Overheard in Fog City: The Willie Brown Non-Cootie Endorsement Factor

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on August 23, 2010 with 28 Comments

Candidate for District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim greets former Mayor Willie Brown at her campaign launch party, June 24, 2010. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

August 23, 2010

Some supporters in the Debra Walker for Supervisor camp are publicly associating former Mayor Willie Brown’s attendance at Jane Kim’s campaign kickoff event as an official endorsement of Kim’s campaign.  Those whispers are being disseminated on Facebook.  Of course, Brown has not officially endorsed any candidate to date in the D6 race and efforts to pry a comment from the elusive former mayor are next to futile.

Nevertheless, neither Kim nor Walker would reject Brown’s endorsement, FCJ can affirm.

“I wouldn’t reject anyone’s endorsement,” responded Walker when asked if she would reject a potential Brown endorsement.

Walker also condemned the spread of misinformation for political gain, including from her supporters.

“We need to stop the whisper campaigns and stop attacking each other,” Walker said, adding she is “running a positive campaign.”

Something smelly in the D10 race to get Matier and Ross airing

A prominent candidate in the race for District 10 Supervisor may soon be heading for the exit signs.  That all depends on the veracity of a recent rumor suggesting the candidate in question is a tax dodger, a candidate some downtowners are supporting.  Keep an eye out for Phil Matier and Andy Ross’ column.  The scoop de la scoop duo are expected to expose all the details this week.

Daly to get roasting

Supervisor Chris Daly would like to go out in style and be the victim of a humorous roasting before his ten-year tenure on the Board of Supervisors ends in January. Several potential names for emceeing the roast are being bandied about including Jeff Ross, Gilbert Gottfried and comic Dave Chappelle.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for Overheard in Fog City: The Willie Brown Non-Cootie Endorsement Factor are now closed.

  1. Told ya so.

  2. OK you grumpy old fart. Gotta get by and see your swanky new digs some time.

  3. Patrick,

    I only publish to my private list. You’re on it so stop bitching. This info has been available there for 2 weeks. Virtually every major editor in town is on my list and none of them will publish my material. I could care less. All that matters is that I do my due diligence. The editors don’t publish this stuff because they have to answer to their bosses who are glad to see candidates not beholden to them cut out of the publicity loop.


  4. Great news that Alioto-Pier has been 86’d.
    Agreed Robert.
    D6. James Keys.
    D10 Nyese Joshua.
    D8. Rafael Mandelman.
    FYI: Re League Of Women Voters.
    I received an email from Mary Anderton this morning. She informed me that LWV criteria includes:-
    1) Presence of a publicly accessible campaign HQ.
    2) Telephone # listed under campaign name.
    2) Campaign bank account and campaign treasurer.
    4) Certification of eligibilty to receive public funds.
    C’mon h, you gonna keep that dish to yourself ????

  5. Like most who give a lot of weight to endorsements, I give weight to negative endorsements as much as positive.

    Last week I looked up endorsements in my district, #8, for Scott Weiner and Rafael Mandelman.

    Newsom, Pelosi, Feinstein, Leno, Dufty, Elsbernd, Chu, and the Police Officers Association and Toklas Democrats, among others, endorse Weiner. http://goo.gl/wOPW

    Ammiano, Yee, Adachi, Avalos, Campos, Daly, Mar, Mirkarimi, Britt, Kim, Radulovich, Sanchez, Rizzo, California Nurses Association and Milk Dems, and the D Triple-C, among others, endorse Mandelman.

    I applaud both for their honesty in letting us so readily know so much about where they stand, by letting us know who they stand with.

  6. I find it disgusting that no one mentions James Keys. I will not vote for any Democrat, and I don’t like some of his positions, but with Daly’s endorsement and his freedom from downtown interests, and his experience– he seems to me most in tune with poor and exploited residents of District 6. He needs a fair shake.

  7. I don’t believe Eric is correct. Willie Brown is very much alive and a force in his own right. Here is a nice interview with him published in Saturday’s LA Times:


    Apparently, he still misses being at the center of the action too:

    “What do you miss most from your political life?

    I miss being able to answer with power [on] what I consider to be the right answer to a problem. I miss it. I really miss it.”

    Brown has a number of smart observations about the legislative process, the real damage term limits has caused our state and the failings of interest group liberalism. Sadly, he doesn’t see the connection between campaign money and some of these outcomes, so he misses a real opportunity here to explain the benefits of public financing.

  8. From da ex-mayor himself:

    “And trust me, no matter how big you are, the minute you become a liability for someone running for office, that candidate does not want to be anywhere near you.”


    Eric, the kind of electoral coalition a candidate puts together can directly shed light their governing coalition, or it can obfuscate it.

    If Randy Shaw is supporting Jane Kim, then we can count on the Tenderloin Housing Clinic continuing to take increasing amounts of public contracts and to publish their propaganda journal on city money.

    If Willie Brown is supporting Jane Kim, then that has consequences as well.

