POOR correspondent - Posted on 18 June 2010

Marlon Crump/PNN Wednesday, November 21, 2007; "I just want everyone here in San Francisco to know that I do NOT support the gang injunctions," native San Franciscan and recent mayoral candidate Lonnie Holmes told me in an interview for POOR Magazine. A juvenile probation officer and father of five, Mr. Holmes expressed his disbelief to me of the extremely secretive, racist and classist gang injunctions that have recently been implemented in San Francisco, as well as shared his views and opinions on many of the dire issues facing San Franciscans today. I met Mr. Holmes on a relatively warm November morning at the Harvest Urban Market in the SOMA district of the City. A well-dressed African-descent man, Mr. Holmes greeted me warmly and asked if I wanted to take a ride with him while he campaigned. We drove around his native neighborhood, the Western Addition Fillmore District, Grove and Hayes St, and just briefly at the Ella Hill Hutch, to greet his fellow colleagues and community members. A San Francisco Police Department squad car yielded to us as we passed the oncoming traffic, and Mr. Holmes gave a friendly acknowledgment to the officers, shouting out his run for the next Mayor of San Francisco, California. Mr. Holmes discussed his passion to help the youth, his family background, and his plan towards reshaping the Redevelopment Agency of its plans towards gentrification of the Bayview Hunter's Point, as San Francisco had done to the Fillmore, many years earlier. I was shocked and saddened to hear that his father, his aunt, and eight cousins died during the Jonestown Massacre in the South American country of Guyana. Mr. Holmes believes San Francisco is on of the verge of a governance disaster if there is no substantive campaign for the city's chief executive office. "If thousands of homeowners and renters are pushed out of the city by misguided policies and inattentive leadership, it would be just as big a tragedy as Jonestown," he said. We both expressed our feelings of resentment towards the rampant violence that has targeted communities of color, the unquestionable lack of employment opportunities for the youth, homelessness, and the gang injunctions. After about an hour of driving around, we returned to the Harvest Urban Market to continue our interview. Holmes stated that he believed in social economical change, and violence intervention by providing youth employment opportunities. Earlier that day, Mr. Holmes was at the scene of a murdered 20-year-old male, at Garlington Court in the Bayview Hunter's Point District. Though he felt that the youth nationwide, and predominately in communities of color were on the serious path of destruction, Holmes also felt that the onslaught of gang injunctions was not the solution at all towards violence reduction, anywhere in the country. He discussed the beginnings of the gang injunctions in Los Angeles and its spread all across the nation to New York. "The San Francisco City Attorney's Office is using the band aid approach, rather than treating the entire body. This city has invested a lot money into surveillance cameras, instead of providing much more valuable resources and support towards every community affected with the highest arrest rates," said Mr. Holmes. Mr. Holmes continued, "Crime can be a symptom caused by poverty, and people are being left out of the American Dream...San Francisco is a very wealthy town, being the Mecca for the wealthy, but it should be for everyone." Lonnie Holmes stated, however clearly to me that "Corporate Media will not get the privilege of coverage of my opinions, or stories of the issues that we're currently facing within this city, today. Only grassroots organizations of alternative media like POOR Magazine will have that privilege to cover these stories." My final question to Mr. Holmes was if he could have a face-to-face conversation with current Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, regarding these issues, what would he say to him. The eyebrows of Holmes shifted downwards, a frown on his face was formed, and the tone of pleasantry slightly changed, at the mere mention of Newsom. "What, you're asking me what I would say to Gavin Newsom regarding these issues? Let me ask you something, Marlon, you ever talked to a brick wall? Newsom's Administration has been truly ineffective to all of these issues, so what's the point?�" he asked me, as I chuckled to myself. Hearing Mr. Holmes speak so eloquently and openly about all of these issues made me realize how refreshing it is to finally speak to someone who listens and answers rather than continuing to try and talk to the brick wall of the Newsom administration.


Sign-up for POOR email!