|Watching City Hall #206, AUGUST 13, 2003
Ignore the assholes!
(Eileen Left advises me)
The most amazing thing about the reaction to Board President Matt Gonzalez entering the race for Mayor of San Francisco was where the negative reaction was strongest. It was from the progressives! Let me get into that for a moment.
The Chronicle was fair. They welcomed him to the race. Samson Wong of the Independent wrote a thoughtful piece based upon real numbers and welcomed Gonzo. The Examiner was positively exuberant about the possibility of a real race. One of Newsoms staffers commented to me: This is worst case scenario for us, h.. Well still kick your ass, but now well have to work for our money. The tv stations welcomed him. All of the people I thought would be attacking him were gracious. But, the progressives?
It pissed me off too much for me to comment on it, cause that could hurt the progressive movement in the end. Plus, I couldnt figure it out. Sooooo, I asked Eileen to tell me what the hell was going on.
h.: Eileen, what the hells going on?
Eileen: Youre really clueless. Its very simple. The people in the other Left campaigns are invested. They have positions. They are Playyyyahhhs. They dont mind losing. As long as theyre involved. Lots of em prefer to lose. That way, theyre the eternal outsiders. You know, the rebels but, with a noble cause.
h.: You think Ammiano is noble?
Eileen: You just cant get behind him supporting the Mayors candidate for Board President against your boy, huh?
h.: Yeah, it pisses me off. I think Tom has the best field operation in the City. Maybe the best anyone ever had in the City. The likes of Robert Haaland and Jerry Threet could double any candidates chances. And, they have with Tom. God knows they have their work cut out for them. I mean, Tom tried to hand control of the Board over to the mayor in January by supporting Willies candidate for Board President (Maxwell). If hed succeeded, it would have negated every single gain the new Board has pushed through over the past 3 years. And, Ammiano could care less. Hell, he wouldnt be making the Boards appointments to commissions anymore, so why should he care if Willie gets the power back? He really did that. He really tried to screw the entire progressive movement. I dont see how anyone on the left could support him after that.
Eileen: Enough already! Let me tell the Ammiano and Alioto people once and for all why Gonzo got into the race.
h.: Go ahead.
Eileen: The progressives are not just Ammiano and Alioto. Youre talking people like Aaron Peskin and Chris Daly. People who can see the writing on the wall. Id call Daly, an idealist with a set of brakes Id call Peskin a progressive with a calculator. These guys have been counseling one another all along over the past few months when it became obvious from everyones field polls that Ammiano couldnt possibly beat Newsom and that Aliotos consultants were ill-advising her
h.: Wait! I thought that too. About Angelas people. Do you have any data to support that?
Eileen: Well, the Guardians Rachel Brahinsky reported this morning (8-13-03) that Angelas chief consultant, Duane Baughman gave Newsom $550! You read her book. Shes hired and been double-crossed (according to her) by Ritchie Ross (who also bailed on Tony Hall in the clutch) and Jack Davis and you get the idea. Face it. If youre Angela and you wake up and read the morning paper and find that the guy youre paying a million bucks a month or something, is giving part of it to the oppositions candidate! Youd be pissed too. But, you cant admit that youve surrounded yourself with disloyal troops, yet again. Soooo, you go after Matt. Actually, her disloyal consultants probably came up with that idea. I mean, Angela completely disassociated herself from the hatchet job her consultants did on Wendy Nelder in 1988. So, it cant be Angelas idea to go negative. Right? So, when she says that Gonzalez is an extremist and her supporters say: a Green Party mayor could well mean mass destruction for San Francisco. Can you believe Angela would stand behind such negative shit?
