New Mayor and District Attorney Visit Prog Supes

Written by Harold Brown. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on May 22, 2010 with 24 Comments

Pay to play under the Dome: Interim mayor in waiting, former BOS Prez Aaron Peskin, with District Attorney candidate in waiting Randy Knox, attended a supervisors collective art party hosted yesterday at City Hall. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By h. Brown

May 22, 2010

(talk about a potential upgrade)

You know me.  Low key.  Don’t like to make waves.  Modest, yet somehow arrogant at the same time.  Firm, but with the capacity to be a wishy-washy douche.  Always seeking the truth but able to lie for years on end with a straight face.  It’s a wonder, actually, that I’ve never been elected to public office! Sometimes, when I’m clipping my nasal hairs, I look deeply into my eyes and address myself. “Self” I always begin …

So, I understand what it takes.

My first political campaign was in 1952.  My candidate was Adlai Stevenson and I was 8 years old.  I met Randy Knox in my night club 25 years later.  That was 33 years ago.  You do the numbers.

The first time I met Aaron Peskin, I stood him up.  It worked out though.  I was supposed to meet him at Wild Awakenings coffee shop on McAllister down the street from City Hall. He’d just been elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and I liked the cut of his jib and wanted to interview him, but I got delayed at a press conference where Jim Reid was announcing the filing of his papers to recall Mayor Willie Brown.  It was January 2001.  Luckily I ran into Aaron on the sidewalk as I hurried tardily to our meeting.  We talked about Willie Brown and how I wanted him gone.  Peskin told me off-the-books that he wanted Willie gone too.

These guys are your next Mayor and D.A.

Let me just give you the rumors instead of the facts.  I’m sure you’ll agree that rumors are always more fun and more often than not, more accurate than facts.  Facts are static.  Rumors are flexible.

Rumors are that former BOS board prez, D-3 supe, and current DCCC chief, Peskin, has seven of the six votes he needs from the Board to be SF’s new Mayor when Mayor Gavin Newsom steps up to become California’s next Lt. Governor.

Rumors are that the ever-affable Knox, with his beyond-Hollywood and into Mt. Olympus good looks and charm (again, I’m not gay but I’m not blind either), is a lock to be the City’s next District Attorney.  If he wants.

The two power players came together at a lightly noticed joint art opening hosted by the new powers-that-be on the BOS these days.  It’s no accident that these four … Board prez and D-3 supe, David Chiu; D-11 supe and Board Budget and Finance chair, John Avalos; Board Rules chair and D-9 supe, David Campos; and the quiet guy, yet always in the swing-vote ultimate power position, D-1’s Eric Mar who also is chair of the Board’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee… What you notice these guys have in common and who wasn’t invited to join this quartet?

Supervisor David "man of the people" Campos and aide, Sheila Chung Hagen.

Supervisors Eric Mar (center) and John Avalos (right).

Board Prez David Chiu

Well, these guys are going to be here for another 7 years.  Unless one of them becomes Mayor or D.A. once Peskin and Knox move on to higher office.  That’s the way that it works.

Daly wasn’t there.  Sophie Maxwell wasn’t there.  They’re termed out and no longer part of any long range planning equation.  Bevan Dufty wasn’t there because he’s the opposition.  Same with Michela Alioto-Pier, Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd.  Naw, this was a bumping of the fists of the new Democratic Party inner circle.  Who else made it to the exclusive event?

Probably the two best political minds in the City (other than mine when I’m drunk) were there.  That would be the Dems new rising star, Hope Johnson, whom Peskin embraced after months of opposing her DCCC candidacy, and the Green Party’s Marc Salomon who announced to a stunned audience that he’ll be leaving the Green Party Monday to register as a Democrat.  And, that as his first act as a Democrat, he’ll be endorsing the aforementioned Hope Johnson for DCCC.

Political svengalis Marc Salomon and Hope "Vote for hope" Johnson.

Of course, like myself, Salomon also announced that he’d be returning to the Green Party after the June 8th election to support their ideals and candidates.  This politics thing can be so confusing.  Remember what Churchill said when he was criticized for changing political parties so many times?

“To improve is to change. To be perfect is to have changed a lot.”

Sir Winston Churchill, circa 1951. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

I think Winston and I had the same humility teacher. And, incidentally, in case you didn’t know it, David Campos has a fabulous bulldog named after Churchill ’cause he looks just like him.  He’s called ‘Winston’ and David has agreed to let Fog City’s Luke Thomas photograph the real dog bulldog, who fills the Campos household with love, and the online dawg being me my very self.  Luke thinks it’s important we do the pics now while Winston and I are both perfect physical specimens.

Knox lent his star power to a photo with DCCC candidates Hope Johnson and Rick Hauptman who was in the Milk Club when Moses still had a mailing address in Egypt, and new David Chiu staffer, Cat Rauschuber. Cat’s young but in no way new to the Dome having previously worked as a number-crunching budget analyst for Harvey Rose.

Hope Johnson, Cat Rauschuber, Rick Hauptman and Randy Knox.

As always, Giants fanatic and D-11 top guy, John Avalos, had the kids in to meet the other giants who weren’t nearly as impressive to them as the baseball types.

Supervisor John Avalos and progeny.

You think I’m wrong?

When I say we were looking at the faces of the new Democratic Machine?  We’ll see I guess.  I only know one thing for certain.  I spoke to a janitor after everyone had gone home and he said that Peskin and Knox called all of the supes into a chamber in his old office and they addressed the one question they knew had to be answered if any of their dreams were to come true:

“What do we do about h. brown?”

Go Gigantes!

More photos

Community Choice Aggregation champion Tom Taylor, Hope Johnson and SEIU 1021 honcho Gabriel Haaland, discuss machine "clique" politics and its divisive impact on independent partisan candidacies.

Supervisor John Avalos and son having a fun time.

Harold Brown

h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of, 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 New Mayor and District Attorney Visit Prog Supes are now closed.

  1. In a post above, Patrick Monk says:

    “Let the games commence.”

    See ya at the polls!

  2. Oh Arthur…snake-bit again. Hide-bound and humorless. Oh well.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, rev up your motors. Let the games commence.

  3. In a post above, Patrick Monk says:


    Rafael Mandelman’s doctrinaire operatives are already showing their venom in this campaign, as the comment above by Patrick Monk clearly demonstrates. I have seen other examples, too.

    Acting-out with a venomous attitude is the same mistake that the doctrinaire operatives of Eileen Hansen made when she ran unsuccessfully against Bevan Dufty. Also the same mistake made by the doctrinaire operatives of Alix Rosenthal in her failed campaign.

    The voters of district eight are tired of the venomous attitude of ideologues with a bunker mentality. Everybody is aware of this fact except the ideologues themselves.

    After the ideologues lose (again!), they will blame everyone except themselves.

  4. Prescient as always h … maybe.

    This is my take after attending Jane M’s fundraiser for Rafael last w’end. Was gonna send these reflections to AP personally, but you broached the subject – so here goes – my 2c.

    From observation and eavesdropping at this event I formed the distinct impression that AP has taken RM under his wing and is functioning as consigliore in the DCCC and D8 races. I believe they left together to present a united front at a “chilli cook-off”; though Rafi might have just needed someone to salivate over ‘his’ chilli as he didn’t appear too confident that ‘his’ contribution would wow the foodie mafia.

    But I digress. Love AP or loathe him; I generally lean towards the former and grudgingly cut him some slack – he is a politician after all ; but some of his positions, on Lennar and Home Depot in particular, are unforgivable. He is like the gift that keeps on giving, at least in public, but then takes too much back behind closed doors. During his tenure as Prez of Board of Stupes, he alienated, to put it politely, many friends and allies who had put a lot of faith and trust in his ‘progressive’ credentials and pronouncements – but he is a politician after all. However I think his early and committed support to Rafi’s campaign in D8 is a very astute and politic position that could help re-establish his street cred, and mend some fences – better the devil you know.

