The San Francisco Left and the Marines (updated)

America's liberal-dominated media are doing their best to ignore a story of a leftist official snubbing the Marines. When the haters go too far in their anti-militarism, The Cause is damaged. may have reaped a lot of donations from its famous ad, but widespread pubic revulsion and the irregularities in the ad's handling by the New York Times have caused no end of woe for the "progressive camp."

In the wake of the MoveOn dust-up came another example of serious disrespect for the brave warriors who protect our freedoms: denial of a permit for the Marines to film on a city street in San Francisco. A team of Marines has been traveling the country, filming drill maneuvers in iconic places like Times Square. But San Francisco's Film Commission turned down their application for use of a city street on the day the team was in town.

The story has plenty of visual possibilities: connections to Hollywood celebrities, United States Marines in drill formation, and San Francisco playing its typecast role as a scenic citadel of crazy leftism. The official involved has a story that doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. Yet despite initial coverage in three major media outlets -- the San Francisco ABC television station (owned and operated by the network itself), USA Today, and Fox News  -- no other major media outlets have picked up the story. Mark Carney of USA Today has followed up and been given a runaround.   

When conservative embarrassments make their way into public notice, others rush in to amplify the damage. But the media are not anxious for this story to have any legs at all. Bias reveals itself in the stories that are not covered, as much as in stories that run.

That's too bad, because this story turns out to have some quite interesting connections.

The city official who denied the permit is Stefanie Coyote, the wife of left wing activist and actor Peter Coyote.  Even more interestingly, she is a former Teamster, and a highly controversial appointee to a city job, actively (and visibly) supported by Sean Penn when a longtime staffer was fired without cause, making way for her to run the city agency charged with attracting film production jobs to San Francisco her way with her people.

As the website Sweetness & Light (which unearthed her Teamsters background) sardonically commented,
"They are so desperate for more production jobs they turned down a commercial. Somehow, when it's something pro-American, jobs just don't matter."
The Marine Corps is not crushed. They have posted a version of the commercial to the web, with locations on federal land with views of the Golden Gate and other scenery.

Sweetness & Light finds a 2005 piece by Matier & Ross, the San Francisco Chronicle's ace investigative reporters, which reports Stefanie Coyote (then known as Stefanie Pleet Coyote) faced some potential hot water:

"... a possible ethics violation over her billing the city $1,125 for a couple of dozen boxes of scouting photos and other materials she had owned and turned over to the film office.

"Commissioners feared that the firing would blow up in a big public display for Billington at Monday's Film Commission hearing.

"Which, as far as anyone can figure, is why actors Penn and Coyote showed up - to make sure they had Pleet Coyote's back...

"Pleet Coyote said the two had been on hand for moral support. She declined to discuss Billington's firing, calling it a personnel matter.

"As for billing the city for her files, she said she had charged only a nominal amount. Once the mayor's office pointed out the "perception problem" Monday, she promptly reimbursed the city.

"'I realized it was naive of me not to realize it was a problem,' Pleet Coyote said."
S&L links to this M&R article reporting that Stefanie tried to get free rent for Rent, the movie, when it was filmed in a former hangar/film studio on Treasure Island, which the City of San Francisco owns.

M&R report:

Revolution Studios, says city officials promised it a sound stage rent-free, plus free utilities and parking.

"Which is something we can't deliver because then it's a gift of public funds,'' [Treasure Island Administrator Tony] Hall insists.

Hall wouldn't sign on the dotted line. After an angry exchange between Stefanie Coyote and Gallagher, Hall filed a Public Records Act demand that the film commish boss turn over her private correspondence with the studio. No one around City Hall can remember anything like it.

Hall says he was simply trying to find out what Coyote had promised the filmmakers -- but, he added, "she wouldn't give them up.'' Nor apparently does she intend to.

As of early Friday, the negotiations weren't looking particularly good. Hall said he was just about ready to pull the plug on the $40 million movie production.

But by that evening, the tide had shifted. "They accepted our term sheet as of last night at about 8 p.m.,'' Hall said Saturday. "(The contract's) being drawn up as we speak.''

According to Hall, the film company will pay $12,500 a month in rent, plus enough money deposited in an account to guarantee the lease through July.

"It was accepted on our terms,'' he said.
If the report is true, it raises an interesting question: If Stefanie was working for the city, shouldn't she have been trying to get rent paid to the city and generate a return for the taxpayers?