|Watching City Hall #223, SEPTEMBER 13.2003
Where the fuck have you been!?!
(Eileen Left offers me sympathy.)
Hey man, my life has been hit by the metaphorical perfect storm and Im here to bitch and carry on about it. But, Gonzalez is kicking ass and I dont need much to get by on, so things are actually very good.
I caught a monster head cold and soaked a few bath towels with effuse while swilling enough bourbon to intoxicate an Irish company of troops, watched the evil empire buy and take possession of the building in which I was recovering hey, I needed a kick in the ass and this is it.
The Gonzalez poll & its import
The most important event of the time I was off the keyboard was Gonzalez paying for a poll to separate the bull shit from the cream and see whats really happening in the present race for Mayor. Can you believe anyone would actually fund an honest poll in the middle of a major political race and release the thing in its entirety? Gonzalez did it.
You can believe these guys.
(Warren Hinckle on Gonzos pollsters)
If, (as they say) if the race for Mayor were happening tomorrow if it were happening tomorrow, Matt Gonzalez would beat Gavin Newsom and Matt would become the first Latino Mayor of San Francisco in a hundred and twenty years. Matt beats Gavin 42% to 41% despite the fact that Newsom started running for the office over 2 years ago and has spent over 3 million in actual expenditures (countless other monies in free ads from the Chronicle, et al) has spent millions and has millions more at his disposal. Imagine how pissed off the downtown powerbrokers who live in Pacific Heights and Sea Cliff will be when Gonzo wins. It would confirm their worst fears. Those fears are these:
Even the property owners in San Francisco are a little weird. OK, theyre often more than a little weird. But, they dont automatically vote for the downtown guy! Thats the big news. Bottom line is that just because youve struggled to buy a place in the highest value market in the world, it doesnt mean youve become an automatic Republican. Hell no! People come here because they dont fit into their local community anyway. They come here because theyre gay or married someone outside their own racial or religious or ethnic group. They come here because they cant stop writing or drawing or sculpting or dancing. They arent lets say the Iowa model. You cant assume that just because someone is worth a million dollars, theyll vote for Gavin Newsom. Not in this town, baby. Gonzalez is running strong in every demographic. Second most important thing that happened while I was prone.
Treasure Island bums rush
Jake McGoldricks Land Use Committee hosted a strange group this past week. Ann Marie-Conroy came before the depleted committee and pushed a fast-track approval for completely sketchy development plans for what should be the Citys primary housing location for the homeless (case you hadnt noticed, under Mayor Willie Brown, their primary location is on your friggin doorstep) Conroy was pushing the plan that includes Ron Burkle (who pays Bill Clinton to be on his Board) Burkles idea for a huge marina aimed mainly at luxury yachters. That, and 4 hotels (not even outlined in the proposal brought before McGoldrick and a dozing Tom Ammiano) 4 hotels some kind of a marsh or something (you need a new marsh, carved out of land only recently reclaimed from the Bay?) Soooo, why am I bitching?
The legalese that transfers American military bases actually specifies that the land should have the alleviation of any local homeless problem as a primary use for the space Jeeez does that sound like a little helper to the hamburger, here? . I mean, we have all these homeless and we have this big chunk of vacant space. We have barracks and a hospital and a brig. We have parade grounds for pitching tents. Gonna use it for that? Not likely. Gonna tie it up for big Democratic Party donors as a fat hog to be developed for more big bucks and screw the poor? Much more likely.
By chance, I ran into the 1st Districts surrounded Supervisor I City Hall at the top of the sweeping marble layer-cake landings just after the hearing. Id watched it on TV and was headed for a candidates debate across the street. There was Jake strolling by. I called out to him:
h.: You know they were laughing at you!?
Jake: (comes forward to shake hands and greet hes easily the most accessible of the supes) Who?
h.: The Treasure Island people. Remember when you had to ask them to stop shaking hands and congratulating each other as they left after finishing their item on fast-tracking the base turnover?
Jake: You were watching that?
h.: (the supes would be shocked to find out how many people watch every minute of their hearings) Yeah, you didnt get much help there.
Jake: If it hadnt been for me, we wouldnt have had a progress report on the Islands use at all.
h.: (giving the boy some slack where the hell was Daly, when the island is the single largest development spot in his district?) They gave you a drawing of something they admitted didnt represent what they would build and asked you to approve it and you did!
Jake: There was nothing final there.
h.: You know, old boy I didnt really understand why they were so fuckin happy either, but they seem to have thought they won the lottery and that cant be good for the average San Franciscan.
We gabbed on with Sean Elsbernd, Tony Halls Chief of Staff for awhile and I extracted an assurance that now was no time to rush taking the keys to the island after a 9 year wait. Let the new mayor sign those papers! Yeah, uh huh, thats pretty much what I said and McGoldrick pretty much agreed. Well see. Losing Treasure Island to high end developers would be a real disaster and right now theres only Jake standing between Anne Marie, Willie and the goal line.
