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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

h. brown's columns from July 22, July 24, July 26

July 26, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

We are Chinese, if you please…

We are Chinese … if you don't please!

– “Flower Drum Song”

Samson Wong, who writes a column for the Independent, is a liar. I know this for a fact because he lied to me. Further, he misrepresented himself and acted like a little storm trooper the first time I met him. That was two years ago and I'll explain in a moment but first let me explain why I bring this up.

Mr. Wong (helluva reporter) recently ripped a page out of Amos Brown's book and called Elections Commission president Michael Mendelson a racist. Wong's accusation was part of a coordinated effort by the Brown/Burton machine to force Mendelson to resign. You see, it's not like the old days when Willie could simply fire any commissioners who suddenly developed thoughts of their own or refused to turn a blind eye to the borderline or over-the-top criminal activity that have been a regular part of the Brown era. Wong's fellow Independent running-mate, Warren Hinckle, continued the assault upon Mendelson the following day by suggesting that District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who appointed Mendelson to the Elections Commission, should somehow reign in his appointee.

All of this is merely a sleight-of-hand move orchestrated by Da Mayor to get y'all lookin' da other way so's you don't go through the files and storage spaces in the department's various enclaves. In short, if you are looking at Mendelson, you are not looking at City Administrator Bill Lee and Samson Wong and their minions who are, as the song says: "Chinese, if you please (and also) Chinese, if you don't please."

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm as much of a bigot and a racist and a sexist and a drunken liar as anyone but I don't have anything against the Chinese. Hell, as an Irishman, I have a natural affinity for them. Back in the old days, our great grandparents stood side by side and read signs that said, “Chinese and Irish need not apply.” True, the reactions were different. The Chinese hitched up their belts and went and got an education. The Irish loosened their collars and went and got a drink.

But I was telling you about the first time I met this here Samson Wong guy. The columnist. Never miss anything he writes. In the Independent. Sometimes writes for the Examiner too.

It was a dark and windy night.

It was a dark and windy night

Did I mention it was dark? It was. And windy too. I'd just begun polluting the newsprint and electronic media with my own particular brand of slander, half-truths, and outright lies (Warren Hinckle is my hero) and I'd come down to City Hall along with a huge crowd (seven of us, I believe) to see how the Department of Elections Citizens Advisory Committee would treat Jim Reid's petition to “Recall Willie Brown.”

Ahhh, those were the days. I'd just gotten my ass handed to me by Chris Daly (82% to 1%) in my idiotic run for District 6 supervisor. Though I'd been appropriately rejected by all but the most lunatic fringe in the election (hell, I never even endorsed myself!), been handed my beret and shown da door, I was nevertheless hooked on local politics. I'd discovered a scene where the people were not only as strange as me but many of the poor souls were even stranger.

I mean, you really haven't seen anything (Jack Davis aside) till you've seen Frederick Hobson in drag as “Miss Kitty” lead some cops past Da Mayor and Da District Attorney and Da Assessor and a bunch of other Da's, through a crowded bar in the Tenderloin, and demand that they evict a city commissioner and several respected local activists from a bar because it was “his” party. As is my normal procedure, I had taken my friend to the highest point I could reach in the gathering to get a better view of who was doin' who. The high point turned out to be a tree in the courtyard, so here I am sitting in a tree, looking down on a raging queen with full pink boa flowing, leading cops through a hundred or so non-plussed (hey, they're San Franciscans) “dignitaries,” leading the cops past three males strippers who have worked up a sweat and have most of it hanging out & a bunch of female strippers working the crowd. I was memorable.

Where was I? Oh, yeah … Samson Wong.

My column on that party made me an instant international celebrity. OK, regional icon. Local hero? How about “laughing stock“?

Anyway, I started getting lots more work for my keyboard. One of my next big assignments was to cover Reid's hearing. When I entered, I had to pass two burly black dudes who were doing a pillars of Hercules thing in the doorway. They glared at me as I went forward to shake hands with Reid (one of the seventeen who bitch-slapped me in the District 6 race). As I talked to Reid and headed toward the back of the room, I was stopped by an extremely handsome little (bigger than me, but that's still little) Chinese guy who wanted me to write down my name, address, and phone number. I thought at first that he was making a pass at me, but it turned out he was making a list of everyone who came in the door to a meeting whose main agenda item was consideration of a petition to recall one Willie Brown, Mayor of San Francisco.

