May 24, 2005

PARIS ON THE PACIFIC (via Lisa Fleischman)

Child Population Dwindles in San Francisco (LISA LEFF, 5/24/05, Associated Press)

Anne Bakstad and Ed Cohen are starting to feel as if their family of four is an endangered species in San Francisco.

Since the couple bought a house five years ago, more than a dozen families in their social circle have left the city for cheaper housing, better schools or both.

The goodbyes are so frequent that Carina, age 4 1/2, wants to know when she is going to move, too. Eric, 2 1/2, misses Gus, his playmate from across the street.

"When we get to know people through our kids, we think to ourselves, `Are they renters or owners? Where do they work?' You have to figure out how much time to invest in people," Bakstad said. "It makes you feel like, `Where is everyone going? Stay with us!'"

A similar lament is being heard in San Francisco's half-empty classrooms, in parks where parents are losing ground to dog owners, and in the corridors of City Hall.

San Francisco has the smallest share of small-fry of any major U.S. city. Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under.

It is no mystery why U.S. cities are losing children. The promise of safer streets, better schools and more space has drawn young families away from cities for as long as America has had suburbs.

But kids are even more scarce in San Francisco than in expensive New York (24 percent) or in retirement havens such as Palm Beach, Fla., (19 percent), according to Census estimates. [...]

Determined to change things, Mayor Gavin Newsom has put the kid crisis near the top of his agenda, appointing a 27-member policy council to develop plans for keeping families in the city.

"It goes to the heart and soul of what I think a city is about — it's about generations, it's about renewal and it's about aspirations," said Newsom, 37. "To me, that's what children represent and that's what families represent and we just can't sit back idly and let it go away."

Mr. Newsom apparently hasn't figured out that you can't attack the institution of marriage and attract families. SF stands for the proposition that given the opportunity, the secular Left could make life in America as bleak and anti-human as it is in Europe.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2005 4:27 PM

I tried searching the archives but couldn't find a posting you made over a similar phenomenon in Provincetown. Maybe it was from a year or so ago. Do you still have that?

Posted by: Matt C at May 24, 2005 4:54 PM

"A 27-member policy council" – yeah, that'll get something fixed in a hurry. I suppose in San Francisco seriousness is judged by the number of people on the committee. Or did it have to be that big to be properly inclusive?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 24, 2005 5:12 PM

Gavin Newsom is illustrative of the problem. A metrosexual kinda guy, he's married but childless, probably because his wife lives full-time in New York. If it weren't for the Chinese, the San Francisco School District would have to close up shop.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at May 24, 2005 5:15 PM

"SF stands for the proposition that given the opportunity, the secular Left could make life in America as bleak and anti-human as it is in Europe."

Worse, far worse. No European city I've ever been in would tolerate the level of panhandling, petty crime, and public defecation* that the people of San Francisco must put up with.

*Public urination is another matter. That's considered a basic human right on most of the continent.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at May 24, 2005 5:20 PM


The San Francisco homosexual activist groups will undoubtedly demand representation for one-third of the 27 seats.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at May 24, 2005 6:04 PM

As I wrote below:

Our Blue State Elite is just like and has modeled itself along the lines of the French Elite. The difference between France and the USA is that we have alternative power bases (Federalist No. 10), which have introduced a right wing dynamic into the political system.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at May 24, 2005 6:36 PM

If Gavin Newsom wants to plan to "keep families in the city," he might want to start authorizing, you know, MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING. SF (proper) is about to become the first major American city with average for-sale housing prices at or great than $1 million.

Posted by: Brad S at May 24, 2005 7:37 PM

Perhaps Mr. Newsom should fund male birth research. It is his only hope.

Posted by: ratbert at May 24, 2005 8:29 PM

OJ: the real issue here isn't attacking marriage, it's affordable housing as Brad S. notes. The politicians here have done all they can to make housing expensive. (But we have lots of subsidized housing, not the same thing, thanks to us taxpayers.)

Fred: The Newsoms split a few months ago.

Posted by: PapayaSF at May 24, 2005 9:13 PM

The issue isn't the attacks on marriage??? So you think that a married couple with 4 kids are just fine with having their kids grow being told that a pathological lifestyle is normative?

Posted by: ray at May 24, 2005 9:35 PM

Let me rephrase that: I think high housing costs, not the marriage issue, are the main cause of San Francisco's decreased child population.

Posted by: PapayaSF at May 25, 2005 12:28 AM


It ain't what you tell your kids, it's what you do.
Thus, being told that gays are A-OK, but being raised in a two parent hetero- household, isn't going to turn anyone homo- who wasn't already fey.

Plus, one would hope that concerned parents would teach their gay kids not to take illegal drugs and have anonymous sex with dozens of people weekly.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 25, 2005 6:34 AM


Yes, not like all those unconcerned parents who taught their gay kids that was a giggle.

Posted by: Peter B at May 25, 2005 7:10 AM