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With h. brown

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

Court Jester reviews fourth 2007 mayoral debate
Hoogasian, Holmes, Mecke, Sumchai and Wolf lead pack
Kaplan arrested

Mayoral candidates (from left to right) h. brown, George Davis, Lonnie Holmes
Harold Hoogasian, Ahimsa Porter-Sumchai, Quintin Mecke, Wilma Pang and Josh Wolf attended the fourth 2007 mayoral debate.
Absent: Mayor Gavin Newsom, Billy Bob Whitmer, Michael Powers
and Chicken John Rinaldi.

By h. brown

September 6, 2007

"I'm starving and homeless and being assaulted!"
(Grasshopper's moment in the sun)

"The roaches ate all the bedbugs!"
(Audience observation)

"You're a lying asshole!"
(Julian Davis evaluates my persona)

"Nathan Ballard pulled the fire alarm!"
(He was driving away)

"Billy Bob Whitmer is off the ballot."
(info from another candidate)

The debates are getting more interesting. The one today was hosted by an umbrella organization of tenants called the Tenant Associations Coalition (TAC) and was watched by around a hundred people and a half dozen or so cops. The location was 201 Turk Street which is one hell of a nice brand new low-income building in the worst part of the Tenderloin.

Things got going one minute into the debate with someone pulling the fire alarm and all of us being escorted out of the building by the cops. Acts II and III in the area of the absurd were solo performances by Grasshopper Kaplan who promises to cause shit again for this Friday's gathering (read further, these were actually Kaplan's third and fourth transgressions).

Attendees alight outside TAC headquarters following a false alarm.
Mayoral candidate Grasshopper Kaplan flips out for lack of vegan food vartietals.

Entering last, the moderator (radio journalist named Conley) re-arranged everything to add an extra table (no one expected Mecke to show up I guess) for Kaplan. He comes in and starts screaming at the top of his lungs that he has to eat because he's starving to death right in front of us and is homeless and he can't eat the pizza they offered him (nor the apple or watermelon they later brought). Hey, he could have eaten before the debate as we all did. There was plenty of food and the fruit would certainly be acceptable to any other Vegan in the world.

So, the moderator goes down there (of course, he's sitting next to me and sympathy for assholes has never been my long suit) … moderator comes to try and calm him down and pats him reassuringly on the shoulder.

Which, of course is what the prick wanted and he starts screaming this absurd "assaulted" bullshit. Finally, the two cops covering the room became four and the Vegan was led outside.

Returns about an hour later carrying a 'Newsom for Mayor' sign and announcing he's there to speak for the Mayor. Now, that I can believe. This time the cops take him away and arrest him for trespassing (out within the hour if ever in). He's yelling and screaming for the crowd and candidates to come support him and about how the moderator had assaulted him. He's a provocateur, pure and simple.

Not welcome.

You're out of here.


"Arrest me."


"I'm still hungry."

Arrested for "trespassing."

Crowd's not impressed. They're used to real crazy people. Several of them follow him outside and by now the TL station's on-duty lieutenant is there. I stay in my seat and start eyeing the apple they brought for candidate Kaplan. The debate continues.

Tony DeRenzo filmed it all

Plus the actual exchanges and they were great. Conley brought the whole thing to the finish line in just 5 minutes over the planned time limit and considering Grasshopper's shenanigans, that was quite a feat. Tony filmed it all as he did the previous 3 debates and I'll give you the link when they're posted. I'm anxious to see the tape myself.

Harold Hoogasian is the most 'passionate' (as the Mayor likes to say) candidate and doesn't hide his disdain for Rent Control or the high level of salary and benefits enjoyed by City employees. I love his idea of building a really serious subway system to make Muni reliable but at the same time he thinks there should be no limits on the construction of more parking garages.

Mayoral candidate Harold Hoogasian

Quintin Mecke was there and though I ragged on him for not showing up for the previous two debates, he held his poise and acquitted himself well. He's held positions in several agencies that were undercut by first Willie, then Gavin. He was a judge in the original Community Court System which was reduced to hearing just a couple of cases a month after Kamala Harris was elected instead of arrested and halted Hallinan's practice

Mayoral candidate Quintin Mecke

Ahimsa Sumchai concentrated more on her experiences as a physician and shined when the questions were around health insurance and health and housing for the poor and there are no more important issues. No one mentioned the Guardian's back-handed article on her in today's edition. A couple of savy readers immediately wrote to say that the piece was a preparation for them to endorse Mecke as the only 'sane' candidate. Well, I do declare.