Now, at that time, like today, there were two directors of the Department of Elections (ya know, kinda like the Catholic church in the Middle Ages and their popes). There was Patricia Faldo, who took the longest maternity leave in history, and Dr. Philip Paris, who later tried to turn state's evidence but it was kind of like going to Hitler to complain about Mussolini. At least Frederick Hobson wasn't there. So, while these black toughs memorize my pudgy features, the guy taking names and addresses presses on.

Now, the sun was down and that, as a rule, means I was already plastered and accordingly, hostile. I screamed about the constitution and intimidation and that kind of thing and asked if they took the names of the audience at all their meetings. The guy (who, yep, turned out to be Samson Wong) tells me, "I'm new around here.”

New? Turns out he had been on this Elections Department Committee for seventeen years!!! Lied in his teeth. It was getting to be another “only in SF” experience. We had a typical SF cast. The drunken Irish reporter. The lying Chinese politico. And, of course, a couple of black thugs. And, I should mention, there were two guys in blazers from the U.S. Congress General Accounting Office. One of whom (Tom Schulz) was to become the first resident of the as-yet-to-be-born Elections Commission of the City of San Francisco.

The meeting went as you might expect. The committee refused to release Reid's Recall Willie Brown petition, I walked Schulz and his partner to BART chattering about nuclear weapons systems, and one of the black thugs showed up across the street from my house the next morning and several times thereafter to watch me clean up feces and vomit from the drunks and crackheads. Neither of us liked what we saw. The guy who followed me – his name (I dug around) is Reginald. People told me he was on Da Mayor's payroll and also worked for the NAACP and SEIU. I chased him off once with the help of my big Palestinian buddies who run the liquor store on the corner, but he came back until I learned his name and called it out. Now I only see SFPD car 1010.

Don't ya love dis town? Bet I lose my escorts when Willie leaves office. Here's the way I see it.

Crookeder than a hound dog's hind leg

I think members of the Department of Elections staff have tampered with ballots for years. Pert near everyone in San Francisco agrees with me. Now, I don't know if the crooks are Chinese Americans. I'd suspect they are since Willie Brown's appointed honcho responsible (till Prop E passed) for appointing the director (of Brown's choice) and also pretty much the whole staff is Chinese. That would be Bill (teflon) Lee. Bill, he runs this Lee family organization that numbers over 2,000. It's a racist group to be sure. For instance, you have to be Chinese to get in. Now, anyone who has been in San Francisco on St. Patrick's Day will tell you that you don't have to be Irish in this town in order to be Irish in this town

The point I was trying to make before I scraped and poked and finally was able to recycle a couple of bowls of “first generation Ming” & smoked em & lost track was that you can't trust Samson Wong. You can't trust Bill Lee. You can't trust Willie Brown. You can't trust George Bush. You can't trust Gray Davis. You can't trust the cops or accountants or used car salesmen, and you can't trust me.

You can't trust an Elections Department that doesn't want Elections Commissioners looking the place over. Try and imagine the Police Department or the Fire Department telling their commissioners they weren't allowed in fire houses or police stations. I gotta surmise, the “people in the basement” (of City Hall – where the department is located) or, at least some of em have something to hide. When you have something to hide, you try and redirect the attention of anyone who might find it. You yell, Racist! or Discrimination! or Sexist! or Drunk! or Homophobe! or in this case Xenophobe!!

What the department needs

What the Department of Elections needs is two more directors. I'm not certain if Dr. Paris is still on the staff. If he is, counting the In-Exile, Tammy Haygood, and the Acting Director, someone named Arndt, I think, that makes three, and since none of them has a permanent status, adding a couple of more wouldn't be much of a stretch. I'm thinking Wavy Gravy & Jello Biafra. That way, they'd have enough for a basketball team! They could tour. Bring in the Harlem Globetrotters for an exhibition. We could all come together. Journalists. The Department of Elections staff. Politicians. Cops. Thugs. Drunks.

