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May 23, 2003


Watching City Hall

by h. brown

Dark horse Reid kicks ass … takes names

They’ve already come, so we better go ahead and build it. Or something like that, was the core of the winning (in this drunken pothead’s mind) performance in a mayoral debate Tuesday evening before the Vets’ rescue group, Swords to Ploughshares, at the Veterans Memorial Building (which recently held off a siege from WillieWorld across the street) in The City. Although Reid won the day with his call for the construction of his personally designed mini-cottages to house the homeless, I insensitively told him my honest opinion when he told me he would win in November. “Yeah, and its going to snow tonight.” I came for another reason.

I came to see Angela Alioto, cause she’s a brilliant, sexy woman & I love to watch them when I get the chance. And former Board President Alioto did not disappoint. But it was just Reid’s night. While the vibrant, passionate Alioto brought cheers with a call to close the shelter system and go to a full-time triage network funneling the homeless into needed services, it was Reid’s description of the time he’d spent living in the shelter system (OK, it was a campaign stunt he’s used twice, but I think he’s sincere) … you looked around and you realized why Gavin Newsom was the only one of the 7 major mayoral candidates who was a no show.

Uh huh, young Gavin, the pampered whelp of the rich with no earthly experience of real life’s hardships would have stood out like a sore thumb amongst these gnarly, wounded veterans of so many wars (many of whom are about to lose their monthly stipends and be moved from the couches and kitchens of friends, to pads in shelters and places in long lines at soup kitchens - courtesy of Newsom’s Care not Cash). Yeah, I wouldn’t have come either. Also, Gavin was off taking money from the same crowd that tried to take over the vets building in November (the Tom Horn group). I found myself wondering, as I watched a homeless vet of 60 or so leave, gnawing on a free sandwich (with what teeth he had remaining), with several more sandwiches stuffed into his brimming pockets & carrying a full case of the cheapest soda … I found myself wondering if the guests at Supervisor Newsom’s “house parties” (his excuse for being the only candidate absent) carried out sandwiches and were glad to get them.

I didn’t see the whole thing. I got there early in case there was no booze. When there wasn’t, I popped across the street to Chevy’s and had a margarita. When I got back, the debate was just ready to start. I took photos of Michael Denny of the Libertarians, who is an old friend & who actually rose to say the vets should be given Treasure Island because they’d paid for it with blood or something like that. Da crowd roared, but quieted noticeably as mayoral candidate Denny opposed more taxes on business. Former Police Chief Tony Ribera managed to get through the hour or more I was there without mentioning he is a Republican. He tried a joke. It was a bad idea. He promised, his voice rising: “When I’m Mayor, I’ll never go to France!” (Puzzled looks all around)

Tom Ammiano looked every inch a mayor with a new suntan and a suit and tie that would seriously challenge any Willie Brown ensemble. He looked so good, then he opened with a cheerful, sing-song ice-breaking joke that bombed. (I’m being gracious - he called out to the crowd: “Please ask! And DO TELL!!” - they had no clue and when he went immediately from there into verbal charts and graphs, he lost them all.) It’s interesting that Reid (also an out gay) is so popular with a tough military crowd like this while Ammiano (who served with many of them in Viet Nam - as a teacher - damn, I wish he were electable to this post!) … politics can be cruel and Ammiano left them cold. The poor, ignorant, black and yellow voters don’t like flamers.

Reid doesn’t flame. He’s proud of his orientation like Ammiano, but only refers to it anecdotally to make points. (I watched him testify about losing his life’s partner while city services bumbled around him.) Leal? I’ve heard her curse like a sailor in the corridors of City Hall but she brings none of it to the stump. No fire equals no interest. There are large birds, circling in the sky above this candidacy. If she and Ammiano bowed out and tossed whole-hearted support to Alioto or Reid, either could give Newsom a contest in a runoff, Alioto, as a trusted protector and Reid as an outsider. I still think Board President Matt Gonzalez is the only dead-lock to defeat Newsom. but with him and 7th District supe Tony Hall still looking on from the sidelines, you takes what you got.

Reid won here. Hands down. The Newsom/Getty machine is refusing to show up for fights. I told the other candidates last night as I circulated among them in the building San Francisco built for its veterans: “When his numbers fall below 30%, you’ll get to debate him. Otherwise, they’ll keep him hiding under his bed.” They will too.

Ta fuck’s up w/Burton?

Ya gotta admit, that would make a great campaign slogan. It makes more sense than the signs John’s been paying to hang around town (e.g., “Jesus gave money to the poor on the streets of Galilee!). My guess here is major relapse or else he fell on his head. Either way, that boy needs some independent counsel. Having too many people all shaking their heads up and down at everything you say leads to beasts like this getting out of Darwin’s barn in the first place.

It made for a big ole funny at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Here was Amos Brown waxing eloquently about how much he loves Gavin Newsom (whom, as I recall, he abhorred 2 years ago). Uncle Amos was saying that Burton misquoted scripture which clearly placed Jesus on the side of Care not Cash. Then, Burton comes back in the morning paper and says Gavin went to public school so what’s he know about scripture (or anything else, for that matter, I’d imagine). Now, you all know that I have a drinking problem. But still, though I cannot for the life of me wonder what the fight is all about. Like the Trojans hearing all the hammering and nailing and screaming and cursing over in the Greek camp, I’m hoping its good news and a gift for Troy. But I’m hesitant to unwrap this baby. I won’t comment further because you all know my prime directive: “Never get in between 2 enemies who are kicking the shit out of each other!”

Ever get hurt in practice? … sobone@juno.com