Watching City Hall #399 (10-12-05)
“I want to welcome former Commissioner, Angelo Quaranta.”
(Besieged Police Commissioner, Joe Alioto-Veronese)
Quaranta may not be the local Godfather, but he certainly looks the role. I just love Sicilians, anyway. When I was a little kid back in St. Louis, the Godfather was a guy named Giardono. The gang had a junk yard down the rat infested alley from us and everyone looked greasy and serious as they cut up cars. At night they’d all dress up in zoot suits and white fedoras and go clubbing down on Debalivere Avenue next to Forest Park. One of my best buddy’s dad got killed in one of the machine gun battles they had over there. The papers called it ‘The Cuckoo gang wars’. It was the late 40’s and that was one of the many games we played. It was a great time to be a ghetto kid. Lots of army surplus all over the place for playing war games in the deserted buildings and vacant lots.
“What the fuck’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?”
I’m setting tone here, numb nuts. Tone is everything in satire. If you ain’t got fuckin’ tone, you ain’t got shit. … The tone I’m setting is to describe tonight’s Police Commission . It was like back when I was a kid. Guys with guns playing games while innocents watched and were influenced. Guys made speeches about danger and guns and having each other’s back. Other guys talked about pride and the old days when their grandfathers walked the beat in Chinatown (that must have been before the police had cars).
The thing that struck me most was how full of hate these cops are. Well, not all of them. The Vice President of the POA spoke and was very reasonable. Then, they passed off to the organization’s Secretary, Sgt. Marty Halloran (he’s the chief attacker of medical pot on the force - his picture is hanging on the wall in every pot club) … Halloran took off after Veronese, taking the tenor of the meeting into a more raucus state. At one point the officers refused to stop clapping and Board President, Louise Renne looked genuinely frightened. I kept hoping that a shooting match would break out between the cops and the Sheriff’s deputies. The last cop to speak from the union started yelling about shooting it out with people and how he’d not hesitate to shoot and come to the commission to be judged because: “I’d rather be tried by 7, then carried by 6!!” Boy, did the handcuffs jingle! I fully expected them to all start shooting in the air and I didn’t give a crap much, since I was at home smoking pot, watching on Comcast.
Then, some civilian in a black ‘t’ shirt goes up to the podium and yells at the cops to shut up. I mean, he yelled really loudly and they all, like froze: “I’M TALKIN’ HERE!!!”. That’s what he said and they all shut up. Then, he congratulates the commission on firing the abusive cop the week before and chews them out for the lousy job they’re doing.
I like meetings like that. I got a big laugh out of it when Veronese acknowledged the presence of Quaranta. It reminded me of the line from Michener’s, ‘Texas’: “You only got one riot, so we only sent one Ranger.”. I was hoping the mob would get into a gun battle with the cops then. … I think I may be watching too much TV. (Flash: then, to close the damned meeting, Peter Keane announces this is his last meeting. Veronese comments: “I’m sure that will make the POA sad.”)
Newsom announces major policy change!
“Doggone it, I know when I’m wrong.
Well, I tried that and it didn’t work.
So, I’ve decided to begin following
Hall assassinated - Keane takes own political life
Also, the Niners’ 50 million dollar quarterback threw 4 interceptions, I got drunk and threw up at Matt Gonzalez’s house and Peskin considers calling together a ‘Committee of the Whole’. That last one, that was in response to being informed that Prof. Peter Keane quit the cop commission. He did it without calling Matt Gonzalez, who appointed him or Aaron Peskin who runs the Board that will pick his successor. Did they get something on Keane? Last week only he and the duplicitous reactionary, Doug Chan voted against firing the cop who beat the shit out of an innocent anti-war protestor. I’m reminded of the line from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels:
“In Lansing, Michigan, an old man reaches across the kitchen table
Thousands of miles away, at that exact moment, a Guatamalen
I think not.”
And, it wasn’t even a full moon! … Where to even begin with a week like this one? Hmmmm. First, let’s do a little stream-of-backlog to list all the things sitting around in my notes …
1. ODC temporary director (see ‘Tony Hall’), Brenda Way was quoted by the Chron’s Leah Garchik as saying that the new Dance Depot funded and constructed for her on Shotwell Street by Warren Hellman would offer an alternative “honorable” venue for Mission thumpers and jumpers. One would assume that the barb is aimed at Krissy Keefer’s, Dance Mission which fields a steady stream of innovative and, at times, revolutionary productions. No Fidel Castro or rap based productions can be expected from ODC. Ironically, it was Keefer and her ‘Dance Brigade’ that saved Way’s original venue from the O’Donoghue wrecking ball not too long ago. In soap opera fashion, the Downtown forces who originally tried to force Way from her studio, then hired her, gave her 10 million dollars (”I had to hold my nose and hide my true beliefs at those Marin parties.” Way told friends) …
Now, til she’s fired upon orders from Hellman, (it will happen - again … see Tony Hall) Way is charged with sucking up every bit of dance business from the Tenderloin to the deep Mission and driving Dance Mission and Lines out of business. Hellman, the word’s top Venture Philanthropist in the area of dance, spent over a half million dollars on pianos alone for the soulless ‘Dance Big Box’.
2. Nicole Walter, who published the first book on Matt Gonzalez’s run for mayor is being forced out of town due to the high cost of gentrification. She leaves October 18th for Detroit unless someone has a spare room where they’d agree to house our Buddhist waif. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have a place for her. Time is uh-wasting.
3. Pier bumps ‘Che’ Mirkarimi in move to get close to Press Box. First, she drug the Board President (Aaron Peskin) down from the dais where every Board President til now has sat and now? … Now, she’s bumped the camouflage ensembled (you can get em at the Gap) 5th District Supervisor from the coveted seat in front of the Chinese Press section of the Board of Supe’s press box. Pier used her first day in the new position to smile and ask the reporters in perfect Mandarin Chinese, over and over, … “How is your duck?” On the far side of the room, D-5’s Mirkarimi chewed a huge, unlit cigar and studied a Chinese take-out menu. It was obvious the sensitive nose of the lefty supe was offended by the smell of ‘old people’ that perpetually wafts from the area occupied by the Mayor’s staff who sit behind those unfortunate Board members without enough seniority to sit in front of the press box which emits smells of recent sex and booze and drugs and … oh hell, of power. We haven’t seen the last of this one. Don’t look for logic in Pier’s moves. She’s mostly just a spoiled brat and any move she makes beyond reading copy from the Mayor’s office should be screened through that filter.
4. Mayor’s moves on TI highlight his ‘business as usual’ administration. … I like lots of the Mayor’s people. I don’t like Ed Harrington (KPMG raised in Renne’s office - trained to write unbreakable contracts favoring the rich) … don’t like him. I don’t like Mohammed Nehru (a sadistic vote stealing, illegal immigrant championed by Dianne Feinstein). I don’t like Gerald Green (still making over a hundred grand a year at Port). I don’t like Larry Badiner (whom, I doubt would test human in a fair dna test). Nor, Bill Lee. Or, Marcia Rosen, Matt Franklin, Arnold Townsend, Mike Garcia, … you can go on and on. These people are not the best and brightest. They are the oldest and most crooked.
Fact is, Newsom is a liar. He didn’t reform shit. He has kept the same powers in place in the Planning Department and at Redevelopment and in the PUC and in Park & Rec and in every other place where significant money is spent. It is, beyond a shadow of a doubt … business as usual and anyone in the City with any savy whatsoever agrees this to be the fact. The ‘old boy’ network lives on. Gentrification continues. That means, the poor have to go and that includes the artists and dancers and writers and sculptors and reporters.
“Boss, what do we do about Frank?”
You could apply this to Frank Gallagher, I guess. In the movie, Al Pacino murders ‘Frank’s’ boss and all of his other bodyguards while ‘Frank’ is in the lu. Pacino’s own bodyguards get the drop on the remaining pistolero as he comes out of the bathroom and he’s the only one of the old regime left standing. It is a great moment in cinema. Pacino lights a cigar & studies the sweating bodyguard. Then, he utters these wonderful words that so fit the present situation:
“Hey Frank. You want a job?”
Thus, should young Newsom act. Firing Gallagher and Jim Ferrell (for endorsing Calvin Louie?) and DJ Canepa doesn’t make sense. They all supported Newsom in the mayor’s race. Nevertheless, Newsom announced in the Examiner this morning that he intended to do just that. I honestly don’t know what to say about that. I guess Gavin might equate that with me ragging on Mirkarimi cause he doesn’t do everything I ask, but it ain’t the same thing. Everyone knows I’ll be behind Ross in his next real battle. And, anyone with any sense knows that alienating young & loyal aides like Gallagher & DJ can only hurt Newsom. If civil service has room for Wendy Lenka and Monique Moyer, it has room for Tony’s captured crew.
5. Examiner dumps Doonesbury and Herman? Shit man! Doonesbury, I can get anywhere. Herman, not so available. Face it folks, the diverse and actually ‘fair and balanced’ Examiner that Gallagher and Hampton and J.K. Dineen (yeah, he was forced out too) built over the past few years is history. Now, even the funny page is being cleared of divergent content. The Examiner will give you one point of view and hammer your brain with it til you’re numb. I have two words for them: … ‘wrong town’. You can show your own displeasure by complaining to SF Toyota (415) 674-0690 or Towne Ford (650) 366-5744 about the removal of the cartoons. Both of these dealerships bought full page ads in the Doonesbury-less Examiner today. You could call the Examiner, but they don’t answer their phones. Or, respond to email. Go after their advertisers.
