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Thursday, August 29, 2002

h. brown's column for August 26, August 29

August 26, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

Outta my face, ho!!

- Candidate Brown responds to efforts of “Community Outreach Liaison”

So, ya wanna run for the Board of Supervisors? Let me give you a few of the questions you'll be asked along the way.

You'll get questionnaires in print, on the net, and on the phone from some strange hombres. I'm one myself & I recognize same. Not that they're all bad questions. It's just that most of the organizations that want you to kiss their collective behinds are mostly peopled by phony “fronts” put forth by a variety of political animals getting a bunch of bucks to make sure you stay in the dark and powerless.

I'm speaking of my campaign for supervisor in San Francisco's District #2. Eventually, I plan to run in all of the districts and bring the accumulated experiences of same home to you here at the Call. I'm guessing that will take another 20 years or so. I'm sure each year will bring changes.

The differences in my first run in District 6 two years ago and this year's run in District 2 are already apparent. Eighteen of us ran in District 6, and we respected each other. Sometimes we only had 30 seconds to tell not only our own history but also the raison d'etre of our motivation.

Already in this year's races, people are being cut out. Although the pool of supervisor candidates has gone from 85 down to 29, suddenly groups like the Harvey Milk Club don't have time to hear every candidate. It's gone to ridiculous levels. Milk could only spare time to hear from two of the four candidates running in District 2.

Now, normally, I wouldn't give a big fat fart. However, in this instance, I was one of the candidates deemed not worthy of hearing (except for my “demonstration” at the Milk hearings). The nerve of the bastards! To make it short: I bitched and they listened to me. But Milk, like Plan C before them, set the tenor of the game. You don't have to listen to the minority candidates anymore.

The rich love that. Big time. It gives them relief from district elections. The whole argument (Gavin Newsom leading them) against district elections was that people who weren't either rich or puppets of the rich might get a forum. Hey, they were right. In the first district-centered race in decades, the public and the neighborhood business and social groups DID listen to all of the candidates. NOW?? Not necessary. Invite just the rich/name candidates. People like Garrett Jenkins and Tom Radulovich (liberal Democrat and Green!?) agreed to ice out people like h. brown and James Dunne.

But fringe nuts like myself are at least still on the mailing list of the fringe nut mailing list of other fringe nuts. Let's give you a few of my favorites of the questions I've been mailed and zapped.

"Why do you believe that Gay people are Gay?"

That one comes to us from the Republican Party's outcast Log Cabin Club (what does “log” refer to?) Or was it from Walk San Francisco? I keep getting all these worthy groups all mixed up.

"What park facilities do you use most often? How often do you use them?"

I don't really think it would serve any useful purpose for anyone were I to truthfully answer that question.

Other groups decided they'd test the candidates' knowledge (always a slippery slope):

"What is Rec and Park's budget this year? What percentage of the City budget does this comprise?"

Give them nothing and let them live off the land. Honest & fair competition with the homeless will yield an evolutionarily more robust survivor.

"What is your best guess at how many pedestrians are hit by vehicles on average each year in SF? How many are killed?"

Hey, again, if you can't outrun a drunk yuppie in an SUV, do you really deserve to live?

Also, the practice of arming pedestrians with automatic weapons has never been taken seriously here (except in Oakland), but it does improve manners at major intersections.

"Do you plan to comply with the voluntary spending limits for your race?"

Now this one threw me for a moment. I'm mostly white, so I would imagine there are no limits for me. However, I'm not all that popular, so holding down the opposition spending is a good idea. Still, seeings the kind of cash Julie Lee is putting down for her boy in 4, I should be able to go to the Klan or whatever to at least match the other races. Only fair.

"Do you have any campaign staff?"

Truly a tough one. There ARE more people hanging around and they often bring great green bud and quality booze, but are they really what you could call “staff“? They don't read or write. Their talk makes no sense. If they have a political orientation, they don't reveal it. For instance, there are these two guys who claim to be making a documentary of the District 2 race but when I phone their cell phones, I get a bail bondsman in Reno. Not that I might not be needing a good bondsman.

Lots of tough questions.

"What are your sources of information about recreation and parks?"

Boy, talk about a loaded question. Well, like most folks, I listen and I hear things. I don't believe most of it, but sometimes curiosity will draw in even the most cautious cat. I read the restroom and subway walls. The internet helps. The Guardian has always been a monster source in the area of recreation. I ran this ad a few years ago and … naw, that's already more than you need or want to know.

"What is your walking experience like on the streets of San Francisco?"

Get the kids out of the room. Can I get immunity for being completely honest?

Well, they try … and you give em a bye

All of these questions are genuine. Oddly, the more legitimate and powerful an organization, the less they demand. The League of Women Voters (class of all local political acts) asked not a single personal question. Just, would you be at their debate and would you like a free opportunity to establish a presence on their web site? The Republican Party on the other hand, had more than a hundred questions to ask. A few dip wads, whom I will graciously not name, actually asked “true & false” questions. Now, tempting as that may be if you believe that one or the other could be a correct response, still, I like face-to-face debates. Only the League of Women Voters offered that. Here I am in a race with a candidate whose friends control virtually every paper, air wave, billboard, and blimp in the Bay Area & I'll be lucky to face the boy in debate for ten minutes in a six-month campaign. Funny thing is, that may be enough.

Jens-Fest is over!

OK, I have a large and extremely organized campaign. No need trying to hide it anymore. Yesterday was my campaign manger's birthday (Jens Nielsen) &, as usual, the event was celebrated for an entire week. Jens calls it (modestly) “Jens-Fest“! The President visited but covered his stay by pretending to be here to see Bill Simon. You couldn't find a hooker of either sex who wasn't booked solid for the week. High-end wines and every type of keg beer were all sold out. The three-day Druid festival at Candlestick Point forced the Niners to play in Oakland.

Only one poll has touched the 2nd District (Polifix) & I'm ahead and increasing my lead (up to 55%) All this is kept from you by the local dailies, which are both owned by my enemies. Fortunately, they also ignore our campaigns. While I've lengthened my lead over Newsom in the only credible polls underway, our people in the field have continued in their relentless effort to get drunk, high, or at least share a bitch, with every malcontent in District 2. If you've poured out your heart to someone in a bar on Union Street over the last couple of months, chances are they were working for me.

Then again, maybe not. That's the beauty of these things. You never know who's really on your side or against you. It's called “Politics, San Francisco style.”

Let the games begin.

(this season is in memory of Robert Barnes). …

low standards? … www.sobone@juno.com


August 29, 2002

Watching City Hall

by h. brown

We'll pick up your trash … BEFORE you put it out!!

- My official campaign slogan, by Jens Nielsen

I was looking for something with impact. Not just empty double-talk. The good people of San Francisco's District 2 have had enough of that.

The competition is fierce in these matters. Other candidates employ large teams of experts who spend long days wracking their brains for phrases that seem to promise everything but actually deliver nothing. Kind of like dates in high school.

We invested an eighth of good green bud and a couple of bottles of cheap bourbon in the effort, but we all knew right away when my zen-like campaign manager slurred out the above lines that we had a winner. It made you think. It made you wonder. It made you double check your locks.

I looked around proudly at my staff. It's a tight little kitchen. You could smell the mixture of aromas that combine to spell victory. Sweat, cigarettes, pot, booze … the litter box in the adjacent bathroom. The owner of a nicely rounded bottom bent over to fish through the icebox for another couple of beers. The voice of Liz Ross of Lessick drifted in from the stereo. From the album “Elevator.” The alarm clock that had been echoing in the gangway for the past two hours melded into the opening number, “Ride the Line”

“Hold on. … Ride the line. … Hold on to what you got."

A nice evening. What did Neska always say? "Remember, today is tomorrow's memory. Make it a good one."

The evening was a good memory. Friends. Laughter. Dancing. A healthy buzz. And a mission. A mission? What the hell was that “mission” again?

He gets it.

- Gavin Newsom's campaign slogan

Well, Gavin, except in really serious cases, a shot or two of penicillin will make it go away. I mean, where do people like you get their ideas? It's like they're friggin' high or something. No. Wait. That's my side.

Their side “gets it” by paying for it. And they'll get by with it. Ya wanna know why? Cause they own or control the major media.

Poverty is not the absence of goods, but rather, the overabundance of desire.

- Plato (thanks, Martha)

I'm on a roll here. It's almost like the old days of flirting with the commie party in the 1960s. That was sweet. Lots of hot sex in the protest movement. But that was a long time ago.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. They get their daily news almost exclusively from a single point of view. The point of view of the rich. Make no mistake about it: what we have here is escalating class warfare, which will grow into an actual war in the streets of this and other American cities. Just as happened in the 1960s.

It happens around every 40 years in this country. Jefferson said the country needed a series of continuing revolutions, and we have not disappointed that particular founding father. It is the nature of capitalism to eventually concentrate capital in all its forms (except for good jazz & blues music) in the hands of an ever-decreasing number of super-rich. It's like one big poker game that you aren't allowed to quit. They stack the deck. Rig the game.

As the present mayor, Willie Brown. told a bunch of tourists in New York: "Come to San Francisco. where it's ok to lie, cheat. and steal." You gotta admire the guy's chutzpah. As Matt Smith pointed out in this week’s SF Weekly, the utter theater of Willie's world will be missed when he goes.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, sharing the wealth as an alternative to revolution. Let me do that & then comment on the Chronicle management's idiotic decision to dump Stephanie Salter.

Cash, Not Care

Gavin Newsom wants to cut my welfare payment from $395 a month to $56 a month and move me into a poorhouse. Well, if it's good for me and my ilk, it must be good for him as well. I hereby propose that all of the city's rich take the same cut. What is that? Let me figure here. I make it a cut of 86%.

