Watching City Hall #244 (12-7-03)
T.H. White said that every campaign has a defining moment.
What has been the defining moment of this campaign for you?
(Bulldog goes for color)
You like the question? Its a honey. I told P.J. Corkery I was going to source it to T.H. White but wasnt certain if he was the source: You can bet if it wasnt White, it was Teddy Sorenson. Thats what P.J. said. I pushed him further and, like the amiable teacher he is, he got me rolling:
This campaign has been a phenomenon and good editors always tell reporters that when youre covering a phenomenon, dont try to make sense of it. Just go out and get color, quotes and details. Excite the visual imagination. Give the reader something to see, smell and hear. The campaign finally defined itself for me Wednesday (12-3-03). I went walking the streets in 3 neighborhoods. It was raining softly. I noticed that while I saw a few Newsom signs, I didnt see a single Newsom button. There were plenty of Gonzalez buttons. Thats when I knew the phenomenon was real. Thanks, P.J..
Boris Delepine has worked in the department of elections and as a legislative assistant for Gerardo Sandoval. He took an entire year off & camped his way around the world with his girlfriend. He had a more graphic defining moment:
It was 8-8-03)I was lying on a beach in the South of France with my girlfriend. I checked my e-mail and there was a header from the Sentinel (www.sanfranciscosentinel.com) saying Matt was running. I remember thinking, Holy shit, man. Its on! Its on! It was gonna be a dud man. It was gonna be a fucking dud, but with Matt in, the race was on.
Susan King (Green county council member) answered:
They wont like this, but being a veteran of Green campaigns, Im not used to being with a candidate who has a chance to win. I guess my moment came two weeks ago, even before the polls started coming out. There was a change in the feeling in the street. You could actually feel the difference.
I thought it was when Ruth Dewson endorsed Gonzalez. Shes a woman. Shes black and shes Willie Browns hat lady. Shes known as the Mayor of Fillmore and is greatly respected in her neighborhood.
What makes it cool is that the day before was when Willie said Gonzalez was a sexist and a racist. Then, the next day, Dewson endorses him.
Keith Savage (poetic voice of the streets):
The two turning points were when Alioto endorsed Newsom and when Rush Limbaugh endorsed Gonzalez.
Mona Nyandoro, my daughter:
It was during the KPIX debate. I was watching it with my friend, Barbara L..
There was a stock question about why they were running for mayor. Barbara favored Newsom who gave a stock answer. Matt said that hed spent 10 years defending people as a public defender and that he thought that he could effect more people as a legislator and maybe help keep them from ever needing a public defender. He said that he wasnt always right and that he learned from the public because many of the people who came to the events knew more than he did.
Her friend thought Matt was very thoughtful and she was impressed that
now, get this,
she was impressed that Rush Limbaugh had endorsed Matt.
Seth Walker, youngest two-legged member of the Gonzalez Staff members. Goes by name of: Deputy Dawg for campaign. One of the boatload of genius I.T.s who have transformed the Gonzalez horse & buggy electronic resources into a space vehicle:
(defining moment) Election night of the general election when I realized Matt would be coming in second
and, I knew Id be coming in the next day and every day after. (he has too)
Christy Smith, volunteer liason to Events department:
When I looked around the Mission Headquarters and realized I was part of an amazing community of diverse individuals all coming together to support an honest politician. A man of integrity, a man who represents our beliefs, hopes and dreams for the future of the City.
For the first time in a long while, I can see the future through optimistic eyes with a big smile on my face Go Matt!
George X, very good friend of campaign:
2 years ago. Realizing Matt was ethical. It changed my view of politics. You cant play that. You cant pretend to be something youre not.
Christine Linnenbach, a very talented and powerful voice from the 7th District:
When Newsoms mailers went from being slick puff pieces to being vitriolic, vicious pieces of garbage showing disrespect for the electorate. They knew they had a formidable opponent.
Jodi Perelman, Matts driver before general election (just back from vacation):
It was November 4th, 2003 at 111 Minna. As the numbers came in and Matt caught up and they crowd started to realize he would be in the runoff
the feeling was transcendental.
Harry Driggs, one of the founders of the San Francisco Green Party. The lanky Harry moves slowly down the hall, pecking at the floor with his cane. He looks a bit like Wild Bill Hickock, decked in a black cowboy hat with a heavy silver hat band, leather cabretta, big silver belt buckle and cowboy boots:
(defining moment) It was when the Green party massed in Sacramento and endorsed him. I opened my political soul to him. It was a state plenary.
Derek Toliver, senior adviser:
It was in the Bay View. When we opened the office I saw a grassroots response from youth, seniors, democrats who had supported Willie in the past but had become united in the belief that Matt would act upon their behalf in areas such as affordable housing, that he was against gentrification and favored environmental justice. And, hell represent small businesses.
