Lee and Herrera Hide
from Fillmore African-American Forum

Written by Harold Brown. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on August 19, 2011 with 18 Comments

A mayoral debate co-sponsored by the San Francisco African-American Democratic Club and the Fillmore Neighborhood Association was held last eve in the Fillmore. Absent from the proceedings included interim Mayor Ed Lee, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By h. “Bulldog” Brown

August 19, 2011

(Pier notes Mayor pub-crawling in Haight).

In a couple of short weeks we’ve gone from, ‘Run, Ed, Run’ to ‘Leave Ed Alone’ to ‘Where’s ED?!?’

Yeah, and he wasn’t alone in missing last night’s mayoral candidates’ forum in the Western Addition at the Fillmore Center sponsored by the local D-5 Democratic Club and two African-American activist groups.

Dennis Herrera wasn’t there either and Bevan Dufty was really bummed by that. He was all set to tear into Dennis for slandering good black folks such as himself.

What, you didn’t know that Bevan Dufty is black? Me either, but I swear I’m gonna barf if I hear the “Billie Holiday was my godmother and I grew up in a black neighborhood just like you” speech. He damned near holds up his thumb and forefinger and frames a tiny space and says, “I’m this close to being black.”

It’s pandering in the worst kind of way from a nice guy who has made kissing patooie into an art form. He was set to tear into Herrera for calling new DPW head, Mohammed Nuru, essentially a crooked thug who took vans full of leg-breakers from one Newsom/Gonzalez event after another in the 2003 mayoral contest, and took over sidewalks and intimidated people and then went away to tear down some Gonazalez signs … hey, Nuru did all of that and it’s documented but he did it all for Gavin.  You getting the picture? No? Then the point is that Bevan drawing attention to the fact that Nuru is black is racist in itself. Nuru is a thug, no matter what color he is. And, he’s a lackey of Willie Brown (like Bevan) no matter what color he is. Leave the man’s color out of it, honest black people don’t benefit from the association.

Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

So anyway, now we understand why Dennis Herrera skipped the event. He knew that wannabe-rapper Dufty, and some actual really tough black activists, would be in the audience screaming for his head for daring to tell the truth about another of Willie’s bracelet charms. So, he went to a Democratic Club meeting in Supervisor John Avalos’ district to avoid the heat.

Charlie Walker, who calls himself the ‘Mayor of Hunters Point’ and holds a big birthday party for his mentor Willie Brown (why’s that name keep coming up?) … Charlie did time in prison for defrauding the City’s Minority Hiring laws by providing a fake black front for white men who wanted to get City contracts reserved for minorities.

And, here Charlie is (hoping I’m the only one in the audience with the institutional memory to recall his past) … here’s Charlie screaming that he’s outraged, outraged I tell you … that no one is giving him any City contracts so that he can hire bunches of drivers who all, “Look just like me!”

Charlie Walker interupted the debate to lodge a complaint.

Naturally, that’s bullshit, but I have to admit that for an 81-year-old guy, he still scares the scat out of me. And, he’s good looking. Bevan and I want to look just like him when we’re 81.

And so Charlie, he does his time and comes back to town and wants to get some more contracts from the City cause he’s a minority owner of a truck company, but Art Agnos is Mayor and the guy responsible for passing on whether or not you’re really a minority-owned company is a new guy named Ed Lee who won’t pass on this crap. But, Ed changed big time, real quick.

You see, Willie Brown got elected Mayor and he pretty much told Lee that it was Willie’s way or the highway, and Ed bent over and gave Charlie’s white benefactors from a false front called Crystal Trucking a million or so in City contracts, and there were no black owned trucks, and there were no black drivers – and here comes the FBI!

Yeah, Ed Lee got hauled in front of a Federal Grand Jury along with a raft of others in the mess and were it not for the grace of Billie Holiday’s good God and a few friends in high places, Ed Lee and Willie Brown and Charlie Walker would have been looking to accessorize Giants’ orange jump suits for a few years.

