang per buck we’re getting as taxpayers.

Last night was a committee meeting that took place in the large chamber where the full Board of Supervisors meets. It’s a little uncanny to see only three of the supervisors’ chairs filled, and the commenters’ podium so disproportionately far from the three committee members.

Something seemed odd right away. It was a long shot. It looked like the supervisor talking was standing up and moving around. Then a closer shot revealed Supervisor Bevan Dufty (openly gay and a new father) was cuddling an infant in his arms. Dufty talked to the police officer witness as if holding the infant was so second-nature for him that he could totally concentrate on the city’s business, like Bevan was an old pro at child rearing. His constant little movement (rocking?) of the baby to keep it quiet was distracting.

The issue at hand was policing high and junior high school students during their after school commute on public transit (making schoolkids behave on the bus).

The police witness was in charge of some program about this issue. He was spouting the sort of long winded bureaucratese that climbers-through-the-ranks pick up by imitation. It was fairly worthless. All one could do was look at the baby.

Actually, it was pathetic.

I always smile when I see a little girl dressed up as a princess out walking with her mom or dad. Or a little boy wearing a Superman cape. (Or vice-versa.) I guess kids do this when they’re four or five or six years old. I admire the parents for indulging their kids’ ridiculous fantasies.

Sometimes you see slightly younger kids who have brought along a favorite toy or a teddy bear to remind them who they are. Sometimes a kid brings a new toy along just out of pride of ownership.

Back when AIDS changed the gay sex model from group-marriage to single-pair partnerships, we started to see a lot of dogs on Castro Street. Now it’s babies.

An infant, at any given time, requires greater-than-zero attention. Public business, at any given time, requires 100% attention. The math doesn’t work.

We would expect someone who puts themselves forward to make important decisions that affect thousands of lives (Bevan Dufty) to have the personal organizational skills to be able to arrange for childcare during official hearings.

I suppose this was a one-time emergency.

Once, many years ago on a half empty streetcar, a young mother changed her infant’s diaper. The smell was, let’s say, significant. Top that, Bevan Dufty!

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