h.: So, when Angela
Eileen: Let me finish. The progressives who could see the writing on the wall sat down together and looked at the polls and decided they couldnt trust any of them. So, they commissioned their own poll. Aaron Peskin did that. Gonzo didnt want to run. Daly was put forth as a potential candidate. Peter Keane. Art Agnos. When the results of the poll came back, it was Gonzalez all the way. He was around 40% with Migden and Burton as someone the voters would consider viable as mayor. Thats when he entered. Otherwise, youd have seen Daly or Peskin as the progressive alternative candidate. None of the other candidates want to admit how badly they did in an honest poll. Alioto was in the single digits! Thats hard to believe. Shes been out there for 3 decades and no one remembers her. Cruel, but true. Now, I know Matts your candidate but hes got himself one hell of an uphill battle. But, he CAN win! The numbers all say that. Thats why he entered the race. Incidentally, did you get my boards back from Angela?
h.: Im afraid to even e-mail her. She hasnt sent me anything in a couple of weeks. She seems to be relying upon her consultants. Theyre probably telling her not to talk to me. Oh, by the way, you did great graphics work on that one. You and Frank. The event (a classic rock concert at the Fillmore) the event could have easily brought a thousand genuine volunteers into her campaign and she never even acknowledged it after she got it. She listened to me early in the campaign. Hell, she came over to pick up the boards (hard backed art presentations for the campaign) I had them in Anias windows and I spread them out over the floor for Angela to look at when she arrived. She went over them with me and commented that they reminded her of art from one of her dads campaigns way back when Whatever, I wont be using her as a reference anytime soon.
Eileen: Speaking of references, how did your interview go with the Sheriffs people on teaching at the new Charter school in the jail?
Eileen: Say, what?
h.: I was late for the interview, so the new principal made me sit for an hour, then I got pissed and walked out after she took every single candidate who came after me.
Eileen: I thought you were this hot-shot teacher of the severely disturbed. Why wouldnt she talk to you?
h.: Well, I applied for her job as Principal before she was hired and they wouldnt interview me. Maybe she thought I was a threat.
Eileen: Why wouldnt they interview you?
h.: Im a smart-ass prick and some people find that offensive.
Eileen: Still jail you it seems such a natural fit.
h.: Apparently, Id be a bad influence on killers and robbers.
Eileen: Amen to that. So, I know you. You probably popped off to them or something. What did you do when they wouldnt talk to you?
h.: I went to the Sheriffs office and tried to give him a note.
Eileen: Did he see you?
h.: Naw. His staff refused to copy it for me and I gave up.
Eileen: So, who you backing for Sheriff?
h.: Hennessey. Just because he has a lot of civil service assholes working for him doesnt mean hes not still the best Sheriff in the United States.
The Matt watch
The much awaited on-camera first meeting between Matt Gonzalez since he entered the mayors race, Gavin Newsom and Tom Ammiano came off yesterday at the 8-12 Board meeting. The most important observable factors (to me) were that Gonzo had classy duds for the first time ever and, he had to save Newsoms bacon from a crowd of angry poor people. The classy duds were the most surprising.
Why do poor people hate Gavin Newsom?
It was the first Board meeting since Gonzalez announced his candidacy for mayor and everyone was waiting to see how Ammiano and Newsom would treat him and vice-versa. For the record, (watch the tape if you doubt) for the record, Matt was even and fair (he acceded to Gavins call for more delays in a vote on his vicious Care-Not legislation) Gonzalez was fair and Newsom was a smart mouth. (I mean, this guy really and truly hates the Board of Supervisors you want gridlock elect him.) Ammiano was spiritually invisible on the cathode radar screen. He has no fire left. Its like watching Weekend at Bernies with Ammiano playing Bernie. They cart this dead guy around and sit him where hes supposed to be and pretend hes still alive. And, people buy it! Not enough, unfortunately or, hed already be mayor.
So, heres Gonzalez voting with Newsom to give Gavin more time to raise a majority of votes to take away our money for cat food and storage and internet access and couches at our friends houses heres Matt giving Newsom all the space he needs while Daly and Ammiano vote to kill the damned thing and a hundred or so people this would literally put into shelters or on the streets (Im one of them) the hundred call out their anger. When the continuance on the matter is passed, the demonstrators rise to leave and call insults to Newsom for trying to rob them of their stipends. Bailiff Bailiff!
