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From the Outside Looking In


By Alexa Llewellyn



May 13, 2003

Breaking the Mold

He drew a circle that shut me out --

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in.

"Outwitted," by Edwin Markham

I've always been an outsider. Ergo, the name of this column: "From the Outside Looking In." It's the reason that I chose Alexa Llewellyn as my nom de plume (the original Alexander Llewellyn was the only Welsh man serving in Henry II's court).

But being an outsider has its down side, as any Green Party member can tell you. That is the reason that the San Francisco Greens are presenting their 2nd annual Progressive Campaign Training on Saturday, May 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shelton Theater, 522 Sutter (at Powell).

Let's face it. You hear "political candidate" and you think of a stereotype. Male -- as in nine of the current supervisors and all of the police chiefs, fire chiefs, district attorneys, and sheriffs that this city has ever had. Not to mention every single mayor except Feinstein. You think of white -- the color of every single president of the United States and the overwhelming majority, past and present, in the House, Senate, State Assembly, and State Senate. You think of straight -- this extraordinary city is blessed with public servants like Ammiano, Dufty, Leal, Midgen, and Leno, but even so, most elected politicians representing San Francisco are straight. It doesn't matter where they stand on the political spectrum. From Brown to Burton, from Hallinan to Shelley, they're all straight.

Perhaps one day the world will evolve beyond identity politics, but in the meantime I would like to see a place and time where everyone has an equal chance of being elected.

Now, instead, we see the same kinds of faces being presented by both leading political parties for every elected office in the nation, state, and yes, the city. Who better epitomizes the stereotypical politician than Gavin Newsom? A straight, white, rich male with a gorgeous wife on his arm. Can't you just see them on a brochure?

Obviously, there are people who do not look like the stereotypical politicians but still have great ideas about how this city can better provide services to its citizens. People who do not meet the public's exacting expectations for a politician yet have exciting new visions of how our city could look and perform better.

Who is recruiting these people to run for office? Who is mentoring these visionaries so that they can win an election and change the city for the good?

I thought you'd never ask!! The San Francisco Green Party!!! The true party of San Francisco. A party whose actions are not dictated by politicians (although we love three of them very dearly). A party that does not take middle-of-the-road stands in order to avoid offending corporate dollars. (We don't take corporate dollars, so we don't have to worry about corporations' views on our stances.)

But the city is filled with great, thoughtful progressives who are not Greens -- and they are also visionary. They also have great ideas to contribute to the greater community of our beloved city. And they too need to be elected.

How can they get the skills to become electable? How can they learn the secrets of running a campaign when they don't have a membership in the Olympic Club? How can they find out how to reach the voters when they can't afford to hire Barnes, Mosher and Lauer? How can they figure out how to present their ideas when they have not been born into a family of politicians who have controlled the city for decades.

Simple! All they need to do is to come to the 2nd Annual Progressive Campaign Training on Saturday, May 17 from 9:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Shelton Theater, 522 Sutter (at Powell). Suggested donation is $20 but no one will be turned away at the door as long as they have RSVP'ed. Space is limited, so we can only handle 75 participants. Call 386-2706 or email llewellyn840@hotmail.com to register.

Here is the schedule:




Progressive Wins and Losses in 2003 and 2004 (David Binder, David Binder Research)


Filing and Necessary Paperwork (Joe Lynn, Ethnics Commission; Debbie Gordon, Treasurer for Eileen Hansen's Campaign)


Creating Field Operations (Supervisor Chris Daly; Robert Haaland)




Fundraising (Susan King)


Reaching Target Audiences (Caleb Kleppner of the Center for Voting and Democracy)


Debates and Forums (Supervisor Matt Gonzalez; Whitney Leigh)




Getting Endorsements (School Board Member Sarah Lipson)


When the Campaign Gets Nasty (Public Defender Jeff Adachi)


Recruiting Great Talent for Our City's Elected Offices (School Board Member Mark Sanchez; June Brashares of Global Exchange)


Panel Discussion: Last Chance to Answer Your Burning Questions (Kim Knox, Chair of the SF Green Party's Campaign and Issues Committee; Jennifer Webber, Coordinator of Prop A Campaign; Dr. Anita Grier, Community College Board Member; Alex Clemens, President of Barbary Coast Consulting)


Wrap Up

Again, there is a limit of 75 spots. So please RSVP in order to ensure that you have one of them. Call (415) 386-2706 or email llewellyn840@hotmail.com.