Gonzalez Pens Open Letter to Pelosi

Written by Matt Gonzalez. Posted in News, Opinion, Politics

Published on October 12, 2010 with 48 Comments

Former San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez. Photos by Luke Thomas

By Matt Gonzalez, special to FogCityJournal.com

Editor’s Note: Mr. Gonzalez has penned the following open letter to Rep. Nancy Pelosi calling into question Pelosi’s refusal to engage in the democratic process through open debates.

October 12, 2010, 11:24 am

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi,

I write you because a large number of your constituents, myself included, are tired of your leadership.  As Speaker of the House, and representative of California’s 8th Congressional District, you have failed to offer a satisfactory explanation for many of the political choices you have made. Even your most ardent supporters are at a loss to defend your escalation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan after you became Speaker (despite your promises to end the war), and for your support for the Patriot Act, its subsequent reauthorization, and for your support for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, among other things. Equally reprehensible was your vote on March 21, 2003, two days after President Bush authorized the Iraq War invasion, in support of a resolution declaring “unequivocal support and appreciation to the president…for his firm leadership and decisive action.”

Recently, it came to my attention that your opponent in the 8th congressional race, John Dennis, had challenged you to a debate and that you had declined his offer.

The press reported that when John Dennis spoke with you in Washington D.C., on September 23rd, you said you would “not be in the District enough” to debate him. You did not offer more details explaining why that was the case. You also did not suggest the alternative of holding a debate in Washington nor did you make other arrangements to accommodate the democratic process.

As a matter of fact the excuse you did give, that you wouldn’t be in San Francisco, is unconvincing. The press reported that as recently as October 7th, you attended a baseball playoff game in San Francisco. A public debate could be completed in 2 hours, which is less than the length of an average professional baseball game.

Photo courtesy TerezOwens.com

Regrettably, your refusal to defend your congressional voting record does not come as a surprise to me. You also declined to debate anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, when she challenged you two years ago, and you have not debated any of your opponents in the over two decades since you were first elected to office (a race you won despite not having held prior elective office).

A democratic society cannot flourish or long endure if our elected representatives avoid articulating and defending their views, or otherwise subjecting their political beliefs to public scrutiny. Debate among political opponents has a long and healthy history in the United States; one that you apparently have little regard for and/or disdain.

Although you may want to dismiss your congressional opponent John Dennis because he is a Republican, I assure you that he is a serious candidate with views worthy of consideration. In addition to being firmly anti-war and committed to defending civil liberties, Dennis is pro-gay rights, opposed the Wall Street bailouts and has joined in the populist call challenging the legitimacy of the Federal Reserve. Recently, in the Capitol Times, liberal commentator John Nichols posed the question of whether John Dennis was a “Prototype of the new urban Republican.” He noted that Dennis

presents a credible alternative to Pelosi when it comes to issues of war and peace. In the tradition of old-right Republicans like Ohio Sen. Robert Taft and Nebraska Congressman Howard Buffett — and their heirs, [Texas Congressman Ron] Paul and a handful of others, such as Tennessee Rep. John Duncan Jr. and North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones Jr. — Dennis calls for “ending both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and withdrawing our troops as safely and quickly as possible.” And he says: “I do not believe that our troops should be forced to be policemen of the world. Our troops, first and foremost, should protect Americans where they live — in America.”

John Nichols goes on:

In an anti-war town like San Francisco, that’s a more attractive position than Pelosi has articulated in this campaign. It positions the Republican as a genuine alternative to the Democrat in a liberal district.

The same goes for civil liberties. Dennis says: “The Constitution was written to restrict the actions of the government, not individuals. That is why we call ours a limited government. Unfortunately, American political vocabulary is filled with a lexicon of different types of liberty: civil liberty, economic liberty, sexual liberty, financial liberty, etc. Yet, in the end, there is only liberty. And if we support some types of liberty but not others, ultimately we will be left without liberty at all.”

Specifically, he says that he opposes “warrantless wiretaps,” “the creation of extra-judicial systems to deal with enemy combatants” and “waterboarding and other forms of torture,” and he says: “I believe our government must respect the 800-year foundation of the law embodied in the principle of habeas corpus.”

Again, on these issues, Dennis’ stances are closer to those of the district than Pelosi’s. As such, he offers a real alternative — even in a liberal district. … Dennis is, as well, genuinely libertarian on a host of social issues. As such, he can’t be painted into the right-wing corner, as so many Republicans are. (10/6/10, The Capitol Times).

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has called John Dennis “a good person who is truly antiwar and truly wants to make the world a better place.” (9/30/10, Mother Jones). Texas Congressman Ron Paul has said “John Dennis is truly committed to Liberty, personal freedom, fiscal discipline and a more sensible foreign policy.”  (1/6/2010, Business Wire). Dustin Reid, who works promoting HIV/AIDS awareness, wrote an article in yesterday’s Huffington Post entitled: “Beyond Left and Right Why John Dennis Should Be a Liberals Pick in San Francisco”. He noted “despite running as a Republican, Dennis is essentially running on a pragmatic, progressive agenda that brings together the most salient issues across parties. Issue by issue liberals, as well as conservatives, should consider Dennis over Pelosi in San Francisco.” (10/11/10, Huffington Post)

I believe your refusal to debate John Dennis should be openly met with the same disdain you have for public debates. I intend to vote for John Dennis and I will encourage everyone I know to do the same. No candidate who refuses to debate his or her opponent deserves the support of anyone, particularly after a history of failed leadership, such as the one you have exhibited. To do otherwise, is to sanction your refusal and encourage similar behavior by other elected representatives.