That bailiff thing was Board President Gonzalez calling for the Sheriffs Deputies to remove the dissidents from the chambers and protect Newsom in the process. Unfortunately, (though, understandably) these people are furious with Newsom for trying to force them into the poor house. Now, who would have figured that? Anyway, a particularly large Deputy stood at the rail between the demonstrators and Newsom (he sits on the east end of the supes semi-circle of desks and is thus, nearest the public which in this case, truly hates his rich ass) When one demonstrator stopped near Newsom, Gonzalez defused the situation by calling out the mans name (a trick known well to defense attorneys and special ed teachers hes one, Im the other) Mr. Washington, this measure will not be put into effect now.
Key provisions of Care-Not are in effect already. When I was called down for a meeting to reaffirm Im a broken-down, over-the-hill bum eligible for City/County welfare last month, I waited around an hour to be fingerprinted yet again. I waited so long because theyve changed the routine. Instead of just doing the taking of the prints thing, they make you sit and wait around while they access God knows what data base. It is purely intended to intimidate and drive away applicants. You wait for an hour until they call you in to be fingerprinted yet again, then you sit across the desk from them while they look at you, then the computer screen. What used to take a minute stretches out to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes. You go through your head to try and figure out what you have ever done wrong that they could be looking at. If you havent done anything wrong, youre wondering if theyre looking at records of anything you ever did right that they might have thought was wrong (like protesting against the Viet Nam war). Theyre using a carbon copy of the Alameda system and lying about it.
A huge part of the Newsom argument on why Care-Not will work is that somehow thousands of people will drop off the welfare rolls. These people, he assures us, are from Oakland and Richmond and have no right to SF funds. This is a lie. The reason people drop off the rolls is because it isnt worthwhile to wait in endless lines for $15 a week. Alameda officials bragged at a previous Board hearing on Care-Not that the way they purged the rolls was to take away 90% of the recipients award, then add a couple of dozen steps for them to go through to receive the pittance. You still wondering why these people are pissed at Newsom?
Imagine this cartoon
It is a medieval scene. An ugly crowd is gathered to watch two heretics burned at the stake by Sir Gavin Newsom. Tied back to back on the same pole are Lady Angela (Joan DArc) Alioto and Tommie Ammiano. At the edge of the screaming crowd is a gallant knight (Matt du Gonzalez) on a giant white steed. He is waiting to rescue Lady Angela and Tommie. They are calling out to him as Sir Gavin lights the brush around them:
We dont need your help!
We all need help sometime. Like a starting pitcher whos getting shelled and still doesnt want to come out of the game, Alioto and Ammiano insist the 5 tape-measure home runs theyve just given up are a fluke. They want to stay in the game. Well, for the good of the home team, its time we sent Felipe out to the mound to yank Ammiano and Alioto. You want my opinion?
Ammiano knows in his heart that he hasnt got a prayer. He doesnt know it in his frontal lobe. I sympathize. He is truly a great man, fast losing altitude. From here on in, his actions will only chip away at the pedestal all of us have placed him upon. The biggest danger is that he takes the likes of Haaland and Threet with him. Hopefully, they will not buy Ammianos mantra (he will say this to his grave) his mantra that he only lost the race for mayor in 2003 because he was double-crossed. The reality is that it was him who double-crossed the left by defecting to the Willie Brown camp in January when he supported Sophie Maxwell for Board President. Still, Tom has done so many thousands of great things, his reputation is secure for the history books. The key here is to throw enough life preservers into the water between now and November 4th for people like Jerry Threet and Robert Haaland to grab once the S.S. Ammiano slips beneath the waves. Angela?