After the game, we can all follow each other home.

The GOOD news

Come mid-January, I am going to be a grandfather again! Second time. First kid for my daughter, Mona, and my fabulous son-in-law, Kudzai. I haven't been around Stephanie, my son Morris's little girl so this will be my first opportunity to change a diaper since I changed theirs. That was a lonnng time ago.

I'm fantasizing watching the kid grow up in San Francisco as I grow down. First, I'll take their little hand and hold em up and help em walk and later, they'll do the same for me. I can take em someplace nice for lunch. Hmmmm. It's a tough choice. Either Glide Memorial or St. Anthony's. Where would you go?

A “Happy” haircut to Larry (Bob) Roberts

Everyone can point to events that they later realized were “turning points” in their lives. You know, getting married. Shot. Infected. Graduations. Deaths.

Coming out. Getting in. Being mentioned in my column. With Supe Matt Gonzalez's legislative assistant Larry Roberts, it's going to be his new haircut. Gone is the de rigueur long, stringy hair of the typical Green Party operative. Arrived is a stylishly razored and perhaps, almost blow-dried do that suits and sets-off his strikingly angular features. Congratulations on the big move, Larry. When I passed your desk, I didn't even recognize you. I remember thinking to myself as I passed the great looking guy talking on the phone in Matt's outer-office, "Hey, isn't that Samson Wong?"

peace & love: sobone@juno.com

July 24, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

Supervisors' Report Card @ 18 months

The Budget is before the mayor. Only Gonzalez voted against it. One true warrior willing to take on the mayor and fight it out for a larger say in how the money gets spent. That voted topped out the 18-month period for me and I feel it’s a good time to stand back and offer a totally subjective evaluation of my lefty appraisal of their performances. I handed out 4 very solid A's for the period. There were 3 B's. I gave one C, 2 D's, and 2 F's. See what you think.

The A Team:

Tom Ammiano's restructuring of committees, his committee assignments and Budget Committee format ,combined with his masterful control of board meetings to make him Most Productive Supe of the Year. The multi-talented and hard-laboring board president can be counted upon to start every board meeting on time (something the committee chairs would do well to emulate). Tom puts up a good fight, knows the terrain and ropes better than anyone, and recovers quickly from slights. His wardrobe on Monday, when the board passed the budget, was tops in the chambers and that's not easy. His tie and shirt were blends of royal purple, centered in a rich gray woven suit, and topped by black-rimmed “Harry Potter” glasses. He never looked better.

5th District's Matt Gonzalez is the board's Sir Lancelot. He could win for mayor but his loyalty to Ammiano has kept him in the wings. Gonzalez's hard work and countless hours chairing the Local Agency Formation Commission convinced him to challenge Ammiano's weakened public power initiative and win the board president's support for a measure that resurrects the MUD offering which lost in a middle-of-the-night radical shift of the absentee ballot count under Tammy (“good government“) Haygood. This progressive turf war compromise could put the Hunters Point poisonous power plant out of operation and save the citizenry tens of millions yearly through lower rates allowed by a publicly owned grid. Last year Hall, Ammiano, and Gonzalez working together in Rules Committee gave us successful charter amendments reforming the Department of Elections, the Planning Commission, and the Board of Appeals. Then there’s Gonzalez’s support of instant run-off voting, his total support of the arts.

Aaron Peskin had one hell of a year. He went from a sometimes cruelly sarcastic genius to a relaxed joshing master of ceremonies. They all love being supervisor, but I think none loves it or works harder at it than Peskin. No one is more feared and respected in the city's 60-odd departments and the airport than Peskin. In the center of a swirl of 10 billion dollars worth of decisions this past year, Peskin by chairing the Finance Committee and his vice chairing of Budget kept Da Mayor under greater scrutiny than he's probably every known. This time next year Peskin will have combined his parliamentary mastery and judicious use of “Sir” Harvey Rose (he SHOULD be knighted!) to give the city the tightest and most honest budget process it has had since …?

