Fog City takes the pulse
of the 2007 San Francisco mayor's race
January 26, 2007
Fog City's utterly unscientific survey
asked "Who would be your dream mayor?" The answers show
how many San Francisco voters love their iconoclastic, pot-stirring
candidates, even if they never win.
San Francisco has had protest candidates like Jello
Biafra, former lead singer of the Dead
Kennedys. He wanted to require businessmen to wear clown suits
to work. There have been niche candidates, like Cesar Ascarrunz,
owner of Cesar's Latin Palace. And then there are always the anti-candidates
who spring from fertile Friscan grass roots, like Tom
This season, political fashionistas are noticing that Chris is
this season's new Matt
Gonzalez. No, we haven't heard Chris
Daly is running. But according to our poll, with a magnificently
wide margin of error, Daly has assumed the mighty mantle of the
Anti-Candidate. He earned it by blocking Rob Black's breathtakingly
expensive attempt to take his supervisorial seat away last year.
You'll remember that Gonzalez was so powerful as the anti-candidate
during the last mayoral election that he almost grabbed the throne.
These anti-candidates are generally fearless, ready to take on
the establishment's choice. They are able to withstand rounds
of costly attack ads and columnist snipings. They fill "downtown
interests" with dread, who envision sky-high taxes, growth-slowing
progressive policies, and unseemly looks and behavior. Ultimately,
these candidates don't win, though they come screechingly close.
So far, seven humans - no animals - have filed with the
of Elections with intent to run against Mayor Gavin Newsom.
The brave souls are Rodney Haug, Phillip House, Robert McCullough,
Matthew Mengarelli, Frederick Renz, Antonio Mims, and Malinka
Moye. Too bad none of them was mentioned by Fog City readers as
their dream mayor. Readers, instead, listed such a vast variety
of locals we can safely say Fog City has neither a lefty or righty
readership, no matter what the editor-in-chief
leaks about his leanings.
The big surprise was a virtual vote for Ryan
Chamberlain, who acted as spark plugs and pistons in the effort
against Chris Daly in the aforementioned epic battle. (Chamberlain
himself didn't provide the fuel, which took the form of funding
mainly from the SFSOS
gang.The reader stated that Chamberlain had the "right
constitution" to occupy Room 200. But another reader, when
asked, called Chamberlain "a grenade thrower."
On the other extreme was a vote for Ted
Gullicksen of the San Francisco
Tenants Union; that voter reveled Newsom's comparative weakness
in tenants' rights. In fact, there weren't more than one or two
who wrote in praising the mayor himself, who is, after all, a
candidate. And that is always the trouble in running for reelection:
you have a record
to run against. That could be why there were votes for former
candidates like Michael
Leal, Angela Alioto
- and even, on a completely different level, Al
There was also support for proven government officials who lack
the flash of a spin through Davos and a lay-out
in Vanity Fair, but inspire instead with quiet competence.
Analyst Harvey Rose, Controller
Ed Harrington, former supervisorial aide Greg Asay and Chief
Building Inspector Laurence Kornfield each received one vote apiece,
as did Assembly
member Mark Leno. And, as always, there was a vote for fun:
Moose, we were told, would be great because he is "friends
with everyone and completely connected."
Michael Hennessy is widely expected to run in the next mayoral
election, in 2011. That sounds awfully far away, but after all
the guns that were drawn over Newsom's election the first time,
term limits are what will release the rising tide of candidates
lining up for the next go-round. Others mentioned in the four-year
wait are Jeff
Herrera, and Aaron
There is a dash of hope that Art
Agnos and Ross
Mirkarimi won't wait, and will try this time. Mirkarimi said
he "very much loves his current job as supervisor,"
but added, "in politics, it's important to be pliable. Anybody
would love to be mayor and popularity doesn't speak to the ability
Hall is mentioned in that same maybe-now list, though our
ultra-righty contact mutters that Hall "has a real personality
problem." But then, Harris is derided as a Willie
Brown acolyte, Herrera as not quite strong enough, and Peskin
as relishing his ability to turn friends into enemies.
Nobody was able to give a solid answer on Newsom's current
approval rating. His campaign manager stated that the mayor
"feels great" about running for reelection and doesn't
pay attention to approval ratings - that he's "never satisfied"
with his own performance anyway.
With the appalling homicide rate, an adversarial public outlook
towards the police department, a nettlesome football stadium
issue and some exquisitely photogenic protesters in chicken
suits, we weren't surprised that Matt Gonzalez himself was
up as a possibility, but only as someone "who has the
slightest chance of unseating Newsom."
How about your trusty correspondent's choice, you ask? Who could
possibly satisfy the crotchety demands of this writer? It's no
secret that I sometimes carry a framed photograph of Eliot
Spitzer to meetings with me. The newly-elected governor of
New York is smart, independent, and fearless; as Attorney General
he was efficient enough to take on everyone from Wall Street to
the insurance industry - even the James
Beard Foundation. And his hair is no distraction at all.
Note: This writer prides herself on keeping secrets. All submissions
have been purged of authorship, and have not/will not be repeated.
I can't remember a thing!
Mayor's new foray into on-line
Forget the opera. Scroll down for videos
showcasing political theater at its best.