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St. Anthony Foundation
July 4, 2003 

Fr. John Hardin, O.F.M.
121 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco
, CA 94102

Dear Fr. Hardin,

Thank you for your letter regarding the St. Anthony Foundation along with your positions on poverty and homelessness. As a Catholic whose parents took the family to St. Anthony’s in Milwaukee for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving Mass, the issue of poverty has special meaning. I study it, bring the homeless and poor into my home, feed them and make friends with them. One thing I like about St. Anthony’s is that you stress the dignity of these and all people. This is a critical starting point for the whole discussion and is what Christ asks of us all.

I agree that solutions involve more affordable housing, counseling, health care and jobs.  However, I disagree completely that government has anything to do with these solutions. In fact, after years of analysis, it’s become clear that government itself is the primary cause of most of these problems.  Let’s look at the facts.

1) Government’s “deinstitutionalization” movement released 400,000 mentally ill with no plan.

2) Federal Urban Renewal devastated old low cost rooming houses and SROs.

3) Increased regulations caused demolition or upgrading and raised building costs enormously.

4) Labor and wage laws priced out low-skill jobs.

5) Rent control laws created inefficiency in the rental market raising prices and reducing supply.

6) Government wars have lasting negative impact on those who fight in them.

As you are aware, there are really three problems here. Estimates are that 22% of homeless people have acute mental illness. 60-80% suffer from drug and alcohol abuse (about the same as in 1827 according to Marvin Olasky in The Tragedy of American Compassion). And about 30% are homeless due to economic deprivation. So we need two solutions: One that helps the small number of unemployed or working poor priced out of the housing or job market, and one that helps the mentally ill and substance abusers for whom homelessness is a symptom.

Here are some proposals:

1) Repeal all laws that make it illegal to feed the homeless.

2) Eliminate zoning, land use regulation, growth control and building codes that raise prices.

Note: Mother Theresa abandoned a NY homeless project because regulators wanted an elevator. Harvard Institute of Economic Research says SF regulation costs $608,000 per buildable acre, more than twice the cost of Anaheim (2), New York (3) and Los Angeles (4).

3) Repeal all rent control laws.

Note: It’s no coincidence that NY and SF have rent control and the highest number of homeless.

4) Phase out government programs and replace them with Charity.

Note: Only Charity can motivate people to do the hard work needed to help these people. Charity only comes from the heart. Government is simple coercion. It doesn’t care and it can’t force or pay people to care.

5) Repeal labor and wage laws that make hiring the low-skilled poor illegal.

Note: Mandating “living wage” laws defies economic reason and destroys low skill jobs.

Three reforms can solve the problem - - - encouraging “tough love” community charities, ending laws that place barriers between compassionate people and those in need, and eliminating government rules and regulations that drive up the cost of housing and jobs. Only this can put a roof over the heads of most homeless.

To be honest, it surprises me how much people trust in government. In your recommendations, you call on us to do three things but on government to do six things.  As Christians, I feel we have to take the words of Jesus at face value. G_d told Moses there was only one G_d. Jesus told us that G_d was Love and that Faith, Hope and Love are all we need for salvation. In the face of that truth, is it prudent to rely, even a little, on the fruit of government coercion, tax money? To me, this approach is inconsistent with Christ’s profound truth.

I’m reminded of how G_d told Moses that if he needed water in the desert, he should tap a rock once with a stick. It seemed too easy so Moses tapped the rock twice. As he doubted the word of G_d, he never saw the Land of Milk and Honey. In my opinion, trust in government is a false god and an example of limited Faith. Anything that interferes with the free and voluntary nature of Love is doomed to failure. I want better for St. Anthony’s.

I applaud your decision to support the Tenderloin Clean Streets program. Supporting this program demonstrates your commitment to the rest of the neighborhood. Hopefully it will be just the beginning of more and better neighborhood communication and cooperation. 

Personally, I only support organizations that see government for what it is; a barrier to our cooperative success. So please let me know if your position changes on any of these issues. I’ll be happy to write a check and roll up my sleeves as I do for Rafael House, Boys Hope, Girls Hope, Junior Achievement, the Western Addition Foundation for Girls and Vision Youthz. 