Tony Hall is the pepper in the stew of our A class. His honesty, ball-busting hard work and clear vision surely rate the top grade. He is consistent, fair, and like the rest of the top of the class, able to negotiate his position to craft critical legislation that passes muster with the public. A potential mayor in a more gentrified city, government was not meant to sit still for Hall. He goes out and fights for his values and his vision. Plus, I hear he's a great singer.

The 3 B's are:

Chris Daly. I love this man's votes. No one works harder or risks more for their constituency than Daly. In Public Comment before the board on budget day, a speaker got up and told, near tears, of a mentally disabled neighbor who was being evicted. Without a thought, it was Daly who immediately moved to the rail to draw the citizen over and offer help. He treats the poor and afflicted the same way Willie treats corporations … like royalty. I fully support Chris's re-election in 6 and will do all I can to help as the season moves into its final 100 days. Only thing keeping Daly from an A in my book is his tendency to confront rather than spin opposition from press, public & politicos. I can easily see Daly in Congress before he's 40. Be nicer to the press, Chris, and they will be nicer to you.

Sophie Maxwell was a great choice for chair of Budget. I really questioned that when Ammiano did it. Turned out to be a wise move. Her insistence upon clarity and detail and deeply mature personal demeanor changed the entire climate of the budget hearings. Everyone respects her. That means a lot. Let me repeat that … everyone respects her! Her leadership on clean air and a serious redesign of the city sewage system gives the people of District 10 their best hope for an improved environment ever. Ever. Sophie is only going to get better. To support my evaluation I offer the fact that, in a district full of politically ambitious people, not one has filed to run against Maxwell in the fall. Like Newsom, two years ago, she could actually run unopposed.

Mark Leno got a B too & you gotta like this guy. He's the smoothest committee chair you'll find. He's a measured and kind person. However, he ends up supporting rich developers just a bit too much to pull down an A at this time. I support him for State Assembly and hope he will carry his work promoting legal medical marijuana on up to the next level. Mark is a gentleman in every aspect of the word. We have been fortunate to have him serving District 8 and the total community.

My C Supervisor?

That would be Gerardo Sandoval. Other than the consular card giant contribution (thank you, Gerardo), the District 11 freshman has mostly just picked at or jumped upon other supes' legislation. Not a stellar start, but he has his moments. Loved his fight with Newsom over busing kids from his & Maxwell's area down to the bay & ocean. He got the kids their summer outings even though the program seems to have been designed to keep them as far away as possible from the St. Francis Yacht Club. I understand as far away as Mexico for one trip. Way to go, Gerardo. You should be one of the point people on pushing the supe salary initiative. You're not running this year and we do not want our pool of candidates for the office to either be blue bloods or forced to live at the poverty line.

One D:

Jake McGoldrick. Because of the damage he's done to dozens of committee and board meetings. As Joe O'Donoghue said to him (kindly) at one meeting: "You need to learn Robert's Rules of Order, Supervisor" I think that in two years of having these guys under the microscope, it was the gentlest thing I've heard O'Donoghue say. McGoldrick could need therapy. I don't know. I'm Irish. I have what the family calls: "the 'talking' gene." You can't help blabbing your mouth away. But that is no excuse for bad manners. Jake seems to have something of a Napoleonic complex. He truly thinks that absolutely ANYTHING he has to say takes precedence over not only parliamentary rules but basic good manners. He has his moments. As we say in Missouri, "Even a blind hog finds some acorns." At Monday's board he skewered Newsom, who challenged Jake's call to hold $400k on reserve from the Mayor's Office of Homelessness to find out what the hell they do. It was sweet. Newsom stood and gave this dippy riff accusing McGoldrick of a "purely political" move. McGoldrick shot back with an arrow to the heart: "It would be terrible to politicize homelessness!" Newsom, whose high-priced teams of consultants have positioned Gavin's political future upon politicizing the homeless problem, just kind of dropped his jaw and stared back.

