Watching City Hall #403 (11-11-05)
“When you were young, were you a foster child?”
(Jens addresses Marshal Foster)
Yeah, yeah, I know that sometimes Jens’s humor is a bit corny but I wanted to lead with that one because he made the comment standing in line behind Foster at their neighborhood polling place on tuesday just past. It was important for the following reasons.
Here are the aforementioned reasons
1. It was funny.
2. Marshal is probably the brightest star in the talented class of Newsom-Democrats being groomed by the machine. He’s not just smart. He’s got that lean, smooth & non-threatening ambiance made popular by that bunch of skirt-chasing Kennedy boys from out of Boston. Foster looks like a young Hugh Grant.
I noticed the kid first when he started representing some corruption riddled department or another in front of various committees. He was accurate, professional, good looking and young, young, young. And, hey, I don’t hold fronting for Molloch against people. Some of my very best friends work for the man. Hell, I myself pull down a monthly check in the low 3 figures from the government.
3. And, this is the most important reason. The kid was voting in the 6th District and the Machine is going to pull out all the stops in going after my young friend and fellow lefty-whack job, Chris Daly down here next year. This is going to be fun. Last cycle they ran a raft of slimey hacks posing as the heads of phony neighborhood non-profits. People like Andrew Lee and Roger Gordon. Foster is already esconced in some job beautifying San Francisco with trees and shit like that. Gavin gave the kid 20 million spending money which is more than Gordon or Lee ever got and I’m betting Marshal delivers the goods. I called out to him as he was leaving and said he should make some move to save the 2 remaining trees where the parrots of Telegraph Hill live. He said he’d look into it. He should. It’s a Newsom natural. Lots of publicity. Cuddly birds. Plus, the opportunity to make Jake McGoldrick look foolish (sic).
No, really. See, amongst the series of petty McGoldrick attacks upon Daly in their feud (did you see when Jake tried to put a few hundred new parking meters in Chris’s district without telling him?) … one other move was to pull a purely Republican tactic. You know that one? They did it in tuesday’s election and it worked great. The one where they run a proposition that looks just like a good proposition, only the Republican proposition doesn’t get the job done? Even, makes things worse. The drug companies used it with Prop 78 this time and managed to kill Prop 79.
Anyway, the phony McGoldrick legislation was to undercut Daly legislation put forward to keep greedy landlords from cutting down landmark trees even if they were on their property. Daly said it ain’t cool and McGoldrick said it was just fine. Then, along comes this prick on Telegraph Hill and starts cutting down the parrots’ tree houses. Man, McGoldrick pulled his legislation so fucking fast and sent it back to committee.
Anyway, mark my slurred words, this Foster kid finds a way to save those trees and get a Luke Thomas series of photos of Gavin with a parrot on each shoulder … he does that and Daly has some competition. (Of course, St. Francis turns over in his grave, but he does that all the time anyway.)
Speaking of Tuesday’s election
Clearly the Machine profited from my not being on the ballot. That, and the fact that virtually every media-type heavy hitter on the Left treated Gerardo Sandoval’s candidacy with a policy of ‘benign neglect’. C’mon kids, admit it. I’ve been reading assessments of the results for 2 days and haven’t seen anyone be honest on that one. Truthfully, none of us wanted to see Sandoval leave the Board and acted accordingly.
Not so surprisingly, so did Newsom. You don’t think so? Be real. For a long time there, I thought that Gavin and Kimberly broke up because Gav was spending all his time with Jose’ Cisneros. … I mean, you can see why he would. While Ting is a dead-ringer for the Reverend Moon, Cisneros is easy on the eyes. … The Mayor did one thing that kind of surprised me yesterday vis a vis these races.