Thank you again for contacting me. Please know that I am available to discuss these and other issues at any time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours in Christ,

Michael Denny

Libertarian Candidate for SF Mayor

Attached: 20+ articles, stories and a cartoon supporting the positions taken in this letter.







Original Article here.

Adriel Hampton – SF Examiner / Independent

Dear Adriel,

Thanks for mentioning me in your story about the Veterans’ Mayoral event in the Independent. However, you neglected to mention the issues I represent. This letter is to make them clear so you can write about them with confidence next time.

I represent the position that City Hall is the main cause of our problems and not the solution. There three candidates in the race who share this position, Jim Reid, Kent Clarke and I. While Jim and Kent focus on specific issues, I bring this approach to all aspects of City governance.

Look at the things we like most about San Francisco…our diversity, tolerance, friendliness, our “heart” and more. These are the results of an environment with a high level of personal freedom. While all Libertarians campaign aggressively for personal freedom, San Francisco has more than most places so I’m not as worried about this as I am about other issues in the campaign.

Now look at the things we don’t like about San Francisco….expensive housing, the cost of doing business, loss of jobs and more. These are the results of an environment with a low level of economic freedom. This is the most important issue in the campaign despite the fact that no one is talking about it. All the leading candidates want the power of City Hall to advance special interests that own their campaigns and expect to improve their position at the public trough. Only Jim Reid, Kent Clark and I are campaigning for the economic freedom and property rights of San Franciscans. We want City Hall to do us all a favor and get out of the way. The other candidates want to ruin San Francisco by either maintaining or expanding the role of City Hall in these choices. See the difference?

If San Franciscan’s could only realize how much they would benefit by applying the same freedom to economic choices that they do with personal choices. If they did, we would flourish economically the same way we do personally. And San Francisco would be a much better place to live. Who better than a regular person who built his business with his own hands to represent this much needed perspective in the campaign?

Articulating the issues I’m campaigning for would also help San Franciscans understand the dynamics of this mayoral race and make better choices in November.  Presenting the race as the ideological battle it really is would make it more interesting for the voters to read too. Let’s face it; watching four career Democrats pander to the establishment is pretty dull. Put Jim, Kent and I, the “Davids” into an ideological struggle with the four “Goliaths”. Now that would be fun and expand public interest in the race at the same time. And it might actually do some good for the people of San Francisco along the way.

Best personal regards…please feel free to contact me at any time.


Michael F. Denny




An Open Letter to the SF Chronicle Insight section 



San Francisco Chronicle

It’s too bad Michael Yaki chose to “make book” on the mayoral race than discuss issues in his May 11th article “SF mayoral hopefuls make a run for the roses.” Sadly, this is normal in San Francisco’s self-destructive political environment where games are easier and more entertaining than appealing to the better instincts of a largely apathetic and uninformed public.

 But a cool wind is blowing across San Francisco’s recently balmy landscape that signals tough times ahead. Like in California’s gubernatorial race, where economic fantasy trumped reality…until the race was over; San Francisco’s leading mayoral candidates also prefer to not discuss the severity of our problems. Instead, candidates would rather seduce sleepy SF voters with reassuring words about how we can continue business as usual and avoid our day of reckoning if only we would accelerate public spending and collect more taxes.

While leading candidates are “cautiously optimistic” about our short-term economic prospects in public, City Controller Ed Harrington isn’t expecting anything until 2008. So what’s the establishment’s solution? They are busy lobbying Sacramento to allow cities to charge income taxes, currently illegal. My solution is to tell every department in City Hall they have 15% less and then let the managers manage. And if they can’t figure it out, they should be replaced. When City Hall’s revenue plummeted 30% in 2001, instead of acting responsibly, they spent our surplus. The following year, they cut only 4%. If businesses operated like City Hall, we’d all be out of business.