Two total failures:

Leland Yee should have “This Space for Sale” tattooed across his forehead. What a meatball. The people who voted him in get exactly what they deserve. Take his final act in the budget debates. Knowing he was going from a salary of $37,500 as a Board Supervisor to $90,000 as a State Assemblyperson, he voted against giving his colleagues on the board a chance for a similar boost. But he does have a great tan. Must be the suntan lotion.

Gavin Newsom. This guy has taken the lead in promoting a class war against the city's remaining poor. Widely known to be the supe who spends the least time in his office, Newsom declared in his opposition to a raise for the other supes, "I work over 60 hours a week as a supervisor and over 60 hours a week in my other jobs." Maybe he doesn't sleep. I remember when I used to do crystal meth, I didn't sleep either. Newsom voted to throw old people out of their homes instead of allowing them to negotiate long-term payments for capital improvement pass-throughs. He voted to allow the Falun Gong to get their heads bashed in. He voted against public power. He delayed the installation of sprinklers in SRO hotels, making it possible for more poor to be burned to death. He opposed district elections but is by far the most parochial of the supes. The man represents a continuation of the Willie Brown dynasty. Word around City Hall is that he's hooked up with Jack Davis to ream the poor. Apparently, Newsom's handlers have brought in the town's top political pervert to “goose” Gavin's “Care not!' campaign. You remember Jack? He's the guy who likes to watch people butt-punked with a coke bottle. As they used to say in the hood, "If you'll stand for that, you'll stoop for this." Means I'll have Davis joining the mountain of consultants and bootlickers thinking for Newsom and pushing his buttons in his District 2 run for supe against …? Against ME!

ain't life great? … sobone@juno.com


July 22, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

I got this case two hours ago on a random draw… I have 400 cases and this one… immediately shot to the top of the list.

– Federal judge William Alsup's Howdie doo

Deposed Elections chief Tammy Haygood's lawyers (Vernon Grigg et al) pulled a “Willie Brown” on a federal judge last Friday. I know. I was there. It was a hoot.

We were all there because Ms. Haygood is suing the city to try and get her job back and the city has gotten a restraining order against her coming back. The restraining order was set to expire at 5:00 pm & the Superior Court was set to hear the case at 11:00 am, but Grigg had the case moved to a federal court in a really clever move. Here's the way it went down.

I been on a bit of a binge. That's bad. Bad for me, but I can come back. Bad for the kids around me (they're ALL kids now, since I'm nearing 60) because they copy me & not everyone can handle it. You hate to be a bad influence. Anyway, my weaknesses aside, I had a hangover and there was this judge.

Willie wants the keys

I can't prove this. But I think if someone who knew what the hell they were doing and had a key to every record and file in the Department of Elections, to every garage of every volunteer, to every fishing boat that may or may not be dumping Department of Elections files and ballots off coast. … I can't prove this, but with a conspiracy buff like myself, a genuine paranoid with a keyboard … I bet the records would put people in high office in jail. Or worse yet, out of office. It's a power thing, people.

The federal judge this afternoon? I'm a superficial person, so I have to comment upon his appearance and demeanor first. (I only regret that I couldn't see his necktie) He looks like the senior (lots better than the junior) George Bush at 45-to-50. He has that same kind of confidence and presence too. I'm guessing he's not overwhelmed by San Francisco in general or the fact that one of our society turf plays ended up bumping 400 other cases to the back burner of his consciousness. We are, after all, a bunch of faggot, flag-burning, run-loose-nekkid, barely even democrats and worse to be sure, hanging on into a new age, when we should have long ago been forgotten, like the Jefferson Airplane & Jimmy Hendrix & Janice Joplin & Linda LaFlamme. Most of us are, indeed, rightfully and gratefully (no offense, Jerry) dead. But a few of us live. And we are just as irreverent as ever.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah, there was this judge. And Linda LaFlamme.

Judge William Alsup wasn't too happy for us to be there. He, himself, was happy to be there. This is a guy who likes being a judge and he does it very well. Very, very well, I should say. A smokescreen of bullshit doesn't last a terribly long time in his courtroom. He cuts right through it.