Bobby Kapaona, Undercover agent for the department of propaganda/dishwasher:
When my mom said about Matt that he is the Democrat that I used to remember.
Charles Kalish, Senior Adviser/Loose Cannon:
At your birthday party a year and a half ago, you were ranting about Matt running for mayor. When I responded that you were crazy, you responded: Who can beat him? and then, you asked me again: WHO CAN BEAT HIM?
At first I was stumped, and then I replied: Nobody.
Chance Martin: Street Sheet Editor/Project Coordinator:
Walking into 111 Minna election night and seeing Joe ODonoghue, Richard Marquez and Randy Shaw with their heads together in a huddle and thinking: these are the alliances we have to forge to beat Newsom.
Carol Wilson, (paintergirl) Who has the distinction along with her husband, Randy Knox (Matts Campaign treasurer) campaign of being the only people in San Francisco who hung out at my jazz club in St. Louis in the mid-70s:
It was the whole Alioto thing. That was when it just kind of flipped into absurdity. Well, what looked like a coup for Newsom, turned around and bit him in the butt.
Gaela Peters, nanny & volunteer 3 days a week at Matts office in City Hall:
I think on August 9th. I read online from Atlanta that Matt had entered the race and it was something Id been waiting for a long time. I knew it would change the City, which is my hometown.
Tom Schultz, abstract artist and one of Matts best friends:
(campaigns defining moment) For me, it was riding the double-decker bus and eating popcorn and looking at the people responding to us. (bus is plastered with Gonzalez for Mayor signs and is bright red it teams with a sunburst yellow fire truck to ferry hundreds of Matt supporters on hour and a half or so tours of the City, beginning & ending at Matt Central at 13th & Mission)
Michelle Mongan, Campaign Accountant. With the campaign from the beginning. Refuses to leave evenings until the books are finished. This often leaves her in the office til 3 or 4 oclock in the morning:
The defining moment of this campaign occurred at 4:50pm on 8/8/03 when Matt Gonzalez in essence sacrificed his quiet, private existence, acted with selfless courage, and entered the mayoral race. For a purpose & not as a premeditated stepping stone to higher office; or to satisfy an ego trip but rather to make this beautiful city a place where everyone can live & prosper. Its a fabulous dream from which I hope to never awaken.
Jens Nielsen, my best buddy for 25 years and friend of Matts. He works security at a pot club and counts Matt as a big fan of his humor:
His victory. (spoken 2 days before the election) Of course, another one was when Chris Daly came home from Europe.
Finding out at the debate in the church that the Newsom supporters were assholes. (Willies Uncle brigade shouted crap from the audience but turned on Jens who is an old guy on a cane was not happy. They turned on Jens when he spoke up.)
Paul Barwick, CityCenter Building Manager for well over a decade. He has seen the building do campaigns for Willie Brown & others and he made the comparisons:
Willies workers were different. They were 8 to 5 and wear a tie. Work or go home. Theyd bring in pizza every now and then, but that was it. Matts people are like a family. Willie didnt have the great lounge with couches and music and Tracy Hughes & Marc Powell & Susan Kalish and their people cooking fresh food all day. But, you know, I think the defining moment came when the last door stopped working. So many people came to work for Matt that they literally wore out 3 push-bar doors. Not sabotage, either. The mechanisms just wore out.
David Pascal, Campaign Center inter-module Campaign Expediter:
It would have to be the story I heard where Walter Wong went to China and had the charts of all of the candidates read and found that Matt couldnt lose. He said it was the best chart he ever saw.
Christina Olague, Outreach Coordinator & a longtime leader of Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition.
(Campaign defining moment) When he announced.
Steven Hill, Author of Fixing Elections & leading IRV proponent:
It was when I saw the full-page ad in the Chronicle welcoming Al Gore on behalf of the Matt Gonzalez campaign. It showed the campaign could fend off a ruse (phony e-mail from Newsom Campaign urging Green protest) and turn it into a positive.
Judy b., Neighborhood Office Organizer & vocal soloist extraordinaire:
When Angela declared herself Vice Mayor.
Dave Snyder, past head of Bicycle Coalition:
It would be on May 16, 2002. It was Bike to Work Day. I was talking to Willie Brown and he started grading the supervisors. I remember what he said about Matt: Unlike the other light weights, Matt is a man of great intellect and substance. He has a great future in politics. His comment on Gavin was: Needs to get more substance.
This is turning into a phone book and I need to do some overall views of other areas of the campaign, so Im gonna go ahead and post this. There should be some pictures of the campaign folks online with it, if they arent already up. Theyre by Matt Fitt, our volunteer Campaign Photographer.
Vote with a buddy: