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With h. brown

h. "Court Jester" brown with District 3 candidate Joe Alioto-Veronese.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Court Jester attends Alioto-Veronese fundraiser

By h. brown

December 25, 2007

Joe Alioto-Veronese maybe gots a chance?
(volunteers look good, but …)

Merry Christmas to all of you, my dear friends and enemies.

My buddy Jens Nielsen (maestro of pot/rock n' roll/quick wit) wishes you a total happy holiday and I want to add my own best wishes to my powerful, possessed, pugnacious, petulant, progressive posse of Luke Thomas and Elaine Santore and Doug MacAbee and Marc Salomon and Joe Lynn and Eileen Left and Sue Vaughan and Janet Tandy and Melisa Howard and Ania Wierzbowska and Chuck Gonzalez and Bob Brigham and John and Beth and Robert Manes and Daniel and Becky Cohen and Eric and Stephen and Aimee also Cohens and Neska and Karen Babbitt and Michael Strickland and William Morrisey and Robert Solis and David Walker and Julien, Marc and Patrick whose last names you don't need and Sosana Solinal and Susan Vaughan and Savanna Blackwell and Rich Hillis and Adriel Hampton and Mike Farrah and John Wildermuth and Mike Hennessey and Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi and Parick Cassidy and Charlie Lennon and Sean Clemens and Alex Clemens and Mike Agasian, …

So, I was sitting here thinking how I could send my Christmas card and decided I'd pick the best party we've been to over the holidays and try to describe it well enough so that you feel like you were there. That's Joe Veronese's gig and I had to ask myself a question as I marveled at the turnout.

Joe Alioto-Veronese and wife, Julie Veronese

Can people this beautiful and well-dressed pound the streets of precincts and tap on doors? Will they work for free? Joe had the numbers and energy at chez Angela's last Saturday and I found the mix of people impressive and worth pondering. Hell, as Fog City publisher, Luke Thomas arrived with plus-one, Elaine Santore and myself, we met Republican power broker, Mike Denunzio with his lovely lady just reaching the sidewalk. Wade Randlet and Michela Alioto-Pier were listed as co-hosts but neither showed up that I saw. I tried to get Marc Salomon to come with me and vet the gang but he didn't trust himself to play nice. I study the demographic cross-section carefully.

Espanola Jackson was in the front room with an equally articulate black mother-earth type matron sitting next to the Christmas tree. I'm a big fan of Espanola's. Her and Marie Harriston and Mesha Monge-Idrizzy combine with Ahimsa, the Ratcliff's, Pat Monk, Peter Feng and that Irish developer who hates Peskin? They are the voice of SouthEast San Francisco and it was good to see a couple of them in the classic mansion on the hill up the winding stairs from the street that curved and wore strings of festive lights that wound on around the small deck at the top of the first landing and then on up to circle the house and wind on down into the courtyard where good wine and booze flowed to my great joy. Then the lights outlined rooms and raced up the stairs and winked at the Christmas tree in the parlor. I went over to praise Espanola.

Espanola Jackson (far right).

I related my 10 years of watching Espanola on TV and urged her to testify even more. The lady is a force of the entire eastern black community and having her sitting next to the Christmas tree was tres good moves. Luke grabbed photos of Espanola and I with D-3 State Senate candidate, Veronese. That will boost his lefty credentials a bit as will the shots with Ahimsa Sumchai who is the most charmingly giggly saucy little goddess practicing medicine in town. Ahimsa was my first choice for mayor in the just-passed election. Liked her even better than I liked myself and that's an extremely rare occurance.

Ahimsa Porter-Sumchai with Gian Paolo Veronese

Elaine Santore with Sasaneh Solaimani and Julie Veronese

Veronese campaign organizer John Corcoran with wife, Nicole.

Anyway, to win any election in this town of broad diversity you have to, as Diamond Dave Whitaker says: "Cast a wide net." It looked to me as though Joe's been able to do that, or is in the beginning stages of putting together such an army. I normally don't hob nob with Swells. But, the Alioto's have a foot in both camps and I've been madly in love with Angela (like most straight San Francisco males) for 30 years and if she invites me to sit on an iceberg, I'll go.

