Hampton and Garamendi Shine
in CA-10 Candidates Forum

Written by Harold Brown. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on May 19, 2009 with 13 Comments

CA-10 Democratic Party candidates Adriel Hampton,
Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (represented by her son),
Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Anthony Woods, Anthony Bothwell
and Lt. Governor John Garamendi, attended a candidates
forum yesterday seeking the endorsement of the Tri-Valley Democratic Club.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Harold Brown

May 19, 2009

Democratic Party candidates in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher in the 10th Congressional District, squared off yesterday during a candidates forum held by the Tri-Valley Democratic Club at the IBEW union hall in Dublin.

It was the first CA-10 endorsement forum following Tauscher’s announcement she would resign her Congressional post if she is confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as undersecretary of Arms Control and International Security at the U.S. State Department.

Candidates Adriel Hampton and John Garamendi turned in the best performances of the candidates, with the edge in both youth and knowledge going to the 30-year-old Hampton.


Lt. Governor John Garamendi talked about the influence he’d bring to Congress, but the place is all about seniority – and at 64 he’s simply not young enough to have a realistic chance of moving to the top of the list.

Don’t get me wrong. He seems like a nice guy, but no one’s gonna cast him in a remake of ‘Mr. Smith goes to Washington’.

Lt. Governor John Garamendi

California Senator Mark DeSaulnier – Anyone personally know this guy? He started the question period off by jumping directly in the poop of an audience member saying to the effect, “This is a democracy and now it’s my turn to talk!” which brought a moment of dead silence to the crowd (you don’t want that).

He’s also older and stepped in a few other piles of doo: When a union steward acknowledged his local had already endorsed Garamendi, DeSaulnier interjected, “But I understand you’re giving me money too.” (Again, not the kind of thing you want your candidate saying).

Senator Mark DeSaulnier

Assemblymember Joan Buchanan – Just sworn into the State Assembly two months ago.  She sent her son, Chris, to stand in for her.

These first three are the candidates with the highest name recognition. They’re also the veteran politicians, and hearing them comment about their parts in what has been a decades-old failed political generation, could leave Einstein scratching his head.

The 3 ‘new’ guys

Attorney Anthony Bothwell – He talked about his time in Vietnam where he was taught to interrogate prisoners by cutting off their fingers or tossing them bodily from helicopters. Said he refused to do it. Audience still not impressed.

Former Republican Anthony Bothwell

Iraq War vet Anthony Woods – A ringer from Eric Jaye’s ‘Storefront’ consulting firm? I’m guessing he’s in the race for 3 reasons: First, to make money for Eric Jaye. Second, to draw votes from Adriel Hampton. Third, to make money for Eric Jaye.

Woods seems to also be a decent fellow. He’s a gay veteran and very well-spoken. I poked him a bit and he was unflappable. I’d say Eric has a winner, but not in this venue. Put him in District 10 (SF’s BOS seat), and he wins walking away.

Anthony Woods

San Francisco City Attorney Investigator Adriel Hampton – Thirty years-old. Brilliant and informed. Spent half those years as a journalism pro and rose all the way to City Editor of the old Fang Examiner. Two beautiful kids (4 and 2), a Japanese wife. A strong church guy with impeccable Progressive credentials.

It wasn’t really even close for the top spot. The charismatic Hampton had triple the number of supporters in the audience and nobody was getting paid.

Adriel Hampton

Garamendi had 5 staffers (one spent time re-arranging opposition pamphlets on folding tables to give more prominence to those of his boss – that’s just so Bush league).

When an audience member asked the candidates what they thought of legislation proposed by Ron Paul – calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve – the exchange went like this:

Garamendi: “I won’t comment on a bill I haven’t read, but I’ll read it and get back to you.”

DeSaulnier: “I agree with John and won’t comment on a bill I haven’t read.”