    That Debra Walker indicated that she would accept Brown’s endorsement says to me that a questionable electoral coalition is a problem for more than one candidate.

    If Obama taught us anything, it is to be sure that there are means by which a progressive electoral coalition can box in one they elected to keep them from straying away to a corporate governing coalition.

    I can understand how candidates and campaigns in war mode want to keep all intelligence secret and to finesse any rough edges to avoid alienating anyone.

    But there is a thin line between war room campaigning and declaring war on the electorate via the kind of bait and switch that Obama practices.

    If anything, Obama has taught us to cast an eagle eye on the machinations of candidates and their electoral coalitions, lest we get fucked again. Let’s just agree that the race cries for a Chris Daly.


  9. Eric,

    Don’t be too hard on us. What else we gonna talk about while Campos is in Puerto Rico and Daly’s in Fairfield? And Patrick, you’re right of course. Someone sent me ‘Generic’s ID this morning and I’m gonna pass on further comment there.

    Toss into the ‘endorsement’ or not mix, that Pelosi spoke highly of Kim when’ the Nance’ was at City Hall a few weeks back and then Madame Speaker’s rep at D Triple C made an impassioned atta boy for Debra Walker.

    For those of you who didn’t see it, go to Tony De Renzo’s Pottalktv.org and suss out his films of the Walker and Sparks kick-offs this past weekend. Debra’s was a virtual who’s who of the Dems power structure, none of whom live in the district. Looked like she drew close to a hundred. Sparks’ got around a dozen people and had no energy whatever. Meko’s opening last month on the other hand drew around 50 but pretty much everyone not only live in the district but have been there for a long time and are well connected (including me). He could surprise big time.

    The race will be closer than I thought but I’m still saying Kim’s money and looks will carry the day. Sadly, the only district residents she’ll have on foot (90%) will be there because Randy Shaw is giving them a reduction in their THC rents to campaign for whatever he tells them to campaign for. If they don’t, he’ll do a Nate Holmes on them.

    Go Giants!


  10. @Jiro, though I didn’t attend the DCCC meeting, I understand Sandra Lee Fewer also provided a 2nd place vote for Kim.

    You’d think with IRV and the dilution of progressive votes in the D6 race, the Progressives members on the DCCC would have voted for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place endorsement to maximize the possibility of ensuring a Progressive candidate holds the D6 seat.

  11. Hear! Hear! (brookse32)


  12. The astounding thing about this conversation is that we are having it at all. As if this walking empty ego and sad corporate shill named Willie Brown has any importance whatsoever to who we choose as the next D-6 supervisor.

    Let’s pay attention to the actual candidates, their past records, and what they have to say for themselves.

  13. I’ve not yet heard any moderate confirm that Brown had lobbied for a Kim endorsement, a rumor I’d heard from a moderate.


  14. David Chiu seems to be Jane Kim’s most enthusiastic supporter. That’s makin’ me uneasy, not Willie Brown. I don’t really know that much about her; most people I find common ground with speak well of her political history, but her lead supporter on the Board of Supes, and at her campaign kick-off, doesn’t vote as I’d hope the next D6 Supe might.

  15. The problem with this story is readers will look at the picture and not read the column. Readers won’t catch the intended irony. However, I don’t think anything has been in print that is definitive one way or the other. The game in D6 is still in the second quarter.

    Brown did give Kim a plug in his “column” for D6 and that read: “The real wildcard in the fray is school board President Jane Kim, a woman no one pays a whole lot of attention to but who ends up winning every time.” In the next sentence, Brown also plugged Lynette Sweet in D10

    Here is the link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/14/BAE71C0RL9.DTL

    WLB doesn’t have his facts right in Kim’s case but he’s spinning just fine.

    On the DCCC vote, there were several 2nd place Kim votes that came from reliably pro-Brown quarters: Bill Fazio (who campaigned with Brown on the west side in 1999, and with whom he shared major donors after Hallinan called Ammiano “Mayor Ammiano”); Leslie Katz (who was appointed by Brown to the Board of Supervisors); Carole Migden (who endorsed Brown twice for Mayor and succeeded him in his Assembly seat with his explicit endorsement); Fiona Ma (who worked for John Burton) and who has written the following about herself on Myspace: “Over the years, I have been appointed to various boards and commissions by President Bill Clinton, former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., former Senator John Burton…”

    Read more: http://www.myspace.com/fionama#ixzz0xUk01e7S.

    Those DCCC second place votes could be pure chance. In every election cycle the “deck of cards” is reshuffled, it’s still a semi-free country and the above could well be random correlation. That’s possible. Don’t rule it out.

    On the other hand, the former Mayor could be tired of being shut out of City Hall by what’s left of the Class of 2000, and thanks to term limits 2010 is an opportunity to gain access. He’s also smart enough to know his explicit endorsement is still a bit toxic. Brown is not to be underestimated.

