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With h. brown

San Francisco mayoral candidate, h. "Court Jester" Brown.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Court Jester reviews third 2007 mayoral debate

By h. brown

September 2, 2007

"Don't send an anarchist to get a permit."
(Josh Wolf)

The 3rd Mayoral Candidates Collaborative debate was a doozie. The party at Ax's after was even better Josh made the above comment when I asked if he'd had any success in getting our gatherings legal with the Mayor's people.

We had 9 of the 13 candidates present including Tony Hall who officially dropped out of the race and had his name removed from the ballot just before coming down to speak to us.

Former 2007 Candidate for Mayor Tony Hall

Guy's a class act. The dude can dress too. I don't want to crash Elaine Santore's certain appraisal of his fashion, but he can put together a serious look. Gavin looks like a store window mannequin; Tony looks like a movie star. He had this cashmere kind of Navy pea coat kind of thing at the rally and some other such rugged outfit when he sang to Luke's piano at the after party. And, I don't even want to get into talking about Ahimsa Sumchai's mini skirt outfit that drew audible gasps from the crowd. Grasshopper took a shower and I wore a necktie. Kenny, the Clown came in a business suit and we knocked em all dead. The After Party rocked too.

Candidate for Mayor Ahimsa Sumchai

Candidate for Mayor Grasshopper Kaplan

Kenny the Clown wants to play basketball with Gavin Newsom.

The lady stock broker upstairs stamped on the floor like a Flamenco dancer and it fell into an even rhythm with Grasshopper's acoustic guitar and Luke's honkey tonk piano. A couple of computer geeks made great food and then razzed the performers as Karen Babbitt watched from behind a Modigliani painting of the crucified Christ. Tony DeRenzo filmed it all for your grandchildren's grandchildren. Tina Johnson's pair of angels (Katie, now 5 and Allie 7, I think) played whichever end of the piano Luke wasn't playing and at the same time. I did percussion with beer bottles and china until I broke a glass and quit. We danced around the piano and up and down the halls. Make a good memory whenever you can. The bad ones will come on their own.

I woke up with the sun in my eyes at 7:30am (I'm usually up before 6) and found myself wearing a campaign button featuring a totally nude George Davis spread-eagle at the double doors of the Mayor's office.

I used the last of the geek's concoction from the previous night to make a watermelon omelet for the girls and Tina when they emerged and oddly, there were plenty of leftovers.

For debate 1 when we had so much press there were 11 candidates. Only Chicken John and the Sex Club guy declined to attend. Last night we had 9 of the original 11 with only Quintin Mecke (who doesn't return phone calls from the collaborative) and Lonnie Holmes not present. Lonnie came to the after-party later and explained he'd been coaching to prep his kids for a game this morning. The Collaborative is holding together nicely. Make our next gig. Every Friday 5-6:30pm until the election (9 debates left). The people's candidates will be there. The phonies will run their own self-serving sideshows.

Thanks to Beyond Chron

Paul Hogarth from Randy Shaw's Beyond Chron moderated the debate and, I thought, did a hell of a job. The whole trick is to keep a dozen or so candidates framed in front of 3 primary cameras (yeah, we're on YouTube and all that shit) for 90 minutes and give them questions that challenged them and entertained the 4 people in the audience. Paul made the 9 candidates go on record on initiatives by canvassing a show of hands.

Debate moderator Paul Hogarth and mayor's race candidates Harold Hoogasian, George Davis, Josh Wolf, Wilma Pang, Kenny the Clown, Ahimsa Porter-Sumchai, h. brown and Grasshopper Kaplan.

Josh Wolf suggested we (San Francisco or California as a whole?) withdraw from the United States. Harold Hoogasian wanted to know who'd build the roads and protect us. Josh replied that we got back lots less for our tax dollars than we pay in. Hoogasian came out on both sides of transit, favoring another subway line (me too) but also in favor of Donald Fisher's unlimited parking initiative (H) on the Fall ballot.

Candidate for Mayor Josh Wolf

Candidate for Mayor Harold Hoogasian

Candidate for Mayor Wilma Pang

There were actually more than 4 people in the audience. Ahimsa Sumchai had the largest contingent as she continued to hammer Newsom for his continued pollution of the Bay View environment.

The candidates were asked to frame a question to the missing Newsom and queries ranged from the murder rate to a municipally owned fiber optic cable system running to every dwelling.

Hogarth showed he'd done his homework by asking a personal question of each candidate. He knew my complete record of running symbolic campaigns and made me admit that I wasn't a serious candidate in the traditional sense (like, wanting to win) and that I was simply a media whore embedded journalist going all the way back for a decade. I was surprised he knew the history of my incursions into the electoral system but, he knew everyone's history. All in all, he did a hell of a job and most importantly, no one got hurt. Next week's debate will be hosted by the Bay Guardian who didn't even bother to list this one in current events. Boy, talk about not getting any respect. They're gonna be sorry when one of this lineup is elected mayor.

