to the people. The energy crisis has
energized a number of activist groups looking for workable ways to
keep the lights on. The latest recruits are the people at Global
Exchange, who have joined with a slew of anonymous “activist and
advocate groups, angry rate payers, and utility workers” to launch
a California Public Power Campaign. I don’t like to rain on a good
cause, but it would be considerate if they let in some sunshine and
named their affiliates.
The group began with a running start, organizing
protests in front of the PG&E building, offering downloadable
stickers and flyers on its website (www.powertothepeople.org). On
April 18, it held a public meeting at Cesar Chavez School where a
panel consisting of Global Exchange’s Medea Benjamin, PUC member
Jeff Brown, and Burton aide Johnny Carter fielded questions and —
in the case of the gentlemen from Sacramento — dodged brickbats.
Brown, until recently our very own Public
Defender, seemed happy to be home. He’d volunteered for the gig,
he said, because of his experience with the “rough-and-tumble
world of San Francisco politics.” Didn’t lose his cool for an
instance, unlike a few of the local speakers.
It was one of those noisy meetings that solved
nothing but offered a lot of healthy ventilation. TV cameras
abounded, along with carefully made up TV reporters. Brown promised
to promote evening PUC meetings so the California citizenry could
attend. Petitions circulated; so did informational leaflets.
Outside, the rain let up before the participants left the building.
All in all, a productive evening in the Mission.
comedia is not finita. Meanwhile, on the
other side of town, l’affaire Hobson continues. Frederick Hobson,
it will be recalled, recently threw a fund-raiser for brand new
supervisor Chris Daly that ended with the ejection of several of the
guests. He’s a familiar figure in local political circles, serving
on the Public Policy Committee of the San Francisco Health Plan, as
public policy chair of the San Francisco Drug Abuse Advisory Board,
and as a member of the San Francisco Commission on Animal Welfare
and the San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration
Board. For a brief moment, he was slated to receive a commendation
for his “energetic activism and boundless good will” from the
Board of Supervisors.
But he also got into a turf war with Michael Nulty,
head of the Alliance for a Better District 6. At one point Hobson,
who is known for leaving incendiary messages on answering machines
late at night, informed Nulty, “This war is going to continue,
believe me, until you have paid for what you have done.”
The “war” widened; the heat intensified.
Eventually, Chance Martin of the Coalition on Homelessness advised
this West Coast Hatfield & McCoy to seek Community Board
mediation “to settle this ongoing waste of time and energy”;
Nulty says that Hobson “refused to participate.” On March 16
Nulty and his brother John filed civil suits on behalf of several
organizations they felt were damaged by Hobson’s actions. Shortly
afterward, Hobson took out restraining orders on the two Nultys,
fellow Tenderloin resident Gilbert Criswell, and longtime city
activist Denise D’Anne, charging they’d stalked him, spat on
him, and egged his building.
Are you still with me?
On Friday the Thirteenth, the restrained four
appeared in Superior Court to get the order lifted. They denied all
the charges, D’Anne protesting that she had been laid up with a
broken hip when she was supposed to have stalked the plaintiff. The
case was thrown out, with a judicial comment that it was a waste of
court and police resources.
Next stop, small claims court.
And now for a word from our sponsor. He
did it at home, before his most loyal fans. On Tuesday, April 17,
Giants outfielder Barry Bonds hit his 500th career home
run, making a big splash in the waters of McCovey Cove. Afterward,
he spoke to the crowd: “I love you, and I’m proud to be in a San
Francisco Giants uniform.” And in a long-sleeved Fila shirt, with
the logo clearly visible on his muscular forearm. I thought they had
rules about that.