He insulted the hell out of Calvin Louie whom I don’t believe ever did anything to him. I mean, he took it right at him. Mocked him! Yeah, first he comments that it wasn’t surprising that Cisneros had won because he “had almost no competition”. Uh huh, honest, he said that. Does that sound like Newsom? He’s usually gracious even in defeat. Was he bragging about some skulldrudgery employed to force Julio Ramos from the race? But, he didn’t stop there. He goes on laughing at Louie’s run for governor last year. It really cracked up the crowd of Newsom supporters. Let me be honest with you, he sounded a lot more like Dick Cheny than he did like JFK. Let’s see if Gavin now comes up with one of those ‘disappearing jobs’ for Ramos the way he did for Tony Hall. … The thing with the insults though, that was strange … keep in mind that Newsom’s personal Chief Election fixer, Mohammed Nuru was out three days before the election with his crew of ex-cons pulling down Louie campaign signs. Why break the spending cap on someone who doesn’t have a prayer? It goes on. Isaac Wang has gotta be waiting for a City job. He spent 15 years with Park & Rec and would love to get that last 5 years in to double his pension. Lotta double-crosses all over the Treasurer’s race. … I love that.
Speaking of cruelty
Does John Diaz write the headlines for the Chronicle’s ‘Digest’ and obit sections? They’ve gotten worse than usual of late. When the ‘Human Jukebox’ died, they ran a nice picture of him in his prime as they do when such photos are available. Then, (for the benefit of the family of the deceased, I’d imagine) they ran a shot of him sitting insanely in the midst of garbage with the caption: “This is where he drank himself to death.”. That’s not nice.
Then, today. Today they ran a follow up item in ‘Digest’ concerning the case of the poor alcoholic lady who was thrown to her death from the 6th story of a building. Jaxon Van Derbeken wrote the piece but they seldom let the writer do the titles. Whoever did, took joy in mocking the woman’s death. The caption reads: “Police still probing defenestration case”. Hey, ‘defenestration’ around these parts refers to the architectural sculpture up the street from the Chronicle building. You know, the building with all of the furniture attached to its side? Whatever, my bet is that whomever wrote the titles is a recovering alcoholic and has no compassion for those of us who still imbibe. Lighten up on the dead drunks, John. They just might come back to haunt you.
The most important vote cast
Wasn’t cast at a polling place. It was cast in the chambers of the Board of Supervisors where Board President, Aaron Peskin handed corporate monster, Home Depot the key to the town just as he did for Comcast a few weeks earlier. He made some lame excuse that even though he realized that the #2 killer of small businesses in the U.S. (Wal-Mart is 1st and Peskin must certainly back them also when they move into D-10 Supervisor, Sophie Maxwell’s district - after all, that there is an “unwritten rule” that says that supervisors are granted “self-determination” on their turf) … he admitted that he understands that a big box in Sophie’s district might close down businesses like Brownie’s Hardware in his own district … even though he realized this, that it was a price that he was willing to pay in order to abide by this “unwritten” law. That’s the big news, folks. Peskin is no longer leading the Progressives or their agenda. He is in the camp of the enemy.
You got me by the ass. Well, not literally, but you got me. I shopped the mystery around and came up with these explanations for Peskin’s 180.
1. He’s gone nuts.
2. He made a deal with Maxwell to vote for him for Board President.
3. He’s star-struck with Newsom.
4. Comcast gave him a TV show and Home Depot will give him a lifetime supply of 2×4’s.
5. “If you look at his history, you’ll see that he’s just an over-achieving neighborhood preservationist who has no vision of the big picture.”
6. He honestly trusts and believes in the integrity of Comcast and Home Depot.
There is no Peskin Legacy
I like Aaron Peskin. That’s why this all doesn’t really anger me. It saddens me. I remember 3 years back when Sophie Maxwell double-crossed him in his first run for Board President and handed the job to Matt Gonzalez. I was in the press box and he came over and spoke with me. “You know h., this is the furthest I’m ever going to go.” He said that. He really did. I replied: “Bullshit! In 2 years you’ll be the Board President and 2 years after that you’ll run for Mayor.”
I was right about the first and I’ll no doubt be correct about the second too. But, it doesn’t matter, does it? When you attain any position of power and authority, you’re judged upon how you use that power and authority. It’s your legacy. Peskin’s legacy as a supervisor is golden. He led the fight against filling in the Bay for unneeded runways at SFO to name just one huge victory.
But, he’s wasted or misdirected the power of the Board Presidency. At this point in his Presidency, Matt Gonzalez had appraised the big picture and had a half dozen winning ballot measures before the public that raised wages for the poorest and gave the citizenry more direct representation on the Elections, Planning and Police commissions, plus the Board of Appeals. He’d passed anti-Big Box legislation and energized tens of thousands of young people to join the political process.
