|Watching City Hall #186
Grading the Supervisors
Yesterday was the toughest day of the year for me as a teacher. I had to hand out the years failing grades. Sadly, 5 of our 11 supes received Fs. Those who will be repeating the 2002-2003 legislative year are Gavin Newsom, Chris Daly, Gerardo Sandoval, Sophie Maxwell and, of course Tom Ammiano. I am happy to say that the rest of the supes scored passing grades. Here they be.
Bevan Dufty of District #8
He cudda been a lot worse. At least he didnt do any U turns on us like Daly and Ammiano. We always knew hed be a machine fellow if he was elected (hey, 27 years in the local democratic machine has to leave a mark) we knew hed vote with the Mayor when Willie pulled his chain and he does. Still, the guy is so damned nice! Lets go to the comments section of the report card Bevan will be taking home to Willie: Dear Parent or Guardian: Bevan is so nice, he sometimes makes you want to throw up. The little fellow is a virtual fountain of obsequious promiscuous praise. It would appear he has memorized the phone book and plans to brown-nose the entire City. On the upside, he has been elected Class President, is the valedictorian and is this years Prom Queen. Might I suggest he enter politics.
Fiona Ma of District #4
What a wonderful change from Leland (Odd Job) Yee, the wooden sell-out now negating Mark Lenos vote in the state assembly. Supervisor Ma is drop-dead gorgeous, thoughtful, sensitive, has a genuine sense of humor and has shown some independence from the machine. If she cooks up one serious piece of legislation on her own, I see her on the honor roll.
Jake McGoldrick of District #1
Completely unpredictable. A cross between Yogi Berra and Willie Brown. He is personally, a really sweet guy. No, really. He is. You know that he really gets his feelings hurt when criticized for things he cannot help. For instance, all that meandering blathering he sometimes forces us to follow him on? He cant help that. Honest, any of my friends will tell you that I am exactly the same way. My family calls it the talking gene and sometimes, you just cant shut up. Still, the loquacious ruling lord of the Richmond has been a pretty much staunch vote for progressive causes in his 2 years on the Board. Hes a keeper. I mean, you gotta admit that youve learned lots more mythology than you ever expected when you tuned into channel #26 on cable & listened to him talk about things like gorillas with wings holding fair maidens in their one hand while standing on the edge of a volcano to beat their chest and scream about SFO (or, something like that like I said, think Yogi Berra at these moments). Hang on Jake. While we may poke fun at you, many thousands of us will follow you in 04.
The Best of them all
It is nice to get to this part of the ceremony, where we once again recognize and honor the supervisors who have stayed their respective paths. Busted their respective buns. Come early & left late. Given up great high paying jobs to serve. There are 3 solid As here. They are a strong waft of fresh air from a City Hall filled with greedy hacks and their masters.
Tony Hall of District #7
What the hell is a commie drunken pot-head doing praising a personal and fiscal conservative like the ruggedly handsome disciplined Baron of District #7? Try, hes got integrity. Try, hes consistent as grandmas old clock in the Ozarks. Try, hes fearless. Try, hes honestly trying to help his district and the City with programs like raising the water level at Lake Merced (big success), reforming the Department of Elections (nice try, but flooding the basement is the only solution) hes stood up to a tyrannical Mayor, maneuvered his way through the worst of the right-wing flak and emerged composed and even-handed. You want a contrast? Watch the Board sometime & look at the difference between Hall and the snotty-nosed, greasy haired Newsom sitting next to him. Its like watching a frat boy sitting next to one of his classmates distinguished fathers. Newsom smirks and belittles all that the chamber is about (like shared power and compassion). Hall? Hall takes the load upon his shoulders and pulls harder and harder when the going gets tough. Gavin? Gavin comes late and leaves early. Let me tell you this. If Tony Hall runs for Mayor, Ill be doing a double endorsement this year. One will be for the most viable candidate of the left. The other, will be for Tony Hall.