To be sure, I do not agree with all of John Dennis’ views, nor he with mine.  But on the most pressing issues facing our country today, I believe we have more points of agreement (than you or I) and I respect his willingness to publicly defend those views.

John Dennis and Matt Gonzalez discuss the nation's ills during an anti-war rally held in San Francisco, 9/4/10.

Matt Gonzalez is the former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors & 2008 vice-presidential running-mate to Ralph Nader on an Independent ticket.

Matt Gonzalez

Matt Gonzalez is the former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors & 2008 vice-presidential running-mate to Ralph Nader on an Independent ticket.

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Comments for Gonzalez Pens Open Letter to Pelosi are now closed.

  1. Even if Democrats win, Pelosi faces opposition to remain as speaker:


  2. @Blah, I share your disappointment in Matt and I think you’ve made some excellent points. The Green Party hasn’t put forth a candidate. Right now, Gloria LaRiva is the only progressive challenging Pelosi, and the Green Party has endorsed her. So, why didn’t Gonzalez endorse La Riva? He has always maintained that progressives should vote their conscience rather than voting for the lesser evil. So, it appears that he is going against his own principles by endorsing Dennis over LaRiva.

    I don’t believe that Matt supports John Dennis’ stance on deregulating big business, free trade and less government (i.e. doing away with essential services). In fact, I’m sure he would be appalled if Dennis actually got elected and began dismantling the Social Security system, Medicare and just about every department of government. But who knows…perhaps Gonzalez is delighted with Dennis’ bold ideas for militarizing the border and targeting immigrants for deportation.

    Seriously, I don’t wish to demonize Matt Gonzalez, nor do I view him as “all bad” and without redeeming qualities. I believe that Matt’s opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is sincere and heartfelt. However, I suspect that his endorsement of Dennis has more to do with his political ambitions than his real values. It’s a strategic move. The demographics of San Francisco have changed dramatically over past few years. So if he cares to win, Gonzalez needs to demonstrate that he can work with folks of all political persuasions and bring them together. I just hope that in the process he doesn’t end up compromising his values and selling out altogether. Unfortunately, it takes money to win these elections ~ loads of it.

    My greatest disappointment with Matt is that he seems to have lost touch with the his supporters at the grassroots ~ that is, his base. He has failed to engage in the hard work of building the Green Party or any kind of strong progressive movement that could effectively challenge these wars. Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan has out there in the trenches “walking the walk”, and that’s why I respect her. Yet, Gonzalez hopes to be viewed as a leader because he knows how to deliver a speech. Sorry, that doesn’t cut it, hombre. And not when you can’t even work together with the city, the unions and the workers and want to come up with a solution to the city’s fiscal problem. Does anyone else see the irony in that?

    I guess the lesson is, “Don’t follow leaders…” The Revolution will not be led by Matt Gonzalez. The revolution is you and me. We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.

  3. generally speaking, i admire matt greatly. but… is matt losing it?

    isn’t there a green party candidate running for california district 8 that progressives there could support?

    the republicans aren’t exactly the solutions to the democrats… & one anti-war republican isn’t going to have much influence on that party, and will certainly advocate for much other anti-progressive legislation.

    i thought matt didn’t support one-issue voting… (ok, there are a couple of other issues mentioned. still, this is not a candidate with a generally progressive agenda).

    obviously, neither the democratic party nor the republican party promote progressive values. the only solution for progressives is to create, or to strengthen (the greens being the obvious example) a truly progressive party.

    i don’t know what is going on over there in district 8. obviously there’s a lot of frustration, as there is for progressives or leftists anywhere in this country. but, accepting the role as the object in the democrats & republicans tug of war for power will only keep that particular, irrelevant dynamic of the constant shifting of power between those two entities in place.

    oh… whatever… this country is so thoroughly corrupt, & people seem so incapable of effective organizing that there doesn’t seem to be much of a solution at this point.

    sure don’t support matt’s call on this one, though. it seems that he’s caught up in the personality conflict presented by polosi representing his home district.

    i’m disappointed that he’s lacking a broader perspective here. yikes.

    enough said…

  4. It’s mai ’68 again in France! The issue: pension reform. The socialists get it; the Green Party gets it… and French students and workers are taking it to the streets. What about you? Tu piges Matt Gonzalez??



  5. Goodness, you’re a riot, h.! So, my good man, you’re “sick and tired of listening to the blowhards and the entitled sit in their million dollar condos and complain.” (grrrr…whine) Ay, pobrecito! I see you have a talent for hyperbole.

    Ah, but I caught your interview at SFBG where you talked about forcibly displacing “15,000 predators” (your words) in the Tenderloin ~you mean, poor folks, don’t you?~ and dispatching them to Treasure Island. So, this is your idea of a solution? And you expect us to take you seriously as a progressive? Please.

    All I can say is you have a short attention span, hombre, because I’ve already suggested several good solutions. Did you even bother to read my comment on Oct 17 @6:02 pm? As I said, I would place the burden on those who can best afford pay ~ namely, the corporations and the wealthy who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Ya know, those who got us into this mess in the first place.

    And I wouldn’t be adverse to Adachi’s plan if he had crafted it so that it wouldn’t hurt folks like this:


    As it is, the measure is poorly crafted. The problem is that it doesn’t distinguish between folks making $100,000+ salaries and those making $40-50,000 or less a year. Now, Adachi might have written it so that the management class and those making top salaries bear the brunt of the cuts. But he didn’t do that. And why the hell didn’t he? He could have write it in a progressive way so that those at the high end of salary scale pay the most while the lowest-paid workers pay nothing? That’s why most progressives are opposed to Adachi’s measure.

    I donno…perhaps when you make $196,000, you’re a little out of touch with how poor people experience these cuts. I mean, there’s a huge difference between a ten percent chunk out of Adachi’s salary, which is something he’ll barely register (see SF Chronicle profile on Adachi last weekend, where he admits as much) and taking nine percent from someone making $40 grand or less, as she’s struggling to keep her kids fed and housed.

    As it’s written, 70 percent of the savings from Prop B would come from increasing the cost of dependent health care for public employees. What is equitable about that? I suggest that Jeff goes back to the drawing table and thinks seriously about the folks who will be adversely affected. Then I could wholeheartedly support his measure. But not as it’s written.

    Moreover, this measure will do nothing to save services because it doesn’t get at the root of the problem. It merely shifts the burden of paying for essential services like health care from the city government to the individual.

    Now, the reason the economy is in such bad shape is that the wages of the the middle class have been eroded. It does nothing whatever to address this problem. So, the cuts will continue and grow worse, with or without Jeff’s initiative (anyone who tells you differently is blowing smoke up your ass).

    The ultimate goal of the neo-liberal capitalism is to do away with the public sector entirely. So, this is just the beginning. Public workers are the last stronghold of unionized workers, so if this measure is successful it will embolden corporations to gut the salaries and benefits of private sector workers as well.

    This is their endgame. I’ve even heard some commenters in conservative forums complain that the measure doesn’t go far enough. They don’t believe that public sector workers deserve good wages or benefits. In fact, they don’t believe worker should have living wage or good benefits because it cuts into their profit margin.

    I’ve never owned a condo, I assure you ~ never owned much of anything, in fact. I’ve been a renter my whole life. And I’ve never made much more than 40 grand a year. I empathize with your plight h., but don’t lecture me, hombre. I know what it means to live from paycheck to paycheck. When I broke up with my husband, I sold my entire book collection back to the local bookstores just to have enough to eat after paying the rent. So I’ve been there. I doubt that your hero Matt even knows what that’s like.

  6. Well, yes and no,

    Yes, there is a crisis and no, you’re not helping by spreading so much bad information Lisa and Marc. Clearly the health and pension plans are badly under-funded if one is to believe the Grand Jury report and their analysts.

    The thing that bothers me (as an intellectual) is the complete absence of alternatives from the ‘No on B’ people. The ‘head in the sand’ idea that the status quo has the City headed into an economic jungle where services are cut and ‘public/private partnerships hand control of every parcel with outright or intrinsic value passes over to the Hellmans and the Fishers? You want that?

    You’re getting that. You’re causing that. The City is presently cutting paychecks to as many retired employees as they are those who are working. Hey, I’m retired myself and I appreciate the sanctity of my Social Security check.

    But, I worked 47 years for it! Yes, for 47 years I paid into Social Security and did everything from the most disgusting jobs I won’t mention all the way to teaching and research at a major university. And, I get 20% of the ‘top’ salary I ever made which means that I get $555 a month which is not enough to live on.

    The government realizes this and ‘supplements’ my 555 with an extra $301 in ‘supplemental’ income which is quickly vacuumed off by the non-profit where I live.

    In short, a City worker who put in half of the work career that I did. At cushy jobs. Can retire at $10,000 a month while I get $555? That sound about right to you?

    And, oh … I pull my own teeth cause I have no dental insurance cause the federal government doesn’t think that’s an essential medical need.

    I’m sick and tired of listening to the blowhards and the entitled sit in their million dollar condos and complain. This City is going down the tubes if someone doesn’t do something about the financial disaster that we face. Jeff Adachi is doing something.

    Lisa? Marc? Do you have one single alternative to Jeff’s plan that will also save the City over 100 million a year? Or, do you only have more selfish whining?

    Go Giants!


  7. The SF Green Party gets it; why not Matt Gonzalez?~

    “Prop B is a perfect example of what Naomi Klein calls “Disaster Capitalism:” elites taking advantage of a fiscal crisis to pass their long-held policy goals. Prop B would create deep cuts to the benefits of poor and middle class unionized workers, while masquerading as a solution to SF’s budget crisis. This budget crisis is very real, but Greens favor sanctions on those responsible rather than balancing yet another budget on the backs of the working class.

    Prop B would cut $170 million per year (out of a $6.5 billion budget) from City worker benefits, by requiring all workers to contribute 9-10% of their salary into SF’s retirement fund. It would also require workers to pay half the costs of health and dental benefits for their spouses and children. This cut comes on top of a recently negotiated 5% pay cut and 12 unpaid furlough days. Prop B affects all unionized City workers, regardless of salary–from janitors making $40,000/year to Nat Ford, who is paid over $300,000 to mismanage MUNI, and several police and fire chiefs who make $300,000 to $500,000.

    The fiscal crisis came in large part because voters approved Prop H in 2002, a charter amendment that greatly increased police and fire department pensions. Because of Prop H (which Greens opposed), police and firefighters can now retire at age 55 and receive a pension equal to 90% of their highest annual salary every year. Prop H legally required police and fire union contracts to include provisions that the workers pay more towards their retirement, in order to cover the costs of the generous increase in benefits. However, this provision was never enforced. In 2007, Mayor Newsom negotiated contracts with both the police and firefighters that raised their salaries by 23% over four years, in a bid to buy their support for his runs for statewide office.

    Another major contributor to the fiscal crisis is the large number of “special assistants:” political plum jobs to reward loyal hacks, which proliferated under Mayor Willie Brown. Rather than eliminate these positions, Mayor Newsom, with the help of Board President Aaron Peskin, converted them into City employees. Most of these employees are represented by the Municipal Executives Association, and Newsom continues to hire his cronies to these six-figure salaried positions.

    The obvious solution to the City’s pension costs, therefore, is to cut salaries and benefits to the police, firefighters, and Municipal Executives. These unions represent managers as well as other workers. Police officers who only work desk jobs could be replaced by civilians at a fraction of the cost, and many managers in the most top-heavy City departments could be eliminated, along with all the patronage positions. The City Attorney, Dennis Herrera, could sue to enforce the 2002 law that requires pension contributions from police and firefighters, rather than covering up for these unions in hopes of winning their support in next year’s Mayoral election.

    Instead, Jeff Adachi has borrowed the traditional Republican strategy of blaming low-income workers on problems caused by the wealthy and corrupt. Prop B would be especially onerous on low-income City workers with children. Medical costs for these families would skyrocket by more than $5,000 per person per year, even for workers earning less than $40,000.

    The SF Green Party strongly opposes Prop B.”

  8. My husband IS working for the City, 40 hours a week, has been for 21 years. Hell, I voted against raising the vesting age from 5 to 10 years when it was on the ballot a few years ago. Progressives need to be expanding access to quality health care not restricting it.

    At a moment of economic crisis, you learn who the opportunists are by their responses.


  9. well, then Matt better get with the program, hadn’t he?~

    So then if Matt is elected mayor, he’ll be in charge of shifting the most desperate people from the Tenderloin to Treasure Island? (seeing that he’s there to forward your vision of public policy) Dug your interview with the boys at SFBG…you slay me, h.

    Chris Daly for Mayor!!!!

    Gonzo for Master of Disaster!

    Go Bears!

  10. lisa,

    I stand by every criticism I’ve made of Matt and every other politician I’ve ever covered. I also stand by my long standing evaluation of him as the best politician I’ve ever seen and that goes back 60 years and includes some greats.

    I always kick them in the ass, girl. I’m always trying to get them to put their fortunes and friendships and egos on the line to run and forward my vision of public policy.

    Gonzalez for Mayor!!

    Go Giants!


  11. h, I must say, I got a kick out this piece. Is this your hero now?~

    “In yet another display of arrogance, selfishness and a totally deranged view of reality, former Board prez and mayoral candidate, Matt Gonzalez, fielded a puff piece on Randy Shaw’s Beyond Chron yesterday.

    “Basically, the faux interview (anyone who thinks Gonzo didn’t write the questions as well as the answer is an idiot) was an attempt to undermine next Saturday’s Progressive Convention and, particularly, D-6 supe Chris Daly, who came up with the idea. Let me give you a few highlights of how a truly delusional mind works.

    “This is what Gonzo thinks of other potential viable Progressive candidates who haven’t entered the race: “They simply are more risk averse than me.”

    “He goes on to say, “Many others are scared,” which is a crock of shit. They’ve all been waiting for him to move and he’s trying to undermine Daly’s gathering because Matt’s jealous of Daly who is the new leader of San Francisco Progressives. Far from being a coward, it is Daly who has led from the left and taken on attack after attack on our behalf. It is Daly with the victorious army in the field itching for another battle.

    “So, Matt wants to weaken Daly by putting forth another candidate who’d be more beholden to him (and, a gullible place holder) … more beholden than Daly.

    [yada, yada…]

    “And, this guy says that the candidate chosen by the Progressives should be able to heal the divisions in the left?

    “This butthead is the one who created most of the divisions! Let’s not even get into him bringing in the ISO and Peter Camejo for an attempted surge to overwhelm local Greens.”


  12. Marc,

    You’re nearly 50 years old and you’ve never worked a day for the City of SF in your life. Yet you scream and whine that they aren’t treating you properly. Where the hell do you get off with that? You sob about the poor children who will be cut off in their sick beds when the only child you care about is yourself.

    I reserve my right to admire and love you. You’re a hell of an intellect and a thoroughly committed leftie. All that smoke I blew up your kazoo about you being smarter than me though? I was only kidding.

    Debate me.


    Alioto Plaza


    Bring your brain

    Go Giants!


  13. h, so angry!

    Don’t you refer to yourself as the court jester when you’re not projecting your disgust with your own position by trying to bring everyone else down to your pathetic level?

    Compared to the contempt for San Franciscans that we’re seeing passing for electoral politics in this town these days, I’ve got nothing to worry about.

    What makes me a serious speaker was that I was able to read the proposition, research the campaign financing involved and identify the elements of class warfare in the project.

    This is evident by the “get out in front of it” line of Prop B that tries to spin the attack on health care into bolstering health care. Billionaires are quite adept these days at spinning a Big Lie into political success.

    Some of us name class warfare for what it is. Suckers like you, so desperate for attention, go along with it to be part of something big.

    For someone who sang my praises for so long, either you were wrong then or you’re wrong now.

    Once I’m on the other side of your friends and their new found billionaire buddies, all of a sudden in your estimation I’m not what you’d cracked me up to be?

    I’d hope there was a third path in the US between being worked to death and starving.


  14. Marc,

    I understand. You’re such a great man and I’m no one. I was just trying to give you a public forum other than this redundant online blathering that so demeans all of our image of you.

    And, what exactly makes me a ‘jester’ and you a serious speaker? I’m smarter than you. I’m better educated than you.

    You’ve reduced yourself to a level below that of Arthur Evans and Rob Anderson and we’re all sorry to see it.

    Get a real job flipping burgers or mopping floors for a few years to pay for your own health care. We are sick and tired of carrying your lazy entitled ass. Do some manual labor and carry your own load. We’ve all done it although you seem to think you’re too good.

    Go Giants!


  15. P.S. It does look like Gonzalez is scared to debate you, Marc. Which is strange because Rod Ciferri tells me that Gonzalez is one of those rare individuals who isn’t afraid of anything. Go figure! Well, perhaps he’s just shy and could use a little encouragement. Hmmm…what if we get Chris Daly to loan you his chicken suit…you know, the one he used to taunt Gavin Newsom during the last election? he,he.

  16. @Marc, you’re right, we don’t have to accept these (internal) austerity measures. With a little imagination, we could come up with better alternatives that won’t drive down the wages and benefits of workers (& sinking the economy further). Take this proposal by Alex Schmaus @SocialistWorker.org:

    “Many of the largest accumulations of wealth in the state aren’t even taxed at all. According the California Labor Federation, the state gives away more than $50 billion in tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals each year. Closing just some of these loopholes could solve the budget crisis with zero furloughs and service cuts.”


    Despite Prop 13, there are still ways to get the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. Take this proposal by Tim Redmond in an editorial @SFBG (see comments, “SF’s 16 billionaires…”, 9/23/10):

    “There are all sorts of creative ways to tax the rich, even in California, even in San Francisco, even with Prop. 13. One of my favorites is a city income tax (yes, we can do that, see Weekes v. Oakland, Cal Sup. Ct 1978). Imperfect, since it’s actually a tax on income earned in the city, but it’s a start.

    “If we had a local vehicle license fee that rose steeply based on the value of the car, and a local luxury tax, and a much higher real-estate transfer tax on high-end properties, that would be a modest start. I’m also in favor of a commercial rent tax on rent more than $1 million a year (and guess what — the Guardian is a commercial landlord!). And I’m favor of making the business tax more progressive, and taxing the gross receipts of higher-end companies at a much higher rate.”


    Former labor secretary and economist Robert Reich suggests that the best remedy to get us out of the current economic malaise is to empower workers. When workers have better wages and benefits, they have more spending power to get the economic engine rolling again.


    I submit that these proposals would do more to rescue the city and save essential services, including the public defender’s budget (which I support), than pimping for billionaires and their neoliberal agenda. Sadly, nothing Adachi has proposed so far will help to save social services if it merely serves to undermine workers’ wages and negotiating power.

    In Europe, the workers are holding massive demonstrations against these austerity measures. Now is the time for American workers to stand together in solidarity before it’s too late.

  17. h, you’re not the one going around leading campaigns, you are a court jester, so there is no reason for me to debate you.


  18. Hey Marc,

    I’ll debate you on this or any other issue. How about next Friday at 5:30pm at our usual forum across from City Hall? When I offered this a couple of months ago you mocked me which I assume means that you’re afraid of me.

    Man up, Marc!

    Go Giants!


  19. @Lisa, the American standard of living is predicated upon subjugation of the global south under brutal dictatorships which have been put into place to provide us with cheap raw materials to subsidize out convenience. For some inexplicable reason, people in the global south have grown weary of us killing their kids so that we can have cheap gas and are looking towards other industrialized/ing nations such as Brazil, Russia, India and China as trading partners.

    We will have to face austerity, both internal and external in nature. Externally, this will be a Good Thing, as it will require us to pay full freight for imports rather than seize them with the military and the attendant backlash. The dollar will no longer be the universal economic solvent, freeing it to serve as domestic means of exchange, as most of the problem we are seeing is due to the contradictions of the greenback serving both incompatible roles.

    We need not face domestic austerity, that is when the economy is all internal to what we produce and consume, we have much more latitude to maneuver. There is a political contest to he had on the distribution of internal product. Matt Gonzalez and Jeff Adachi are throwing salt onto our wounds by weighing in on the side of the billionaires who would consign working Americans already adjusting to a global reconciliation of our take to the norm to a further debasing in order to keep the billionaires whole.

    We’re going to have to take a serious hit, as the late 20th century American economy that seemed normal to us growing up in it was a total anomaly. But we need not be ground into serfdom by domestic plutocrats, those who will hopefully end up mighty tasty barbecued with a tasty sauce.


  20. Gonzalez is still too scared to debate me on this, because he knows from a progressive, liberal or even moderate point of view, Prop B is indefensible.


  21. ay, que malo eres, Marc! 😉

    (Matt shaking his fist) “You are mean, mean, mean…to ME!”

    Seriously, though, I’m glad you raised the issue of Prop B and the economic agenda behind these austerity measures. A key component of the corporate agenda is the push to drive down the wages and benefits of ALL workers, not just those in the public sector.

    As journalist Shamus Cooke writes, “The most important policy of neo-liberalism is the one always least discussed. The key component to boosting corporate profit rates is attacking workers wages and benefits. Hardcore neo-liberals are vehemently anti-union, since they view organized labor as a form of ‘unnatural regulation’ of the labor market.” (from “How U.S. Neo-liberalism Infected Global Capitalism”)

    You don’t have to look far to discover this for yourself. In fact, you can read about it in their business journals, etc. According to an editorial in The Economist, “In the corporate world, slimming a workforce by a tenth is standard fare. There’s no reason why governments should not do that too… Public-sector pay can be cut, given how secure jobs are… Public-sector pensions are far too generous.” (“Stop!”, Jan. 2010)

    And sometimes they come right out and say that American workers will have to get used to the same wages that workers in the developing world are accustomed to.

    So, we need to ask ourselves why Adachi and Gonzalez are jumping on the same bandwagon as Meg Whitman, Schwarzenegger and venture capitalist Mike Moritz. Moritz is not someone who is especially empathetic towards the homeless or the poor. He has contributed $5,000 to the Sit/Lie campaign.

    What I’d like to know, and I asked Matt this question in an open letter that didn’t get published: “What is the quid pro quo from your friends in the billionaire class?” I think I know the answer but we’d like to hear it from Matt. So far, Jeff Adachi has faced the workers in open debate and discussion. I give him credit for that.

    However, Matt, who threw down the gauntlet and then skedaddled when the workers tried to confront him with their questions and concerns, and has yet to expalin what’s behind this campaign. So, it’s not without a tinge of irony that I read his letter to Nancy Pelosi.

    I’m throwing down the gauntlet to Matt Gonzalez~ Perhaps it’s time to show some leadership yourself, hombre. At least, have the integrity to face up to the workers in a public forum.

  22. Let’s see, Gonzalez is expressing his leadership by siding with Adachi against health care for dependents of City workers, and yet Gonzalez has the audacity to aver with a straight face:

    “I write you because a large number of your constituents, myself included, are tired of your leadership.”

    Indeed. Perhaps if Pelosi took the budget knife to health care for families, Gonzalez would not be so tired of her leadership?

    Getouttaheah, we’re tired of your non-leadership as we face an economic transformation that threatens to relegate the majority of us to serfs. The last thing we need is a gaggle of legal professionals who get paid more than most of us will ever imagine sanctimoniously admonishing us to suck it up and accept our austerity like good little serfs.


  23. @Hope, Gonzalez knows that Nancy Pelosi couldn’t “give a rat’s ass” about his letter, if she even deigns to reads it. And surely he knows that John Dennis’ quest to unseat “the wicked witch of the west” is quixotic at best. So what’s this about? We haven’t heard zilch from “the Great Unifier” since he ran for mayor. Now all of a sudden, if Gonzalez so much as sneezes, we’re sure to read about it in FCJ. You spoke of his currying favor with the DCCC and you’re definitely on to something there. Unfortunately, I can’t say much more than that, but keep that line of thought.

  24. @Hope, but it does get you on stage and in front of a microphone!


  25. @ h

    Your mischaraterization of my post and personal preferences does not change the hypocrisy of complaining about Pelosi’s lack of participation in the democratic process while actively supporting those who work to allow her to get away with it. It’s like cheating on your own diet – just saying you won’t eat it doesn’t keep you from getting fat.

  26. Hope,

    Matt’s not endorsing Lacy now. He made it clear that Kelly was his first choice. You don’t like him supporting Mandelman? Is Wiener your candidate now? I prefer Meko in D-6 but Gonzo has his freedom to endorse another artist and make campaign buttons with em (they aren’t IED’s for God’s sake!).

    See you Civic Center tonite?


  27. Matt Gonzalez likes the Clash. The Clash’s best album, perhaps the best rock album of all time, was 1979’s double disc “London Calling.”

    Side three is amazing, four songs that run together from Stagger Lee to Koka Kola to The Card Cheat. Side 3, track 2 is “Death or Glory.”

    The indisputably best line from that track is wholly applicable to Matt Gonzalez, he who inveighed mightily from the left pontificating sanctimoniously against the corporate duopoly yet today cozies up to all sorts of fringe duopolists on the island of the lost toys:

    “I believe in this
    And its been tested by research
    He who fucks nuns
    Will later join the church”

    In 1983, on the way out to the US Festival in SoCal, the Clash stopped in Texas to play a couple of gigs. We all drove from Dallas up to Wichita Falls to the show, a few days later, friends all went down from Austin to San Antonio to see this show, crappy live recording, probably on cassette:


    And finally:

    “From every dingy basement on every dingy street
    every dragging handclap over every dragging beat
    That’s just the beat of time-the beat that must go on
    If you’ve been trying for years we already heard your song”


  28. Why should anyone in Pelosi’s district care who the radical left votes for? You folks couldn’t even find a plausible candidate to oppose Gavin Newsom in 2007, even after his widely-publicized bad behavior. It’s no accident that you are a small minority.

  29. Gonzalez’s criticisms of Pelosi are valid but so long as he actively supports the very people who adamantly ensure Pelosi remains in power, his words are meaningless.

    Gonzalez has helped create campaign swag for D6 candidate Debra Walker, held a joint fundraiser with DCCC Chair Aaron Peskin for D8 candidate Rafael Mandelman, and, in a move that reeks of currying political favor from the DCCC, endorsed inexperienced DeWitt Lacy second in D10 rather than providing an unfettered endorsement for the far more progressive D10 candidate Tony Kelly. These are the very people who make sure Pelosi gets elected without need of debates, offering no alternative candidates, Democratic or otherwise.

    So long as Gonzalez’s work bolsters the people who keep Pelosi sheltered, why should Pelosi give a rat’s ass about what he writes in a letter or who he votes for?

  30. Pelosi has an opponent who opposes imperialist war, opposes torture, and at the same time supports jobs, health care and education for all — all things that the supposedly “libertarian” right opposes.. She is Gloria La Riva, candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party.

  31. Pelosi will of course bury Dennis, which is as it should be. She has helped President Obama push through important reform measures for our medical system and our financial system. The consumer protection agency, now being formed by Elizabeth Warren, will play a huge future role in protecting Americans from financial institutions. None of this is good enough for the fringe left, even though the president is removing US troops from Iraq and will remove them from Afghanistan starting next year.

    “Pelosi may win in D8, but she may lose the Speakership. If she loses the Speakership, will she resign?”

    Why on earth would she resign? She’s represented the 8th Congressional district well since 1987 and has only been Speaker since 2006. You folks need to get a grip.

  32. I think the Gonzalez endorsement of John Dennis is spectacular and principled. I was just thinking a few weeks ago that if a guy like Gonzalez were sincere, he’d endorse a candidate like John Dennis over some venomous poltroon of Nancy Pelosi’s ilk. I can’t honestly claim I expected it to happen, but now that it has, I feel very proud to have voted for Matt Gonzalez for Vice-President in 2008, and I wish I could vote for John Dennis (alas, I live in San Jose’s 15th Congressional district). If I had a damn job, I’d send John Dennis some money!

    This is exactly the sort of post-partisan, trans-ideological collaboration we need in order to effect a genuine national political realignment. Its insane for the supporters of, say, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, to see each other as enemies. We can and must be allies, else the degenerate gang of criminals that lords it over this once-great nation can safely ignore us both, into perpetuity. Neither dissident leftists nor dissident rightists can ever effect real change in this society, but perhaps if we combine our efforts, we can emerge victorious. And as the Gonzalez endorsement letter amply demonstrates, we have a LOT more in common than the professional liars of the dominant press would have us believe.

    As a Republican who voted for Ralph Nader in 2004 & 2008, I ask my neighbors in San Francisco to consider becoming Democrats who support John Dennis for Congress.

  33. I thought I’ve been plain, h. But if my sparks don’t take here, I really have better things to do.

    Being smarter, as Marc suggested, is a good start.

  34. John Dennis is fantastic! He is not an Establishment Whore like the Establishment candidates of both parties. Or as Dustin Reid writes in his HuffPost blog from few days ago: “John Dennis is beyond left and right”.

    If the people of the Bay Area want some real change and somebody to represent real SF-values vote John Dennis as he is anti-war, against the war on drugs, against all bank and “too big to fail”-bailouts, for Auditing the Fed and actually Ending the Fed, against the Patriot Act, against Government regulating human life (for example sexual behavior like gay-marriage), etc.
    Of course Nancy Pelosi is exactly opposite to Dennis and she doesn’t in anyway represent the values of the Bay Area. Vote her out 2010! Look at Pelosi’s voting record in the House of Representatives and you see what she is really about.

    As Dustin Reid suggested I am all in favour of Rachel Maddow organizing a TV debate between Pelosi and Dennis on her Show.

    John Dennis 2010!

  35. Livingston,

    For all your smoke I can’t find any fire. What exactly are you suggesting?


  36. We can change things now. But it won’t be by making the “reasonable choices” that lull us into a false sense of security and amnesia about crimes past and happening now. – Robert B. Livingston

    How do we include?

    With Jim Mekos

  37. And those folks who took over the Leslie Hotel demonstrated that they can learn from past experience.

    Instead of throwing themselves into the maw of the system and submitting to arrest, they snuck out of the building beforehand and were able to make their point while remaining free and not getting caught up in legal crap.

    The system adapted an immune response to protest in the 1990s and it appears that folks are beginning to adapt again in turn.

    Too bad that Gonzalez is devolving.


  38. The problem with the change is that no matter how many people one can organize and mobilize, Power cares less so long as everyone goes back to work on Monday morning to do its bidding.

    We do not need the big tent or a smaller tent– we just need to own ourselves for a change and not be owned by anybody. People seem to no longer know what being free really means.

    I respect the folks that took over the Leslie Hotel Sunday.

    Yeah, they probably broke the law, but their message was unmistakable: It is a crime to have vacant buildings with so many people who are homeless.

    I respect the folks that tied themselves down in the intersections when “Operation Iraqi Freedom” commenced– they meant business and the Powers That Be trembled.

    Afterwards, rebellion was co-opted by folks like John Nichols and organizations like ANSWER who preached the need to organize… impotently. (Yes, we could still occasionally take over intersections, wink.) Their emphasis on keeping faith in the system and on identity politics fed prejudices on all sides and helped make the “Tea Party” phenomenon something real from nothing.

    We can change things now. But it won’t be by making the “reasonable choices” that lull us into a false sense of security and amnesia about crimes past and happening now.

  39. Pelosi is only secure as long as San Franciscans buy her “good liberal” act, she is anything but. She is a warmonger and Constitution-shredder. I’m voting for Dennis.

    Pelosi has been running the ball for Obama’s wars, not just sitting back and letting everyone vote their conscience. In a recent round of $40 billion war funding, Pelosi underwent procedural backflips to insure members could pass war funding while appearing to be against it for the folks back home.

    The reason is simple: were an up or down vote on war funding to be held, many Democrats would have to vote against it or risk being tossed out on their ears. So a scam was needed, called the “self-executing rule.” David Swanson of WarIsACrime.org explains:

    “In this self-executing rule, the [war funds] bill was to be considered passed if at least one amendment to it was approved. Otherwise it was to be considered dead. Either way, there would be no vote on the bill. There was, however, a vote on the rule….

    So, we watched Republicans like Ron Paul speak against the war and the rule, other Republicans speak in support of the war and against the rule, and Democrats speak against the war and in support of the rule that would fund it. We saw Democrats, like Congresswoman Maxine Waters, speak in support of the rule that would fund the war on the grounds that she would then get a chance to vote for an amendment to defund the war. Think about that. Rather than blocking war funding, you support it in order to vote for a doomed amendment which if passed would have to be approved by the Senate and the President too. Not a single Democrat — even those who would vote against the rule — spoke against it.

    In the end 38 Democrats, including very few progressives, voted No on the rule, which passed 215 to 210.”


    In other words, even making it as easy as possible for the members to pass war funding by giving them elaborate cover, it nearly failed. The bottom line is Pelosi is not just presiding over a vote in which members vote their conscience. She is actively running the war ball for Obama.

    Dennis is a rather unusual Republican who has attended a Burning Man festival and wants to legalize marijuana (though he doesn’t smoke it.) He attended the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade accompanied by a gay pro-Second Amendment advocacy group, The Pink Pistols, and says Pelosi has turned her back on the gay voters by refusing to make the repeal of DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a priority. Dennis campaigns with his best friend who is gay.

    But Dennis’s strongest contrast to Pelosi remains his strong stand against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he wants to end immediately. Dennis questions the need for the hundreds of US military bases abroad and says a “review should be conducted of all 700+ foreign bases now to validate each one’s strategic necessity to the defense of American citizens in order for those bases to remain open.”


    John da’ man. If Pelosi is dumped based on his anti-war stand, San Francisco will end the wars, because the message will not be missed by Washington.

    Pelosi Approved Torture:

  40. “Politicians do corporate bidding and stage hollow acts of political theater to keep the fiction of the democratic state alive.” ~Chris Hedges

    That was my reaction to the Gonzo-Dennis-Paul “snooze fest” (‘anti-war’ demo), as Cindy Sheehan dubbed it. While I agree that Pelosi is thoroughly despicable for all the reasons stated, I suspect this is just a bit of political theatre from someone who is positioning himself to run for mayor or DA. According to Peter Camejo (in his memoir North Star), Gonzalez is one of the shrewdest political strategists around. If that’s the case, then he knows that there’s no way in hell that Pelosi would ever agree to debate Dennis when her seat is absolutely secure. She’s a good strategist in her own right. So, this is just more political posturing from a pseudo “anti-politican” who is happy to sell out workers, if furthers his own ambitions. I suspect that Matt and Nancy are political soul mates who got separated at birth, and no longer recognize that they are twins. Political bowerbirds of a feather…. Yawn!

  41. Dennis would appear on stage with Gonzalez, Pelosi would not. That, my friends, is what this boils down to.

    Matt is “all out” against the duopoly unless the duopolist appears on stage with him, witness Dennis Kucinich in 2004.

    I guess that Dennis libertarian capitalist economic policies don’t bother Gonzalez.


  42. So the anti-American left has gone so far around the bend that they meet the anti-American right coming around the corner. Just what we need: libertarianism, the political philosophy embraced by backward adolescents everywhere. Freedom! Gee, I wonder why no one ever thought of that before?

    Livingston’s comment is more candid: “Beware anyone who tries to steer you into the big tent whatever label they wear. That tent spells evil and more years of futility.”

    Yes, best to throw up a small tent just big enough to hold a limited number of the lunatic right and the fringe left. And our true enemy is the government of the United States. President Obama is evil. Never mind reforming the medical system and the financial system and pulling our troops out of Iraq.

  43. I could care less about a one term sup, a failed mayoral, VP , party exiting candidate/ lawyer, from SF has to say.

    I can see why h Brown worships him.

  44. Pelosi may win in D8, but she may lose the Speakership. If she loses the Speakership, will she resign?

  45. Guess if Dennis is lagging in the polls and is running out of money, Pelosi has little to gain, but much to lose in a debate. A debate will just give Dennis more exposure and credibility. In this election, it is her popularity in the 8th District that counts, not her nationwide popularity. I predict the “Wicked Witch” of Washington will win in a landslide.

  46. Really,

    Ever seen a year like this? We could potentially have a new mayor, senator, congressional representative, district attorney, city attorney, sheriff, new police and fire chiefs, 4 new supervisors and a new Board prez.

    I’d call that fluid. (However, h. brown will continue because there are no term-limits for bloggers).

    go Giants!


  47. Luke,

    I remember Harry Reasoner saying back in 1956 in speaking about Adlai Stevenson that he was amazed to see a politician who could write better than he could (like self, Harry wasn’t bashful but was honest). Matt’s like that. Hopefully you can get him to write at least a monthly column for you on all of the top positions up for grabs next year.


  48. Someone tell Matt Gonzalez that we do not have a democratic society.

    Does he think Pelosi cares about his letter when she ignored the thousands that Cindy Sheehan delivered to her?

    This is just more grandstanding in a broken system.

    The only way to invoke change is to end sending good to bad by making believe the system works. It doesn’t.

    We must completely break with it.

    Do not support anyone who wears a label of a war party Democrat or Republican. Wearing either label is tacit support for the wars and and a thoroughly corrupt system.

    Beware anyone who tries to steer you into the big tent whatever label they wear.

    That tent spells evil and more years of futility.

    The best thing that could happen is that every San Franciscan against the war resign their affiliation with any party that rubberstamps lies of 9/11, the wars, and the corrupt economic and political system.

    Let them send in troops and lock us all up and show what they are really about.