I've had a wonderful week here with Zzyyzy and Zazu (splitting time last couple of days with Lark (Susan King's big old Tom cat) over by Golden Gate Park. I walked to the ocean several times and got to watch the cops hassling the homeless (keep the shelters open 24/7 please). It's such a relief to get out of the Tenderloin now and again. You don't realize how intense the energy is there until you come stay in even the Lower Haight. It's so quiet here compared to the near constant blare of sirens in U.N. Plaza across from where I live. I gotta get out of there if I'm gonna stay in SF til I croak. Doesn't Bridge Housing have some kind of seniors thing? More doors open as you get older. Hanging onto your health becomes everything. Two of my younger friends are undergoing major surgeries in the next couple of weeks. It made me realize how fortunate I am as I headed out on a 3 hour walk for the 46th time yesterday.

Camaraderie of the Candidates Collaborative

As Beyond Chron's Hogarth pointed out, I've been in 4 of these races now as a candidate. One thing that isn't reported is the bonding that happens between candidates as a group.

The first contest I joined was the D-6 supes race in 2000. That was a real honey with 17 candidates and no incumbent. Eventually Chris Daly won the thing but to my way of thinking there were half dozen candidates who matched or surpassed him.

There was Hank Wilson and my first choice always, Marc Salomon ran. Professor Joan Roughgarden from Stanford ran. Denise D'Anne added insight.

Two years later when I ran against Gavin in D-2, I got to meet a boyhood hero, Len Pettigrew (all-pro linebacker from the Eagles) and some friends made an un-released documentary.

D-5 in 2004 may have been the best. Lots of intense, intense vibes around candidates like Mirkarimi and Haaland and Feldstein and Waugh and Susan King and Rob Anderson and Julian Davis and Diamond Dave Whitaker and Josh Wolf and Jim Siegal and who was the lawyer from Alamo Square I used to hang out with? That's where the idea of a candidates collaborative was born and nurtured and it tapped right into a natural chemistry that was in all the campaigns I've taken part in.

The candidates are mostly on the same kinds of strange and wonderful diets of dreams and false hopes and self-delusion (am I being a tad redundant here?) … the candidates generally share a similar emotional state and empathy comes easily.

I found myself nodding most, this past Mayoral Forum, when Harold Hoogasian spoke 'cause I was looking for something to agree with him on and there turned out to be plenty. He's an independent minded Republican who abhors the City's financial rape by a Downtown machine as much as I do.

I already knew I agreed with Josh Wolf and Ahimsa on issues. I knew who supported them because their supporters were standing right there in front of me. Billy Bob Whitmer's words on working for the SFUSD for decades brought back my own memories of the system. George Davis couldn't have been clearer about his agenda without taking his clothes off. After we left, he did.

Candidate for Mayor Billy Bob Whitmer

Candidate for Mayor George Davis

The missing candidates

No one expected Newsom to show. We know he's ready to 'blow at any seam' and his handlers keep him away from any live exchange where they don't control everything. He loses little by failing to show, or communicate.

Neither does Chicken John. He's there to make a splash and doesn't know shit about the issues. Lord knows what kind of platform the operator of the Power Exchange will (ahem) mount.

That leaves Quintin Mecke with whom I share lots of friends. Apparently some of them convinced him to run on the night before the filing deadline. The fact that it was done in secret and that neither Quintin nor his 'advisers' will admit who was there troubles me. Frankly, I don't see a hell of a big difference in the cabal that chose Newsom and the one that chose Mecke. Both wield influence in secret over carefully chosen and compliant candidates. The problem with candidates like Mecke and Newsom is that you can't know how they're going to swing on any issue unless you know the positions of the people who created them. The collaborative candidates are much more transparent.

It was a great Salon before the Forum and a great After Party. Tony DeRenzo caught lots of it and I have it on a dvd that will be posted in the next day or so on YouTube. I don't know how the live-streaming went this week. Last week City Hall cut off their Wi-Fi as we began. Ironic, huh? Newsom who's the big Wi-Fi guy, cuts ours because he's afraid of what we'll say.

Hope you and yours are good. It's been a tough season for lots of my close friends. Health, hearth and employment have ebbed. I send my best because I've found that these conditions usually occur in cycles.

I'm quite well, however (sorry, Eric).

3 Mayoral Forums down.

9 to go.

They're getting better and better.

Let's see what the Guardian event is like.

Third mayoral debate outtakes

Walking to end all back room deals with barnyard animals.

The spies who love Newsom.

That special encounter.

Wanna take a ride cutie pie?

Peace out.

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 h@ludd.net.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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