There were a number of times during the two-hour-or-so session when I thought Willie's lawyers had succeeded in their double-reverse on the federal jurist. At 3:00 pm, he was ready to let Haygood retake control of the Elections Department at 5:00 pm. He didn't seem to think it was a big deal. He don't know da local scene. He didn't know that Haygood had presided (after appointment by Da Mayor) at an after-midnight elections debacle in which she had allowed the mayor's forces to move and control thousands of ballots which eventually bought PG&E continued monopoly in San Francisco. Just a bit of a glitch worth billions of dollars.

Judge Alsup did not know that “windows of opportunity for massive fraud” were opened by Miss Haygood's lack of, shall we say, “attention to detail.” It was accidental, to be sure. Could never have been intentional and ordered by Da Mayor, for instance. I can't believe that for an instance. Can you?

The federal judge did not realize that PG&E likely continues to rule to this day (much to the detriment of the local humans) because Haygood, as Willie's anointed Elections chief, looked the other way, over and over and over again. Now, this can work in most businesses. I mean, just check out your local “right-on” accounting giant (or two). But when you are counting votes and democracy is at stake, you would like to have at least a bare minimum of confidence that your actual vote will be tallied as you mo' fo' cast the sun a beeetch! Under Haygood that was NEVER the case!!! And that, as they say, was what da case was and IS all about.

Anyway, the judge was too quick for them and not particularly impressed by their “let's put five lawyers in his face and make three of them minority and see if he caves in” approach. He kept Tammy and Willie's shredding machines out of the City Hall Basement and Pier Whatever until at least noon Monday. And here's the amazing part: I don't think he even knew that he was way-laying evil. He was just being William Alsup, Federal Judge. Everyone in the room dug it.

There were not a hundred people in the room. That's pretty typical of San Francisco. The best tickets to the best shows are free. As a matter or fact, there aren't even tickets to the best shows.

I always find myself looking around scenes like the one I saw a dozen hours or so ago. I always look around and wonder why there aren't more people sucking in the free live drama. I mean, you talk about reality TV? This was not only real but relevant. Still, almost no one there.

There was some funny stuff

There was some funny stuff too. Just as the hearing got started, a guy in the front row's cell phone started ringing. The judge looked at him in a disgusted way and told him to turn it off. The guy looked exceedingly embarrassed and dug the phone out and punched around on it and put it away. Everyone was chuckling. The guy was real distinguished looking, with one of those Henry VIII beards and stuff. About 50 years old, I'd guess. So, the judge keeps hearing the case for another half hour, and the same guy's phone goes off again. Vernon Grigg, former director Haygood's lead counsel was talking. This time the judge really got pissed. He told the guy he'd warned him once and he'd make him leave the courtroom if he had to. This time the guy is really, like, beet red. He was sitting right in the front row, right on the aisle, so he stood out like a sore thumb. He says he thought he turned it off & about that time Grigg turned to look at him, glanced back at the judge and said: "Your honor, I'd like for you to meet Mr. Michael Mendelson, the president of the Elections Commission." The whole court broke up laughing. I mean, here's the chief defendant looking like a total dork. Thanks lots, Mike.

Another thing that was funny was when the judge asked Grigg why he needed more time to prepare when his side came in with five lawyers and the other side came in with two. The judge said, "Are these two outrunning all five of you?" The crowd laughed at Grigg that time. But Grigg's a good lawyer & with only a pause, he said, "Your honor, these two men are not ordinary lawyers." That got the crowd going again and one of the two guy's (city's lead attorney – guy named Jerome Falk) shot back without hesitation: "We finally agree on something, your honor."

Nothing got settled

Nothing got settled (is there an echo in here?) For a while Haygood's people in the audience were all high-fiving each other when it looked like the judge was going to let her go back to work until he made his decision. Then Falk, the city's hired gun, made his pitch and the judge agreed to impose his own stay to keep Tammy out of the director's office until Monday at least.

Not many people have the self-confidence to change their mind in front of a courtroom full of people and this guy did. He was really suspicious of why Grigg didn't want the case heard in Superior Court. He commented that it seemed like Grigg thought he couldn't get a fair trial in Superior Court and that bothered da judge.