    In the almost 40 years that I have lived in Noe Valley I have seen it go through many changes. It is kinda sad and ironic that the uniqueness and sense of community that attracted many to our neighborhood, has resulted in sky rocketing rental and real estate prices that have driven many long time residents, SF natives and most small independently owned businesses, out of business and the neighborhood. This is now Neo Valley. But that’s a reality we have to live with. Change and Impermanence, Pain and Suffering, C’est la vie – et la morte.

    This used to be a ‘village’, it has now become a ‘mall’. Especially on weekends when moneyed arrivistas descend from the heights parading their offspring and pooches, mindlessly blocking sidewalks, sipping
    low fat soy lattes, bemoaning their obligation to pay property taxes on overlevereged real estate transactions, etc; oblivious to a LOL with a walker, or any other ‘senior’ citizen who is simply trying to navigate the sidewalk; and these are our ‘neighbors’. Incidentally during the week you can see the same offspring in the same double wide strollers, but they are being pushed by caregivers, primarily Latina; do they have paid time off on the weekend; are they getting full medical, dental, SS contributions etc ?

    Add to the mix entitled transient X’ers and curious visitors and what you have is what is becoming a soulless second rate pseudo Union Street/Fisherman’s Wharf.

    The ban on ‘chain stores” in NV is a joke and a canard. Any time a small business goes out of business, generally due to rapacious owners making it impossible to survive if you are trying to serve neighborhood needs, It is a pretty safe bet to wager that the new occupant of the ‘vacated’ space will be some kind of ‘financial’ institution, a real estate agent, or a nail salon. The most recent case in point is the opening of your ‘local’ real estate agent ALAIN PINEL, in the space recently ‘vacated’ by PHOENIX BOOKS. This is not a neighborhood business, it is ‘chain’ realtor with statewide ‘offices’.

    OK, enough ‘bitching ‘n moaning’, que sera., Noe Valley isn’t. One final comment on the ‘greening of our valley’, is directed at all those who rejoiced in the arrival of Whole Paycheck. I don’t have time or access to conduct an in-depth investigation. But if you are under the illusion that by shopping at WF you are somehow contributing to the the greening of america and making environmentally sound choices,… think again… it is primarily for your own personal convenience and an attempt to assuage the guilt you might feel on going to bed satiated while the majority of the world starves. A couple of months ago I did a very unscientific survey of their fresh produce. Less than 50% were labeled ‘organic’;; the majority were either unlabeled’ or labelled as ‘natural’. Of those products that were actually labeled as organic, the vast majority came from “ORGANIC AGRI-BUSINESS’ operations, many in Mexico, that do not have the same regulations governing food production and safety that we are clinging to here, despite the concerted efforts of Mosanto et al, to copyright and manufacture what we eat. We still have some ability to influence our future by the choices we make. If you want to feed your kids on a steady diet of Mickey D’s and Soda pop; drive your SUV a dozen blocks to the store.for latte or ice cream; shoot or snort smack; etc. you are free to make that choice; but if you think that by patronizing corporate institutions like WF you are contributing to the effort to create a more sustainable future for us all, you are, in my opinion, just another arrogant american ostrich with your beak firmly implanted in your sandy rectum.

    While I wholeheartedly support and will work for Rafi in his campaign to become our next Supervisor in D8, I want to make it clear that the rantings above are strictly my own and in no way, to the best of my knowledge, reflect his opinions, I do believe fervently that he is our last best hope to try and retain what little is left of the integrity and beauty of our little corner of the world, before the Chamber of Commerce and their allies sell it out to the highest bidder so they can make a few extra bucks.


    Pat Monk.RN. Noe Valley.

