| Watching City Hall #314, (9-10-04)
“Designed for use by NASA astronauts.”
(stamped on black dildo bong @ head shop)
You think it’s tough in space? You think Barishnikov can dance? You should have seen the D-5 supe candidates up on their toes before a crowd at last night’s HANC forum. It was a great sight.
Where was Savannah Blackwell?
The Chronicle would rather send several reporters and a photographer to watch George Schultz take a dump than cover real grass-roots San Francisco politics. Steven Jones @ the Guardian also had his head up his lower egress and failed to assign anyone. … Who’d I leave out? Aaron Barnes didn’t send anyone. (he’s publisher of HYPERLINK "http://www.sfprogressives.com" www.sfprogressives.com) … But, most of the alternative press with serious readership was present.
Plus, of course, the Examiner’s kid political editor, Adriel Hampton, fresh from his Thursday night gig on Comcast’s #23’s ‘City Desk News Hour’ … his ‘future’s so bright he’s gotta wear shades’ as someone once sang in a smoky bar. Best knowledge of the local political scene. Best relationship with the major players. I was glad to see him there.
“You’re fat! You’ve been putting on weight.”
That was from Pat Murphy, the publisher/editor-in-chief of the Sentinel ( HYPERLINK "http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com" www.sanfranciscosentinel.com) when I approached him on the sidewalk outside the Haight Branch Library where the evening’s forum was ready to begin. I took a deep drag from the pot pipe I had been drawing upon since day break and looked him over.
Bastard! It’s not enough that he has fired me repeatedly from his top-of-the-alternatives publication. Now, he was looking past my new beard (grown to hide my multiple chins) and telling it like it was. … But, I kept my cool. As candidates Lisa Feldstein, Susan King and Francis Somsel turned ears to us, I responded coolly.
“Well, you look like you have cancer!!”
Since almost everyone I know (including me) has one kind of cancer or another either in regression or gnawing away, it might have not been the most politic remark. … He was looking good though. He had a nice tan. He looked the perfect prudish reporter from his bowtie (I’d like it better if it lit up and spun during interviews) … from his natty bow tie, to his wire rim glasses and on down to comfortable sandals, Patrick has grown into his role as leading online outlet for current local political news. If you want to know who has an event for what campaign and when and where and read a range of savvy local political writers from Tommi Avicolli Mecca to Kimberley Knox, get over there. Plus, Murphy has become the best political photographer in town. He and Eric, below, post numerous fabulous color photos the big boys just can’t afford to publish.
Eric Allen is better
He is, too. He’s funnier. He sees straight through curtains. No need to peek for this boy. He’s the genius who keeps HYPERLINK "http://www.joefire.com" www.joefire.com offering observations from the closest quarters of the top brass (Eric is outrageous & Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom let him close enough to shower with them?) … How’s he do that? … Charm and free time … the prime ingredients of any successful investigative reporter. Eric doesn’t have a family like Adriel or an IV tube to a bottle of bourbon (tequila today) like me, so he goes everywhere at all hours and … and … and, I go to see if he has a new column posted each morning afore I go anywhere else. He can go a week or more without putting something up and then I’m jealous about what fun he must be having but …
Read these people, folks
If you read me, you’ll like these folks. Everyone else just copies the handouts and you’ll learn nothing from that. Believe me, I know.
It was heartening to see the top alternative political writers at the forum. I generally only use my candidacy status to join in opening remarks and I used mine this evening to tell a bad joke (the crowd is always so grateful for ANY opportunity to lighten up) … to tell a bad joke and push the alternative press. I want to see if I can get my own publishers (Deby Inman & Frank Webster glidedesign.com) to do a small placard of some kind, listing my favorite news sites that I can carry to these things. The accelerated monopolization of the major media makes these outlets all the more important.
17 of the 22 candidates were present. Condolences to Tys Sniffen who lost his father and was back east. (His campaign manager filled in for him.) The audience numbered 80-90 and was sharp. I’ll get to a couple of their questions later. But first, the hot chicks.
Patriots 20 … Colts 17
I hit the neighborhood an hour early to watch the start of the season’s first NFL game at an Irish bar on Haight. I waited for the Guinness to settle and watched the beautiful women move up and down the main drag of Hippie town three times each way. … Smart design allows that.
Yeah, I’ve seen this done elsewhere, but not in a spot so loaded with quail. … What they do is put full mirrors on opposite sides of the large, plate glass entries and you get to see em coming toward you, walking before you … and walking away. Triple ogle time. You gotta appreciate that. Above on two of the bars 5 screens, Peyton Manning threw an interception at the Patriots’ 1 yard line (last time they met, he threw 4 he’s co-MVP, so that’s rare) … Manning throws this interception and 6 soccer teams paired off for 3 games somewhere in Europe brought a roar from the Irish lads, but they just couldn’t compete with the action on the street. … Bosoms, butts & navels flashed in the unseasonably warm San Francisco evening. Three miles away, Liz Mangelsdorf/Chronicle photographer, squared up and got a shot of George Shultz and Charlotte Mailliard Shultz entering the opera.