Angela Alioto is the best, poorly advised mayoral candidate in modern San Francisco history. She should have been mayor in 1991 when the cry was: Yeah, for Angela!. She should have been in 1995 when the cry was: Angela for comeback candidate of the decade!. Now? In 2003, the reply to her candidacy is: Angela who?. Thats tragic, but look for her to stand by her consultants as the S.S. Alioto sinks beneath the briny deep and her staff jumps over to Newsom.
Damn, Dufty looked good at Finance today. So did Chair Aaron Peskin. Even McGoldrick looked freshly scrubbed and coiffed. Could it be their new pay raise? Yep, they finally got the money we voted for them a year and a half ago. The mayor and Gavin Newsom did everything possible to keep from paying the peoples representatives a decent salary while the two of them raked off millions from the rich. While Willie finally, to his credit, signed the budget which included the raise, Newsom refused completely. The hypocrisy of this leech upon the rich is amazing.
While youre distracted
The least understood area in the City of San Francisco is Treasure Island. Willie is sure happy about that. While the City was distracted by the state recall of Gray Davis and who gonna be da next mare Anne Marie Conroy came before the Land Use Committee and asked for a half century of tax breaks and property transfers to John Stewart Company. Stewart is the mayors big broom for clearing out the poor. He chased out hundreds from the public housing project in North Beach and encouraged them to use their vouchers to look in the Sacramento area. He has the rental property in the Presidio. A half century! The ever confused supe, Jake McGoldrick talked about how Treasure Island was a bright light in Willies scheme. That is pure idiocy. It only means that Jake hasnt the faintest idea what is happening on Treasure Island. What is happening is that everyone from Bill Clinton to John Stewart are involved in trying to get long term leases on pieces of the island which could (not only does everyone agree but it is the law) property which is supposed to be used, first priority for the poor and homeless. This property is being moved into contracts with a gang of blood sucking developers. Soooo, while thousands sleep in the streets, John Stewart gets an improved contract to make certain they never come to the island. McGoldricks Land Use committee approved the screw job unanimously. Watch for the Board to do the same.
Think 50 years is a long time?
I hate to be right so consistently about dire predictions. However, I did say that you would see numerous long term leases and outright giveaways to stream through the Board while the kids were distracted by the elections. 50 year leases on Treasure Island. 100 year lease on a hotel on Polk. Theres another 100 year lease for City property in the 800 block of OFarrell. Handing more and more City property over to private developers for a hundred years! The funny thing (if youre twisted) is that the legal work on these deals is done by the City Attorneys office. This group might not be able (or willing) to enforce the Raker act, but they can sure as hell draw up an ironclad lease to make the little city of Sunol into a gravel pit for the next 100 years. As I finish this, the Finance Committee is getting ready to rubber stamp a deal to subsidize a private condominium/grocery store development with Library bond money. How you like them apples? We buy the land. Then, we become junior partner in a condo association to which we sell the land at a discounted rate, then rent back at market rate. A true Willie Brown deal. Look for Library Head Honcho, Susan Hildreth to appear before the Board a few more times to tie up the remaining hundred million or so left in the bond money. To, in effect, subsidize condo developer projects with library money. Watch the Board approve every project 11-0 with no question. OK
One last comment
Three years ago, the City fought off the attempt by PG&E to tow 4 high pollution peaker power plants to Hunters Point. It was noted what high pollution units these were. When the energy fiasco went down, the deal disappeared. I wrote a column at the time describing the nasty beasts being towed through the Golden Gate with Willie water-skiing behind the units, now surrounded by fake palm trees and Babs Kauffman driving the barge. Theyyyyrrreee back! Ill bet part of my food stamps that the 4 peaker plants now being touted as clean-burning power plants at very low risk (Ed Smeloff, Asst. Gen. Mgr. SF Public Utilities Commission) Ill bet these units the SFPUC wants to put in Hunters Point, at the Airport and on the Mint grounds Ill bet these are the exact same units that Willie couldnt get in 3 years ago. The devil he never sleeps.