Anthonys: Ditto

Chris Buchanan: Same

Hampton: (smiling) “Well, I’ve read the bill (audience roared with laughter as Garamendi and DeSaulnier looked at the ceiling kind of like an A’s pitcher who just gave up a homer), and I support it strongly. I read bills for fun and this is my kind of bill. It’s only a couple of paragraphs long and fits on one page.” Again, the audience ate it up.

That was pretty typical. Campers, this is gonna be a very competitive race.

Harold Brown

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. His other FCJ articles can be found here. here.

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Comments for Hampton and Garamendi Shine
in CA-10 Candidates Forum
are now closed.

  1. Without, without, without. I can’t hear “New Orleans” and “Habitat for Humanity” paired without crying “FOUL!!!” And, Lennar!!!

    Comments, often written in haste, don’t always get as much of my proofreading attention as they should.

  2. P.S. Anthony Woods may indeed be a very impressive young man and candidate, but I can’t hear “Habitat for Humanity” and “New Orleans” paired with crying “FOUL!!!!”

    Hard to know where to begin with that, but Musicians’ Village is as good a place as any. Habitat used the image of New Orleans trombonist Glenn David Andrews, of the Rebirth Brass Band, to raise millions of dollars to build Musicians’ Village, and then turned down his mortgage application because of some kind of blemish on his credit.

    Andrews was flooded out of his home in New Orleans Tremé District in 2005. He took refuge in Austin, but packed up his trombone and a small hand bag, six months later, and caught the bus home. No one is more central to carrying on New Orleans’ musical tradition, which Musicians’ Village did all this fundraising–with an image of Glen David Andrews, playing his trombone with Rebirth—to preserve.

    And that’s just the start of it. Local Lennar afficionados might like to know that Lennar has some California mega-developments where they manage to extract a charitable tax, for Habitat for Humanity, every time a house changes hands. Some buyers have protested that they’d like to be able to choose the destination of their own charitable dollar.

    The Habitat for Humanity Foundation and the Lennar Charitable Foundation live alongside one another in Pensacola, Florida, home of the Blue Angels Air Show, and a multitude of U.S. military bases.

  3. I didn’t know Adriel Hampton’s name until he entered this race, though many people I know seem to have long admired him.

    After reading his energy policy statement, which challenges the “energy security” lie at the center of the newly passed Clean (Coal) Energy and Security Act of 2009, I asked myself whether such a dissident Democrat, agitating from within the national corporate Democratic War Party could make any difference, especially with Barack Obama presiding over such an extraordinary, and ongoing, upward transfer of wealth. And, with Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi bullying and threatening Democrats into their overwhelming vote for another $106 billion to fund the rape and plunder of people and the planet for profit, and another $100 billion to fund the International Monetary Fund’s debt strangulation of the Global South, for development projects more often exploitative than not.

    However, I invited Adriel Hampton to a celebration of D.R. Congo Independence Day, last Tuesday, June 30th, at the Black Dot Café in Oakland’s Black Cultural District, the Bottoms, and he actually came, which impressed me enormously.

    It wasn’t in Congressional District #10, and Adriel wasn’t slated to speak or otherwise be the star of the show, but he came nevertheless. He watched “Patrice Lumumba,” a film about the life and Belgian/CIA assassination of Congo’s great independence leader, and listened to my friend Kambale Musavuli, Congolese Student Coordinator of Friends of the Congo.

    And I was very impressed, by that alone.

    If I remember right, Adriel and I even spoke about Congo’s Katanga Province, and why various wings of the U.S. national security apparatus have stated, in various years, and on various occasion, that the U.S. must control D.R. Congo, to control, most of all, Katanga, because U.S. military industries could not continue to manufacture for war without its dense, geostrategic mineral wealth.

    I introduced Adriel to Kambale, who puts more faith in the efficacy of lobbying Washington D.C. for the Congolese people than I do.

    And Kambale told him, and the rest of us: “If Obama picked up his Blackberry, which contains coltan from Congo, and called the presidents of Rwanda and Uganda, who are U.S. allies, the war in the Congo would stop today – the killing would stop.”

