With h. brown
Court Jester reviews fifth mayoral debate
Rubs shoulders with baseball royalty
September 9, 2007
"You have no chance at all with me."
(another Bulldog pass falls incomplete)
It saves flowers and candy and stuffed animals if you do some
blunt cross-examination early on in a relationship. And, though
the day closed with a rejection and there were plenty more during
the day (none romantic, those smart and I seldom make more than
one venture that way daily), I have to say that yesterday was
one of the most satisfying days of my life. You see, in my old
age, I have learned the secret to success.
Lower your expectations
I'd started the day with 23 cents on my Food Stamp card and
$2 in my pocket. But, I had a gallon of orange juice in my mini
fridge, half a box of saltine crackers and several pieces of fruit.
Hey, I bought a Chron for 50 cents, a large cup of French roast
coffee for the other $1.50 and pretended I was on a crackers,
fruit and orange juice diet in my preparation for the Olympics.
Or, a Speedo competition with Eric Jaye.
I really do stoke myself with pretend-thoughts like that when
I haul my aching bones out of bed and get ready for a daily workout.
It's my Plan 'B' during this 'certain-ass kicking' election season,
and it has gone fabulously.
But, enough about me, how are you doing? Still in withdrawal
from the absence of a competitive race for the office of Mayor
of San Francisco? Let me catch you up on what's been happening
in the race-that's-not-a-race.
Chicken John still chicken
I ran into Rinaldi (that's 'Chicken's' last name - call him
'RiValdi' and he goes apeshit - not that I'm the kind of guy who
ever tries to irritate anyone)
ran into John at the Ethics
Commission where there's a MANDATORY power point presentation
on how to report the money you collect and spend all the way up
to and past umpteen million even if you've never raised a dime
and don't intend to (that pissed me off).
He (John) says he won't come to the Candidates Collaborative
debates and will hold his own debates wherever he wants. He echoes
Newsom in denying that the Collaborative is a real 'organization'
and again talks about his 'secret weapon' to be unveiled in October.
He's fucking nuttier than Grasshopper Kaplan and he plays with
flames and pyrotechnics. Maybe it's best we don't mix the Chicken
with the Grasshopper and the naked guy and fire and explosions.
Earlier in the week Rivaldi had sent me an email telling
me that Mike Farrah (Newsom Senior Adviser) didn't "exactly"
offer him a job if he'd run in the race, then puts the rest of
the correspondence 'off the record.'
Mike "quid pro quo" Farrah.
At Ethics he says it will be a bad thing if he doesn't get his
donations toward Public Financing validated and he'll know by
Monday (tomorrow, the 10th). I make comments about leading an
army of black and brown and yellow people to occupy Pacific Heights.
The candidate for Sheriff and a couple of campaign treasurers
move their chairs a little further away from us while the Ethics
staffer explains what we should know about not knowing about independent
expenditures made on our behalf that we don't know about. It was
one of those government meetings where you come out knowing less
then you knew when you went in. A brain-drain kind of thing.
Down to 12 candidates
"They stabbed it with their steely knives
but they just can't kill the thing."
(Eric Jaye on Friday 'Be-ins')
With the Department of Elections having tossed Billy Bob Whitmer
off the island and Tony Hall rowing off on his own, there will
'only' be 12 candidates on the ballot. Eight of the candidates
are committed to the Friday debates, one (Mecke) is a 'sometimes
For our first Collaborative debate we had 11 of 14 candidates
present. Only the Mayor, Rinaldi and the Power exchange guy declined.
This past Friday we had 8 on stage. There were 5 of the remaining
12 candidates and 2 write-ins (Kenny-the clown-Kahn and Jerry
Jarvis), plus Sylvia Johnson whose universe is backwards. I was
pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the thing went and how much
information got passed from candidates to audience and back at
Mayoral candidates George Davies, h. brown, Grasshopper Alec Kaplan,
Josh Wolf, Kenneth Kahn and Lonnie Holmes.
Credit to Steven Jones for that
It was the Bay Guardian's week to host and City Editor Steven
Jones did a masterful job moderating and making certain Grasshopper
and I didn't punch out each others' lights. Kaplan has done everything
he can to destroy the one forum most of the candidates have and
I tossed in his face that he shouldn't be attacking our gatherings
if it's the Mayor he's angry with. I still think he's a plant.
I mean, why doesn't he go to Gavin's office and pull that shit?
Why is he harassing
Gavin's 'enemy', Ed Jew when he could be sleeping in Gavin's driveway?
Bay Guardian City Editor Steve Jones moderated the debate.
Grasshopper offers a cigarette to George Davis.
Tension. Energy. Knowledge. These things are worth seeing.
After the debate, we retired to the Temple Bar with Bob Brigham
and a whole bunch of other people I forget because I got drunk.
I do remember Lonnie Holmes saying that he'd gone to the Guardian
for his interview that day and George Davis and I looked at each
other and drank in the fact that it would appear that we ain't
gonna get to tell Timmy Redmond about our dreams for Fog Town.
But, we're used to being shunned and fell back to talking about
some shots Luke Thomas says he'll take of us.
