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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 16    <>  MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2001

this & that

pge.jpg (27932 bytes)Power 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.

nulty et al.jpg (385608 bytes)La 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.