Michael Yaki, himself a San Francisco political casualty, might be right about my odds. But if I go down, at least I will have honestly given my best to promote ideas San Franciscans will need most in the tough days ahead. The message of personal and economic freedom with corresponding responsibility can inspire tolerance and cooperation to heal a troubled and divisive San Francisco. Also, small government and free markets will lead to a San Francisco renaissance, whereas more taxes and government mandates will generate crime, more poverty, and unemployment. If this message is ignored, San Franciscans will pay dearly in the days ahead with the loss of wealth and Freedom they once enjoyed. Faced with this, why wouldn’t San Franciscans select a mayor that only wants “choice” for citizens to do what they want rather than to take orders from special interests lurking around leading candidates?

When Mr. Yaki left office, I wonder what odds he would have given that a Green would soon be President of the Board of Supervisors. So if I don’t get out of the gate, it won’t be because I’m Libertarian as he suggests. The reason will be that too many San Franciscans preferred to “make book” than get real. Unless this attitude changes in the public and media, I give San Franciscans the same odds of winning in this election that Michael Yaki gave me.

Michael Denny

Libertarian Candidate for San Francisco Mayor


(415) 986-7677 x123


Calls for full employment of San Franciscans

May 1, 2003

Contact: Christopher R. Maden
E-mail: chris@michaeldennyformayor.com
Telephone: (415) 845-8202

San Francisco, April 30, 2003 - Libertarian candidate for Mayor Michael Denny roundly panned proposals to implement a so-called "living wage" law in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering raising the minimum wage in San Francisco beyond the state's minimum requirement. In a letter to Board President Matt Gonzalez, Denny said, "While I appreciate your intent, these laws most severely harm the people you are trying to help."

Denny went on, "It's interesting that our first minimum wage law was intended to help women in low paying jobs. The immediate result in 1913 was a loss of 6-14% of these women's jobs. Can San Francisco afford to unnecessarily cause thousands of workers to lose their jobs?"

Nobel-winning economists have repeatedly shown that a minimum wage makes less-skilled workers unemployable. They can offer an employer less value than the law requires they be paid; as a result, they are denied the chance to learn new skills that would broaden their opportunities. Instead, the primary benefactors of such laws are children of middle-class families working entry-level food-service jobs.

Denny observed, "Only a free, vibrant and diverse economy with broad division of labor across many small and large businesses can create wealth for masses of people."

He cautioned Supervisor Gonzalez and the Board: "Economics is a science with well-established laws, just like physics. Those laws can't be dismissed by legislation any more than the law of gravity can. To understand the logic, imagine how many would be rendered jobless by increasing the minimum wage to $100 per hour.

"When elected government officials ignore the laws of economics, citizens suffer, especially the poor. The proposed legislation targets the poorest and least-skilled workers among us, and will increase homelessness even more. It's the complete opposite of what's truly needed.

"The best thing government can do for the poor is to stop making their employment illegal."

About Michael Denny:

Michael Denny is a husband, a father of four children, a small business owner, and a Libertarian candidate for mayor of San Francisco. His campaign Web site is michaeldennyformayor.com. Libertarians believe in personal freedom, in both social and economic spheres, and in minimal government to protect those freedoms.

Whose streets?

For the protesters who held up traffic, the way I see it is that the streets are public places available for public expression whether the public like it or not. That's the situation with public anything. If the streets were owned by the property owners, they could manage them as they choose, establish the parameters, and hire their own security. But in both the public and private sphere, my libertarian priorities place liberty over order. After all, under Mussolini and Hitler, the trains ran on time.

But that doesn't mean I cannot sympathize with those disrupted by the protesters. It's too bad that protesters chose to disrupt everyone in the area and not just those few who support war. While not the same magnitude, this is the equivalent of dropping a cluster bomb on a village containing some military personnel mixed with civilians. Personally, I suggest protesters focus on the state and federal buildings, symbols of the real origin of war. War is, after all, the health of the state and its horrors the state's greatest achievement. That is not a compliment.

Those are the reasons I cannot support Sup. Tony Hall's initiative ["Protesters Pay," 4/16/03]. The use of police force and heavy fines to prevent nonviolent disruptive expression on public streets values order over freedom. I cannot accept that.