6. ‘Step & Fetch-it’ prepare SF for terrorist attack. Oh, I meant, Gavin and Annemarie, of course. Well, anyway, … previewing how they’ll react in an actual emergency, Annemarie Conroy scheduled the first meeting of the City’s Emergency Response Team since Katrina at a time that conflicted with not only the Mayor’s schedule, but also with a regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors who have 3 members on the City’s Emergency Council of last resort. The woman is an idiot!
I sat and shook my head in wonder as even Board Clerk, Gloria Young who works for the Council had to admit that Conroy had ignored obvious scheduling conflicts (ignore the Board, OK … ignore the Mayor? - c’mon Annemarie!) … ignored the fact that key members of the group couldn’t attend.
Folks, if there’s an earthquake or a terrorists attack, we’re fucked. It is that simple. You won’t find a single fire crew who can locate one of our 170 emergency cisterns. Not one NERT crew has a clue as to how to extract water from a cistern. The fire chief holds the very San Francisco view that standardization is a bad thing and that diversity rules. Unfortunately, this shouldn’t hold for plumbing connections on emergency water connections. The PD is little better than a highly paid mercenary biker gang. An out-of-town one, at that. They keep 300 positions open that could be filled by single cops walking beats so that they can use that portion of their budget to pay unnecessary overtime that most of the sad bastards have locked into their mortgage payments. That kind of shit is a factor, people. You get a walking rookie cop on your beat? It could cause their bosses to miss a mortgage payment cause the overtime is gone.
7. Also, on the cops. One of the last things that Keane asked the Police Chief before he quit was whether Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield was correct when he said that you couldn’t trust police forces, even in the U.S. because they were full of thieves and thugs.
To her credit, Police Chief Fong is so focussed upon things San Francisco that she’d not heard of the bombshell Rumsfield dropped some two weeks earlier. She promised to look it up and get back to Keane who quit about an hour later. (I’ve had cops here tell me that the main reason the department moves cops to new stations every 2 years is so that they don’t have time to set up pay-offs and other criminal activities and that it is a real problem across the country.)
8. Elsbernd mocks Mirkarimi several times. … “You voted for this in committee! What’s changed!?” … That was in a very aggressive tone on an item that I forget. Something like … “they promised me more info and I didn’t get it” was Mirk’s response but Sean got the final piece of ass.
They channeled the illicit funds from the ‘Friends of the Library’ through Mirkarimi last week and he looked the perfect fool. Downtown does this kind of thing now and then. They have Aaron Peskin introduce a resolution honoring Lee Blitch, for instance. In this case, the library’s ‘Friends’ are a lawless slush fund for Downtown projects. They have never been before a committee to explain just who the hell they are, what have they done … never opened a book. They are bad news.
All Mirkarimi had to do was to send the item to committee. That would have opened it up for all of the critics of this group of high-brow gangsters. Any supe could have done it. The nasty thing was when Elsbernd mocked Mirkarimi’s ignorance by saying:
“I normally refer any gift of over $1 million to committee,
(Also, not in the news)
“What do you think about the new bird flu?”
“I thought all birds flew.”
OK, OK, everything around here isn’t dead serious. Naw, it’s been a pretty funny week for those able to keep their sense of humors while stepping over the corpses. I hang out with my buddy, Jens Nielsen to listen to rock n’ roll and drink heavily most evenings and the block where he lives (at the Edgeworth Hotel) is one of the worst in the City.
And, it had been getting much worse. Literally, a couple of dozen crack dealers in one block. Number growing all the time. … Well, I mentioned it here and suddenly, the cops and City attacked! Seriously, dude, they came through. Oh, they haven’t won, but there has been a huge difference. Street cleanings and invisible sweeps have cleared the block for most of the 24 hour day.
MANI FESTI - VAL
@ Dance Mission
November 5th to 20th
(mark it on your calendar)
‘Dance Brigade’s Festival For Social Change’ is coming to 24th and Mission. Upstairs from Cafe’ LaBoheme where R. Crumb created ‘Honeybunch’ by studying a dancer’s legs. Upstairs where Palestinians and Cubans sweat with belly dancers and trapeze artists. The very best and most vibrant ‘dishonorable’ dance venue in town. Order early. The theatre is small. Also, if you’re on my early list, this is going out at 2:30pm and Dance Brigade will play with their Taiko drums at 6pm in front of da Hall.
Is that a siren?