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Wednesday, October 2, 2002

h. brown's columns for October 2 & October 4:

Wednesday, October 2

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

Grant stood by me when I was crazy … and I stood by Grant when he was drunk.

– William Tecumseh Sherman

The men who saved the Union were nuts and liquored up. If they’d only had the foresight to smoke a little weed, they’d have had all the bases covered. Yeah, those were the days when America knew how to pick its leaders.

Not that San Franciscans aren’t getting some pretty juicy choices. According to my ole buds over at the Examiner, you can choose crack-heads, women beaters, animal executioners, a variety of porn queens and kings, and a mamma’s boy or two. Trouble is, today’s press makes such real-life experience out to be a negative thing. The Ex is missing a real goldmine by not following up this rich vein young Adriel Hampton has discovered. I mean, if you’re building circulation (first step toward selling more ads), how can you pass up a page 6 filled with nothing but candidates in drag? Hell, I’m straight & I’d put on one of Hefty Hannah’s mini-skirts just to be in that issue. If Frank Jordan can get naked with a couple of DJ’s, I can show a little over-sized ham.

Let me see, there’s an idea coming here…

Throw things at the candidates!

($1 and up)

Aaron Peskin shaved his beard for charity last year. That took some nerve. Others give away neckties and go to dinner with insane groupies for the cause.

But I’m thinking that as the poet said, they “here doth miss & there, exceed the mark.” In my book, what the voter really wants about now is to be able to legally throw things at the bastards who are stuffing your mailboxes and tying up your phones and polluting your landscape. I’m not a cruel person by nature (although Gavin Newsom might disagree), so I wouldn’t favor the public being allowed to throw anything explosive or caustic. However, I’d think that just about anything else should be allowed.

We can do the whole affair in the park across from City Hall. You can get in one line to donate objects to throw and another line to pay up and heave. I’m sure our just-canned airport screeners would volunteer to weed out the truly dangerous items.

Prices? How about a buck or two for a piece of rotten fruit & $5 for a plastic bag of doggie doo? There will be a good sized pile of alarm clocks I’d bet and in the right hands, they can really make a dent, soooo … say $10 for an alarm clock? A couple of bound voter handbooks in the right spot can probably break an arm or put a hopeful into tweetie-tweetie land for a few minutes.

Let your mind roam. For a thousand bucks, Gerardo Sandoval would probably let you shoot him out of a cannon. (I’d point the thing at the mayor’s window.) For another grand each, Da Mayor could throw city, state & federal flags at Chris Daly (still attached to their poles tipped with those pointy things). I could raise a bunch of money. Not that anyone knows me outside City Hall but, in this case, that’s good enough. I can envision a couple of hundred servants sent by the “people on the hill,” all wearing Newsom & Segal buttons, all throwing things from Macy’s.

OK, let it go, h.

I need a taller soap box

Well, we’ve reached October and I don’t have a date for Halloween yet. Or, is it the prom? Oh yeah, the Chronicle editorial board, that’s the one. Also, the Examiner. The large dailies have followed the lead of the “Plan C” yuppies and are simply ignoring fringe lunatics such as myself. I mean, how am I gonna get my message out there if the big boys don’t give my ideas a fair hearing?

Oh, you say, that’s the idea? You just could be right. Yep, the dailies are run by narrow-minded fanatics who only serve the rich.

Fortunately, no one seems to listen to them. Am I clear? OK, it works like this. The largest circulation SF media outlets are the New York Times, SF Chronicle & SF Examiner. To reach the masses with an idea, you need your idea to appear in one of those publications. The Times, to the best of my knowledge, does not cover City Hall. That leaves us with the Hearsts & the Fangs. The Hearsts heard all candidates in the last election. They, at least, made a semblance of fairness. The Fangs don’t even do that.

Both publications have lists (written or not) of favored politicians and political players. When, for instance, Gavin Newsom votes to evict old people from their apartments in his district, you’ll not read about it in the Examiner or the Chronicle. If h. brown presents a plan to attack the root cause of homelessness by calling for a $20 million program providing 2,000 homeless and “at-risk” citizens with mentors in exchange for free parking , you won’t read about that in the two dailies. Even though, I have the education, experience, and data to support such a program.

Let me get off this horse for now. Bottom line is, ignore anything on local politics presented to you by the two SF dailies. They have an agenda and a lineup and they do not hold the truth in high esteem. You should, instead, listen to this drunken, crazy, pot-head, homeless, welfare cheat & renowned lecher. Search out my columns. Follow my advice. … You’re getting sleepy now. … Your eyelids are heavy. You cannot keep your eyes open. …

Taking it back to the streets

I don’t do demonstrations anymore. Oh, I’ll go cover them for this column. I’m just not in the mind-set to do the sign & street & sidewalk thing. But news flash of the last couple of weeks or so has me rethinking my position. It seems the government is experimenting with a valium-based spray to use against demonstrators! I mean, hubba, hubba, hubba!

