Influential architecture critic John King calls out local preservationists in Sunday's Chronicle for not having the balls to say what he already has said in print regarding the North Beach branch library, namely that it's lame and "nondescript at best" and no one should be fighting to save it. He says that after he first printed these words, several local preservationists approached him to quietly thank him for saying it, because they were too afraid of the wrath they'd incur from colleagues if they broke rank and spoke their minds. King elaborates on why they, and the building, suck.
He says this "is a textbook example of how a good movement can go astray" and chastises preservationists (and this probably applies to many cities) who "defer to the feelings of their most self-righteous -- or cynical -- allies, and they don't realize that the image of extremism at some point could undermine the cause itself." He goes on to complain that the building they're fighting for is "bunker-like" and "isn't particularly good modernism," and that there is dubious historical value to the library as one mediocre example of the post-WWII move by the Library Association to build more modern libraries.