  5. Marc,

    I assume you mean Quezada? If you were on the ticket I’d have voted for you instead. This is the friggin’ best I could come up with without handing a slate card mailer or two to Scott Wiener. Please correct me. Who are you voting for instead of Quezada? Don’t keep it a secret thing. Don’t just bitch boy, contribute. Although I can see that just bitching is always easier.


  6. h, why are you supporting a homophobe?

  7. That said,

    I hashed this out with myself and came up with 8 candidates I could support. I asked Luke Thomas for advice and together we came up with the other 4.

    Hope Johnson
    Debra Walker
    David Campos
    Rafael Mandelman
    David Chiu
    Tom Taylor
    Michael Goldstein
    Eric Quezada
    Rick Hauptman
    Kim-Shree Maufus
    Robert Haaland
    Aaron Peskin

    I’m a practical man,


  8. Hey Rick, this election is more compelling to me than the Leno Migden fight. Go figure.

  9. When I asked you about Migden and Leno 3 years ago you shot back at me “I AM NOT A DEMOCRAT, why should I care!” Whoa nelly.

  10. Yep, Milk and Moscone were killed for the same reasons that Newsom’s power base is trying desperately to cling to power–they know that if they lose control of Room 200, that the records of their decades long crime spree with public dollars will become an open book.

    To be fair, I’m going to vote for Haaland and Campos, as well as Hope Johnson and enough of the others on the slate so as to make a difference, but obviously, I will not be supporting the entire slate. I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess who will not be getting my vote.


  11. In a post above, h brown says:

    “It’s exactly what they died for.”

    With every revolution, the vanguard of outsiders moves into the corridors of powers, pats itself on the back, and becomes a new clique of insiders.

    Granted, a change of cliques can sometimes bring some improvement. However, revolution is an ongoing process, not a state, and certainly not a clique.

    What was wonderful about Harvey Milk was that he was a politician who was more than a politician. He never forgot that the struggle for goodness and justice is far more than a jockeying for status and turf among politicians.

    The people need the politicians to represent them at the centers of power. But the people are more important than the politicians.

    Any movement that lets itself become co-opted by the ambitions of a clique of politicians is no longer a force outside the system but just another fixture of the status quo.

  12. My Milk Memorial Committee raised all the funds for the Milk Statue in City Hall. Check us out on Facebook at or

    Rick Hauptman

  13. Arthur,

    It’s exactly what they died for. And tomorrow is the last day to drop your regular voting status and become a Democrat for a Day along with myself and Marc Salomon and Luke Thomas. We’re doing it so that we can vote for Hope Johnson for DCCC and send a message to Peskin and Haaland that they can’t dictate every candidate we vote for.


  14. In his article at the beginning of this thread, h brown makes this comment amid all the pics of the smiling City Hall insiders:

    “this was a bumping of the fists of the new Democratic Party inner circle. Who else made it to the exclusive event?”

    Is this what Harvey Milk and George Moscone died for?

  15. I’ll take that as a thank you from Arthur Evans to Matt Gonzalez who asked me to write the resolution that led to that memorial coming to be due to the tireless fund raising and design contest work of a cast of hundreds led by Danny Nicoletta.

    Whenever I get down about the paralysis of compromise and the glacial pace of progress in politics, I look at the Milk Memorial that I had a tiny part in creating and realize that eventually some of it actually works out.


  16. The familiar cliques at City Hall are all scheming against each other now, with their usual operatives and spinners deployed. Newsom has agents in action, Peskin has his, Mirkarimi has his. Each hopes to hoodwink the voters, one way or another.

    “Payback is a bitch.” Those are the operative words now, on all sides.

    I try not to become discouraged, however. I remind myself that once in a generation or so, a fresh wind of honesty and authenticity comes blowing into this dank scene from the outside, giving the people of the city hope.

    That’s why I love seeing Harvey Milk’s statue outside the supes’ chamber whenever I have to go down there and deal with all the schemers.

