Watching City Hall #378 (6-17-05)
"They're all stolen."
(Bulldog explains SFPO's lot full of Mercedes & BMW's)
Jeffrey Liebowitz and his wife, Lucille (OK, I misspelled his name and got hers completely wrong, but honest, it ain't on purpose) ... I was headed across the parking lot at the base of St. Mary's Cathedral with Rachel Falmouth. She's still attempting suicide by cigarette and I'm into dulling my senses with pot. We were seeking the privacy of the parking lot as these pursuits are mostly illegal indoors in San Francisco (thanks alot, Angela!) ... Suddenly, there was Jeffry with his spouse in their huge SUV. Jeffery called out to me:
Liebenvitz: "So, how come if the SFPO represents the poor, they all drive Mercedes & BMW's?"
h.: (surveying the lot - he was right!) "They're all stolen." ... (fighting the fog of medicinal 'AK-47') "Their trunks are all filled with drugs too. That's how we finance our campaigns."
If only that were true. If only that were true. Oh, I was really smoking pot and Rachel was really testing her fantastic body's immunity to American Spirits in the yellow pack. Jefry was really in an SUV and his wife, Karen (? - if I can get a thousand monkeys to type on a thousand typewriters for an indefinite period of time, I'll come up with Jefferey's wife's name) was really there too. What wasn't true was that the Progressives had a clear and reasonable financial plan. Oh God, if only we really did have a string of pot clubs and bars. ... Naw, we panhandle. Just like Gavin.
Sorry this SFPO column is so late
My life is one long party and sometimes the champagne and tinsel get in the way of a timely output of unique Bulldog insights. While I regret that, I'm certainly not really sorry. I mean, get it while you can, you know, Scrooge? Anyway, how many parties can you do in a day? The SFPO gig started at 8:30am on Saturday morning. I don't know about you, but my fridays are frightfully full. And, I'm old.
Gonzalez did 174 parties in 30 days during the runoff for the mayor's race in 2003. And, he not only still has a liver, but I never saw him drunk. That sets the bar pretty high. How the hell do you gear up and down and remain genuinely fresh and engaging for a new group every 2 or 3 hours? I don't know about you, but my 10pm rendezvous has a different story to tell about 'what h. brown is really like' than the people I had breakfast with 13 hours earlier. ... Where was I?
So, there I was at the Cathedral at 8:30am being grateful that I didn't have enough brain cells to develop a hangover. I knew something big was happening. I'd sensed it at the Monday organizational meet and greet at 111 Minna the previous Monday. I'm always right about this shit, folks.
The SFPO evaluated
There's a 'new kid in town' and 'he's' a metro-sexual. He's already bigger and stronger than any of the other kids in the school yard. He's smarter too. And, more creative. And, the bastard is younger. He's gonna control every major elective office in San Francisco within 10 years. Can't be stopped.
I took up a position in the back of the basement hall at the Cathedral, started on my fifth cup of coffee and began deconstructing the growing crowd with Rachel, who'd appeared (as usual) from nowhere and already had the entire scene scoped.
Rachel: "The bathrooms are out the door and down the hall to the right. The coffee is across from the bathrooms and John Donofrio's fly is still unzipped."
h.: (marvelling at her inclusive evaluation) "Anyone here who can vote?"
Rachel: (cupping her hand in an 'aside' gesture and indicating a surly looking 50'ish sandy haired guy setting up a folding table near us) "That's Bruce Livingstone of Senior Action Network. He has at least 20,000 votes in his organization and they listen to him which is more than the Democrats listen to their leaders."
h.: (awakening as what she says registers - looks around) "They're all leaders, aren't they?"