    Brown has a right to work to be at the center of power again, but critical observers should at least be conscious of what that support might possibly mean and that his support won’t be an explicit affair. They don’t call him “Slick Willie” for nothing….

  16. c’mon h, you know those gutless, dip-shit, spit-wads, will never crawl out from under their rocks. I suggest that those of us who want to continue free and open discussion, air our differences and express our opinions just ignore the postings of these trolls. Let ’em babble but dont dignify their bullshit by responding. Every time you see a post by one of these dick-heads, just imagine a big empty space, like the one between their ears.

  17. Luke,

    Am I the only one who noticed that you protested briefly then handed your entire thread over to an anonymous poster?

    Nothing from me til I know who ‘generic’ is.


  18. @Erika, not only did Brown attend Mirk’s 2008 re-election kickoff event, Brown endorsed him, too!

    Not one whisper of protest was lodged.

  19. @Generic, you’ve clearly made statements of fact you cannot back up.

  20. That would be some neat trick — not having a real identity. And I’m absolutely hiding it for a reason: It’s because I’m not 15 years old and I know that potential employers can use the google machine. Sometimes I say “fuck.” I don’t tattoo my social security number on my forehead, either.

    I can’t provide you with a list of list of DCCC moderates contacted by Brown. Do you know why? Because I’m not on speaking terms with the DCCC’s moderates. If I was, I might leverage those awesome journalistic skillz into a gig — instead of my normal 9-5, where I goof off by commenting on political websites. (See what I mean? Also: that timestamp is a real bitch.)

    I can, however, provide you with a list of moderates on the DCCC. I can also provide you with a mobile communication device. I can also illustrate the importance between, “No, Willie Brown did not contact me,” and “No comment.” Shall I publish the blog for you as well?

    You’re being very careful here. You’re going conveniently meta. You’re talking about the conversation rather than the subject of the conversation, as if the former had more significance than the latter. One wonders why.

  21. @generic..ditto Luke; but then ‘their’ opinions accurately reflect the definition of the word generic..’having no particularly distinctive quality or application” or as I call them ‘nameless knuckledragging neanderthals’.
    My opinions on the other hand are invaluable, so with reference to above discussion….
    “C’mon guys, this is Wiilie Da Mayor !!! Who would win the ‘beauty contest’ ???

  22. @generic The man formerly known as “Da Mayor” was at Ross Mirkarimi’s kick-off in 2008. Can you point to which votes Mirkarimi made that demonstrate he is part of Brown’s machine? His votes over-riding Newsom’s veto of mandatory foot patrols, perhaps?

    As for whatever went down at the DCCC, that is something else entirely. Having never been a Democrat, I wouldn’t have any first-hand knowledge of the games the Dems play on each other.

  23. @Generic, do you have a name or are we to assume you’re hiding your real identity for a reason?

    “Willie pressured moderates on the committee to deny Debra Walker the endorsement of the Democratic party and give it to Jane Kim instead. Do we need to draw a diagram?”

    I don’t need a diagram drawn but a list of DCCC moderates contacted by Brown would be helpful.

  24. Really, Erika? Because if you believe that, then I have an orange bridge to sell you. Goes to Marin.

    I mean, who’s whispering? It’s common knowledge. (Exhibit A: http://bit.ly/a9drn3 ) Hell, it’s conventional wisdom by now. Who Willie Brown “endorses” is wholly beside the point. It’s not about his seal of approval; it’s about him operating the levers of power. He’s actively campaigning for Jane Kim and we moved beyond the whole sotto voce charade quite a while ago. He’s calling in political chits for his chosen candidate and he’s not even making a genuine effort to hide it. People were openly discussing it outside the union hall during the D-trip vote. Willie pressured moderates on the committee to deny Debra Walker the endorsement of the Democratic party and give it to Jane Kim instead. Do we need to draw a diagram?

    Look, I’m not a journalist. I myself can’t get a moderate to go on record and even if I did, I wouldn’t have the megaphone to broadcast the information. But someone (say, a reporter) needs to call DCCC members and ask them if they received a call on behalf of Kim for the endorsement vote. If they say no, then we’ll chalk it up to speculation. If they say yes, we can draw conclusions about what that means for the future of D6.

    But I’m kind of sick of seeing last week’s Facebook threads discussed like they’re breaking news. Make the phone calls already.

  25. The man formerly known as “Da Mayor” will show up wherever booze and chicks are both present. I don’t read anything into him showing up at Jane’s kick-off.

  26. Paul, Luke, that little back and forth was a wonderful little bit of kabuki between the two of you, but I think you’ll win the dance competition if Luke leads next time.

    Otherwise, 7.9.

  27. Sounds very plausible to me, Paul. In fact it’s the most likely explanation I’ve heard. In the end, I would expect Willie to endorse Sparks, but who knows.

  28. FYI, people — Willie Brown lives at the St. Regis Hotel, which is half-a-block away from 111 Minna Street, where Jane Kim had her campaign kick-off. Could it be that Willie attended because it was close and convenient?

    Just sayin’ …