    I can see value to having someone in Congress who would at least speak to that, there, as former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney did, in her Democratic days. http://www.sfbayview.com/2008/congresswoman-cynthia-mckinney-end-the-conflict-in-the-congo-2/

  4. h –

    i’m actually more of a social justice new media person than a pr person, but i could see the potential overlap in your opinion. that said, no, i am paid by no one for actually believing in the candidacy of anthony woods, and for recognizing his stellar credentials to be a fine leader in congress. i happen to just be an active citizen here who believes in highlighting the true qualifications of good people i think should serve our country.


  5. As the person who triggered DeSaulnier’s reaction noted above I should say that I saw the response as more feisty than anything else. The background was that I asked a question about the Afghan War and the funding for it, pointing out that in their proposed new position they would really have a simple choice to either vote yes or no. How would they vote.
    DeSaulnier started out with mentioning the Iraq war and keying on the informal aspect of the meeting, I spoke up and corrected him saying I asked only about Afghanastan. That triggered his response.
    The real issue was that when it came down to it, DeSaulnier gave a clear answer that he would vote for the funding, as did Woods and Bothwell, Buchanan’s representative was skipped over for some reason as I recall, Hampton gave a clear answer that he would not vote for the funding. Garamendi gave a waffle answer going on about the Peace Corps etc., but never directly answering the question. So even though I took the brunt of the sharp retort, DeSaulnier came out ahead on that question in my book.
    Afterwards, by the way, he came up to me an apologized for jumping on my case and I accepted it reminding him that we are ‘Democrats’ and a little feistiness is no big thing in house.

  6. Ms. Allison,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Frankly, I was most concerned about Eric Jaye and his Storefront political agency running Anthony’s campaign. I notice that you’re a PR person also. Per chance, are you being paid by Jaye to promote Mr. Woods? Nothing the matter with that. You should just be up front with it if that’s the case.

    Again, Anthony Woods is a very impressive young man. Adriel Hampton is much more impressive in my estimation and he is not beholden to the Dark Prince of SF Politics.


  7. i was disappointed to read such a biased rundown of the candidates. in particular, your take on anthony wood, which would leave an unknowing reader unaware that he’s a bronze star vet of the iraqi war, having served in two deployments before deciding that he could no longer live in the closet about his sexual orientation, and so was discharged and told to pay back his grad school education at harvard’s kennedy school. that bio is of note, in addition to the details of his being raised by a single mother and making his own way to west point, and also organizing a rebuild of new orleans post katrina and working with habitat for humanity.

    there are many reasons one could say he’s running, to sum them up to the nonsensical two you listed is almost offensive. this is a candidate who has lived a life of service and dedication to smart thinking about our nation’s problems. even though he might not be your personal friend in the race, anthony wood is exactly the type of person we should want running for congress, and we should, at base, at least respect such a candidate if we want to see more people of wood’s quality continue to run. for those interested in learning more about this candidate than this article will allow for, check wood’s webpage here: http://www.anthonywoodsforcongress.com/home.html

  8. Garamendi’s campaign slogan: “Golden Pond goes to Washington”

  9. Of course,

    Hampton was going to run before Tauscher got the promotion cause he thought she wasn’t strong enough against the war. This was a really odd meeting though. When a member of the group brought up an anti-war
    measure in the group’s regular business portion before the forum, he couldn’t get a second. You hear me? He couldn’t get a second. I’m guessing that was because of Tauscher’s position. Adriel said that if he’d been able that he would have seconded the guy’s resolution.

    Kucinich rocks by the way.


  10. I realize this was, more or less, an introduction to the candidates, but did the War in Iraq come up at all?

    Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich recently expressed dismay with President Obama and other Democrats. “Don’t tell the American people you are ending the war by continuing to fund the war. Don’t tell the American people that the war will end when there are plans to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq.”

  11. Matt, thanks for the vote of confidence – I’m really a peaceful guy, just large.

  12. “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” — Dale Carnegie

  13. In addition to intellectually, spiritually and emotionally, Adriel could kick all those other guys’ asses physically.