The ace civil rights lawyer and former Board President was hosting a reception for her middle-son's campaign for the State Senate seat representing D-3 which runs from San Francisco (60% I think) to Sonoma (40%?). My numbers are close enough for the basis of consideration and they reveal that with incumbent Senator, Carole Migden and her challenger, Count Mark Leno … with Migden and Leno splitting the 60% vote majority in SF, Alioto-Veronese can pick up votes in Hunters Point, then dominate in Marin and Sonoma and win this damned thing. Unless Joe Nation enters. You ever met Angela's sons? All together?

The Alioto-Veronese boys are like hawks

I'm pretty good at keeping track of a big crowd out of the corner of my eye from my days of running a night club, then driving a school bus, then teaching school, then ducking objects thrown by disgruntled wives. Angela's boys have mixed ambitions but they share the natural trait of the dominant hawk scanning and controlling a wide landscape.

I'd never spoken with Adolfo before. He was carrying a baby around a year old and children were comfortably circling the crowd and drinking in energy and pointers. They're some clan.

Adolfo Alioto-Veronese (right) with Demetrius Chapin Rienzo.

Angela's elder son is a chef and wikipedia says he has more than one restaurant but I didn't know that. I do know that when he strolled the crowd affably touring with the child he carried, he was the Alpha male present. Angela has the same kind of presence no matter where she goes and JoeFire used to call her 'Double-Alpha' which fit as good as the 'Queen Bee' monicker I've hung on her.

I collared candidate Joe and told him I'd spent the afternoon reviewing the last meeting of the SF Police Commission and that he was much more impressive speaking unscripted. It's true and all the hacks who watch these things with me agree. Scripted at Harvey Milk, he didn't win. In battle of wits with cops arguing police reform and shooting from the hip, he kicked ass.

Youngest son, Gian Paolo is opening a business with a partner who makes Angelina Jolie look pedestrian. I don't know what they're selling but the shaven headed pugilist (he did one of these pro-level boxing camps and I went with Angela to watch him knock a guy out as a finale to the training) … they should have plenty of stock in their store cause I got a feeling they're gonna score.

A few lines from the party follow. Imagine these one-liners in a crowded maelstrom of jovial well wishers ranging in age from 3 months to 8 decades.

"Let's have lunch after Christmas."

"I want a weekend in Vegas!"

"Here. Meet Alicia."

"She's too young for me."

… Angela laughs and continues scattering cheer …

"Hey, you're Becceril!"

"Jesus, you sure look better than when you were on the Board."

Angela is looking killer and in that house-full of a revolving crowd of 200-300 with over half beautiful women, she was the best looking hands down. I've always thought she rivaled Sophia Loren.

Her newest daughter-in-law, Joe's wife, Julie Alioto-Veronese was looking absolutely, as they say, radiant. I've seen her with Joe at a number of events and I haven't seen her this relaxed. Surrounded by family helps, I guess.

Other than trying to get Becceril's phone number (Christ, I destroyed her in print in the 2000 race - couldn't find her in Wikipedia but there were a couple of Samson Wong columns from '99 and 2000 that mentioned her. Says she lost to Peskin in 2000. I blasted off a query as to whether Angela thought Alicia would run.

Alicia Becceril with Valentino Ferrari (left) and Steve Cady

"To save the earth we need 3 billion dead."
(I bait a couple of guests)

The conversations were all over the landscape in Angela's gingerbread house. I had a great time. I was a bit hesitant at first because I don't normally party with anyone other than my inner circle. Maybe I'm just insecure. But, I was instantly put at ease when Angela came down to welcome me at the front gate:

"Uncuff him, he's a friend!"
(Joe's daughter)

Angela has a better view than the Pope. She and her hubbie bought this place around 30 years ago and it is perched atop the best location in Pacific Heights. Essentially, on a clear day, you can see from Alaska on the left to Maine on the right out of the series of windows on 3 floors of the pink stucco mansion with fruit reliefs in the stucco and most of the rooms in the happy-ghost-protected digs… where wall murals are painted by young artists from Italy who Angela takes in for stays in San Francisco.

Yeah, these holidays are all about family and does Angela ever have a wonderful family. And, legions of friends. Not as many as me, but still, very impressive and moving. What I mean is that there is one hell of a lot of good energy in Queen Bee's mini-palace.

I'm gonna close this down now cause I'm making a turkey and I'm expecting some of you anytime. You all have a happy holiday season and know that you are loved by me if no one else.

Happy Holidays San Francisco!


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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