I commented to some of the press that the whole thing was turning into a Monty Python movie. I mean, the sheriff is said to have told his deputies to escort Haygood back if the court so orders and the Elections Commission and the majority of the Board of Supervisors are dead set against that. They're afraid we'll get more questionable elections and worse. According to a good source at City Hall, the first head of the Elections Commission (Tom Schulz) carried important files around in the trunk of his car because he was afraid some of the employees might steal or destroy them. The same source also said that the real power there is City Administrator Bill Lee, because lots of the folks in the department got there through Lee and owe allegiance to him and not the mayor. That, they say, is how Lee got another ten-year term as administrator. Lee's a sharp cookie and I honestly don't think butter will melt in his mouth. I'm told he is head honcho of an extended family organization numbering around 2,000.

What would George Wallace do?

Say we have this scenario playing itself out where Haygood could be escorted back to her office by sheriff's deputies, but say too that the board gets a ruling from another court and the cops get involved, and then they send in the national guard to keep her out. Then there's always Charlie Walker and Amos Brown to spice things up. Throw in a thousand hippie demonstrators trying to feed off the excitement or get laid, and you've got the potential for a really interesting scene at Da Williedome. I just wish I could find some way to blame it all on Aaron Peskin, but hey, you can't have everything.

I make a fool of myself in public

This isn't really news. I've started stalking (metaphorically) Amanda Nowinski, who wrote for the Bay Guardian till last week. She's the funniest writer in this town and I positively love her stuff. I invited her to view the Board of Supes with me because she seems to have the necessary sense of depravity to appreciate really low down scenes. Naw, couldn't get together. So I did the next best thing and went with a couple of hundred other people to try and pick her out of the crowd at the Endup at 6th & Harrison Sunday.

I seldom go to bars. I do feel obligated to spend a big chunk of my newly granted city welfare money on alcohol, but contrary to Gavin Newsom's best information, it really isn't enough to rock the club scene. Still, Nowinski said in her last column that she'd be at the Endup so I grabbed a sexy little Green Party strategist from a bar-b-q in Marc Salomon's back yard and headed on over.

Boy, those doormen are real pricks! Imagine not wanting to let me in free! But cooler heads prevailed and we were hustled into the place where music goes to die. I didn't meet Nowinski. Or, maybe I did but don't know it. I'm that way with a heat on and I got to dancing too (a truly ugly sight). I wouldn't have known my mom (nor she, I).

I had fun though. I really did. Have you done that kind of scene? $10 to get in. That's a drag. But thumpitty, thump, thump goes the music and as the man says, "I just can't stop dancing."

Try the place out. From the outside it looks kind of like a boarded-up, burned-out building painted gray but once you're in, there's a fabulous dance floor, the place is dark with lotsa strobes and all the leftover disco trappings, and there is an absolutely huge garden in back with a little overhanging deck in one corner and plenty of vegetation. Zeitgeist still rules, but if you wanna shake your booty or go watch others shake theirs, hit the Endup.

Just don't expect to interview Amanda Nowinski. It won't happen. Specially since she's headed for New York in a few days. I kept wandering around to likely candidates and the Green sex machine kept pointing out people – "I'm pretty sure that's her" – then, laughing her head off when I went and asked.

Break a leg in New York Amanda. I almost broke mine dancing to your fool music, chugging double bourbons, and wondering how I could blame it all on Aaron Peskin.

Speaking of Public Power Initiatives

Today the Board of Supervisors will choose a public power ballot initiative for the November election. Or maybe not. My sources tell me that the San Francisco Labor Council has led Board President Ammiano to support a watered-down structure that will leave PG&E in pretty much total control. Once Tom pushes that through, the Labor Council will double-cross him and vote not to support even that. Mark my words, cowboys and cowgirls. Tom is a venerable leader and I wish like hell he could be mayor but he ain't gonna get there by “sleeping with the enemy” … as in “friends of PG&E.”

I'm tired: sobone@juno.com