Rachel: (wry smile as she gets my drift) "Yeah. Michael Goldstein. Sister Bernie. Brother Louie. John Bardis. Marlena Sohn. Eric Mar. Sarah Lipson. Michael Nulty. Bob Planthold. Andy Blue. Eric Qaesada. Charles Kalish. Susan King. Kim Knox. Debra Walker. Krissy Keefer. Medea Benjamin. ... God damn!"
h.: (nodding and continuing) "Rob Arnow. Randy Knox. Alex Clemens. Patrick Murphy and Luke Thomas. Dennis Herrera. Diamond Dave Whitaker. Otto Dufty. Chris Daly. Matt Gonzalez. Ross Mirkarimi. Jake McGoldrick. John Rodgono & Vicki Leidner. Cat Rauschuber. ... Jesus! There must be 100,000 votes in this room."
Rachel: (shakes head in wonder and agreement) "Over there talking to Alex Clemens. Michael Hennessey. He got more votes than any politician in San Francisco history. Almost 200,000. Twice!! He doesn't have to be here but he is. Doesn't need them but he can feel the earth move better than anyone in the room. It's like having Mohammed Ali come watch you fight."
h.: (continuing to survey the room) "Anthony Faber. Sue Vaughn. Harry Kim. David Ho. Richard Marquez. Bruce Brugmann and Tim Redmond and Steven Jones. Judy b.. Jennifer Friedenbach. James Tracy. Renee Saucedo. Mark Sanchez. Jeff Adachi. Casey Mills. Jane Kim. Bruce Wolfe. Ted Gulickson. Jeff Adachi. Christina Olague. Barry Hermanson. Michael Franti. Calvin Welch. Sam Dodge. Rick Galbreath. Rula Graffis. Norman Rothe. Gerardo Sandoval. Jake McGoldrick. Laurie Lazer. Ann Kaplan. Terri Frye. Joel Vantresca. Bill Barnes. Tommi Aveolli. Milton Marks. Enrique Pierce. Karen Fishkin. Dave Snyder. ... Who the hell isn't here!?!"
Rachel: "Ammiano. Robert Haaland. Alioto. Marc Salomon. John Dunbar. Betsy Culp. Jackson West. Arthur Bruzzone. Matt Smith. Chance Martin. Paul Boden. Plus, Franklin Roosevelt and Jens Nielsen. But Jens is at work and Franklin is dead, so they have excused absences. The others will have to pull a Woodstock as the years go by and claim they were here when SFPO was born. (shakes her head again) These people represent the majority of San Franciscans."
h.: "Look at this, will you? You're entirely right. This may be billed as a 'general' meeting but there are at least 50 people here who either head their own organizations or have their own audiences. (adjusts glasses & looks up to take note of new arrivees) Wow! That's Joe Freitas over there with Angelo Quaranta. Even the opposition is represented."
Rachel: (still moving her gaze slowly around the wondrous sight) "This would scare the shit out of me if I were Warren Hellman or Eric Jaye. The lesson here is that the 'Gonzalez base' held together and wants another fight. And, unlike the mayor's race, they already know each other and have plenty of time to get their shit together to support any of the candidates and issues they choose. This crowd can raise millions and put tens of thousands of people on the streets in no time. They can produce teams of dancers and musicians and artists at the drop of a hat. ... My oh my. (chuckles to herself) My oh my."
That's all I have to say about that. Rachel is right, of course. Someone has been busting their ass while I've been sitting on mine and I want to both thank and congratulate them. I didn't list anywhere near the number of movers and shakers who were present on that beautiful Saturday. The space seated 500 and was filled with a transient crowd throughout the day. 475 of the 500 bag lunches were gone in a flash. I'm guessing anywhere from 600 to 900 people attended at least part of the gathering. Perhaps, most tellingly, no one was paid to go. It wasn't like Newsom's 'Project Connect' where hundreds of people on the City payroll show up as 'volunteers' intent upon keeping their jobs.
It was a wondrous sight and I'd tell you more but it's Friday lunch and I have to go meet a beautiful brunette and plot revolution. Then, there's Ross's party at 5pm and the Nielsen experience after that. Remind me to tell you about the evening that followed the SFPO assembly and the long champagne brunch that followed the next day and the Haight Street Fair that followed that and ... Jeez, I wonder what the poor people are doing?
eat your heart out,