Michael F. Denny

Libertarian candidate for mayor

San Francisco


April 17, 2003

Denny open letter to Citizen Action Network and Tony Hall

Dear Mr. Malloy:

Thank you for your inquiry regarding my position on this ballot initiative. I am broadly supportive of Tony Hall and am pleased to contribute to this discussion.

First, I’d like to clarify something said in your introductory remarks below. I disagree that San Franciscans experienced “anarchy” at disruptive war protests. Protestors who destroyed property committed criminal acts and should be prosecuted and pay restitution. The term “anarchy” does not necessarily refer to criminal behavior. Criminals exist in environments of big and little government. However, only with big government do criminals get to run the country.

As for the protestors who held up traffic, the way I see it is that the streets are public places available for public  -- expression whether the public like it or not. That’s the situation with public anything. If the streets were owned by the property owners, they could manage them as they choose, establish the parameters and hire their own security. But in both the public and private sphere, my Libertarian priorities place Liberty over order. After all, under Mussolini and Hitler, the trains ran on time.

But that doesn’t mean I cannot sympathize with those disrupted by the protestors. It’s too bad that protestors chose to disrupt everyone in the area and not just those few who support war. While not the same magnitude, this is the equivalent of dropping a cluster bomb on a village containing some military personnel mixed with civilians. Personally, I suggest protestors focus on the State and Federal Buildings, symbols of the real origin of war. War is after all, the health of the state and its horrors the state’s greatest achievement. That is not a compliment.

Those are the reasons I cannot support Supervisor Tony Hall’s initiative. The use of police force and heavy fines to prevent non-violent disruptive  -- expression on public streets values order over Freedom. I cannot accept that. Privatize the streets, and leave it up to the property owners. Then the problem will be theirs, the way it should be. Personally, I trust the property owners more than the San Francisco police and City Hall. How about you?

Michael F. Denny
Libertarian Candidate for San Francisco Mayor
April 17, 2003






March 31, 2003
An Open Letter to:
SEIU California State Council
1007 7th Street, 4th Floor
Sacramento CA 95814

To Whom It May Concern:

When I learned of the SEIU mayoral candidate night, my campaign contacted John Gezinski, an event coordinator. I promptly received a phone call from SEIU’s Ruby Anderson saying my questionnaire had not been received. When I told her I didn’t receive it, she kindly offered to send it by fax. Again it didn’t arrive as promised, so I called Ms. Anderson to inquire.

Ms. Anderson then said that SEIU questionnaires were actually only sent to a few candidates, and I was not one of them. When asked who received the questionnaires, she said the information was private. I informed Ms. Anderson that Libertarians strongly supported the right of workers to organize. But I also said unions shouldn’t be making the political process less open and less democratic – especially unions whose members are largely paid from public funds. Responsible union leadership seeks to let workers hear all sides of the political debate, not only those they personally favor.

Campaigns are simply marketplaces for ideas. By trying to limit debate, union officials are conspiring to shut their workers out of that marketplace. I care deeply for union workers and want them to succeed in difficult times. Exclusionary tactics may serve the political interests of union officials beholding to politicians, but they are not in the interest of ordinary workers who could lose job opportunities because their union might appear to be biased against members of the business community.

As a business leader, I know the security of a broad and healthy customer base. Sadly, SEIU’s local leadership has chosen to rely on heavily on government. The public sector is not in good economic shape. Unions representing a diverse customer base back candidate promising to balance government budgets with fiscal restraint. SEIU local union leaders propose raising taxes which will lead to fewer jobs for workers as a whole. That’s why SEIU members need to hear from candidates who represent the chance to broaden their base outside government, not just establishment candidates who pander and offer the false hope of business as usual.

Please help uphold democratic values and do the right thing for your workers. Invite all candidates for office to your debate, and avoid the embarrassment of having the event picketed by protestors saying ‘SEIU unfair to union members’.


Michael F. Denny

cc: SEIU Local 44, 450 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94105-2610

SEIU Local 87 240 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102-3750

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