Aaron Peskin, District #3
Peskin needs a wheelbarrow to tote his balls into City Hall. The dudes got it going on. Willie Brown hates no one on earth more and you cant come with a better reference to this column. From the steaming jungles of South American, where sleazy SFO Director, John Martin is shocked to meet Aaron at a bend in the jungle, waiting to intercept the black bag of your General Fund tax dollars and crooked contracts from there from there to Ferry Park where Peskin has the courage to reverse himself and tells the Port that yet another sub-surface parking lot isnt such a good idea. It is always Peskin who is there with the numbers and welcome sarcasm. At one point in a committee hearing, Peskin had the City Attorneys rep read John Martin the definition of lying or fraud or something like that and the penalties for same! I actually put down my glass of bourbon and joint for a moment. Hell, I thought he was going to have the Sheriffs deputies cuff the bastard and take him away! I was hoping, anyway. Peskin is, as we used to say in St. Louis da Boss with the hot sauce. You go boy!
Matt Gonzalez, District #5
Like the confused Prince in the Dune novels, Gonzo is the One and wont admit it. If we be judged by the company we keep (and, we surely are) if that be the criterion, Gonzalez is the uncrowned tribal Chieftan of every poet and writer and sculptor and painter and dancer and homeless and shaded human being in The City. While Gavin Newsom piles up gold and restaurants and parcels of land as gifts from the rich in his Pacific Heights mansion (paid for by Gordon Getty) while Newsom rolls in Uncle Scrooges money vault, Gonzalez gives away his car & walks to work. While Rose Pak takes claims to get a preferential half price discount on a high-end subsidized condo (a true scam by the commie Chinese governments #1 one local mouthpiece as reported by Adriel Hampton in a much ignored expose in the Examiner a couple of months ago), Matt shares a Hayes Hill flat with 4 other artists. While Gavin Newsom makes house tours of the rich and famous seeking corrupt benefactors and mentors Gonzalez instead, seeks out a widening array of people he can mentor. Yeah, Matt is still a defender of the public (he was an assistant Public Defender for over a decade) Matt defends the poor and downtrodden. Newsom attacks them. You talk about a no-brainer comparison. Company you keep? Go to a Newsom rally. Dry, stingy affairs full of air headed, lipo-sucked, botoxed and implanted no talent trust funded phonies. Then, go to a Gonzalez reception. Lets do that.
Matt Gonzalez Mentor
I arrived fashionably 30 minutes late to the monthy 3 hour art opening in the Board Presidents 2nd floor office at City Hall. I started looking for Sue Vaughan sos I could flirt (Im awful that way). A little bevy of gay guys grabbed me in the outer office, hugged me and pleaded for me to come out of my closet. When I agreed to do it for a shot of whiskey, they lost interest. I passed, looking at the new exhibit (Id call the paintings Jackson Pollock with structure) & the little ceramic bobble-head dolls of political characters (Willie is #1 of course, smiling & with his trademark fedora hat plus a stack of real coins in each raised palm). Very nice work. View the work in Matts office the rest of June buy if you gots scratch. I headed right for the booze. A variety of wines and some late-arriving tequila.
Ray Woods was there
Ray has done almost a hundred tv shows on public access from his place and around town over the past decade or so. His show is called: Rays Bohemian Pad and the name fits. Ive done camera and read other peoples poetry for him. He features mostly poets but has done cutting edge bands and dancers and you get the idea. I drug him over and introduced him to Matt. Theyre both mentors. While Ray has given space and exposure to several hundred local artists, Matts own show (Matt Gonzalez Show Cable channel #23 monthly) Matt has used his half hour time slot to showcase local talent long ignored and emerging. Short films and the classic Gonzalez interviews (available on this site) Matt and Ray. I wanted them to meet. People who give. People who care about art above money.