Naturally, that extends to all of their assets. Soooo, the little matron with the 8,000 acre "working" ranch in Cloverdale gives … ohhhh, 1% of 8,000 is 80 and 86x80 is … hmmm … ponder … wrinkle nose … that’s 6,880 acres she'll be passing over to the cause. Now THAT'S a generous donation! And she'll still have a ranch as big as the President's (actually, his is listed at 1,400 & hers would be 1,120). That ain't bad.

Moving on. Let's see, the Fishers (Gap) have 6 billion or so among them? What's 86% of that? The Gettys could certainly live on a couple of hundred million instead of several billion.

Yeah, 86% reduction! If you apply it equally, Gavin, I can back that. Then we can put the $339 I gave back into a pot with the 6 billion from the Gap family and those ever-generous Gettys and we can share the wealth as a city. Equally. You know, the San Francisco way.

Watching the press …

Watching the press …

Watching the press …

- Is there an echo in here?

I don't like to get into crowds. It's an easy place to get robbed or groped or assassinated, plus I have fleas and they can carry bubonic plague and who wishes that on their worst enemy? You know a single flea can live for up to a thousand years, jump over a hundred feet in the air, make a right-angle turn at the speed of sound, and drink 10 gallons of blood a day. You might doubt me, but that only means you've never had fleas.

So, there I was standing across the street from the Chronicle at a bus shelter watching the Media Alliance demonstration. Actually, it was kind of more of a media praise/protest in honor of Stephanie Salter who is, since William German retired, the Chronicle's finest columnist.

To praise her, because she has touched so many lives. Made you smile and laugh. Lanced the boils of your anger and given it direction. The perfect counter-balance to the stick-up-da-kazoo style of fellow editorial-page dweller Debra J. Saunders.

To praise Salter & protest her removal from the starting lineup and her relegation to Special Teams. Ya like that metaphor? Like, is Al Davis running the Chronicle, too?

So there I was, across the street, looking up at the Chronicle staff gathered in the heavily tinted windows above. I motioned for them to come down, but they smiled shyly, gave me a Chris Daly salute & backed up.

It was just after noon. I had a pretty good buzz on. Like today. Like most days to be honest about it. Been up since 4:00 am or some ridiculous time (fleas make you restless). Gotta wait another couple of days to treat the cat again cause she's frail and already had one Advantage treatment and they would have killed her in the sweep if I hadn't hid her and you just take a few fleas in stride (often, literally) as a small price to be paid to return to a little warm & furry thing who knows you saved her life and thinks you're God. When you go home, are you greeted as a returning god?

So, as I talked to Juan, San Francisco native & fellow drunkm and looked across the street, I realized I was watching the press upstairs watching the press on the sidewalk who were watching the press on the sidewalk and in the street watching the press speaking to them from the doorway of the old Chron building. I mused in a pot-induced haze that anyone watching me would be watching the press … ad infinitum. I had somehow been trapped inside an M.C. Escher sketch. I looked around at the surrounding buildings and their fire escapes and roofs to see if there was an artist sketching me, sketching them … you get the idea. All that without the aid of psychedelics.

In other words, I was just a normal reporter, covering a normal story, only from across the street because of the fleas and the plague and all.

"I believe!!"


"I believe!!"

- Juan, native SF drunk with great tan & walker w/tennis balls on back

Sometimes I forget I'm not the only mental case around. I was drifting in and out of consciousnessm, watching the cops gently move the herd of Salter's fans and fellow journalists out of the street where they were forcing old people to walk out into Mission Street traffic and turning my head to look at the hundred or so pigeons lining the ledge of the old Mint behind me. They had the best view & seemed to be watching & listening carefully. Across the street a new speaker was getting his second wind. He had fallen into the cadence of rolling hills and valleys preferred by Pentecostal preachers, Billy Grahamm and Adolph Hitler.

As I sketched the scene in words in my notebook, Juan alternated between snoozing and mixing and drinking a highball concocted from his orange soda and the pint of vodka in his brown paper bag. We were both doing OK. Juan dropped into a slumber as the speaker's volume increased. I gazed at the sign on the old Chronicle Hotel across the street, nearly faded into invisibility. I was wondering how I could exploit it in my prose when the speaker across the street ejaculated: "FREE SPEECH! FREE SPEECH!" and old Juan, he responded as he had, I'm sure, when awakened by the rantings of many a superior preacher: "I BELIEVE!! … I BELIEVE!!" Yet another conversion to the American way.

I asked Juan just what he believed. He looked at me kind of quizzically from top to bottom and noted, "I believe you have strong legs." Hey, I ran thousands of miles to get these legs. Even the notice of them by a wino was appreciated. I thanked him and told him he had a nice tan and how did he get it. He kind of giggled and said, "I pass out a lot in the sun."

Scene: January, 2003

The bedroom of former supe Gavin Newsom

Former 1st lady of District 2: "Gavin! Gavin! Wake up. There's someone in the kitchen!"

Former supe Newsom: "Go back to sleep. It's just h. brown picking up the trash."

Former 1st lady: "At 3 o'clock in the morning!!"

Former supe: "Yeah, well at least he keeps his campaign promises."

lookoutgavin: sobone@juno.com