By Proclamation all San Franciscans
become Irish March 12
Legendary Mary Callahan lilts the high notes
Legendary Charlotte Schulz honored sans cliché
By Pat Murphy
March 5, 2006
All San Franciscans become officially Irish for a week beginning
Friday in a tradition begun 154 years ago.
It was shortly after the City was incorporated that the large
Irish immigrant community of San Francisco held its first St.
Patrick's Day Parade, a tradition unbroken through the generations.
Regardless of age, natives and immigrants turned out last week
for wearing of the Green as the Irish Tricolor unfurled anew on
the Mayor's Balcony of San Francisco City Hall.
Mayor Newsom unfurls the national flag of Ireland at City Hall
Parade Grand Marshall Bob Baker joined hands with qualifying
Irish blood descendant Mayor Gavin Newsom to hoist Green, White
and Orange reminder it's time once again to sprout the Shamrocks.
Parade Grand Marshall Bob Baker and Charlotte Shultz
Just as quickly, Newsom sounded Mayoral Proclamation that 'tis
officially grand for all to be Irish March 10 through March 17.
Mayor Newsom and Mary Clooney
March 17 marks the religious Feast Day of St. Patrick, the first
Archbishop of Ireland, commemorating the day Roman Catholic faithful
hold that he entered the fullness of life.
Scant months ago Newsom, a practicing Roman Catholic, led a City
delegation to Sister City Cork with Irish full bred Supervisor
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd. File photo, 2/12/6
Shortly thereafter, County Waterford descendant Elsbernd begged
off from San Francisco reception for England's Prince Charles,
eyes twinkling that wedding preparations took all of the District
7 supervisor's time, what with custom fittings required for groom
Elsbernd's Irish Kilt.
County Cork immigrants and descendents are highly visible at
any San Francisco Irish gathering and this year's Tricolor raising
was no exception.
Legendary former San Francisco Treasurer Mary Callahan returned
to City Hall for songful ode to Cork, all things Erinacht, and
to throw a maith an fear (good man) nod to the mayor.
Mary Callahan (center)
Surpise of the event came to Charlotte Schulz who unexpectedly
received uncliched and broadly agreed recognition.
Mary Dunleavy, past president of the Irish Societies of San Francisco,
interrupted the mirth to spotlight community gratitude for Schulz'
oft taken for granted service to the City she loves.
A longtime philanthropist, board member of many foundations,
and volunteer San Francisco Chief of Protocol, Schulz has been
described as helping without fingerprints.
"Charlotte is everywhere helping and she doesn't leave prints,"
recalled publicist Terry Sellards who worked with Schulz on the
1985 Golden Gate Bridge 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Her work ethic goes beyond planning, directing and writing checks,
a veteran City Hall reporter observed.
"I've always had the greatest respect for Charlotte since
the first time I saw her," San Francisco Chronicle staff
writer Rachel Gordon told the Sentinel.
"The first time I met her she was at an event and Charlotte
was putting out chairs on the floor. I thought, 'Wow, that's a
really good rich person -- the kind that you can really like.'"
Gordon has held the mayor's beat for the Chronicle through three
While American exuberance for St. Patrick's Day can startle the
native Irish, one community leader applauded the opportunity to
celebrate Irish culture.
"The St. Patrick's Day Parade is a day of joyful celebration
and a treasured expression of culture and heritage in our language,
literature, games, poetry, music, and dance," said Pilar
Barton of Irish Northern Aid after the event.
Irish Northern Aid (INA) raises funds to help support families
of imprisoned Irish political prisoners.
Local INA parade contingent will recall the 90th anniversary
of the Easter Uprising, the 25th anniversary of the H-Block Hunger
Strike, and honor the Rossport Five, INA President Seamus Collins
told the Sentinel.
"In honoring those brave men and women who gave their lives
for future generations, we chose to honor the Rossport Five who
are present day examples of courage," Colins explained.
"These give men and their communities are standing up to
Shell Oil and the Irish government and saying, 'The lives of our
families and the well being of our beautiful country is not up
for sale to the highest bidder.'"
The Rossport Five, residents of County Mayo, are honorary grand
marshals of this year's parade.
"This is an appropriate time to raise awareness regarding
the continuing struggle in Ireland for reunification and independence,"
San Francisco Controller Ed Harrington, Sheriff Michael Hennessy,
Assemblymember Mark Leno, Supervisor Bevan Dufty,
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White
Supervisor Aide Olivia Scanlon, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd,
Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Mayor Gavin Newsom
District 12 candidate Janet Reilly
Tony Guilfoyle (right)
Diplomat from the Consulate General of Ireland, Owen Feeney, and
International Convention on Human Rights Program Director, Mishana