Monthly Archives: March 2012

This Blog has moved!

This blog is no longer hosted on WordPress.  Instead, it can now only be accessed by going to http://www.sanfranciscomike.com.   If you have been accessing it through http://www.sanfranciscomike.wordpress.com, please check out the new site and adjust your readers.

See you there.

www.sanfranciscomike.com

Cheers!

Mike

Comments Off on This Blog has moved!

Filed under Uncategorized

Mayor of All the People: James Rolph, Jr.

James Rolph, Jr., or “Sunny Jim,” as he was known, served more mayoral terms in San Francisco than anyone else.  He was elected four times to office.  These elections were not close, instead they were landslides in Rolph’s favor.

Young Rolph had many jobs growing up including newsboy, clerk, and messenger.  Eventually, he started a shipping company with friends that allowed him to open his own bank.  In addition to his career, his public persona was also greatly enhanced by all the work he did leading a 1906 Earthquake Relief Committee.  All of this was just the foundation that eventually led him to run for public office and serve as mayor of San Francisco from 1912 – 1934 when he resigned the position to run and be elected as governor of San Francisco.

During his reign as mayor, he helped this great phoenix of a city rise from the ashes of the earthquake and grow strong.  The civic center area was rebuilt, the International Exposition was held, and several infrastructure projects were accomplished.

His nickname, “Sunny Jim,” comes from that fat that he was a very jovial and personable character.  He was known all over San Francisco as being generous and of good humor.  He was a man who could talk to anyone about anything and make them feel comfortable and at ease.  He was truly the “Mayor of All the People.”  There is even a story of him inviting Communist demonstrators into his office in city hall for a visit, instead of ordering violence to be carried out against them like what was happening in other cities throughout the nation.  You can’t get anymore San Francisco than that.

Never underestimate a person who is described as having “a great personality.”

Cheers!

Mike

Source:  Historic San Francisco:  A Concise History Guide, by Rand Richards.  (I can’t recommend this book enough.  It is awesome.)

Comments Off on Mayor of All the People: James Rolph, Jr.

Filed under San Francisco, San Francisco History, Uncategorized

San Francisco History: Executive Order 9066

The Amanche Japanese Internment Camp

If you read Cory Doctorow’s book, “Little Brother,” you will find a hostile and dangerous San Francisco.  In the book, a terrorist event causes the United States Department of Homeland Security to descend on the city and strip away the human rights of its citizens.  It is a phenomenal book which will leave you asking yourself if this really could happen in the United States.  Is it possible that the Constitution could be ignored and good people would then be treated as criminals?

The answer is YES.  In fact, it has already happened.  There are several examples, but none that parallel the book so much as how the Japanese Americans were treated during World War II.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which gave the military power to remove all persons they felt were a risk to national security.  Given the anti-Japanese sentiment at the time, it was obvious what population was being targeted by this legislation.  The military immediately set out to isolate anyone with 1/16 or more of Japanese blood, saying that they were a risk to national security.  Many of those who fit into this category were given only a couple of weeks to close their stores and businesses, board up their homes, and report to an area where the military would then take them to internment camps.  Many of these detainees were born and raised in America and even fought for the U.S. in World War I.  Now they were placed in rows of small wooden shacks, behind high fences, with armed guards securing the parameter to prevent escape.

During this time, the San Francisco Chronicle published the following:  “Last night, Japanese town was empty.  Its stores were vacant, its windows plastered with “To Lease” signs.  There were no guests in its hotels, no diners nibbling on sukiyaki or tempura.  And last night, too, there were no Japanese with their ever-present cameras and sketch books, no Japanese with their newly acquired furtive, frightened looks.”  San Francisco had let the United States government basically imprison a significant portion of its citizens just because they had 1/16 or more of Japanese blood.

The order was rescinded in 1944 allowing the occupants to return to their West Coast residences as of January 1945.  Many found that when they returned, they had to start all over again.  Some felt betrayed by their country and renounced their citizenship and settled in another part of the world.

Maybe Cory Doctorow’s book is meant as a warning lest history once again repeat itself, but this time in a much more high-tech fashion which would make it close to impossible to escape the scrutiny of the United States Department of Homeland Security.  Maybe its a call to action for all of us to look for and be aware of instances where the government is treating people like second class citizens or denying them basic rights.  You won’t have to look far for examples, just google Proposition 8,  or DOMA, or closely read the U.S. Patriot Act that supposedly protects us by taking our freedoms away.

Mike

Sources:

San Francisco:  A Cultural History, by Mick Sinclair

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

 

Comments Off on San Francisco History: Executive Order 9066

Filed under Uncategorized