Tandewe & Phil rule
Believe it or not, I dont just come to these things to drink. Thats first, of course. Beyond that, Im of a like mind with people like Gonzalez staffer, Jim Dorenkot who is publishing his novel, Building a Movement on this site now. Step by step. Person by person. Issue by issue. The Issue Friday was IRV. The people were my buddy, Phil Benziger who is a computer whiz whom I wanted to hook up with Caleb Klepner and Marc Soloman to brainstorm voter machine and I wanted to introduce my new granddaughter, Tendewe Bella Nyandoro (4 mos.) to the scene. My darling Tandewe was a big hit. Two or three other children (pre-school) darted in and out of the crowd. I looked for Sarah Lipson of the School Board who also totes her baby to our soirees. Gonzalez sat behind the big mahogany desk in the corner laughing and greeting the 200 or so guests. Klepner pushed me a 3 or 4 page report tearing apart Elections Director John Arntzs estimate for a hand count on an IRV ballot come November if necessary. It was clear that the Arntz estimate was inflated and had Willies smell all over it. The numbers showed a hand count could be done in 14 days and cost a small fraction of the estimate Arntz had released to the press and presented before the Board. I shook my head, remembering the ass-kicking IRV took in the media when Arntz released his inflated figures. Klepner had him by the short hairs. And, it wouldnt matter. I sipped tequila and worked the rooms, flirting, saying outrageous things and asking people in the know what they thought of Klepners report. The responses were interesting: Matts been in denial about Arntz. I was at an Elections Commission meeting and 3 DOE employees wearing their City ID badges sat next to me. They laughed and mocked Steven Hill (He wrote Fixing Elections & is an IRV leader) when he testified. As far as they are concerned Willie Brown is still in charge of the DOE. I moved to another who said: The whole Green hierarchy is in denial. Willie sent Fred Hamdun (just resigned as head of DPT and one of Browns campaign chiefs) up to Sacramento to work on Kevin Shellys staff. Theyll have every major Democratic money cow in the state calling Shelly and telling him to kill IRV. Shelly will announce that although he supports IRV, he wants to implement it properly and Novemer is too soon. Then, Willie will fix the election so Kamala Harris will win the D.A.s race. Now, this caught my interest. I queried further. Use your bourbon soaked brain.! My friend suggested gently. Willie needs a D.A. who wont prosecute him as he heads out the door. He was incensed at the Tron thing with the School District (the guy took payoffs and Hallinan prosecuted him). Part of the money Tron stole ended up in the Willie for Mayor campaign against Ammiano. People dont know how scared Willie was of Ammiano. He cut corners. He took tainted money. God knows what else he did but it will be harder to hide once hes not Mayor. Newsom wont protect him. Its all tied together. Use your head! He needs to control the D.A., the Police Chief and the head of the Department of Elections. Id say hes doing pretty well. The D.A. is most important though. There, he decided to put his ex-girlfriend in office. Do you really think shed prosecute Willie or any of his machine? I wandered away more dumbfounded than usual and wondered if any or all of it was true. Did Willies influence reach all the way to Sacramento? Someone told me he once worked up there. What was it he did? God, I love Gonzos parties. I half expected to meet Elvis talking to Jerry Garcia around the next corner. It lasted til 3 in the morning.
Not in Matts office. We finished the booze and cheese and headed for wherever, and about 6 of us ended up talking about IRV on the stairs of City Hall across from Alioto Plaza. We gabbed til after 11 when Charles Kalish wimped out and it broke up. I got a ride back to my house-sitting gig in the Tenderloin with the towns most knowledgeable insider. We plotted the birth of the Bulldog and whether Gonzalez could be persuaded to join the race for Mayor. I like my life. For a homeless, single, jobless, womanless, drunken, pot-headed welfare deadbeat, I have an amazing number of glamorous, brilliant and talented friends. Only in San Francisco could this happen. Thats enuff for now.
Thanks to Frank Webster & Deby Inman for birthing this site and Zoe Inman (the planets most precocious 5 year old) thanks to them for every bit of graphic art presently on site and, to Frank specifically, for inputting our columns til we learn how.
Hallinan for D.A.!