It was a good day. Salon kicked ass and a friend brought by
a small battery-operated amp and mic to use at the debate should
Grasshopper follow-through on his threat to disconnect his sound
system after a few guitar solos. That had worked out with a minimum
After Salon, Luke, myself and Bob Brigham passed the hour or
so before the debate sipping mimosas at Luke's and surfing the
net. The debate itself, as I said, went well and Tony DeRenzo's
excerpts are on YouTube
Tony DeRenzo (Left)
I'd done my legal duty for Ethics, gotten in a good workout
before a kick-ass Salon I was going to get to see my daughter
the next day. I went to sleep smiling.
Daughter has boyfriend
I didn't raise my kids so I missed important memories due to
not ever having had the experiences, if you know what I mean.
Like, your daughter's first date. Well, I had something like that
Mona emailed a couple of weeks ago and said she was coming up
to the City from Fresno on and would I like to go to a baseball
game? After a couple of exchanges it became obvious that she was
bringing a guy whom she wanted me to meet.
When the time arrived yesterday I was broke and worried about
missing my 11am senior lunch at St. Anthony's around the corner
from my SRO. I'm always embarrassed when someone invites me out
and I don't have any money and have to say something funny like:
"If you're buying!" or: "If you buy me a beer!"
Stuff like that. I was wondering if they'd buy me a hot dog. Well,
it turns out that I needn't have worried.
I needn't have worried
Did I mention that I needn't have worried? Anyway, I stopped
worrying when they roared up in his Porsche and we were whisked
from the VIP lounge by a very baseball savvy intern named Eric,
who just happened to be from Fresno where my daughter and her
new beau live (not together - his name is Chris Cummings, by the
way). So, Eric walks us right out of the stands and ONTO the playing
Mona Brown and Christopher Cummings
I'm 63 and my dream from the time I was 5 until late last year
was to catch on with some minor league team and work my way up
to a shot at the bigs. This is the first time I've ever set foot
on the playing surface of any pro-stadium and I'm stunned.
The Giants are playing the Dodgers and Barry Zito is pitching
against David Wells. I get to stand and look into the stands from
the players' viewpoint and the ballpark is like a huge and beautiful
Eric and Chris talk about Fresno and players and some guy named
'Brian' that Chris is supposed to talk to. I'd expected for there
to be around 50 people for the 'tour' but not only is it personal,
it's not stopping with the field.
We toured the luxury boxes where corporations and the wealthy
watch from the snazziest little rooms with refrigerators, micro-waves,
sinks and tables with real fabric and cushioned chairs. I'm here
to tell you, it ain't at all like the Tenderloin.
We walked around in the press-box which is huge. Must be a hundred
feet long and with 3 levels and around 20 feet deep. I recognize
several of the much reviled Chronicle scribes hunting and pecking
like the proverbial 20-monkeys on the eternal typewriters working
throughout eternity to reproduce all of the great novels. I'd
settle for one fair column about Barry Bonds.
Next, we're in the executive offices and we're drinking real
coffee when Larry Baer hurries through and slows down to say 'Hi'
to Chris. By then I realize that my daughter's guy is owner/managing
partner of the Giant's Triple A, Fresno team and that 'Brian'
is Brian Sabean. I take another sip of the coffee and am grateful
I didn't go to the soup kitchen instead.
The game was memorable. Wells took a perfect game into the 6th
until I jinxed him by commenting about it (a baseball superstition).
I talked to a Dodger fan sitting in front of us throughout the
game and we agreed that Zito and Wells didn't throw more than
a half dozen bad pitches between them for the entire game. We
lost, by the way, but it really didn't matter.
Sabean's assistant, I believe (Director of Player Development)
came and sat with us and it turned out that the Dodger fan in
front of us ('Al' I think) has a son in the Giants farm system
who could be headed for Chris' and the Giants' Triple A, Fresno
Grizzlies. Small world.
I jogged and walked back home and phoned Krissy Keefer and Luke
to see if they wanted to go out for wine with me, Mona and Chris.
What a great time.
Luke and I met the kids from Fresno where it turns out Chris
also owns the local hockey and soccer teams and is building a
big solar powered complex complete with a skating rink, 160 rental
apartments - 35 affordable - and retail space. Luke bought us
round-trip BART tickets to 24th and Mission and Chris and Luke
talked about soccer as we rumbled beneath the scenic San Francisco
I wanted to go to Gus' Medjool's but we ended up at the Foreign
Cinema next door and it was a smart move. Definitely one of the
best restaurants I've ever been in.
The Foreign Cinema
from the mezzanine.
Mona Brown, Christopher Cummings, Krissy Keefer and Elaine Santore
We sat in the mezzanine and I wiped out a couple of bourbons
before my daughter switched me to the fine cabernet Chris had
chosen. I stopped counting at around 4 bottles. Elaine Santore
joined us and we all walked up to Krissy's Dance Mission and danced
in the huge studio overlooking 24th and Mission while Luke played
What a weekend. This morning it was back to the St. Anthony's.
I only eat there a few times a month but I want to profoundly
thank all of the wonderful people who donate their time and money.
After a good feed, I'll finish up this column and head over to
Luke's for a glass of wine.
What a great weekend. What a great life.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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