“Yur beer is gettin’ cold.”
Thus, noted the Irish bartender. … He was right. I was neglecting job one. I swilled the bitter brew gratefully and headed off to exchange bitchy insults with the Sentinel’s daddy. … Lots of the women at the HANC event looked good, but two of them looked dangerous.
“Thanks a lot, I sure feel better.”
That’s what the lithe beauty called back to me as she turned in the doorway & headed back into the room where the candidates had divided into 3 groups and were beginning to take questions from the 3 campfire-close bunched cordons of voters. A few heads turned in curiosity as they heard her words. Why would she be saying that to a crumbling little gnome like me? … Easy, because I still know how to make a woman feel good and feel grateful. Wanna know how?
Give them your place in line to the bathroom. … Yeah, it’s that simple. Actually, I let Julian Davis go ahead of me too. He wasn’t nearly so gracious, but he’s a guy and that’s the way they are.
Then, there was Caroline Alain-Rodman
I noticed her shoes first. Spike heels with those toes that run to Trans-Am like points. You know, the kind Laurel Wellman wears. … Anyway, she was taking notes and giving me a look that I recognized. … Yeah, I’ve been married enough to know when someone hates me.
I turned to see if the look was aimed at someone behind me but only Calvin Welch was there and only Joe O’Donoghue looks at him that way. I put the moment aside and began cruising from group to group to listen to the questions. A couple stood out.
“Would you support a 6 month moratorium
on cell phone antennae installation?”
Ross Mirkarimi: “Yes.”
Nick Waugh: “I need more information.”
Emmitt Gillman: “I need more information.”
Andrew Sullivan: “Absolutely NOT!!!”
Rob Anderson: “Not only will I support it, I’ll agree not to carry
a cell phone.”
The questioner had asked for “a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The responses were telling for a number of reasons.
First, studies in Europe have concluded that exposure to radiation from the antennae increases the risk of brain cancer. Despite this, the U.S. federal government, under pressure from the industry, has dictated that health considerations cannot be part of a decision to deny a permit to install the antennae. I don’t believe the Planning Commission has ever denied a permit to the industry. (The Board of supes, on the other hand, has overturned 11 of the 12 decisions that have been brought to them by neighborhood groups.)
There are over 2,400 cell phone antennae in San Francisco. The entire city of New York has around 400 such installations. We’re clearly far over-saturated. It is obviously a hot button issue. Any candidate who doesn’t know this reveals a lack of knowledge or involvement or both, on a key City issue.
Second, was the tone of the responses themselves. … Obviously, Anderson feels passionately on the issue as he does on all others. (Did you know he brought this up that Rob did time in the slammer for refusing induction into the army during the Viet Nam era? Gutsy guy, this Anderson. Could have run to Canada, but chose to stand and fight the real enemy.)
Nick Waugh is either not the ‘wireless wonk’ he claims to be or he was evading the question. I’d guess the latter and that tears at his credibility. This is a guy who bases his entire campaign around a call for a wireless net for San Francisco (Hellooo!).
Andrew Sullivan’s vehement retort was straight from the SFSOS playbook. I hate to see that kind of rigidity in a youngster. Word around the urinals is that Newsom will tap him as the official Downtown choice for D5 in a week or so. Like Joe Blue (who was not present and probably out ‘working’ on the signs of other candidates) … like Blue, Sullivan has been installed as a hollow front for some kind of ‘Rescue Muni’ organization. Bottom line is that Sullivan was never at a single hearing regarding cell phone antennae (I watched em all) and doesn’t know crap about the issue. He was following orders.
Mirkarimi knows the subject, like all major City issues, forward and backward but kept his response to exactly what the citizen asked. And, I believe that Emmitt honestly isn’t familiar with the subject. He’s a good guy. Busy lawyer with a civil practice. Father to a 14 year old and head of a local neighborhood organization (Alamo Square). But, he just ain’t the kind of raw, red meat eater this district will elect to represent them in November.
“If you had been on the Board since 2000,
what are the top 3 issues you would have
voted on … and, how would you have voted?”
A guy in a motorized wheel chair asked that one. … Personally, I think it was the best question I’ve heard in all 3 supe campaigns I’ve both entered as a candidate and covered as a reporter.
I know you want to know who answered what, but I’d just been outside smoking some AK-47 medicinal bud and the answers were a blur. I was just stunned by the quality of the question. Here’s what I remember.