Mayoral candidate Ahimsa Porter-Sumchai

Lonnie Holmes is a natural politician with a real future. With Hall out of the race, he's my first choice to watch my back in any real emergency. The man don't rattle if you'll pardon my colloquial agreement errors. Still. Still, he wouldn't go for Lennar's carotid and that bothers me. Also, he's the only City employee running against his boss and doing it easily with no qualms. Is he the next head of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice?

Mayoral candidate Lonnie Holmes

George Davis was positively demure and had little to say about any of the issues. It wasn't his week to be the distraction and he's been honest about being clueless and saying he'd hire Newsom because Gavin knows what he's doing. That last part, though? I disagree with that last part. Gavin's only a cardboard cutout.

Mayoral candidate George Davis

Josh Wolf is the leader of our Friday debates in front of City Hall and he gets along with everyone. That could be enough to make him a great mayor. He didn't say anything today that I disagreed with and I'm a critical motherfucker (watch the film when I get the link). Let's see how he handles the 'blossoming' of Grasshopper.

Mayoral candidate Josh Wolf

Billy Bob Whitmer was a no-show and someone said that the Department of Elections took him off the ballot because of some monetary problem and that he was going to challenge them in court. When I phoned him for confirmation, he said that he was there but that when the candidates were put into a holding room, Grasshopper had broken that up twice by playing piano while they were trying to meet and that Kaplan had to be taken out twice by building security screaming: "Why can't I just play the piano".

Billy Bob also said that he'd not meant to actually complete the filing process but to fill out all the paperwork, then quit right there but that they'd taken his check and that he couldn't cover it and that Kamala was going to prosecute him for his actions.

Well, that's a bunch of bullshit and I told Billy Bob that he should come to our debate on Friday because last week we had the other Kaplan, the clown from Oakland and that he works the wharf in SF and was a great addition.

Is Eric Jaye dumber than a barnyard animal?

If I knew better, I wouldn't' say that Jaye expected to run against an organized IRV slate of Matt Gonzalez, Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi with Tony Hall draining at least 7% of the 'moderate' voters who wouldn't list Newsom as a second or third pick because of what he did to Tony. If I didn't know better, I'd think that Eric was smart enough to bring in faux candidates and provocateurs if such a phalanx of kings (Gonzo, Chris and Ross) appeared united on the horizon.

I don't know better, so I'm going to think that it is possible that the Downtown Machine through Jaye, entered a couple of provocateurs (today was Grasshopper's turn) and a couple of ethnic candidates who look favorably upon Gavin as a second choice.

And, in the wings you have Chicken John Rinaldi and Michael Powers who really aren't needed to make the slate of candidates look even worse. Is it possible that they were promised favors? I mean, I'd hate to think that Rinaldi is going to end up with ten million bucks in art grants to administer and that Jimmy Ginn (Powers' landlord at the Power Exchange) is going to suddenly have less problems with his building permits.

If I didn't know better, I'd say that when you build a dirty tricks operation and employ scumbags, you don't remember Watergate and you don't realize that these things always end up as public knowledge.

Shit having hit the fan

Come to Friday's debate under the Mayor's balcony in Alioto Plaza from 5-6:30pm. Kaplan (the provocateur, not the clown) has promised to disrupt this one too by coming an hour early, setting up his sound system while he plays guitar, then shutting it down when the other candidates arrive. He'll be illegal, of course and so will we since the first week when they put me on phone tag for a permit and then hung up on me and the Mayor refuses to provide the same sound system he provides regularly to Amos Brown without a permit on the front stairs of City Hall to drown out Ahimsa and the real voices of Hunters Point and the Bay View … .

We don't need the guy's sound system. One newspaper said that we had 37 people in the audience last Friday. All of the candidates are experienced public speakers. We can reach that many folks without a microphone and guess what? All of the cameras have sound systems and you can hear everything just fine in the recordings.

If you don't come, we could end up just talking to ourselves and you know what? That's OK. The only sin to me is not being there and not fighting the gentrification and privatization of San Francisco.

Anyone got an amplifier and a generator?

I got the apple.

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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