It looks like many of the commentators of the Chronicle's website, SFgate, thinks this is a really stupid idea:
In one (really stupid) comment, this was featured on the main page of SFgate:
- User "triplx" says: "Time for me to get in line to get my ID card with a fake name so I can speed, apply for a few credit cards, etc."
A lot of other comments from SFgate on this story loves to target illegal immigration, for example:
- User "sockmoneyed" says: "Suckers. Now they have your name and picture. I hope ICE is paying attention."
So what's the practical use of the ID card anyway? Or maybe ask the question this way, why an ID card? Here's my take on this:
I don't really believe it is an ID card, I think it's more of a membership discount card. Think of it this way, the city makes $15 for each ID produced (reduced price for kids, adults, and the poor), with homosexual marriage temporarily blocked off due to Prop. 8 (which brought income through marriage licensing), the city needs to make some money, and the card comes with all kinds of city government benefits/services, plus discounts to a large list of local merchants and businesses:
- City government services accepts the "ID" as proof of identity and residency ONLY. It doesn't prove immigration status you fools. The city issues IDs only to people who show documentation from official government sources, so that's proof of identity. Same for banks too, they require ID, Social Security number, and other documents to prove your identity. The City is just following the same standards as banks, and even the DMV. With that in mind, even people who can't get a U.S. Passport or State ID (for I'm assuming immigration status), can still use local city government services, like if you were badly hurt, and SF General Hospital only have your city ID, they can use it to find out your emergency contact so that family members can be informed.
- SF Public Library access. Plain and simple, live in SF, you should have the privilege of borrowing books and videos. But still, I don't really see any purpose for a city sanctioned ID for this.
- Park and Rec services. Sure, I want to rent a picnic site, don't you? This is for sure one decent reason to have the city ID because even if you are an illegal immigrant, at least you can rent a picnic site, thereby the city makes even more money on rentals. Local residents also gets discounts on accessing the city owned swimming pools too, so the city makes more money that way. Libraries don't make money, at least that's what I know.
- Banks and credit unions. The city ID can start the process of opening an account, but federal law requires more identification due to terrorism laws so that money isn't funneled for the bad guys. Many credit unions require proof of residency in San Francisco because that's part of their requirements/charter rules (as per Federal law), thereby the SF ID can ONLY WORK AS PROOF OF RESIDENCY IN SF. You still may need to prove with a social security card, passport, etc. to pass muster for federal policies to establish an account.
- Goat Hill Pizza is one of the many businesses that accepts the SF ID card for discounts. 10% off everything is not a bad deal, especially in this economy. Combine that with other local merchant discounts, and you'll save more than the price you paid for that "ID." See merchant list here.
Really... it's more like a membership/discount card that is good for a few years and it's cheap in price. I say, if you are hungry for food or bargains, why not get a card? This economy sucks, so a $15 investment can go a long way. Sure beats that $35 "Entertainment" discount book that's only valid for one year.
Another way to think about the SF ID card is that it is like a college ID card. The college ID can't establish immigration status, and only proves that you attend the university. The SF ID only establishes identity and residency, not immigration status.
How about I compare the benefits of a SF ID card to a college ID, say the S.F. State University ID card (OneCard)?
- Access to government services: SF ID: yes to city government services. SFSU ID: yes, access to SFSU services (registrar, medical clinic, etc.).
- Library services: SF ID: all SF Public libraries. SFSU ID: SFSU library only.
- Park and Rec: SF ID: Yes. SFSU ID: Yes, access to gym, pool, weight room, etc.
- Banks and Credit Unions: SF ID: Yes to establishing SF residency. SFSU ID: Yes to credit unions on establishing membership (membership rules also note, you don't have to live in SF, but can attend college in SF).
- Discounts: SF ID: Yes to specific places. SFSU ID: Yes to the entire food court at Westfield San Francisco mall, and AMC movie theaters.
Lastly, this is for SFgate commenter gojira who commented on my previous comment on the "Gate:"
"I'm off to the SFgov website right now to download that [discount merchant] list. Those merchants won't see a dime of my patronage."
My reaction: Yeah right. One of the best bakeries in the Mission is on that list. I don't think you can resist their freshly made and delicious pastries. Also, one of the nation's newest and best museums is on that list, the California Academy of Sciences. I guess you won't go to that as well. Do yourself a favor, go f*** yourself. Tell your kids that they can't go to the museum because the SF ID is accepted, they might just break your legs with a baseball bat. "Look daddy! I was trying to hit your baseballs (testicles), but I hit your leg instead!"