Watching City Hall #238, (11-21-03)
It was a dark and stormy night.
I love the smell of napalm
in the morning.
(from Apocalypse Now)
Hemingway said that when he was having trouble getting started writing that he always just wrote down one sentence of something true and then another
and another. Those are nice sentiments.
I would like to submit that if you accept that definition (yes, President Clinton, that does include blow-jobs)
if you accept that definition
the mayoral campaign of District #2 Supervisor, Gavin Newsom is one huge pack of lies.
Lets look at a case.
The case of Ross Mirkarimi, Matts personal spokesman. Downtown hates Ross Mirkarimi. Let me repeat that Downtown hates Ross Mirkarimi. Is there any part of Downtown you dont understand? Is there any part of Ross Mirkarimi you dont understand? Let me explain.
The PG&E hate for Mirkarimi
Ross Mirkarimi led the last two public power campaigns. He continued to work his job in the D.A.s office throughout these campaigns with no problems. His bosses then and now value the mans work and have accommodated him in arranging his work schedule to allow him to fight battles for the people. Hes the best. Even my buddy, Frank Gallagher, who wrote punch lines for big Don Solem at Solem & Associates (hired guns for PG&E) even Frank told me that Mirkarimi was an upright guy. Now, on the other side of PG&E is the local progressive beacon, Bay Guardian, which has campaigned for public power for some 30 years or so. An unyielding Guardian Publisher, Bruce Brugmann has muscled and cajoled public power initiatives onto the ballot repeatedly over those years and been outspent by the greedy behemoth 30 or 40 or 50 to 1. Those familiar with those campaigns will remember the lies and deceptions PG&E used to defeat public power. And yet And yet and yet, Mirkarimi brought the dream of public power to within a few hundred votes of passage a couple of years ago. Some say that the winning margin for the Brugmann/Mirkarimi combine went into the Bay that election night. Waterproof ballot box lids (the boxes musta sank) ballot box lids showed up as far north as Stinson Beach and at all points between there and Willie Browns office. It was a close call and PG&E never forgot. Never forgot Brugmann or Mirkarimi. The current Newsom puke campaign aimed at discrediting The Bay Guardian and Mirkarimi most certainly are rooted in these past battles. Those fuckers. Theyre not only 50 times bigger than us, they lie and cheat too! Beating their collective ass is going to feel so good. (It always does.)
Let me bottom-line this thing. Ross Mirkarimi has been slandered by Gavin Newsoms people. John Shanley slandered him. Pretentious snob Phil Matier slandered him. These people are sell-out sycophants to power. PG&E power to be exact. Theres a reason that Matier & Shanley are attacking Ross. Theyre trying to get your attention away from their boy, Gavin Newsom.
The thermometer has popped on Gavin Newsom. Hes done. Campaign Manager Jim Ross was overheard in a cab last evening (Friday the 21st) he was heard telling his companion that overnight tracking polls had Newsom losing another 4 points to Gonzalez. That pushes Matts lead to 53% to 44%. The cab driver quoted Ross as saying: We have to have an emergency meeting!
Were seeing a whole new side of Gavin Newsom in this campaign. At the Board Gavin is usually a gentleman. Oh, hes persnickety and imperious, but he doesnt attack peoples families or friends. Up against the wall, we get to see how the rich boy acts when his back is against the wall. Hes accused Matts parents of owning a sweat shop (they own nothing). Gonzalez keeps his cool. He got that from his parents. Newsom and his campaign have attacked Matt Gonzalezs family. Thats the bottom of the barrel and Gavin reached it a month before election day. Theyve attacked his friends and staff. All charges and innuendos have been false. Gavin Newsom is a liar. John Shanley is a liar. They are lying for one reason and one reason only. They are lying for money. The mayors office controls 99% of the money in this town and downtown does not want to hand control of the Citys purse strings over to a real reformer. I do believe theyve pulled their puds with their latest mailing that mimics the Bay Guardian. You see, they attacked Walter Wong and Joe ODonoghue. This is akin to poking sharp sticks at a tiger and a Grizzly bear at the same time. Walter just kind of smiled and shook his head: Why do they have to attack me? he asked and redoubled his efforts to support Gonzalez. Let me talk about Walter for a minute.
