From now on, I'm only going to say nice things about 3rd
District supe/Finance chair/Budget vice-chair Aaron Peskin.
OK, I'm lying. The guy (outside of board president Tom
Ammiano) clearly has the most clout on the present board. Ammiano made
that happen, I should add.
It has been a good plan. Peskin likes to deal but is
owned by no particular interest group. Like me. Aaron & his wife, Nancy
Shanahan, came to rub shoulders with the heart & soul of North Beach.
It's their turf and the artist was a North Beacher. These supes all have
their niches, surrounded by stacks of files on a variety of interest
groups. Peskin, with his far-reaching powers through Finance & Budget
may have the widest variety other than Ammiano.
Gonzalez spends more time with poets & artists &
writers, if that's where your interests lie. “Gonzo” (as Marc Salomon
calls him) is the spear point of progressive politics in San Francisco.
Like any good lawyer, he's a negotiator & like any true believer, he
holds his ground to the end when basic principles are involved (like Da
Mayor's control of 99.7% of the city budget). Only Gonzalez & Chris Daly
(also at the gathering) voted against last year's capitulation to Willie
Brown. Hopefully, this year it will be different.
That's the message I was yelling across the crowded room
to all who would listen. "We need 200 million in add-backs this year!" I
preached to a well-jugged 50-ish beauty in an open-backed floral print
"Who's Willie Brown?" she replied. I like that in a
woman. "And, what's an 'add-back‘?" she continued.
It would never work between us, I thought. She just
wouldn't understand when I twisted in a sweaty sleep, mumbling
Controller Ed Harrington's fiscal projections. A couple needs more
common ground than hot, uncontrollable, no-holds-barred sex to make a go
Hmmmm, well, hmmmm, that's clearly a lie too. Least, as
best I remember.
"I give you the best compliment I can," yelled Peskin
across the din. "I read you every day. Not just for what you say about
me [mostly insults] but to see what you've written about Gavin Newsom!"
I was flattered & said so. (It's always good to know
that your hate mail is getting through to its targeted recipients.) I
didn't note (true) that while reading me takes five or ten minutes
(tops) a day, watching EVERYTHING he says & does on Channel 26 takes up
to ten or twelve hours a day (a person needs a hobby).
A curvaceous young thing next to me flattened a boob
against my arm to lean & shout into my ear, "Who's Gavin Newsom?" I was
liking this crowd better all the time.
I complimented Peskin on a statement attributed to him
that personnel cuts should also be on the table through the continuing
budget battle. (It's so easy to yell from the sidelines) We continued
the banter. I praised former supe John Bardis, who gets under Peskin's
skin & whom I consider a civic treasure who is there to ask the
questions so many of us homebound drunks would like to be there asking.
"Yeah, I know he went to Harvard & all that," spoketh
Peskin. "I just get tired of hearing the same thing over & over."
The area of concern was the challenge Bardis regularly
poses to the board at every level (not just Peskin – Aaron just gets the
brunt of the fire because he runs, directly or indirectly, all of the
board's broadest fiscal considerations). Bardis challenges the board to
take back some of the budgetary powers that rightfully belong to it
under the City Charter.
I returned that I thought Bardis's target was more
likely aimed toward the TV audience, which is considerable (if you count
the tapes we all trade, Channel 26 is kicking KRON's backside). I
retreated enough to allow that the plunder of legislative power to
originate alluh da cash-expenditure proposals was hardly new to San
Francisco. You historians correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the
executive branch started grabbing budgetary prerogatives as far back as
Andrew Jackson & was pretty much completed under Franklin Roosevelt.
Grabbing back even a bit is a truly daunting task. To expect the
District 3 supe to reverse the trend in a deficit year is to ask much.
Well, asking “much” is what coaches & parents &
journalists are supposed to do. I'm all three. I expect lots.
I'll settle for a little. Just grab 4 percent of the
power we gave you back from the mayor & divide it among your district's
constituents. You might be surprised at the support you get.
The artist for the show is George Long. A real
renaissance kind of guy. Photographer. Saxophonist. And abstractions:
"Inspired by Picasso and the weird liquid surrealism of Salvador Dali.