So, we know why the Examiner blogged that Ed Lee was drinking in the Haight instead of facing questions like, “Mr. Mayor, isn’t it true that Mr. Walker here who is calling for you to hand him more minority contracts did time in prison for taking away jobs from black people and that you, yourself, at the behest of Willie Brown, gave him more such contracts and that you and he were investigated by the FBI? What a cesspool and Ed Lee swims around in it smiling with Bevan Dufty.

Back to Herrera, who took away the right to vote from some 33,000 mostly black Bay View people when they tried to have a voice in a Dianne Feinstein-sponsored Lennar project.

I was lucky enough to have Hope Johnson sit next to me during the debate and since she’s become Chair of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force they’ve gotten really sassy. Had a case upheld by the Ethics Commission for the first time (against head of Library Commission who treats the public like unwanted roaches at meetings).

Hope says today’s posted agenda for next Tuesday’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force meeting will include a proposal by her that the Task Force use its powers of investigation (much like a civil grand jury – yes, they have that power but have never used it) … she wants to investigate the number one obstacle to open government in San Francisco and absolutely anyone in the know realizes this – it’s Dennis Herrera!

Yeah, Herrera assigns attorneys to departments and commissions and instead of charging them with the task of giving information to the public in general and the Sunshine Task Force in particular, Herrera instructs his attorneys in the best way to avoid their legal responsibility to open their books.

See what happens when you don’t come to school, Dennis and Ed? The other kids in the schoolyard will gossip about you. And, it can get pretty ugly and it did.

Note: Credit to Michela Alioto-Pier by the way for breaking the news of the whereabouts of Mayor Lee, absent from the debate. She took her closing statement to inform us that the Chron’s C.W. Nevius had just tweeted her that Ed had commented at a bar in the Haight that he wasn’t at the black forum in the Fillmore because, “Pub crawling is more fun than debating.”

Well, I’d imagine it is.

Former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier announced Mayor Lee is on a pub crawl in the Haight.

Not a lot else to tell. Newbie and my odds-on favorite now to be our next Mayor, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, got a great reception and had the biggest round of cheers of the evening with his impassioned calls and promises of employing every young black who wanted a job and to work to make certain that Summer School comes back to San Francisco.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Terry Baum who gets as many free passes to these events as I get Giants tickets was terrific. Love her campaign slogan … “Tax the rich? Well, Duhhh!”

Green Party candidate for mayor, Terry Baum.

John Avalos was excellent as usual and he and Adachi had kind words to say about one another which, as I’ve mentioned many times before, bodes well for Progressives.

Supervisor John Avalos and Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Tony Hall stood apart with his calls for fairness in the distribution of the City’s billions and the rights of parents to send their children to schools in their own neighborhoods.

Former Supervisor Tony Hall.

That’s enuff. Gotta go brief a man about a situation.

Giants will rise again!

More Photos

Mayoral ccandidates from left to right: Former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, Senator Leland Yee, Venture Capitalist Joanna Rees, former Supervisor Tony Hall, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Terry Baum, Supervisor John Avalos and Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

As many as 200 residents attended the mayoral debate held at The Fillmore Center.

Editor’s Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. FCJ supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.

Harold Brown

h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. His other FCJ articles can be found here. here.

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Comments for Lee and Herrera Hide
from Fillmore African-American Forum
are now closed.

  1. I thought this “debate” was a pallid festival of pandering to the audience. I was most impressed with the straightforwardness of both Baum and Breen. Avalos comes off as a sweet guy. It’s hard to dislike him, but his responses weren’t exactly inspiring.
    Charlie Walker-what a clown. He was doing his best James Brown “OK, this time I’m leaving for sure…” imitation while he spewed his racist lies. Does he even believe himself?
    OH, BTW, Dufty grew up in Scarsdale, New York. If you don’t know it it’s rather like New York’s version of Hillsborough. It’s doubtful that the Dufty’s had many, if any, black neighbors, but his family probably had black help.