Walter Wong makes lots of money. For a reason. He is the best at what he does and what he does is help people get through the barbed wire and mine fields of the Department of Building Inspection. You need permits to build in this town boys and girls. Lots of permits. For good reasons. As an old firefighter, I know there are 20,000 fire codes in this country and every jurisdiction has different requirements. Materials, spacing, fire load, defenses everything is spelled out in meticulous detail. Thats just one part of the permit process. And, thats not a bad thing. But, remember, fire defenses are just one element of a buildings construction. There are literally thousands of details. Walter knows them all. He employs an architect and an engineer and a planner just to go over plans, then he walks them through the system personally. Walter is honest. A Gonzalez campaign volunteer who works for an architect told me: Hes the best. Hes expensive, but he can save you millions of dollars. Walter is powerful, brilliant, connected and low key. Newsom met with him a half dozen times trying to gain his endorsement. Gonzalez met with him twice. It was no contest. You could see right away that Matt was the one. said Walter. He looked you in the eye. He sat down and laughed and was relaxed. Let me tell you something.
Let me tell you something. Matt was judging Walter too. Im a pretty good judge of character. noted the young Board President. Hes a good man. Im pretty good at judging people too. Gonzalez worked for a decade defending some of the toughest people in the City and he can spot the difference between character and a façade. Just because someone is on the opposite side of the political spectrum as you, does not mean theyre not a good and honorable person. You cannot assume because someone has supported Willie Brown for 30 years (hell, I supported him for 25) cant assume theyre like Willie. Dealing with a colossus like our soon-to-be ex-mayor and doing business in his empire has meant campaign contributions and schmoozing, even if you didnt like the guy. Hey, its reality. Or, as Gonzo might say: It is what it is. Then, theres Joe ODonoghue.
Hes furious! Thus spake a friend of mine and Joes. He was referring to the scurrilous hit piece (the Guardian clone) Newsom ran calling Joes work: the sleazy side of San Franciso politics. Ahhh, Joe ODonoghue. Poet, philosopher and leader of 650 builders who employ thousands of craftsmen and laborers to construct quality residential buildings up to a height of 45. Its a niche in the construction industry Joes boys have dominated for a couple of decades because they are the best at it and theyre willing to organize and go after every bit of work within their domain. Like Walter Wong, Joe has gotten wealthy from being the best at what he does. No one gave Joe or Walter millions like the Gettys did for Newsom. These are real men. Gavin Newsom is a sniveling wimp compared to them. I asked an insider who stopped by last night after midnight to drink a beer and pass on some information what he thought of Gavins attack on Joe & Walter. He laughed. Maybe $50,000 minimum for Gonzalez. These guys are giants in the immigrant community. Newsom cant buy them, so he tries to discredit them. Standard procedure. The interesting thing is that Jack Davis is a friend of ODonoghues. Hes got to act like he doesnt have anything to do with the hit piece on Joe and everyone knows hes behind it.
There you have it
Thats pretty much up to date. Newsom is in a dive. The people of San Francisco have already made their decision. Theyre like Matt. They love him. Newsom is not a loveable person. Hes more the Gray Davis type. Gavin is sitting on his stool in the corner of this heavyweight fight and refusing to come out and fight. He refuses to debate. He sends out the stooges and thugs. Hes trying to win this thing with lies and money and more lies and more money. Meanwhile, Gonzalez signs grow like spring flowers in windows from the Bay View to the Avenues. Newsom, who agreed to Matts decision not to blight the City with signs on poles is ready to renege. Its a good time to be alive.
Bourbon & ironing boards
I closed my last column with a call for bourbon in my sign-off. Within a half hour of the time I posted it, Ted Miliken (Green activist) was standing in my office with a bottle of fine Irish whiskey. Kids, it doesnt get better than that. No, Im not going to ask for sex. However,
Bring staplers and ironing boards!
Matts headquarters at Mission & 13th (enter on Mission side 9am to ?) we keep stealing each others staplers. The volunteer base has grown so quickly that were short on the basic supplies. If you can spare a stapler (box of staples would be nice with the device) or, if you have an old ironing board (quickest way to set up a voter registration center) bring em on in. Another bottle of booze wouldnt be wasted either (make certain you bring the booze directly to the Propaganda Ministry)
New day coming: