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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 17    <>  MONDAY, APRIL 30, 2001

Watching City Hall

by h. brown


Sometimes the Board of Supervisor meetings can be real sexy. When the rhetoric gets intense and beautiful people get angry. When the sheriff’s deputies start flexing neck and shoulder muscles in preparation for action. When half of the crowd hates the other half of the crowd. When some people have had too much to drink and others not enough. When influence peddlers hug and kiss bureaucrats like in the back row of a movie house.

It’s pretty cool sometimes, and I highly recommend you bring a friend. They’ll be impressed first by how small and cozy the chambers are. And how beautiful. It’s the classiest place in town without a cover charge.

Last meeting I went with two beauties. A tall blonde and a petite brunette. I sat in the back row against the wall with one on either side. It was good for my image. Next week I’m thinking of adding a redhead. I’m going for the aging pimp look.

I got some interest already. I noticed a pretty little TV reporter sneaking peeks my way Monday. She finally got up enough nerve to talk to me an hour or so into the meeting. Tony “Dino” (for dinosaur) Hall, looking very Fabian-esque in a shiny sharkskin sports jacket, was explaining to the world why he wasn’t in favor of discriminating against all gays … just the trans-gender variety. It kind of reminded me of Leland Yee trying to explain why he was the only one voting against old people a few weeks ago.

Anyway, the cute young thing worked her way back to where we were sitting. She leaned over the seat provocatively to ask the question that had been on her mind since she first saw me. My heart stood still as she spoke: “Are you a transsexual?” she asked?

Clearly, my new look needs more work.

Speaking of new looks, how about the one Dr. Phillip Paris, the acting (that’s for sure) head of the Department of Elections. He’s gotten a deep tan and has his hair shaved almost to the skull. Last Monday he was wearing a very dark suit, with a deep blue shirt and a maroon tie. He topped the outfit with a pair of those very dark little wire-rimmed glasses. For arm candy he had a gorgeous red-headed loaner from the city attorney’s office. My blonde friend commented on his scene. “He looks like a bail bondsman,” she said.

Alexander Clemens (he hosts “The Usual Suspects,” a great online political site) hurried over to give the red-head (Christiane Hayashi) a big old smooch and sat beside her. “Is that his girlfriend?” the blonde asked. “Naw,” I replied. “He’s in public relations and they kiss everyone.” Almost everyone that is. … Thank God.

Alex made his way back to meet the blonde (I almost ran over him with her car a few weeks ago — he was doing a sidewalk-café thing very well & I was doing my parking-Deby’s-BMW thing not too well) and he brought us a press release from one of his clients (Nordstrom’s) announcing the store’s withdrawal from the business tax lawsuit. As of this column’s deadline, only Macy’s had refused to accept the city’s surrender and was holding out for more. Hopefully, those of you with enough cash or plastic to shop at these places will choose Nordstrom’s until Macy’s brass grow brains. Thank goodness Goodwill & Salvation Army didn’t join the lawsuit or I wouldn’t have anywhere to shop.

Repeat after me … down with Macy’s!!!

Meanwhile, that Aaron (“Lord”) Peskin did it again. What a kidder. When you listen to this guy and he starts out sounding real good? Hold your applause until he finishes because you’ll often be wanting to take it back.

Take last Wednesday in the Finance Committee. What a show!! In one corner is Peskin and in the other corner: Eula Walters! Eula sits in the back row with me and the blonde and the brunette. She relaxes with her shoes off and doesn’t bother no one. She’s not Supervisor Peskin’s biggest supporter.

The issue was “Ferry” (actually, unnamed, but should be “Bierman”) Park. Eula says she gave the idea to save the park to then-supervisor Bierman over a decade ago. Good for her.

I had coffee with Aaron a few weeks ago, then wrote a column saying the most disappointing thing I heard from him was that DPW had attacked Ferry Park & cut down seventeen full-grown trees in preparation for pouring the concrete for a needless new street demanded by Rose Pak through her attorney, Sue Hestor (??). Screw the old folks who live around the park and the thousands of brown-bagging downtown workers who use it. I said in my column that former supe Sue Bierman would have chained herself to the first bulldozer into the park and I just couldn’t see Peskin fighting against Chinatown that way just because it was the right thing to do.

Peskin saw the light. The next board meeting he introduced legislation to transfer the park (finally) to Rec & Park and out of DPW’s grasp. Good thing, huh? Then, being Lord Peskin, he went around and let the devil in the back door.

By Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting Peskin had modified his plan. After inviting Bierman so he could recognize her work in defending the space for a decade, he said he was gonna let DPW keep control of a couple of good-sized swaths on two edges of the park for another five years. He said that was Sue’s idea! Then he said he wanted to keep open the possibility of tearing up another huge section of the park to install a totally unneeded, polluting, nasty underground garage. I understand they’re gonna call it “The Aaron Peskin Nasty Useless Underground Garage.” Not only will the members of Bierman’s gray fox brigade fight such garbage; they began almost as soon as Lord Peskin finished speaking.

“First, I want to thank the earthquake,” began the first speaker, noting that the earthquake made the park possible by knocking down the freeway-to-nowhere. “At the order of the mayor, seventeen mature trees were cut down. … You should send him a letter of reprimand IN YOUR NAMES for this act!”

Peskin rose from his seat (just shifting or was it getting hot?) as this guy finished speaking.

Then along came Eula: “It was Supervisor Peskin who gave Davis Street to Chinatown … NOT Mayor Brown!” she began. By the time she finished, Lord Peskin & Count Leno were calling for sheriff’s deputies to haul her out of their sight.

I think Eula and I are related somewhere.

Complain to h. brown