Hastings’ genocidal ties
On the heels of a newly popular movement to rename Justin Herman Plaza, another SF institution is under scrutiny for its troubling namesake.
As reported last week, a petition suggesting that the Embarcadero’s Justin Herman Plaza be renamed after poet Maya Angelou was rapidly gathering steam, and as of publication had 10,828 signatures toward its now 11K goal.
The name change, proposed due to Herman’s role in the destruction of the city’s historically-black Fillmore District in the 1960s, received some high-profile support in the San Francisco Chronicle in May, with then-columnist David Talbot writing that “In 2001, Supervisor Chris Daly introduced a resolution to strip Herman’s name from the plaza, but it never even got a board hearing. In 2015, Brett Harris-Anderson, who grew up in the Western Addition, and his wife, Michelle, started a petition to rename the plaza after the late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.”
Neither were successful.
But as that battle rages. And just two months after the University of San Francisco renamed their Phelan Hall (named after notoriously racist SF Mayor James Phelan, who ran a “Keep California White” political campaign at the turn of the last century) after USF alum and the NFL’s first black rep, Burl Toler, an opinion piece in the Chron this weekend says that SF’s Hastings College of the Law needs to mull a name change as well.
Hastings founder Serranus Clinton Hastings was, argues Hastings adjunct professor John Briscoe, a promoter and financier of expeditions to kill Native Americans. He also founded Stanford University, naming it after his son, Leland Stanford Jr.
Their ability to acquire land titles was facilitated by the massacre of the rightful claimants, a near-extinction they promoted and funded. As UCLA professor Benjamin Madley wrote in his sobering “An American Genocide,” published in 2016 by none other than Yale University Press, both Stanford and Hastings had “helped to facilitate genocide.”
Our rising sensibility obliterates the names of those who sought to enslave or discriminate against a people. How ought we treat the names of those who sought to exterminate a people?
Should Market Street sidewalks have a bike lane?
Sidewalk cyclists are one of the few things that brings everyone together, as cyclists hate them for making bike riders look bad, pedestrians hate them for making the sidewalks less safe, and motorists hate them for appearing seemingly out of nowhere as they attempt to turn. But what if sidewalk cycling was an intentional development for SF streets?
That’s what Streetsblog SF is suggesting in an admittedly provocative post. Citing Berlin, which places their bike lanes on the outer edge of the sidewalk, they say such lanes might be “the answer we’re looking for to solve the mess that is Market Street.”
These aren’t the shared pedestrian/bike paths you see in the Panhandle and elsewhere, with a “division between pedestrian space and bicycle space” that Streetsblog agrees “is poorly defined.”
Instead, Streetsblog suggests that the area of the sidewalk where we now see bike racks could instead be a bike riding space, as though “we all appreciate someplace to lock up our bikes, isn’t it more important not to get crushed under a bus?”
As SF goes, so goes Paris
Airbnb’s agreement to comply with San Francisco’s requirement that hosts register with the city has apparently had a domino effect overseas, with Paris now demanding similar concessions from the lodging company.
It took multiple pieces of legislation and a high-profile lawsuit before Airbnb agreed to in May require San Francisco hosts to demonstrate that they are legally registered with the city’s short-term rental authority. This has apparently paved the way in other cities, with the City Council of Paris agreeing last week to require all short-term hosts to register with the city.
When San Francisco enacted that requirement, Airbnb fought back and refused to force hosts to demonstrate compliance. SF volleyed back with legislation in June of 2016 that would fine the company as much as $1000 per day per scofflaw host. With an estimated three-fourths of SF hosts estimated to be unregistered, that’s a pricey fee, and one Airbnb vowed to fight in a series of fiery statements.
Those fiery statements were not in evidence when Paris made their decision last week. The Paris rules, which Reuters reports were met with cheers by French hoteliers, require registrants to cap full-home rentals at 120 days a year (sound familiar?) and to collect local taxes. Nearly 20,000 rental properties have dropped off the market since Airbnb launched in Paris, Reuters reports, a situation that likely also rings a bell for many San Franciscans.
According to Reuters, “an Airbnb spokesman said the rental website would comply with the new rules and ensure its clients knew about it,” a far cry from the insulting ad campaign and legal threats the company made against SF when it set similar requirements in just a few years ago.
Hey, Paris? You’re welcome.