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Monday, March 4, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

Ugly from the inside out

(the Brown/Burton machine)

Ever watch the mob movies when they “go to the mattresses” and it's almost like a picnic? The whole “family” gathers close. The men cook pasta in the kitchen. The women fidget in the parlor wondering how to drape the mirrors and corral the kids for the coming funerals.

Kind of like a San Francisco election.

There are lots of parallels with gangster life. Titles are inherited. The kids learn early that they're entitled to go to the head of every line.

Millions of dollars flow to the family's loyal “soldiers.” Crooked politicians & their henchmen fix elections for you. The chief of police is appointed by “Uncle” Willie, who can fire him at will. Same with the fire chief. Uncle Willie & dad decide what gets built and where. Everyone who wants anything done has to bring an envelope with a “contribution,” bow and scrape, and sweat a little bit. You must get to thinking that that's the way life is supposed to be. Let anyone who stands in your way beware. Especially if they try to take away the job daddy & Uncle Willie got for you as public defender.

Never mind that it's the public that needs defended from you and your dad & your “uncle.”

Be self-righteous. Never admit that every dollar of the millions that flow over your desk were directed there by people afraid of your father & your uncle or in collusion with them. Casinos, bridges, highways … the “family” gets a piece of everything. You get to reap the benefits of decades of corruption without even breaking a nail.

Hey, pop & Uncle Willie say it's all legal. They should know. They spent many a late night in smoke-filled rooms making up the laws themselves. Boy, they sure got lots of laughs out of that!

The time is now

The Burtons have lost exactly one election in 50 years. On Tuesday, March 5, the people of San Francisco can beat them twice in one day.

What an incredible victory that would be for honest government. It could happen. It depends upon you.

The future of San Francisco as a center for the arts is in your hands. Brown and Burton have not allowed a dwelling cheap enough for a young artist to rent to be built in years. Instead, they build thousands of homes for the rich while they rake in the “contributions.” They've smashed the poor, increased homelessness, and planted thousands of their cronies in government jobs.

It is time.

Poppa John won't go easily. If we VOTE NO ON 45 Tuesday, that will get him out of Sacramento. Remember, a NO vote on 45 is a blow against the Burton machine. But it won't end there. If you drop big John to his knees on Tuesday, he'll be back trying to trade jobs with Uncle Willie in less than 2 years.

Complete the double-play by voting for Jeff Adachi for public defender. He's earned it. He's the best candidate. Let Kimiko Burton know that it is a new day in San Francisco. Let John Burton know. Let Willie Brown know. Again. And again. And again.

All you people who don't belong to a political party (like me), ask for a Democratic party ballot. Demand one! Then vote for Jeff Adachi. And Harry Britt. And Dick Hongisto. And NO ON 45. It's a start.

Family values: sobone@juno.com