Ever do valium? At one time over 40 million Americans had prescriptions for the stuff. I once had four-quadrant dental surgery in which they laid open my gums and scraped my jaw bones while I was wide awake and as the dentist promised, I “didn’t care.” Pretty strong stuff. Certainly worth getting on the picket line for a little smoky waft of da substance. But, why stop there? Indeed, I can think of any number of intoxicants that would draw a crowd. Good pot is always a winner. Acid would make for a truly jolly old time. Surely, a helicopter spraying Jack Daniels in an aerosol form would be welcome anywhere I’m carrying a sign.

Ahhhh, our government. Like, offering a free buzz is going to cut DOWN on the crowd?

I heard this one eavesdropping

Other reporters do research & call people on the phone. They take notes and check everything twice. I prefer to watch TV. And drink. If I go to City Hall, it’s only to pick up agendas or support the arts (read, drink) or eavesdrop on real reporters.

Other day, I heard a good one. I heard this gorgeous blonde, built like you wish, heard her say (she’s an insider in Da Mayor’s office), heard her tell someone that the mayor had scheduled so many (10) debates with Ammiano in the last election because he wanted the public to hear Tom’s “whiney” voice. Ouch! It worked. It will work again too. Drop out, President Ammiano. The polls show you pulling exactly the same 36% you pulled in the last election. Take yourself out of the game. Go to the bench for a new quarterback. That, or get the cops to spray something really special at your rallies.

There’s this new drug I been reading about. Called “sextasy.” Combination of viagra and ecstasy. Now, that would be some rally.

2 black cats left!: sobone@juno.com


Friday, October 4

Watching City Hall

By h. brown

“Why don’t they throw downfield more!!?

– Me, bitching about the Niner’s offense

Cause I did it once … and they made me go get it!

– My campaign mgr., Jens Nielsen

Well, I got the final cat spayed yesterday. Still got three available for adoption, so don’t y’all hold back. We’ve begun work on clearing the funky old corral behind my cubbie hole and my buddy Chris wants to put in a garden. The folks who rent the store (used-to-be-stables) in front would like to just turn the space over to the tenants here. We’ll see what we can work out. It’s a really interesting situation.

It would be so cool to take down all the fences in the spaces down the block and make a New Orleans style courtyard. You know why they did those courtyards in New Orleans, don’t you? It was because the streets were full of horny sailors and parents didn’t want their children exposed to the louts. If you think the streets of the Tenderloin are any better than 18th century New Orleans, you’re wrong. So, clear out the trash, groom the space & spray for fleas, tame & adopt out the cats. I hate that worst – love to have a real job and rent a place where I could keep the little angels.

Matt Smith, I love ya, but …. jeeez

– Sung to the melody of “Board ooffff my hearrrt, I love your melody”

No one respects the Board of Supervisors.

Now, normally, I think that’s a good thing.  I mean, one should always be at least suspicious of anyone who’d run for public office in the first place. Stillll, there is constructive criticism and then there is uninformed blather which your piece in yesterday’s SF Weekly was composed of … to the top … leaking at the seams.

Bad, bad piece, Matt. Because: Matt Smith does not have a clue about the Board of Supervisors. He does not watch them. Oh, he watches them a bit.  Not much. Almost none of the major writers who work for the various publications spend much time actually watching the board. They’re on the clock. Their editors are barbarian sycophants with well-greased posteriors who pass along the favor. Write something bad about someone the owner likes: take it up the kazoo! So, the writers don’t challenge the people who sign their checks. Not getting a check, I don’t have that problem.

Anyway, back to Matt. His piece of Wednesday, October 2nd showed Brother Smith to be elitist, impatient, brilliant & sublimely uninformed.  Hey, the boy can write. He’s been doing the best stuff in town the last year.  At his best, he’s fearless, an inspired researcher & he seems to have core values.  At his worst, (such as the 10-2 piece) he kisses ass with the rich at the top of his class.

One of the things you have to do to party with the rich in this town is to be down on the present, pedestrian, elected-by-their-neighbors Board of Supes. Matt, this great writer, he gets down and wallows with the best Ken Garcia obsequious offerings. You know why?

He does it because he took some out-of-town friends to see the board and because the board was busy doing the mayor’s work because the mayor ignored the voter will to shake loose his control of the Gentrification Juggernaut. Because it was boring to his visitors, Smith decides to kill two birds with one stone. First, he attacks the board (which will get the boy many a lunch); then, he looks like king shit for the out-of-town guests. 

Well, Matt boy, do you remember Barbara Kaufman? Do you recall Michael Yaki? Does the name Mabel Teng ring a bell? You clearly haven’t watched this board. Did you watch the last? The last board moved quickly because there was no dissent. Hell, the mayor appointed most of them. This present board thinks. They ask serious questions and that can take some time. Especially, if the mayor’s people are there trying to snow them.

Willie is simply ignoring the will of the voters. He has found a loophole by which he can refuse to seat a Planning Commission and a Board of Appeals ordained by the voters. He keeps the power through Gerald Green & the next mayor can use the same method to exert control over these same bodies in the future. Back to the drawing board for Gonzalez and company to fix that defect.

Brown has done the same thing in the Department of Elections, where he has blocked the new Elections Commission’s efforts to find and seat a new director. Then there’s instant run-off balloting. Your voted for it but an overpaid vendor picked by Da Mayor (ESS) is stalling. Before a dictator like Willie, your vote doesn’t mean much. It was none other than Franklin Roosevelt who said of a Supreme Court decision he didn’t like: “OK, they’ve made the law. Now let’s see them enforce it.” Willie thinks the same. Soooo, the board works late nights doing double duty as the de facto Planning Commission. The case you were watching would have been more interesting to you and your guests if you’d seen the previous hearings on the matter. This board takes the matter of planning a lot more seriously than Willie’s old commission did. They don’t just rubber stamp monster projects. They listen to both sides & each other, and they work out deals. Things are always faster if you ignore the public, Matt.

Did you, for instance, realize that the conflict between Mark Leno & Chris Daly over the property at 1598 Dolores could be seen as a payback for the St. Mark’s project? Any idea what that means?  It speaks to the questions of density and neighborhood-vs.-developer power struggles and views and air space. You’re a marvelous writer, Mr. Smith, but you are truly out-to-lunch when it comes to the board. This is a scrapping, hard-working, fearless bunch and its only going to get better.

Speaking of which …

h. brown’s endorsements & picks

Sean Connolly for Superior Court Seat 10. Strictly on his merits. He’s spent years defending the accused and he’s spent time defending the cops. Having argued for over a decade from either side of the bench, Connolly brings a wealth of experience. He has earned the right to take on the black robes and take his place in the middle of his own court.

Whitney Leigh for School Board. I used to be a teacher. I worked with very difficult kids. The delinquents and sometimes downright thugs. Fighting to save them is one of life’s most noble callings. It is a calling Whitney has embraced. He’s defended juveniles as a deputy public defender. Whit’s reputation among the kids is legendary. If the School Board ever needed a juvenile justice advocate, now is the time.

Sarah Lipson for School Board. Six years as a loving first-grade and resource teacher & in her first year as a loving momma. Sarah has her head on right. As a former teacher, I always knew “high stakes” tests were a joke. Ms. Lipson not only agrees; she has made elimination of such tests a priority item.

Daniel Guillory for School Board. Like Whitney Leigh, Guillory is a walking role model. A good one. The guy is a lawyer who owns a business, tutors kids, works on an SFUSD task force & is active in the PTA. I’m assuming he’s the guy under the Golden Dragon’s mask at the parade every year too.

Mabel Teng for Assessor-Recorder. Bruce Brugmann says that Mabel has seen the light. OK, now all we gotta do is get her to hire Ronald Chun as her deputy and we’ll have it all.

h. brown in District 2. Who’s your daddy?!

Barry Hermanson in District 4. I’m one of the people Barry saved from the streets by giving them a good job. And that was 20 years ago! Barry has a heart of gold and he’s a brilliant, low-key negotiator. What a breath of fresh air after Leland Yee. Barry has spent years volunteering on various study groups and task forces centering on living wages, comprehensive health care, and a genuinely compassionate approach to homelessness.

Chris Daly in District 6. The kid has been massive for us these past two years. He stands his ground like a grunge Goliath, protecting and fighting for the poor and the disabled. Chris has been the target for the most sustained barrage of lies, slander, threats, and ridicule from the two daily newspapers that I have seen in 22 years here. Now, that’s quite a compliment! If the Fangs and the Hearsts hate you that badly, you must be one hell of a guy. Daly once more. Then we’ll think about sending the kid packing (to Congress).

Radulovich/Hansen in District 8. Well, what are you gonna do? I like both horses in this race. I think Hansen will kick ass in a runoff against any of the other candidates. I want to see them debate, but I see Hansen finally getting her gold badge.

That’s enough of that. I’ll get you my latest on the propositions and bonds and that sort of thing next week. Now, I have to check the kitty who just had her operation, go catch lunch with a couple of City Hall reporters and start getting my head right for an evening of merry-making. Gonzalez has an art opening/book signing in his office after work. I’ve found it a good place to meet and be rejected by brilliant and beautiful women. Later, there’s a gathering of artists who want to meet all the political candidates at a place called “Footloose” (252 9th @ Fulton). I received word that my friend, the noted composer/pianist, Neska will play Community Music Center (500 Capp) Saturday night.  The Giants split with the Braves in Atlanta & the Niners have the Rams Sunday. It couldn’t get much better.

black cats! … black cats!: sobone@juno.com