  2. Cheer up,

    Adachi’s got a great chance of winning and if he doesn’t then Avalos will certainly get all of his second place votes in most of the City. This race is just getting going despite the fact that Dufty’s been running for 2 years?

    Debate tonite 6pm in Yerba Buena Center, Arts Forum thing. Apparently another event controlled by ‘Swells’. They tried to ban Adachi for not taking public money but welcomed Ed Lee who’s doing the same.

    Look for a Fall fur fight in Frisco … fellas.

    Go Giants!


  3. i’m still waiting for one or some of the politicos or candidates who read this journal to answer my question. when i broached the subject with tony hall, he told me “he believed it’s coming”. well, i guess if male circumcision can possibly get on the ballot, so can this. but who and how? i guess i could do it, if i had the time and gumption and wherewithal to get signatures…which i don’t, at the moment. how else might this be done? anybody?

  4. Thank you Daniele for your supportive comments!
    As a state worker, I am more than willing to sacrifice IF the ultra-wealthy are sacrificing as well, and IF my financial sacrifice was actually going to education, health care, housing, etc., and NOT too subsidize the wealthy by extending their tax cuts.
    No one is more frustrated than I am and I am truly discouraged about the lack of strategy, particularly from labor and the Democratic party. Whereas I know my union is starting to get strategic (like targeting Get Out the Vote, etc. in conservative areas), more needs to be done.
    We, the poor and disenfranchised, have the numbers, there are way more of us, than of “them,” yet, the masses either do not vote, or vote against their own interests.
    “We” have a compelling message. If tax cuts “created jobs,” then why after 8 years of Bush and 7 years of Arnold, are we in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression? Because tax cuts do not create jobs, the wealthy are hoarding their money and NOT INVESTING. They are morally bankrupt to allow such human suffering to increase. Why isn’t there a message that we do not want to raise taxes on the working class but on the ruling class?
    People are numb, disengaged and apathetic, and until we can change that, I think we will continue to confront the problems that we are confronting.
    I agree with Daniele about San Francisco being a bellwether, which is scary, if we pass something reactionary and regressive, that does not bode well. We should be a leader for progressive legislation.

  5. 1) Glorification of $$ at the expense of people (capitalism run amok);
    2) A country founded on violence and unable/unwilling to trust/fathom any other way to deal w/ conflict (thus a constant state of war sucking our resources).

    Well, we’re in a fix. But locally, we can make a statement, and I expect no less from the mayoral candidates who will get my vote. I mean, this is San Francisco…you expect this place to be the bellwether of a new way of seeing and better things to come.

    I think Tami makes some good points about Adachi’s measure. He’s put something on the ballot: Prop D. But it doesn’t address something it might’ve addressed, ie new tax revenue coming from ultra wealth. Could these two revenue sources have been twin items on the same bill? That’s what “i dunno”…and I’d like to know, frankly. Too complicated? Waiting for someone else to craft that bill? Or is it fear that the measure wouldn’t pass with that on it? Yes, and if so, aren’t we unduly/unfairly scapegoating city workers in the process?

    Well, I’d like to see such a bill crafted and the values behind it talked about. Do I have to do this??? I’m an artist, for chrissakes, and I’ll do what I can on the streets and elsewhere. But it sure would be nice to have a politician stand for policy and a larger view that takes this unspoken-elephant-in-the-room into account….

    I dunno…just sayin’.

  6. I dunno,

    The U.S. is able to freeze the bank accounts and seize the holdings of someone like Ghadaffi, you’d think we could employ a similar technique with our own ill-gotten billionaires. It’s a pretty dismal scene. Not only have they garnered most of the wealth, they’re destroyed much of our means of production by outsourcing entire industries. But our resources, material, natural and human are still tops, so it’s possible.

    Demonstration under my window at Civic Center Bart.


  7. …And of course I know that Terry Baum is on it, and that Avalos passed a real-estate transfer tax. I just believe that the fact that the wealth is *not* being taxed on the whole is the prime symptom of the rottenness that is sinking this ship…imho.

  8. I share some of Tami’s perspective. I’ve asked it before and I’ll ask it again: what does/will it take to reform the tax code in this city (and in our nation as a whole)? How could something like it end up on the ballot? Who/what might be the likely entity to get such a thing on the ballot? Seriously. I’m not your typical politico here–don’t know all the ins and outs of city hall. But I do believe in activism and so i’d like to know, if somebody out there can enlighten me. Because I’m looking for a leader who will talk about this issue. And I’m wondering if our candidates don’t want to talk about it out of fear of the “tax” word and how that might impact their respective campaigns. But I think that taxing the wealth in all its forms—whether personal wealth or the wealth of corporations—should be seen as a form of giving back, not of being “taken from”. And that indeed, it would go a long way towards making our society sustainable. The challenge, in my opinion, is having the vision and and the ability/guts to articulate it.
    But barring such a candidate, can somebody please tell me just how such a thing could be put on the ballot? Thank you. : )

  9. tami,

    Thank you for your response. Fact is, the ruling class wants to sell City Hall and all of the schools and all of the courts and everything else the City owns back to Dianne Feinstein’s friends whom they call, ‘Trustees’.

    This always ends in blood.

    Hey, I’m too old to be anything but a ‘looker-on’.

    Good luck to you in learning how to operate an AK-47.

    History says it’s the only way you get an even break and then only for a short while.

    Go Giants!


  10. @ H-
    I should state I do believe in salary and pension caps. I also oppose anyone collecting a pension after a mere 5 years of employment. This has apparently changed, but this is probably too little too late and I would support changing that if it is legally possible. I questioned if you consider yourself a progressive, but not simply because of your stance on this issue, but from reading your pieces over the years.
    I am not shedding any tears for anyone making a 6 figures pension either, and again, there is room for reform there. But the VAST MAJORITY of public workers are not paid an exorbitant salary and the pension is modest.
    All your response does is reinforce my premise: you (and many more) do deserve better! Your pension should not be so low as you can barely survive, but I stand by my conviction that a progressive would be angry at the rich for not paying their fair share of taxes, the health insurance companies who rip everyone off, corrupt Wall Street, and here in Ca., to Arnold for the VLF roll back. Instead, your anger is directed at the working class and not the ruling class. Not progressive by my definition.
    As to Seej, I do not think $4 an hour to park is unreasonable, we do need improvements to our streets and public transit but blame the department heads not the workers, and if EVERYONE had a good salary and benefits, these fees would be affordable! They are only burdensome because workers’ labor is being exploited. But again, you blame workers, and not the 400 people who have has much wealth as 150 million Americans. The disparate distribution of wealth is the problem!

  11. Tami-

    ….”If we do not have unions to set the bar for non-unionized workers, everyone loses in the end.”

    Instead of thanking unions for setting the bar, I’d like to thank them for:

    $55 parking tickets

    $4 hour metered parking

    A streetscape riddled with potholes…and

    A horrible transportation system.

    Thank you!!

  12. Tami,

    I’m a Progressive. I paid into Social Security for 47 years in jobs ranging from U.S. Navy radioman (spy) to fighting fires to teaching the toughest kids. I’m 67 years old and my pension totals $865 a month. I worked hard and half my social security goes to my rent and that’s subsidized or I couldn’t live here. Every Monday there’s free foodstuffs in the lobby to make certain no one starves in a building filled with 204 other people just like me.

    So, pardon me if I don’t weep while you play the violin for people who get 10 times what I get, retire 10 years earlier and never faced a nuclear weapon, blazing building, or room full of kids trained in gangster ways.

    Gabriel Haaland and Sean Elsbernd and Warren Hellman and the POA and the IAFF banned Adachi from their considerations to their Frankenstein concoction is hardly any ‘consensus’.

    Let’s be real here. This is all going to shake down at the polls which open 79 sleeps from now. Your Prop ‘C’ is for Chumps on Crack. Jeff’s Prop ‘D’ is for Defense of Solvency. The voters will see through all of the union boss’s selfishness and adopt Jeff’s ‘D’.

    On the other side of the ballot they will elect him Mayor.

    And, you better hope they do.

    Giants are making it more interesting.


  13. Uh, Newsom did not appoint Campos to the D9 seat as I remember. Campos had already won and Newsom may have sworn him in a little early so Ammiano could go to Sacramento… Correct me if I am wrong.
    As both a member of the Lower Fillmore Neighborhood Association and the D5 Democratic Club, I am very proud of the huge turn out, and very happy for the candidates who participated.
    I consider myself both community and labor, and had it not been for the pension initiatives, Adachi would be my number one hands down, but it is NOT a progressive value to try to balance the city government’s budget by blaming public workers rather than go after the real reasons for the budget crisis. As a state worker myself, no one knows how hard we work to make sure unemployment dollars flow into the community. Public workers provide valuable services to the public that we serve! In exchange for modest salaries, we were supposed to have a decent retirement. Is $25-30 k a year really that extravagant?
    But more than that argument, here is where I lay the blame for the government’s budget woes:
    Wall Street crooks
    Rich folks who do not pay their fair share of taxes
    Arnold’s roll back of the vehicle license fee
    Greedy health insurance companies who are in it for the profit and not for providing health insurance to the people.
    If Adachi were to have addressed all of these factors first, and then come to labor because concessions were still needed, then not only could he have got them, but it would have been fair for him to ask.
    But he took it to the ballot without even attempting to negotiate with labor first. That is a fact.
    What he has done is allowed is to let the citizens scapegoat on public workers for all their suffering, and once he sets in motion the chain of events that lowers the bar for unionized public workers, it is just a downward spiral/race to the bottom.
    If we do not have unions to set the bar for non-unionized workers, everyone loses in the end.
    Where is the discussion that the problem is not how much public workers have, but how little everyone else has? Where is the idea that the solution is for us to unite to fight for BETTER working conditions and benefits for ALL workers?
    I have always had “fighting for the Public Defender’s budget” as one of my Facebook activities. In spite of my disagreement with Jeff on what he has done here, I will never diminish all the amazing work he has done as an exemplary Public Defender. The man has saved people’s lives and done so much to ensure that his clientele base does not continue to rise!
    I raised three children who graduated from the SFUSD. I have two CSU graduates, whose college tuition practically tripled to spare the rich to pay their fair share of taxes.
    I do not know if this author of this piece considers himself a progressive, but I know I don’t! Otherwise he would not attack public workers!

  14. @GuestSF, now corrected.

  15. I remember when Newsom pulled the same thing and was re-elected.

  16. guestsf,

    Thanks for the correction. So, Bevan has an even more direct debt to Willie Brown than I imagined. And,kidding aside, Bevan is a really nice guy unlike most of the slime that moves in and out the tide in Willie’s toilet. But, he does belong to Willie and he does dance with whomever brung him to the dance.

    To the Interim Mayor:

    So Ed, look at Luke’s photos of the 200-300 people who came to the debate looking to see you as the star attraction. Mostly black people. How many of them do you think fit your insulting definition as being, “insiders”?

    I’m betting we’d have all preferred being in “a bar where everybody knows your name” too but there’s a friggin’ time for play and there’s a time for facing up to your responsibility. You weren’t hired to do bar crawls.

    That said, I know whether you go to debates or not isn’t your call. To be realistic we should just ask Willie Brown if he’ll allow you to come debate with the other candidates.

    We’d ask Rose Pak but the grapevine says she’s in China getting cash for you from the murdering commie dictators and avoiding the FBI.

    Here’s a reader’s comment (most informed possible) of how the Sunshine Task Force is looking to put the screws to Dennis Herrera:

    “Certainly. Again, please remind your readers that I have been serving on
    the Task Force since mid 2004 and that I am its immediate past chair.

    On 8/19/2011 11:01 AM, h. brown wrote:
    > Great info Rick,
    > Can I publish this to my list?
    > h.
    >> There’s more to this particular matter, H.
    >> 1. Normally, advice from an attorney to a client is exempt from
    >> disclosure. However, the Sunshine Ordinance states that that advice is
    >> not disclosure-exempt when it is about sunshine. So on pages 22-23 of
    >> the Good Government Guide — which the City Attorney’s Office updates
    >> every two years — there is this statement: “[T]he practice of the City
    >> Attorney’s Office is to inform any officer or employee who requests such
    >> advice in writing that the advice may be subject to disclosure upon a
    >> request by a member of the public.”
    >> Herrera and his minions have sworn up and down, backward and forward,
    >> and sideways that the statement is not intended to encourage city
    >> officials and employees to seek only oral advice.
    >> But on several occasions, complaint respondents — when telling the Task
    >> Force that they have based a decision to withhold requested information
    >> on oral advice from the City Attorney — have answered, “I don’t
    >> recall,” when asked when, where and from which attorney they have
    >> received such counsel. Neat dodge, eh?
    >> 2. Notwithstanding language in both the Sunshine Ordinance and the
    >> California Public Records Act entitling members of the public to obtain
    >> electronic documents in their original format, the City Attorney’s
    >> Office has told departments and agencies that that is not the case,
    >> because documents in their original format might contain data that are
    >> exempt or prohibited from disclosure. The Task Force — whose voting
    >> members include an attorney specializing in sunshine law — has
    >> consistently found in the information requesters’ favor when that issue
    >> is involved. No matter — the CA’s Office continues to provide wrongful
    >> advice on it.
    >> 3. Citing budgetary constraints, Herrera limits the amount of time that
    >> the deputy city attorney assigned to the Task Force can devote to our
    >> matters. This severely hampers the DCA’s ability to do a thorough job
    >> for us, and that in turn hamstrings us.
    >> You are welcome to quote me on any and all of the foregoing; please be
    >> reminded that I’ve been serving on the Task Force since mid 2004 and am
    >> its immediate past chair.
    >> Cheers,
    >> Rick
    >> On 8/19/2011 8:09 AM, h. brown wrote:
    >>> boys and girls,
    >>> I was lucky enough to have Hope Johnson sit next to me during the debate and since
    >>> she’s become Chair of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force they’ve gotten really sassy.
    >>> Had a case upheld by the Ethics Commission for the first time (against head of
    >>> Library
    >>> Commission who treats the public like unwanted roaches at meetings).
    >>> Hope says today’s posted agenda for next Tuesday’s SOTF meeting will include a
    >>> proposal
    >>> by her that the Task Force use it’s powers of investigation (much like a civil grand
    >>> jury — yes, they have that power but have never used it) … she wants to
    >>> investigate
    >>> the number one obstacle to open government in San Francisco and absolutely anyone in
    >>> the know realizes this … it’s Dennis Herrera!
    >>> Yeah, Herrera assigns attorneys to departments and commissions and instead of
    >>> charging
    >>> them with the task of giving information to the public in general and the Sunshine
    >>> Task
    >>> Force in particular … Herrera instructs his attorneys in the best way to avoid
    >>> their legal responsibility to open their books.

    Delete & Prev | Delete & Next

  17. While I disagree with the points on Dufty, it should be noted that he was not appointed by Newsom as the article states. In fact, Bevan won his seat outright in a runoff in 2002 against Eileen Hansen. Newsom was a Supervisor at the time. Bevan was appointed by Brown to fill the remaining 30 days of Leno’s seat (who had won his assembly seat).

    However, Newsom did appoint Campos to fill Ammiano’s supervisor seat when Tom went on to the Assembly in 2008.