Wild brush strokes, bold colors, paint squeezed straight from the tube
or applied with palette knife over brushed color washes. Many of his
works contain partial figures dancing out of the abstraction. Some
figures are obvious; others are deconstructed." Paintings in the
$700-$1500 range that freeze you before them and make your mind work.
Stop into Supervisor Gonzalez's office while you're at
City Hall registering as a Green Party member.
And, there was poetry.
Two Poems by George Tsongas
are the people
father to son
(bush sr. to jr.)
tell me, georgie boy
did you cut down
the cherry tree
I cannot tell
a lie, father
I did not cut
down the cherry
I've been behind
the barn chopping
lines of cocaine
Nice, huh? Miles Davis climbed to the stars, pierced
them, and soared beyond on the stereo as serious artists, poets,
dilettantes & a handful of drunken journalists paused to study each
painting and one another too. Frank Gallagher went to the Giants game.
They lost. We won.
Watching City Hall
by h. brown
June 10, 2002
|Jock cowboy cops bust supe's chops
|(Who you gonna believe?)
Soooo, do you believe the cop or the nun? There's a no brainer.
Always ahead of the major media outlets, SF Sentinel chief Pat Murphy
had copies of witness statements regarding the assault of Supervisor
Chris Daly by Tenderloin Police Officer James Riordan on the internet
within hours of their filing. Sister Bernie Galvin & Tenderloin Housing
Clinic head Randy Shaw, among others, testified in writing that 6th
District supervisor Chris Daly did NOT resist arrest. I do believe that
makes the actions of Officer Riordan to be common assault.
I guess we should thank our lucky stars that Officer Riordan kept his
gun in his holster. The last time a San Francisco cop went after a
supervisor, he shot him to death shortly after blowing away the mayor.
You do remember Dan White, don't you?
Let's get this Riordan gentleman tested for steroids while he's on
suspension pending investigation.
Meanwhile the scumbucket Hastings Board voted unanimously to build
their eight-story garage. Hastings' promises mean nothing to them. They
promised replacement housing for the SROs they wrecked. They lied in
their teeth. The wishes of the neighborhood mean nothing. The safety of
pedestrians means nothing.
Out of touch, fat cat lawyer boards protected by violent cops. Why
does it all sound so familiar?
What's uh gonna happen? Wellll, I'd say Da Mayor (who had to be
restrained from attacking Daly himself) will arrange for a promotion and
a commendation for all involved storm troopers. Yet another outrageous
day for Hastings' alumni Brown & John Burton. While Burton's daughter
lays waste to the Public Defender's Office, pop continues to prove it's
all about money for him now.
Last week's committees
Start with Finance. Board President Tom Ammiano and Finance Chair
Aaron Peskin both promised us last year that they would make certain
they got Walter Shorenstein and his cohorts back on the tax rolls this
year. Moving toward that end, Controller Ed Harrington brought in two of
the country's top tax experts to assess the possibilities of new
corporate taxes. It was easily one of the best hearings of the year.
Ammiano & Peskin proved they'd done their homework as they drew out the
visiting economic gurus. Chris Daly summed up the matter for all:
"Bottom line is that I want 27 million a year!" That's about right.
Public speakers again shone. After listening to why the city couldn't
levy this tax & that tax, one fellow rose to note: "In 1982, the 30
wealthiest families were worth 45 billion dollars. In 1999, the same
families were worth 535 billion.… It doesn't take much to see where the
money is going.… And some of those families live in San Francisco."
Another speaker noted, "The government said they couldn't tax the rich
any more in the 1960s until the tanks had to be called out. Then, they
found a way."
Speaking of inspirational.
Tony Hall's Rules Committee got a few much-needed slam-dunks in
filling openings on the City-Wide Alcoholism and the Mental Health
boards. Carlos Soto noted (much like Cupcake Brown) that his clients
quickly realized if he could stay clean & sober, they could, too.
Placing a stylish straw Panama hat on the podium, the dapper and lean
commissioner (he's been on the board for six years & was applying for
reappointment) noted that he wanted "to be honest" regarding his
previous “brushes” with the law. He held up the application form &
pointed to indicate that it only gave three lines to list previous
offenses. He then hefted what looked like half a block of computer
print-out paper above his head & let it drop.
The man's rap sheet was lots taller than he was. Forty-two years
fighting drugs and alcohol. Twenty-eight years in prison! Now he helps.
And helps. And helps. He was recommended for reappointment.
As a writer, you had to sit enthralled, wondering how many novels
were contained in those pages.
I should give credit to Helena Brook, whose outreach work for the
Mental Health Board made choosing among the applicants most difficult.
As Hall noted, "It's situations like this that make us proud to be able
to recommend these appointments."
What is an “audit“? I mean … really.
Busy boy, Ed Harrington led KPMG accountants (they audit 25 percent
of the country's local governments & just hired a few thousand of the
notorious Andersen's staff) … Harrington led the KPMG folks through
their presentations. No one got hurt.
Harrington described an audit as something like a financial
“interview” in which the nature of the questions means everything. You
can hand your subject lobs at the net or you can ask questions like: (to
the Port) "What have you done to maximize lease revenue?"
That was kind of funny, actually. Seeings how the Port regularly
gives away some of the most valuable space on the planet for pennies on
the dollar of their value for what some cynics see as “political”
Who the hell are “Overstreet Associates“?
Newspaper racks are growing out of the sidewalks around the city's
busiest malls & downtown like dandelions on steroids. It's weird & I'm
betting it means something bad for you and me. Like maybe the more racks
you have on the street when Dan Brugmann completes his inventory for the
city, maybe you get more space in the ped-mounts?
Take the corner of Hyde & California, for instance. Ya know, in front
of Cala. The Chronicle has added boxes. The Independent has two spanking
new boxes (sans papers). Then there's Overstreet. HUGE boxes with about
a dozen compartments in each one. Says on the tag that the company is
from Hayward, but only two of the slots have anything inside & the
contents are mostly soft porn advertising strip joints around San Diego.
So you smelling a rat yet? I'm betting that the new ped-mounts are
going to not only be constructed by an out-of-town outfit (Clear Channel
Adshel), which will place hundreds of ads all over them (lighted), but
that a chunk of the slots therein will be controlled by more out-of-town
Community conversation on parks
The show sucks.
The host … how shall I say? It's kind of like watching the guests
being mugged by Tinker Bell.
The main goal of the show's masters seems to be to keep people, dogs
& now cats out of the parks. Last week, they upped the ante. They want
to kill the feral cats.
Defending the cats was SPCA president Ed Sayres, who shows all the
emotion of a really good poker player. On the attack were Arthur
Feinstein of the Golden Gate Audubon Society and Josiah Clark, who
described himself as a “naturalist” and seemed anything but.
Feinstein & Clark did a tag team thing with the host on Sayres, who
remained unruffled. One of the more humorous exchanges came when
Feinstein read from his notes that "we don't need to argue (they
weren't)…. We've had our explosion of passions" (in his dreams). Sayres
dead-panned the highly successful SPCA program. Trap, spay, or neuter,
adopt or (in a few instances) return ferals to the parks. Feinstein &
Clark baited, prodded & provoked Sayres to no avail. He simply wouldn't
sink to their level.
Clark kept describing how it had been necessary for him to join
efforts to "eradicate" certain species to protect the “natural”
environment. He kept using the word “eradicate” over & over, staring at
Sayres for a response. When he got none, he suddenly barked out: "Are
you a vegetarian!?"
Ole Ed Sayres, he is a vegetarian.
You could see Clark deflate. Regrouping, he quickly shot out a
statement saying much more about what he really didn't want in parks:
"We need to get rid of these bushes where homeless people might be
Let me analyze this. There are types of people who get turned on by
upsetting other people. That's their only cause. Oh, they hide behind
phony political, social, or environmental agendas, but I strongly
suspect the real goal is to get a good woody going. I fully expected
Clark to suggest trapping & eradicating the homeless next. Hey, they
aren't part of the “natural” environment. We could disguise the traps as
if it's brown … put it down: