By h. Brown
March 27, 2011
I really want Chris Daly’s bar to be a big success. Not just that I think that he and his family are a portrait of the future, but that the friggin’ town needs a bar where political writers and politicians and lobbyists and staff of every agency you can imagine … (unpaid commercial).
Yesterday’s Bulldog Salon as evidence
I started this Salon with Adriel Hampton around 5 or 6 years ago? Basically, we were meeting for lunch once a week or so (and, jogging if you believe it) and after a couple of months of the same routine, Adriel mentions that he thinks we should see other diners. Or, something like that. Lol. So, we started inviting people to join us for Friday lunch.
We went from Tu Lan’s which we quickly outgrew to Harrington’s Bar down by the ‘Barry Bonds Federal Building’ where it just didn’t work out and on to Taqueria La Reina on Howard downstairs from Joe Lynn’s (location his idea) … a couple of dozen people from all aspects of the SF political system sharing food and booze and ideas. That lasted 2 or 3 years.
A hiatus of a couple of years and now we’re back together at Daly’s Dive (1655 Market – still has, ‘Buck Tavern’ on signs) … good folks.
Yesterday’s star was Bruce Brugmann who founded the San Francisco Bay Guardian and can get around and think better than a man twice his age. He and the ‘best mind’ in SF politics (Hope Johnson) chatted about the SOTF (Sunshine Ordinance Task Force) which Brugmann both founded and served upon and where the drop-dead gorgeous, Johnson, now sits (lucky seat!).
Marc Salomon fielded a bunch of Bulldog questions regarding some exchange of info confusion between he and a mayoral candidate campaign staffer (questions covered 5 years or more – damn, I’m good) …
Salomon sat and discussed the general parameters and many of the details of the housing market in SF (and then went on to include the rest of the world) with Don Falk and Liz Orlin of TNDC while I lost a spirited game of darts with my good buddy, Luke Thomas of Fog City Journal who generously offered to take me outside and kick my ass at one point. As I recall. It happens so often. As I believe I mentioned, our contests are ‘spirited’. That’s when I know I’m on my game. When I can make others completely lose their composure with a few words. Tell me you haven’t done that. Apologies to SF’s best photographer.
I sat with sfciviccenter.blogspot.com‘s Michael Strickland who has been the ship’s recorder for the entire Bulldog Salon tour for the most part … sat with Michael and the Pot community’s big 3: Tony De Renzo, Wayne Justmann and Mykey (Mykey’s one of best dart players in town too).
Alexandra Jones, Bulldog site master, showed and gave me an amazing T-shirt she got somewhere with a great picture of a bulldog in London wearing a ‘bobby’ helmet on a maroon background with the script: “Bulldog Supporters Group.” Got her to trade me her knit cap with the Bulldog logo for my ‘Pot Talk TV’ baseball cap with the ‘DW’ ceramic campaign button. Alexandra gave me the only piece of jewelry I wear a few years back. It’s a (surprise) heavy metal Bulldog ring. Besides being a great writer (check her stuff on SFBulldog.com), she’s the custodian of the archives of the work of lots of talented writers.
SFUsualsuspects.com founder, Alex Clemens, was by but mostly wandered around out of range talking on his cell phone.
I’m missing people but you get the idea here. I used to get 25 people to La Reina’s on a good Friday and I think we can beat that at Daly’s place. There’s so much more room and the pool table and dart board are a nice addition.
Let me do a quick fun exercise here. I wanted to start the year spending most of my time working on a novel of the last 10 years (plus, little more) and I’ve worked on it but I can’t get over my addiction to SFGTV.org cold turkey and I’ve watched the Board meetings continually.
And, given it’s getting ready to be the beginning of baseball season and we’re cutting players and making them feel miserable and making others feel great … I want to rate the value of the present members of the BOS individually on a scale of 1 to 10. Again, this is only my own humble opinion. Not being a religious man, I don’t claim that these are actually the choices of God. Passed down through me, as it were. Not that at all. No sir.
First Place: Sean Elsbernd
Sean’s the only ’10′ and he’s earned it. Hey, I seldom agree with the guy’s politics but no one works harder or does more for their constituency than Sean Elsbernd.
It took the D7 top pol almost 10 years to give Harding Golf Course to Sandy Tatum but he not only accomplished the goal, but also was able to completely rebuild the course at no cost to Sandy, build an exclusive clubhouse, quadruple the cost of a round and give preference to out-of-towners (for cash reasons).
No district has better roads than Sean’s. He was onto the new ‘Capital Plan’ implementation like a hound dog on a bitch in heat a few years back and D7 projects went to the top of every list from DPW to SFPUC. The man produces.
Elsbernd often treats his colleagues with a combination of impatience and disdain which is his right because none of them come as prepared as him and frankly, they bore him.
Second Place: David Chiu
David’s the hardest working, conniving, backstabbing, double dealer the Board has seen since his mentor, Aaron Peskin. Sorry Aaron but the pupil surpassed the master just a few months into his first term. He peaked when he betrayed the entire Left of SF by engineering the choice of Downtown stooge, Ed Lee, as Acting Mayor. He then handed control of every major Board committee over to the Board’s right wing.
The payoff for Chiu (he thinks) is that the Downtown interests will gather round his mayoral candidacy and put him into Room 200. Ho. Ho. Ho. They trust him less than I do. I give the Board prez a solid, ’9′ for accomplishments that most impact the City.
Third Place: David Campos
Oh you kid! Such promise after I expected nothing of him (he’s led the charge in everything from immigrant rights to reforms in Public Safety) … expected zilch and got gold. While he’s joined the flock of sheep that is the present Board in their incessant Chiu monotone drone of: “Same house, same call” for the last month or so (overwhelmed?) . On the present Board, Campos is the great brown hope. He get’s an ’8′.
Fourth Place: Ross Mirkarimi
It seems like just yesterday that Ross became the rookie supervisor from District 5. The job fit like a glove and still does. He’ll make a seamless move into the Sheriff’s office next January.
Ross gave us the best regulated Pot industry in California, if not the United States. He’s been the most consistent proponent for Cop Foot Beat Patrols. His plastic bag legislation has been copied around the world. He’s listened to all stakeholders in his community and the City as a whole and made compromises a more rigid individual would have found not possible. I give Ross an ’8′ also.
Fifth Place: John Avalos
This time next year he could be in first place. Right now (due to his opposition to Chiu’s re election to prez) he’s in exile at City Operations and City and School District committees. Chiu really turned the knife when he chose not to include Avalos and his experience as Budget chair into even the expanded version of the committee in this year’s incarnation. Hey, Sean Elsbernd did the same time in Purgatory and look what he’s done with his new powers.
I give John a ’7′ and that’s a good score for a guy just into his 3rd year as an elected. He’s been at Campos’ side in every battle on behalf of immigrant rights. His legislation (Arce’s ?) requiring an eventual 50% public hiring mandate for in-City projects contracted to vendors is massive.
Sky’s the limit with this guy (as with Campos) and Avalos has truly mellowed into his job. He has two more chances to be elected Board prez.
Sixth Place: Eric Mar
Mar has been kept busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest as the old timers used to say. He’s been ‘rolled’ more than any other supe due to his naturally mild nature. Despite the potential pay increase of around $90,000 a year, I wouldn’t want to be Mar right now. Once you’ve given in to any group and accepted things like, oh say, a free trip to your ancestral lands in China … or say, having the RBA pay your campaign debts?
But, you know, he still tries to do the right thing. I give him a ’6′ for resisting the pressure to become just another David Chiu/Rose Pak clone. His legislation trying to toss a roadblock up to the runaway express of addictive fast-food corporations and the devastating effects they’re having on the health of America’s family’s was best portrayed in an episode of ‘Harry’s Law’, the new lawyer show available on Hulu … it’s no longer available for even a link but I’ll get one and send it to you.
I’d like to tell Eric that things will get easier for him but they won’t. My placement of him as a ’6′ means he’s the swing vote on this Board and all interests are gonna keep on keeping on trying to overwhelm him. Good luck to Supervisor Mar who is a really fine person who made a conscious decision to make his living by going to work in a lion pit every day.
Seventh Place: Mark Farrell
Now, we’re down to a ’5′ and that’s really not a bad score from the Bulldog. I got in his grill the first time I saw him in the hallway and he ‘got his hackle up’ as we say in Missouri. A good sign.
The kid came in as a blowhard who really thought he was going to be smarter than everyone on the Board save his childhood buddy, Elsbernd. I’ve looked forward to this ‘Butch and Sundance’ routine since Farrell prevailed over Reilly and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The kid came out of the gate within a month calling for a hearing on ‘Certificates of Deposit’ which are a shit financial instrument that the Mayor’s Office has come to love. Of course that’s the last I’ve heard of it but he at least showed a true spark of independence.
Let’s call Mark Farrel ‘intriguing’. He really is beholden to no one and he just might be like those Republican Supreme Court justices who meet and get to know the people and become champions of things like racial equality and the environment and … Farrell’s got a good start.
Eighth Place: Scott Wiener
I give him a ’4′ because he bores me. He’s everything I thought he’d be and less. This is Dr. Spock’s less emotional assistant from the planet ‘Republicon’. Don’t you like surprises? I love surprises.
Scott reminds me most of Babs Kaufman from back in the day. Doing the minuscule work of altering portions of the City Charter one line at a time to favor his developer and financier buddies. So tired.
Ninth Place: Jane Kim
Her only accomplishments have been the backroom deals she’s cut with Willie Brown and Rose Pak and Randy Shaw and David Chiu. She joined Chiu to destroy the Progressives best opportunity in 20 years or more to hold the Office of Mayor of San Francisco.
Jane’s all vacuous style and no substance. No loyalty. Hey, imagine if your ex-roommate tells you they’re running for Mayor and asks you to join them on the stairs of City Hall to support them and the former roomie (no romantic ties implied) told you that they’d rather wait and see who else enters the race.
I give Kim a ’2′.
Tenth Place: Carmen Chu
This woman hasn’t done anything original in her entire time on the Board. She chases vice in the forms of pot clubs and growers and prostitutes in her district and that’s about it. It’s like she gets a form from Steve Kawa every morning telling her how to vote and what to say.
Sorry Carmen but you remind me of a Stein quote: “There’s no ‘there’ there.”
I give you a ’2′.
Eleventh Place: Malia Cohen
I’d give Malia a ’0′ if I could but the scale only goes down to ’1′. Talk about clueless. McGoldrick without the occasional flashes of brilliance. And, the thing that has you shaking your head is that she actually seems to think she’s bullshitting us when she goes into her occasional blustery rants about representing her people and the like. Malia only represents the wealthy developers just as did Sophie Maxwell before her.
That’ll do for a bit till I regroup to do my movie reviews and preview of the Giants (did I do that already?).
Lotta good movies out this year.
Editor’s Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.