With h brown
Court Jester reviews Board of Supervisors
swearing in ceremony
January 9, 2007
"You're the last one."
(Sheriff Hennessey states the obvious)
I was a bit late to the swearing in of the City and County of
San Francisco's 63rd edition of its Board of Supervisors. I actually
didn't expect to even get into the chambers and if I hadn't run
into our illustrious Sheriff, I wouldn't have. His deputies didn't
want to recognize my Bulldog press pass but the City's all-time
top vote getter has a broader perspective.
I'm always amazed at this guy. I've been trying to get him to
run for mayor this year but he says it ain't gonna happen this
time. He shrugged when queried about 2011 and that's a good sign.
It was the first time that I realized that cycling the mayor's
and sheriff's office in the same election year was a bad idea.
Sooner or later, this guy should run for mayor. The people could
use the option of a stable candidate who doesn't carouse around,
drinking and chasing women like some kind of fool journalist.
C'mon, 8 years of Willie, the con man, and 4 more years of a cardboard
After the meeting (which Peskin brought in at just over an hour
- way to go Mr. President)
after the meeting Jeff Adachi
came by (it's gonna sound silly, but it impressed me that he was
the only elected official who stood for the entire meeting - guy's
a gentleman) anyway, I stood just outside the middle doors of
the chambers and wondered who'd be brave enough to get into my
column and Jeff stopped by as I was trading fibs with Fog City's
multi-tasking publisher, Luke Thomas. We greeted one another and
I hit him with 2 tough questions in a row.
First, I asked our Public Defender if he favored random drug
tests for the SFPD. He surprised me by being the first elected
official to go on record as being in favor of the same kind of
testing that every other emergency department in the City undergoes.
Second, I asked him if he'd consider being a candidate for mayor
this year. He didn't say 'no' which, again, is a great sign. He
noted that he was up for re-election next year and I told him
it was no problem because he wouldn't be elected mayor anyway.
I was joking (mostly) but he considered it and didn't close the
door. I noted that he and Hennessey and "even this guy"
(Mirkarimi had joined the circle) would make a Progressive slate
that could combine bases to beat Newsom this year.
I asked Mirkarimi if he favored random drug tests for cops and
he spoke at length about how he thought that there were indeed
cops being tested for drugs at other places on the planet, then
bloviated a bit until he levitated. All without answering the
question. Anyway, Ross will probably end up getting one of my
3 votes for mayor this November.
The Flavor of Peskin Board II's Christening
The change starts at the front door. There were extra deputies
for the event and they looked sharp as a Marine drill crew. Even
2 years ago, my vial of pot with pipe and lighter included, would
have caused a delay at the metal detector. Now, the rookie doing
the search of my pack and coat simply asked to see my pot card
(which was around my neck)
quick glance at my card and
I was through and into the rotunda of my favorite place on earth.
There were lots of extra red felt ropes with brass hooks cordoning
off the Board chambers for the event. The extra deputies handled
everything smooth as silk. I got shuffled (thank God, they let
Pat Murphy in that space) from the press box, which was full on
to the last seat in the chamber, which, not so oddly, is my favorite
seat in the place. It's the highest and furthest from the abandoned
Board President podium and has your back to the wall. It's a seat
Hickock would have loved.
The chambers probably seat around 190-200 in the audience comfortably.
There's room for a dozen at most in the Press box behind audience-left
side of the supes' seating (5 on each side - they choose by seniority
and there're stories there I could tell)
Press box had
at least 15 hanging onto each other's out hangings. The staff
seating audience right was likewise max'd out for the occasion.
The open primary City mosh pit open and plushy carpeted floor,
usually empty but for an occasional photographer
by the audience rail in front, Prez's podium in back and supes'
seats on either side. This space was provided with 100 chairs
for this event and there were kids everywhere.
Oh yeah, the mayor was there
But, the kids stole the entire show. Kids and flowers and good
will. No sand and blood on the floor like usual. There were these
huge white petal sunflower looking plants on each of the supes'
desks and the effect was, as they say, calming. A half dozen crying
babies were being walked by supe daddies and moms and aunts and
a close-to formally dressed audience. Deputies dressed to the
hilt with the Sheriff working the main chamber door like one of
the crew. Around 350 people who meant no ill will toward one another.
It was a rare moment for the chambers and we all enjoyed it immensely.
I even passed a compliment to BOMA's Kenny Cleaveland about how
the drummer for the Allman Brothers is a dead ringer for him.
Supervisor Bevan Dufty gets a congratulatory pat on the back from
San Francisco Historical Society
head, Jim Lazarus, while San
Francisco Chamber of Commerce head, Steven Falk, shakes hands
with Building Owners and Managers
Asscociation Director Ken Cleveland.
The mayor spoke and then became even more invisible than he
used to be when he was a supervisor. That's the truth too. I'd
forgotten how uncomfortable the guy always was around the Board.
He was never in his office and his staff did absolutely everything.
I guess he hasn't gotten over how detested he was by supes like
Tony Hall and Amos Brown or his tussles with Gerardo Sandoval.
Anyway, guy speaks (I took notes) and someone in the audience
hisses and everyone glares them down so's they don't fuck up our
rare feng shui. He spoke for around 5 minutes and I couldn't tell
you a word he said because Dufty and Pier's babies cried the whole
time he spoke. Hell, maybe he resigned and made Peskin mayor,
I don't know. Could be but I doubt it cause I'd have heard about
it later in the hall.
