|Watching City Hall #239, (11-25-03)
The universe is not only stranger than you imagine it to be
it is stranger than you are able to imagine.
But, not as strange as San Francisco politics.
In the past 24 hours I have:
Danced a serious polka clutched to the bosom of a 63 transsexual in front of 1,000 people who thought nothing of it at Castro & Market.
Watched Willie Brown bus in people in the SWAP (work diversion program) to pack the audience at the Gonzalez/Newsom debate at Jones Memorial.
Insulted the Chronicles John Wildermuth as an aside at Angela Aliotos announcement that shes accepted Gavin Newsoms bribe in return for her endorsement.
Watched a powerful return-service press conference (about the Alioto move) in Matts headquarters.
Ranted and raved at several people who didnt deserve it, apologized and crawled back to try and make amends by hacking away on my keyboard.
Angelas Green Card marriage
Let me say something about the Alioto press conference.
It was one of the most heart wrenching such events Ive seen in my life.
Ive seen shotgun weddings go down more smoothly that those nuptials. Angela was near tears while the ceremony to wed her to the bloated beast of Downtown proceeded, but she did it anyway. I had to assume the Newsom people had her family locked in a basement somewhere.
Hey, I like Angela very much. Sure, shes over-the-top with her comments sometime, but shes nowhere near as aggressive as me. We both attract people with our personalities and terrify bureaucrats with same.
It was some scene.
My friend, Chris Nelms has joined the campaign and he drove me over to Angelas digs after dropping off a truckload of Gonzo volunteers in Civic Center.
We parked a couple of blocks away and made our way through the small businesses and homes that dominate the neighborhood and remind you so much of Europe. The classic two-story Romanesque building that houses the Alioto law offices stands upon Corinthian columns and faces Downtown like a bulldog guarding the small village of North Beach. It is very, very impressive. Id received a cryptic message from Angela a couple of hours before telling me the press conference was on but that, I: may or may not like what I hear. Hmmm. Little did I think that the Queen of North Beach was about to enter into an arranged marriage.
Chris & I hooked up with Betsey Culp (Call Publisher) and we climbed the short fan of granite stairs layered in semi-circles up to the heavy wood antique doors.
The reception area directly within continued the theme of solidity, power and history. The outer two walls are expanses of enormous windows. The massive front doors are at the apex of the V where the windows meet. Reporters & camera people entered to find themselves facing a room that was perhaps 50 long and 20 wide. The ceilings must be 20 high. As you enter, the wall to your left is all mirror and creates a unique changing portrait of the history that unfolds in the room. The entire scene in the mirror has the Trans Am building and downtown as a permanent backdrop.
The remaining wall before you contains a photographic montage of 50 years of Alioto family history. There are presidents and governors. Theres a picture of Angela at around 25 when I first saw her. It made my Irish heart melt and my thoughts blurred into a reflection upon the late 70s when many of these pictures had been taken. There was a picture of everyone there but me. I was a little disappointed. Angela had a long mahogany table set up under the sea of portraits. Another reporter pulled me over: h, Newsom just came in the back. Angelas going to endorse Newsom! It was a shocker. I looked over the room which was quickly filling with tripods and nimrods like myself. Outside on the street I saw Newsom spokesman John Shanley. I thought Id rattle his cage.
Hell, Id endorse him for a million dollars!
Shanley was standing with an aide de camp looking nervously up and down the sidewalk. I approached & boomed out a greeting while extending my hand. (Shanleys OK, dangerous only at election time)
I tossed the bloody fish before the land shark: John, I heard that Gavin offered Angela a million dollars for her endorsement.
Whats your comment on that? He looked surprised, his aide just smiled broadly. He answered: Whered you hear that?
Angela told me. She mentioned it over dinner the other night. (Actually, I didnt believe her. Id just told her my circulation was now over 17k daily actually, I think youre my only reader - we were trading bravadoes.) We were talking numbers and she said you guys had offered to pay off her campaign debt.
Thats absolutely false! Thus rejoined Shanley.
I jabbed a bit more as the aide continued to smile (there are advantages to being thought the buffoon)
So, youre saying your new partner is a liar? (Remember, Im not even certain they have her endorsement)
Cause I heard her say it, just as close as youre standing to me, so someone has to be lying.
Shanley looked a little dumbfounded and just stared. His aide rescued him, taking his arm to lead him inside. h is just kidding, John. h always jokes around. I smile and say, Sure or something and backed off. I re-enter the room and see a huge guy across the room whom I determine has to be John Wildermuth of the Chronicle.
Johns a big, big man but his writing is shit. Hes ignored the mushrooming Gonzalez phenomenon, still using election day numbers and ignoring the independent polls which have shown the Board President catching and passing Downtowns darling. Hey John, when were done with this, I want to teach you some arithmetic!
I yelled that across the crowded room.
I do stuff like that all the time. I was pissed about losing Angela & wanted to strike out at someone & John was the biggest guy in the room (then, I went outside & insulted Ace Washington, the best bodyguard in town, which is like trying to pick a fight with Warren Sapp Ace was nice and just waved me off)
It was an intense conference. Angela held back the tears and I vented my rage.
What did Rosie Perez say in White men cant jump?
Sometimes when you win, you lose and sometimes when you lose, you win.
Angela managed to lose big twice inside of 3 weeks.
Liar, liar, pants on fire
The Alioto press conference is a blurr. My notes say that she said that she would support Gavin despite his: potentially unconstitutional way of doing things. I scrawled that Gavins bribe offer to Angela wasnt even legal. An editor sitting next to me whispered: You know, Quentin Kopp killed the office of Vice Mayor with a charter amendment around 15 years ago. As far as I can tell, no mayor can share executive power without going before the people with another charter change.