They talked about education and Hetch-Hetchy. They mentioned gay rights and budget add-backs. … They were all wrong. (this wasn’t the same group with the antennae question)
The most important vote any supe makes during their term comes minutes after they’re sworn into office. … There, before a packed chamber and their families, they vote for President of the Board of Supervisors.
The Board President creates the Board committees. They appoint all members to all committees. They route legislation to the committees. The Board President personally chooses appointees to major commissions and agencies.
I realized that I wanted to know who each of these candidates would vote for as the new president come January.
All of the other important Board votes (to me) are on what initiatives go before the voters. Take Chris Daly’s Prop M, just thrown off the ballot by a Downtown Homeboy judge. Ballot initiatives from Matt Gonzalez & Tony Hall reformed everything from the Police & Planning commissions, to the Department of Elections. Do you seriously think any mayor would hesitate to veto any ordinance that limits their powers of appointment? Nope. We gotta go initiative on the most basic of concerns.
Phoenix Streets takes third strike
Like, protecting rent-controlled housing. … Yep, with a voting population that is 2/3rds renters, opposing legislation to protect rent control is liken to reaching out and grabbing the third rail on a Bart line. … Streets did just that.
“No one can tell you what to do with
your property except through eminent domain.”
That was Phoenix’s response to a question from the audience as to whether he agreed with the decision of the judge who threw out Prop M. His response was almost Libertarian. I mean, shit, what’s the sense of having zoning laws, building codes or permits if property owners can do what they want? … I like Phoenix, man and it shocked me when he said that. I’d been kicking around whether to move him onto my own IRV endorsement list when I dropped Lisa Feldstein a couple of days before. I’d met him through Gonzalez and figured he must be cool on the key issues. But, I’d decided I didn’t know him well enough and added Julian Davis instead. … While disappointed, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. What if I’d backed him?
Arthur Evans’ book
Arthur Evans was there, looking just like one of his many letters to the editor. Perfectly coifed full-head of sandy red hair fading to gray at the closely cropped sides. A tweed jacket, corduroy slacks and a genuine bright smile. He was enjoying himself.
I’ve read Arthur’s stuff for years (I normally disagree with him) and been corresponding with him for a few weeks online. I have a thuggish side in my own response to the junkies and panhandlers that pollute the Haight that goes beyond anything Arthur and Rob Anderson might suggest. We spoke and he was nice enough to give me a copy of his book and sign it for me.
‘critique of patriarchal reason’
(by Arthur evans, from White Crane Press in SF)
Turns our Arthur is a philosopher trained at Brown and Columbia universities among other places. In my youth, I studied philosophy at much shorter schools. I scanned the text and read a bit about “The Fallacy of Reducibility” about how one could disprove the axiom. It made my eyes mist up as I recalled the shorts Miriam Ganelli used to wear to Intro to Philosophy 101 at Southwest Missouri State in 1965. Ahhh. And, he writes from a gay perspective. Take this …
“suppose there is a certain urban teenage American
male, whom we shall call Closet. Let us assume that
Closet enjoys joining with packs of other males his
own age in the common American pastime of
hunting down, cornering, and battering gay men. If
we designate the class of homophobic males by H,
then Closet is a member of H.”
I kind of resented him using my name to represent all homophobes. It’s not really fair. I mean, I’m also a racist and anti-semite and sexist dog. … Not in my own mind, of course. But, you should read some of my mail. … Anyway, let’s close this by approaching a scribblingly lovely Caroline Alain-Rodman as the forum ends.
She’s working for Lisa Feldstein!
Actually, she’s working for herself. Feldstein is a client. Caroline is engaged in ‘Public Relations and Marketing Solutions’ at Effendi Communications ( HYPERLINK "http://www.effendicommunications.com" www.effendicommunications.com). I once asked by buddy and cuz, Alex Clemens who’s in the same biz if he could help me freshen up my image. Alex, as I recall, kind of smirked and handed me his card ( HYPERLINK "http://www.barbarycoastconsulting.com" www.barbarycoastconsulting.com). “First we’ll need a couple of bags of lime.” … OK, he didn’t say exactly that but …
Caroline inquired as to why I’d written that I didn’t like her client. I responded that it was mostly because I thought she was an elitist cause she wouldn’t join the other candidates in our collaborative. “Can I make an appointment with you so you can talk about it with her?” she asked with her light French accent. … I quickly looked around.
“Hey Adriel! Meet Lisa Feldstein’s PR person.”
He smiled and came over with his notebook and drawn pen and she started digging out another business card. … I took one last look at her heels with the pointed toes and headed off to have a beer with Emmitt Gillman wondering vaguely if Caroline was married to Dennis Rodman.
Mirkarimi for D5: