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Happy New Year 2005!

By Kim Knox

Happy New Year 2005! In my family, we make a list of what we are grateful for -- and then we make a list of New Year's resolutions. So here is what made me happy in 2004:

1. Mark Sanchez and Eric Mar's School Board reelection Okay, I am biased. I was Mark's acting campaign manager (from June till the day after the election) and served on Eric's steering committee. In fact, their campaigns consumed my time from dawn to midnight for eight months. But Eric and Mark are both considerate, wonderful advocates for children, parents, teachers, school staffers, and the community. They are the incumbents (along with Sarah Lipson) who listen to the community. Eric even sent an email thanking people for their support and giving his phone number in case they had ideas about ways to help the School District. Their supporters call Mark, Eric, and Sarah the Fabulous Three.

2. Gay marriage and Jason West

In San Francisco, it lasted six glorious weeks. In New Platz, NY, same sex couples are still being married, thanks to Mayor Jason West. He's a Green, of course. While Mayor Newsom folded, Mayor West figured out a way where the city could continue to issue marriage licenses. And two ministers (who are lesbian partners) marry people each Saturday at a friendly church in New Platz. Mayor Newsom might talk a good line. Mayor West actually delivers it.

3. Renee Saucedo's excellent showing in D-9

Did you notice that, except for one, all of the incumbents who ran in November 2004 won? The exception is Heather Hiles, who was appointed by Mayor Newsom to the School Board and then was defeated by someone who actually had experience in education, Norman Yee (22 years in child care, one of the founders of Alice Fong Yu Elementary School and the Chinatown Beacon Center, and former education program manager for SF Foundation).

And except for one, all of the supervisors who won were men. Jake McGoldrick won D-1. Aaron Peskin won D-3. Sean Elsbernd won D-7. Tom Ammiano won D-9. Gerardo Sandoval won D-11. And Ross Mirkarimi won D-5, the only seat that did not have an incumbent running for relection. The only woman to win was Michela Alioto-Pier, in D-2.

I truly appreciate the courage and hard work it took for Renee Saucedo to run against an incumbent. And I truly, truly appreciate the way she helped remind women that we can't keep allowing politics to be a male-dominated field.

4. First Annual Political Trivia Night

The first annual political trivia night, produced by Boris Delepine and myself, was in May at Dylan's. It was lots of fun. It was filled with laughter. And we'll do it again this spring. Keep an eye on this column for updates.

5. San Francisco Sentinel

Every morning, I read the SF Sentinel. It tells me what's happening at City Hall. Editor Pat Murphy always looks dashing in his bow-tie and has a great ear for the latest gossip. And I get to read Tommi Avicolli Mecca's wonderful stories about his childhood in Philly.


1. Listen more often.

I am always amazed at the number of wonderful mentors that we have in San Francisco -- Joe Lynn, Betsey Culp, Brock Estes, Tamara Bryant, Jeremiah Jeffries, Michael Goldstein, Vicki Leidner, and so many others. But I notice that I learn a lot more when I listen. So that's my No. 1 resolution.

2. Build more bridges.

This week, Van Jones was on KALW. As usual, he was articulate, outstanding, and awe-inspiring. He spoke on one of the downfalls of progressives. We are more cliche-driven than a gang of middle schoolers.

If we are to change politics and the world to be a more human-oriented community, then we need to honor other progressives who are doing great work. This means building bridges -- working on their issues -- helping them with their campaigns and learning to be supportive of each other.

3. Encourage more people to run for office.

I certainly wasn't the only one to be disappointed in the presidential candidates of the two major parties. So using the adage of "Think Globally, Act Locally," I am going to spend this year encouraging people that I admire to run for the office that is closest to their hearts. I want my favorite city to have a choice of wonderful candidates to choose in future races.

4. Read more.

Larry Roberts, another mentor of mine, asked me if I was writing book reviews for the SF Call. Since I didn't have time to eat (much less read), I was like an addict hitting the books after the election was over. And I wrote articles about those books.

I even took a book ("Smartest Guys in the Room" by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind) on a romantic getaway to Yoshi's Jazz Club on New Year's Eve!

But there are so many great books out there -- and so many stories that we could put to use in San Francisco. So I am planning to do a salon on political books starting in February. You'll be the first ones to know!

Happy 2005! May it be filled with love, joy, peace, and happiness for the entire world!

The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.

Marian Wright Edelman, The Measure of Our Success (1992)