Peskin's Board II
I know I'm being ridiculous (what's new?) but I kept thinking
of Pelosi's elevation to House Speaker as I watched Peskin's election.
I hate to say it, but I think SF's Board chambers look better
than the U.S. House forum. I'm serious. The woodwork in those
chambers rivals any in the world and there isn't a bad seat. I
know that most of you have been there a thousand times and are
jaded by now, but try and turn on a relative or guest who hasn't
experienced a Board meeting to drop in. Trust me, they'll thank
Aaron had the good political sense to work at healing a rift
between Daly and McGoldrick by having Daly nominate the good D-3
supe for his second turn in the City's #2 position, and for McGoldrick
to second the nomination.
They both said a lot of nice things about Aaron which you'd
expect given the circumstances. Some of them were true and some
of them weren't but it was a ceremonial thing, so the standards
are much lower. This was the 4th consecutive time I've been at
these combination, swearing-in supes and electing Board President
and this was the second time there wasn't a fight. Ammiano's last
term as Board President (he should be allowed to retire the gavel)
was unanimous but the place was charged with the atmosphere of
a bull-fighting ring due to the ascendance of the Class of 2000.
I think Gonzo's election took 8 or so passes and Peskin's first
majority took a few rounds.
This one was the most mellow I've seen. Peskin was unanimous,
of course. Then, he introduced the newly re/elected Board members
who spoke for around 10 minutes each.
Has 8,000 relatives and she mentioned everyone of them except
for Aunt Angela and cousin, Joe Alioto-Veronese. Most interesting
thing she did was bid adieu to Gloria Young (Board Clerk, par
excellence) when no one knew she was leaving.
Guy keeps getting better. He did the touch-feely thing, introduced
the right people and causes, smiled as his spirited spouse, Sarah,
chased their spunky spawn, Jack, around the spherical space as
the spectators smiled. Like Peskin before and after, Daly invited
the mayor to meet with them without bringing up the 'Question
Time' controversy although many of the things he said concerning
crime and the like could be expected at a Board/Gav monthly face-off.
Supervisor Chris Daly
He described the situation in the Bay View and elsewhere in
the City as 'Apartheid'
like. He noted that San Francisco was now 51% people of color
but that 71% of our SFUSD students are non-white and that a staggering
91% of the inmates in County jail are of color. I kind of shut
him off cause it was a downer and I didn't like it that Newsom
Bevan has arrived. I know, cause he said so twice during his
talk. He said: "Time to be myself!" with a glance at
the uneasy Newsom, then rephrased it: "Time to be my own
person!". Believe that when I see it. Let's see him change
his vote on Healthy Saturdays as a starter.
Supervisor Bevan Dufty (left) greets Valentina Alioto-Pier and
father, Thomas Pier.
Nevertheless, the guy is about twice as limber as when he came
to the Board some (can it be?) 4 years ago. Parenthood not only
agrees with him, it's taken him to a new level.
Like Peskin, he started by introducing his mom and dad. I have
my soft side and that touched me. His old man is a cabbie and
here's this ambitious kid who's been telling him for years that
he's going to get elected to the Board of Supervisors and, damned
if the kid doesn't do it! It was totally cool.
Supervisor Ed Jew
Jew is honored to be on the Board. That means lots to me. While
he pushed his fiscal conservative credentials ("No bonds
while the guy is a true conservative,
he'll listen to his fellow supes.
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
I didn't know she had a "life partner"? I loved hearing
that just as I loved hearing Dufty talk about the difference between
his lover and his roommate and his co-parent or something like
that. Anyway, Sophie was relaxed and kept her comments short as
she thanked all who put her there, including those candidates
who ran against her because: "We live in a democracy and
sometimes it gets ugly."
Supervisor Dufty's housemate, Mike Clune.
Rebecca Goldfader, mother of Sydney Dufty. Dufty's lifetime friend,
John Alter, (right).
Who got past the velvet rope
I sat just behind David Chin who had Evelyn Nieves sitting in
front of him showing just how dangerous a little black dress can
look. Entertainment Commissioner, Terrance Allen, sat a little
down from Chin. He was dressed for Public Comment and went up
and made some. Trust me, that was his opening salvo for running
for supe in D-6 in 4 years (make that 3). This guy knows that
this tape will be in all the important archives and he got his
best foot out there. This is a man who has won a case on the afternoon
court series 'Texas Justice'.
I ran across Wayne Justmann (he's big, I didn't hurt him) who
co-wrote Prop 215 (legal pot anyone?). Peter Warfield snagged
a ticket and stopped by to chat. James Smith, who was Willie's
Homeless Rep (he's a good one) was there sitting a couple of seats
from Doug Comstock who kept going to take pics (post em, Doug!).
James Keyes, who was a key in Daly's recent victory, sat in that
Richard Marquez beat the gate about 20 minutes into the proceedings.
Gus Murad made his way in at 48 minutes. Nate Nayman showed his
face at 42 minutes after opening.
The Bulldog, Fog City, the Sentinel, KGO , the Ex and the Chron
were represented. Others too, but they don't know the Board. I'd
say that the only person in town who knows the Board better than
I do is Rachel Gordon and I didn't see her there. The Chron had
Charlie Goodyear who makes up more things than I do. KGO had Carolyn
Tyler who knows the scene. Luke Thomas has the best political
web site in his Fog City Journal. The Ex had a lady but I forget
her name. All in all, I had a hell of a time and I've missed most
of the 1st quarter of the BCS championship game and I'm outta
h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com,
an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h
is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and
a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email
h at email@example.com.
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