Chronicle & NBC give Newsom free ads
As if it isnt bad enough that Newsom has millions to spend, the local press continues to give him free advertising disguised as news stories. Last week I lit up a joint, spiked a cup of coffee and turned on the tube around 10 in the morning. By accident, I ended up on the new NBC station out of San Jose. It was the news, or so it said but but, the first story was an interview with Willie Brown about his last 100 days in office or something like that. Brown quickly segued the opportunity into a pitch for Newsom for Mayor and the smiling dip shit anchors just munched away on that bit of nonsense. They added clips of winos sleeping in their own waste alongside their shopping carts. It ended up being around 3 minutes of free campaign hooey. The other 8 candidates deserve equal time.
The Chronicle is the Hearst flagship paper. Yall know that. They have the top circulation in town of the dailies, topping the Examiner by a factor of around 10 to 1. Now, that doesnt mean that the Hearsts are great newspaper people. No, actually, they bought their #1 position with around 800 million in cash. Put simply, they couldnt beat the Chronicle, so they bought it. Their goal was (and remains) to use media clout to improve the economic position of the local rich. Toward that end, theyve leveled a forest of paper and poured out vats of ink to promote Gordon Gettys pawn for mayor of this sweet town. That would be Gavin Newsom.
Between the supes races in 2000 and a few months ago, the Chronicle ran more pictures of Gavin Newsom in a tuxedo than of Barry Bonds hitting. (OK, slight exaggeration, but not that far off) Then, an odd thing happened people got sick and tired of opening their paper every day and looking at Gavin. Every picture became a validation of the charge that the boys just a rich snob. It started to be really weird. Now, get this.
Get this. When Newsom debated Gonzo and Alioto and Ammiano and the crew in the Mission, local politico/cop, Greg Corrales filled the neighborhood with around 40 cops in body armor. They were in the bars and restaurants all around the Victoria Theatre where the debate was being held. 40 cops!! I doubt the President gets more cover than that. And, for good reason.
A lot of people have a visceral hate for Gavin Newsom. (Believe it or not, Im not one of them. ) Watching Newsom campaign is like watching the Sheriff of Nottingham. Hes only really safe in the neighborhoods of the very wealthy. People hiss and boo when he enters most gatherings. His colleagues on the Board of Supervisors despise him. The press doesnt like him. Hell, hes even less popular than me.
Thats pretty bad for a guy who has spent around 3 million dollars over the last 2 years getting his mug out in front of the public. Oh, they know who he is now. In the Gonzalez poll, about 98% of the people knew who Gavin was (87% knew Gonzo) thing is thing is the more they see of Newsom, the less they like him. He peaked in the polls at 38% last year and its been all downhill since. It is strange. Its almost as if the voters of San Francisco can spot an empty suit (even if it costs $3k)
Thanks to the Giants
Eileen Left flew to Miami for the Giants/Marlins games and came back brimming with joy. With the whole town in the dumps about our early exit from the post-season, I asked her why she was so happy.
h.: Why are you so happy?
Eileen: (leaning waaay to far out of the shower to answer) Because I know when Im watching history and youre an idiot!
h.: We played defense like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, for Gods sake!! What the hell is there to be happy about?
Eileen: (Stepping out into the living room to torment me by drying her long, firm limbs and torso with a huge bath towel.) Heres a short list of what you should have learned this year.
1. In the hundred or so years of major league baseball, around 75,000 people have played the game. Barry Bonds is the most dangerous offensive player of the entire 75,000! He arouses the crowd just standing in the on-deck circle. You gotten to see him 3 times in person this year because I had mercy on you and finally took you to some games. How the hell can you bitch after you got to see the best hitter ever ever I mean, ever after youve seen him?
2. This kid, Jerome Williams, is the best right-hand prospect the organization has had since Juan Marchial. Hey, Im sorry he lost but Sabean should use the kids tough luck to sign him to a 5 year deal while they can still afford him. Same with Ponson! Toss in a healthy Schmidt & you could win 110 games next year.
3. Ivan Rodriguez has won 10 gold gloves. How often do you see 2 Pete Rose level collisions at the plate in 2 innings and the same guy is involved in both? Coming from opposite directions?! Pudge gave the Marlins 2 runs with the first collision and saved another with the last. The man made up 3 runs without picking up his bat and when he picked up his bat he killed us too! To me, that was right up there with having Michael Jordan get 75 points against your team and knocking them out of the playoffs. I mean, you hate to lose, but you did get to see history. That gang of 25 year-olds crying in their beer at the Mad Dog in the Fog will be telling the story of Pudge for the rest of their lives.
4. I hope they keep Marquis Grissom. Remember what he did after warming up in centerfield every inning? He picked a different place in the bleachers and threw the warm-up ball to them. With 81 home games, thats around 750 baseballs in a year! Now, thats good will.
h.: I gotta go take Patrick to the hospital (Patrick Cassidy whose latest latest poems are attached is back getting a bad wound cleaned you dont wanna know) what do the Niners do about Terrell Owens?
Eileen: He wants more touches? I got more touches for him. Let him, no MAKE him return all punts. Also, kickoffs. Also, let him play lots of cornerback. There are about 150 plays in an average football game. Id like to see Terrell play every one. High school kids do it all the time.
h.: Eileen Eileen.
Eileen: h. h.
I gots a new e-mail address. My old one had gotten old and shriveled. Dont spam the new address though. The kid who guards the site can do terrible things with a computer.
(Poems of Patrick Cassidy follow )