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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 30   <>  MONDAY, AUGUST 27, 2001

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

Fat bottom girls, you make the rockin’ world ... go ... round.
— Freddie Mercury

Last week the keepers of Jack Kerouac’s “files” sold them to a library in New York. That’s pretty funny. It set me to thinking about my own “files.” Like most older San Franciscans, I’ve been trying to store my Pulitzer/Nobel notes in various basements, garages & closets around the country until I get around to converting them to the prize novels that they certainly are.

There comes a time, however, when it may behoove one to admit that there just might not be a bidding war for your notes within the foreseeable future. Plus, there’s the danger factor.

My own files now total something over 25 file cartons from around that many years of writing. I haul them to a new location every few years during which time my body weakens and the files grow and the danger of hernia increases ... factors to be considered. I moved them in one of the 90-gallon Golden Gate garbage toters (probably a hint as to their eventual fate) a couple of weeks ago. I lay down next to them to nap after my journey and a top one promptly fell and landed next to my head! Ya think the Lawd is trying to tell me something?

Whatever. There’s a job to do here. ... San Francisco Politics. Yeah, I’ve still managed to find a TV with Channel 26 and here’s my read of the landscape.

The faces of Elizabeth Goldstein

I hate wasting space on butt-heads but when they are the current “points” in the bludgeoning of good people, there isn’t much choice. Such is the case with S.F. Mayor Willie Brown’s imported (from New York City) hit lady, Director of Recreation & Parks Elizabeth Goldstein. She showed two faces on the tube this week.

Face One was a kittenish, fawning, persona for Mayor Brownbon AT&T’s “Willie Brown Show.” The mayor tossed Goldstein lobs at the net on why his construction buddies should build dog pens in parks around the city and Goldstein seemed to blush in his presence. She slammed those mothers home.

For the common folk, however, Goldstein had nothing but fangs.

The Board’s Parks Committee meeting on the 21st was a veritable metaphorical bloodbath for the un-rich. Cheered & chaired by Supervisor Leland Yee and seconded by Tony (Dino-saur) Hall, Goldstein explained why it would be necessary to close the 100-plus-year-old stables in Golden Gate Park while renovation takes place. She bristled and fumed at longtime boarders who literally wept for the horses who are being hauled away with sometimes violent results in the eviction process.

The hearing ... the animals ... the children ... the good people ... all summarily brow-beaten by the Neanderthal Hall and the obsequious Yee was enough to turn the stomach of any decent human being. Why the hell would they do this?

For location, location, location.

Heard that before? The pattern remains the same. Let public structures on valuable public land fall into disrepair. Evict the tenants, be they horses or golfers (see Hardin as a gift to the PGA) or small boaters (see Marina Harbor as an annex to the St. Francis Yacht Club). Then rebuild the infrastructure with public cash & hand it over on a 50-year-lease to the greedy bastards who gave the mayor crumbs from their overflowing treasure chests.

I like to smoke weed and drink booze and try to ID the archvillains as/if they appear before the various committees. For the stables, I’m betting on the old bat I call simply “leatherface.” She’s old and ugly and weatherbeaten (looks a lot like me) and has the eyes of a snake. She showed up a couple of weeks ago adorned in gold and diamonds and allowed that she had experience in putting together a few such enterprises and might just agree to build the “world-class” facility that the city so desperately needs to replace its “people’s” facility.

Watch when they say “world-class.” It is shorthand (the same hand, no doubt) for the removal of long-term tenants, be they sailors or golfers or horses or renters. It means FOR THE RICH ONLY! They’ve used the term from the Marina where Gavin Newsom reps the yachters to Hardin Golf Course where the tee-up fees are scheduled to go into the stratosphere.

And they want poor kids of color to share their new facilities.

Using poor and at-risk kids is perhaps the cruelest trick in the mayor’s arsenal. I mean, damn, Willie used to be black!

Yeah, Newsom wants them down in the Marina more than anything. Just not this year.

They want them at Hardin. Just not right now.

Old leatherface brought up that poor black kids could come and play polo at the new facility but laughed (literally) when asked if it was her idea. Not hers, she replied, but City Hall was in favor.

As we speak, Goldstein’s flunkeys are selling off the equipment needed to maintain the stables. They’re trying to teach us a little French. Everyone together now, can you say “fait accompli”?

Gonzalez saves city millions with off-hand remark

The Board’s Finance Committee has become a two-man railroad act. Chair Mark Leno and his accomplice Aaron Peskin regularly ignore the good of the public as they rubberstamp one Willie Brown deal after another. Peskin has just about got all of Brown’s special assistants reclassified as permanent Civil Service workers ... with RAISES!

Sometimes, even in that environment the Matt Gonzalez manages to pull down a rebound. It happened on the 22nd.

The city rep (from the Real Estate Div? — buy the boy a “rug,” Willie, he looks like one of those lizards from the Budweiser commercial) ... the city rep was explaining to the committee why the city needed to pay last year’s inflated rental prices for a vacant building the realtor was not willing to sell for under 12 million bucks. He noted that any idea of buying the building was impractical and doing an appraisal of the site would take “60 to 90 days.”

The usual Willie Brown line: You have to act now without thinking and approve the project.

Leno thought it was a fine idea as did Peskin. It was only after the “Gonzalligator” voted “no” with a query as to why not look for a place elsewhere that Peskin suddenly had an epiphany. It was as though he’d suddenly seen his reflection in a mirror and realized he had none.

Whoa! said, the suddenly thoughtful Peskin. Maybe we shouldn’t leave the hippie lawyer (Gonzalez) with all the high ground. He changed stroke and agreed to wait for a better deal.

Which took about 10 minutes! Suddenly, the lizard with the bad comb-over and the cold, cold gaze was back! It seemed that (as if by a miracle) he had accidentally run into a representative of the owner of the building in the audience and that the owner was willing to come down from his purchase price of 12 million.

outta dope but not attitude: sobone@juno.com

h. brown