The Fruits of the Nation

If you are mayor of San Francisco, you are expected to deal with a lot of flakes, but I don't think you would expect to get into a beef with the Nation of Islam: New round in Newsom, Nation of Islam tiff

For weeks, Minister Christopher Muhammad and members of the Nation of Islam have dogged San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's fledgling gubernatorial campaign up and down the state.

Muhammad and his crew have been pummeling Newsom for what they say is his refusal to deal with toxic dust kicked up by developers at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The development is on a city-controlled site near the school that the Nation of Islam runs.

Newsom, whose Health Department insists there isn't a problem, has met twice with Muhammad in the past two weeks. Both meetings have been frosty.

I'll bet they have. Liberals like Newsom put a lot of effort into "doing good" just so they can avoid getting into disputes with ghetto activists over toxic waste. That sort of grief's for Republicans! If only it were that simple.

Still, the City may have an out. The Nation is also a tenant of the City and it has fallen few years behind on its rent.

But as chests were being bumped, San Francisco's new Housing Authority boss Henry Alvarez was busy a few blocks away, digging through his office files and - lo and behold - discovered a March 2002 rental agreement signed by the minister.

It showed that his non-profit Center For Self Improvement and Community Development had agreed to pay $2,000 a month to occupy a set of portable classrooms on city-owned land at Hunters Point.

The city has known about the back rent for years, but never tried to collect - until Monday, when Alvarez, after consulting with the Housing Authority Commission headed by Rev. Amos Brown (another rival of Muhammad's), fired off a letter giving the school a 30-day notice to come up with the first $24,000 or face the possibility of eviction.

By my count that's a rent default of $168,000. I don't think you or I could get away with that. This is just a wild guess, but I am thinking Christopher Muhammed is the kind of guy who thinks he should get reparations for slavery. Surely, occupying City property rent-free for seven years is enough reparation for him.

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