That leaves Angela as a
Special Assistant to the Mayor
I believe one of her campaign promises was to get rid of all those patronage Special Assistant jobs.
It was too weird. A reporter asked her something about how shed enforce Gavins anti-panhandling legislation since shed opposed it because: St. Francis was a beggar on the streets of Assisi
She had no answer.
Later in the day, she made the complete transition to the dark side and started telling bald faced lies.
Maybe Downtown didnt choose their new bride too badly after all.
Lets bottom line Angela
This morning in the Chronicle (11-25-03) John Wildermuth quoted Angela as saying Gonzalez had offered her anything to endorse him.
Lord, did that make me wince.
You see, Ive had a privileged position in this entire affair. Matts my friend and we talk often. Shit, I live 24 hours daily in the center of his campaign. I call myself the campaign historian but Im probably the only one who really realizes that what I am is the first of a long line of Matt Gonzalez biographers.
You see, I know whats true and whats not because Ive been close to the principal characters. Angela knows Im doing a book on the campaign and has been very good about towing me to events. Soooo, I get to see the world from the view of Matt and also of Angela.
She, in fact, invited me to the sit-down with Matt that occurred and I missed the e-mail and didnt go. Matt took a quartet of senior campaign advisors because, frankly, Angela is known to stretch the truth.
Turns out, he was smart to be cautious. He offered her nothing at the meeting. She wanted to be Vice Mayor. She wants to be the mayor he said when he returned from the meeting. He shrugged. It is what it is.
Thats what he said.
He says that a lot.
Obviously, Angela took the same deal to Newsom who looked at a few poll numbers and offered her anything she wanted.
A million bucks that will probably be paid out through fancy dinners attended by the likes of Warren Hellman and Donald Fisher and, of course, the inimitable Gordon (my other wife is a Volvo) Getty.
Incidentally, I think there should be legislation that restricts the amount anyone can contribute to repaying a campaign debt to the limits of the elections themselves.
That is to say, lets see Angela raise a million bucks $250 at a time. None of this 100k from various people named Getty and another 100 from people related to Hellman.
A million bucks that may never materialize and a job that doesnt exist.
Ahhhh, sweet Angela, youve sold your soul for empty promises like a young farm girl come to the City.
While you were lying about Matt Gonzalez in the paper this morning (by the way)
while you were siding with the dinosaurs, SFGate published a poll that showed that 76% of San Franciscans thought Angela had sold out in a sleazy deal.
Damn, thats cold.
Was it worth it, Angela?
I adore you baby, but I hope you get no job in City Hall. I hope no one attends your banquets. Youve deserted us. The poor. The people of color. The homeless. Youre nothing to the Getty crowd. Just someone to snicker about from the other side of the room. Youve turned into a lying shill for Downtown and the road back will be tough.
The character of Matt Gonzalez
To her credit, in her news conference in which she endorsed Newsom, Angela first, heaped praise upon Matt Gonzalez.
Even the crusty Warren (columns for sale!) Hinckle skirts the issue of the character of Matt Gonzalez. The only writers who attack Matt on a personal level are lazy scumbags like Ken (lawn jockey to the rich) Garcia who is indeed, a lazy and useless piece of shit. The man hasnt done research and keeps recycling the same column when called upon to write about the Board and its young president. Some inside info here, (dont tell anyone I told you), but the entire news crew of the Chronicle thinks Garcia is a lazy bum.
Hes worth no more ink.
Yeah, this race isnt about the Green party or the Democratic party. This race is about the character of Matt Gonzalez and the honest-to-God goodness and fairness and honesty of the guy transcends political boundaries. In the last 3 independent polls, Gonzalez got more votes from Democrats than Newsom did. Hes simply the best. Newsom is a preening cardboard cut-out wired for sound bytes.
Its odd in a way.
Its odd in a way
Did I mention that its odd in a way?
Well, it is.
Whats odd is that since I met Gonzalez, Ive been measuring how many years it will take for him to reach 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And, Angela brought that up.
But, she got it all wrong. She said it about Newsom. While the Newsom people were pressuring her, she said: h., this isnt just about the race for mayor. They have Gavins future planned all the way to the White House.
She was right about this race being a springboard into the White House. She just had the wrong candidate. Money confuses people that way sometimes. They fall for the hype that money can buy and forget to bite down and check for counterfeit.
Newsom is a counterfeit empty suit. Its the guy with the unruly hair whos the real deal. What an honor to sit in the middle and watch the people of San Francisco prove once again that they can tell the difference.
The debate at Jones Memorial
Willie bused in 3 dozen SWAP people on a diversion program for the debate. Oh yeah, I wouldnt kid you about that. I watched them arrive, remove their orange vests and pick up the Newsom signs.
It really didnt matter. A couple of quick calls on the buddy system and there were 100 Gonzalez signs swamping the sidewalk and street before the theatre. The church was alive with good-natured opposing chants and cheers. We were stoked. The candidates were stoked.
It was a slaughter. My favorite line from Matt: Supervisor Newsom, you spent over 3 million dollars on the general election and I spent 150 thousand. The rules for the run-off say that instead of having a maximum of $500 you can get from each person, you can only accept $250. Unless you claim that your campaign is in deficit.
Im abiding by the $250 limit because Im not broke. Youve continued to accept contributions of $500 per person. Youre saying that you outspent us 20 to 1 and youre broke? Is this how youre going to run the City?
Oh yeah, the crowd loved that one. Gonzo is the real fiscal conservative in this race.
Im going to stop here and tell you about the Gonzo press conference some other time. We just got news in of a new CBS poll that has Matt ahead 52% to 45%.
The people of San Francisco?
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