    I especially thought of him yesterday.

  17. Rigid Sect Rigid
    Sect RIgid Sect Rigid Sect
    Rigid Sect RIgid

  18. this is cool,

    Luke and I were discussing it last evening. The candles will be burning late in Jim Sutton’s office as this one edges forward. Dufty’s only chance is to resign and be replaced by Prozan who’ll vote for him. Then, Maxwell get’s a fat job and steps down for Sweet which gives the Moderates 5. If the 6 Progs hold you get Peskin. If the Mods want they can all vote for Chiu and pick up Mar to put him over the top. That would leave Aaron wailing and gnashing his teeth.

    Dontcha love politics?


  19. Dogmatic cauldron
    Seething Sect, Progressive Sect
    Druggies, Junkies, Drunks

    Filth Crisis, Lone Males!
    Civility, Please!
    Get Off Of My Lawn!

    Rigid Dogmatic
    Progressive Sect, Rigid Sect
    Someone Else’s Fault

    If All Are Guilty
    Then Nobody is Guilty
    Fascist Like Logic


  20. All the politicians down there at City Hall are schemers. The trick is to play them off against each other, without getting caught up in the machine of any of them.

    The trick is not to fall into the arms of a counter machine and then call the embrace progressive politics.

  21. Jeeez Marc,

    Thanks. I hadn’t heard that. So, this is so that Gavin can hold the mayor’s job for a few more days in case Arthur’s moderates win in 10 and 8?

    You nailed it down brilliantly. As usual.


  22. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether marc’s posts are his own murky ramblings or the products of the gibberish-generating software that he uses to hack threads.

    Which is the above?

  23. Ah, Arthur Evans wastes no time jousting at the chimera of the rigid progressive dogma of the dogmatic progressive sect.

    Speaking about hedging one’s bets before the votes are cast, consider the matter heard before the Ethics Commission in March as item VII.

    Here are the minutes:

    VII. Consideration of possible amendments to the Governmental Ethics Code (“GEO”), San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 3.200 et seq. Staff has proposed amendments to sections 3.216 (gifts), 3.220 (dual office-holding), and 3.224 (compensated advocacy).

    Hmm, dual office holding, who could THAT possibly be about?:

    From the minutes again:

    Deputy Director Ng suggested that the Commission should follow state provisions regarding dual office holding. She stated that, under the state rule, if two offices are incompatible, then the officer would be automatically removed from second. She stated that this removal would occur when one office makes decisions for the other or oversees the other office. She stated that it was possible to hold two offices, but that the offices had to be completely unrelated to each other.

    Motion 10-03-08-9 (Harriman/Ward): Moved, seconded, and withdrawn that the Commission adopt Decision Point 3 (deletion of section 3.220).

    Commissioner Hansen stated that someone should not hold two offices at the same time, regardless of whether they were compatible. Executive Director St. Croix stated that an officer, in this case, would be defined as someone having two City positions and making less than $2500 in those positions. DCA Shen added that “officer” would include all elected officials, every department head, and some levels below department head.

    Marc again. Here’s Eileen Hansen furthering the rigid progressive dogma of the dogmatic progressive sect yet again.

    Who might find themselves in a position of holding two offices at once next January? And who might want to see an exception carved into local law so that he might be able to appoint an acting mayor to ensure that the rigid progressive dogma of the dogmatic progressive sect never sees the inside of Room 200 at City Hall?

    Would Dennis Herrera really make an independent call as to whether Lt. Governor and Mayor of San Francisco would be compatible or not?

    Of course, Gavin Newsom and his poodles John St. Croix and Mabel Ng, are merely being pragmatic, practical and acting in the pure best interests of San Franciscans as they try to change the rules so that they keep winning.


  24. I love watching politicians scheme about how they’re going to take over and divide the spoils, before even one vote is cast by the people.

    And in the name of progressive politics, too.

    Anybody see a problem here?