Despite being surrounded by a coven of Willie Brown’s hacks, Tom Ammiano’s Board Presidency gave us back our district elections. Angela Alioto opened the bathrooms in the parks, cut out smoking in restaurants and bars and lots of other things she’ll chide me about for not remembering.
Point is. Point is, good guy that he is, Peskin has done nothing for what should be his base of power. Breathe clean air in a restaurant and tell your dinner companions the story of Angela Alioto. Bus boys and dishwashers thank Gonzalez everytime they cash a check. Those are gifts that keep on giving. … And, Aaron? Everytime Comcast fucks over you, you can thank Aaron for signing off on the Mayor’s backroom deal to extend their contract. As the hardware stores and flower shops and nursuries close in your neighborhoods, you can look at the blank windows and thank Aaron. That’s not a good thing.
Can he save it?
Legislation is pretty much out of the question. Gavin will veto anything that rocks Downtown’s boat. His only option is to cozy up to 3 other supervisors and start crafting items for the ballot. Items that force the rich to pay their share of the costs of running the City of San Francisco.
1. Public Power - the energy crisis will not end until item #3 becomes reality. An anti-PG&E campaign will energize the base that Peskin inherited, then ignored. Plus, that Guardian endorsement never hurts and he’ll get positive lefty press all next year. And, plus, plus … he forces Newsom to reveal his PG&E underpinings.
2. Taxing the rich - Resurrect the Real Estate Transfer Tax as he promised he would, only this time, on properties selling for above 2 million dollars and double it!
3. Commit the City to opening a pilot Tidal Power Plant. Gonzalez had this in the pipeline but Willie delayed it after Newsom srole the Mayor’s race and Gavin simply killed the program once he took office. Again, Aaron would be fighting PG&E on who’s behest both Willie and Gavin operate. Get this thing perfected and the West coast won’t need Texas gas. Electricty from a series of tidal power facilities in the Bay and along the coast can power every city in California, and throw in Las Vegas & Reno for good measure. Plus, power the high speed rail running from San Diego to Ukiah. All pollution free and all owned by: ‘The San Francisco Power Company’.
4. Free Muni for everyone supported by a Business Transit Tax District - See Tom Radulovich and PUC Commission President, Dick Sklar on this one.
That’s a start. All doable within the next year. Hell, the SF Power company will pay the entire City budget once the tidal modules are completed. You ride free on quality public transit, zip to Vegas on a pollution-free train traveling 200 mph & someone mentions how we owe it all to Governor Peskin. … Think he’ll do it? I’ll give you a hint as to how I feel. The SF Chamber of Commerce has already gone on record as opposing all of the above 4 measures. Their most recent fights against Public Power and taxes upon the rich were led by a gentleman named Lee Blitch. … A couple of months ago, as Board President, Aaron Peskin put forth a resolution declaring that day to be: ‘Lee Blitch’ day.
Odds & ends & odd ends
“They want to ban smoking at bus stops?
“T’ere are some t’ings you can’t say wifhout teefh.”
(Jens comments on ‘going without’)
Best band I ever saw
Two weeks ago a group of us went to see the second performance of the first road show of a band formed in New York by 2 guys from Toronto. Now, I’ve been around a lot of years. In the mid-70’s my friends helped me build and operate the biggest jazz club in St. Louis. What I’m saying is that I know good music and ‘The East Village Opera Company’ is the best band I’ve ever seen in my life. Everyone of the dozen or so of us who went that night agreed. They bill themselves as playing: ‘Rock. Opera. Classics Electrified.’. They ain’t lying. Go to www.eastvillageoperacompany.com and listen.
“Remember when a ‘Hummer’ was a blow-job?”
(Jens comments on Arnold’s car)
Dance Brigade’s Dance Mission Theater
Dance Brigade performs ‘Dear Fidel’
Tickets: $20 in advance, $22 @ the door
(Please make reservations)
Me & my 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter, Tandiwe:
h.: “Where did you come from before you were on Earth?”
Tandi: (looking very seriously thoughtful) “I came from a house!”
Me & Jens:
h.: (shaking head as everything collapses) “What do you think will happen next?”
Jens: (with no hesitation) “Tomorrow.”
Go in peace, the column is ended.