Impressions of the San Francisco Mayoral Race

City Tense Over Possible Outcome(s)

Vote Date: December 9th                                         

Chris Stroffolino

Gavin Newson, Democrat vs. Matt Gonzales, Green

Nov. 29th

Found out last night about Willie Brown (who I really wanna like, because he looks so jovial in that picture with Sean Finney at that party where he was chatting up Huey Lewis) having claimed Gonzalez is racist. Woke up today to KPOO (ah KPOO---they seem very bent on spelling out the letters and not saying "POO"). They got Gonzalez on (asked Newsom; of course he was too busy) to defend himself against these charges, on a largely black owned/operated station. G did admirably, even if at times it seemed that some of the callers might have been "plants." Yeah, hoping people see through all this Newsom stuff (according to Gonzalez, Brown backs Newsom because he wants to maintain a stake in PUC appointments for interest, and many of the people of color Gonzalez voted against were actually Brown's attempts to get people whose field of expertise was on one committee over to another committee in which these people had no expertise, and were thus willing to go along with whatever Brown/Newsom wanted/wants---the interests of big business). Ah, yes, a typical good-guy/bad-guy story this---but, hey, a better sport than Yankees/Red-Sox or the "total recall." It seems much more important that Gonzalez win than it did that Gray Davis did; it feels that the electoral stakes in San Francisco as a kind of city-state is much more important than any other place I lived. What else? Oh yeah, then after getting cut off by a truck on my bike today and then getting a ticket for running a red light (when I was forced to run it to avoid the truck---ah, police!), I arrive home to SMEAR-FLIERS. 3 from Newsom. One with Gonzalez with a big ME on it (he only cares for himself; voted himself a big raise), another about how Gonzales doesn't want to protect women victims of sex crimes, and a third about how Gonzalez does not have a commitment to education. He's firing on all fronts, isn't he? But that article in the Guardian about Newsom's inability to pay for all his attempted programs (because he wants to cut the rich a big tax break) seems very sound to me, and of course, the first things to go will be things like school funding, art funding. As for safe streets, and good old proposition M, I'm sure more police presence will certainly help matters (ha, ha). That's what Angela Aliota (spelling?) wanted too. Of course she supports Newsom. At least Ammiano finally endorsed Gonzales, but, biking through the Castro alot, I notice that where once was Ammiano signs there are now many Newsom signs. I think that's because many of the rich conservative gays would accept the liberal Ammiano because he was gay, but now that he's out of the race, their money-politics matters more than their social politics. But I still think more gays are going with Gonzalez; hard to tell (and, no, I don't mean to imply that Ammiano's supporters were only gay). The poles maintain it's close; there are signs in many windows, the city seems divided, and it's kind of cozy in that. I take mental notes to see certain electrical union hall (near Duboce Park) has a big Newsom sign on it. Oh yeah, the Gonzalez flier that arrived in the mail today, said, "NEWSOM CLAIMS HE'S A DEMOCRAT (to the left of howard the dean at that), BUT, LOOK, HE GAVE $500 RTO GEORGE BUSH." And I think in many ways that sums it up. What used to be Democrat is now Green; what used to be Republican is now Democrat. I've been trying to find a Gonzalez button for weeks; and I always arrive at the HQ at the wrong times. I guess I gotta settle for my Edwin Torres' "Shock Worker" button (which fortuitously is the same colors).

Dec. 3rd

So, I finally got my Gonzalez button. Also picked up today's Guardian and
SFWeekly, and the first thing I had to read was Garrett Kamps' poll of their
5 favorite albums "of all time". I gotta repeat it here.

1. R.E.M.--Automatic for the People
2. Santana, Supernatural
3. Coldplay--A Rush of Blood To the head
4. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
5. (any KFOG: Live from the archives CD)

1. John Coltrane--Live Trane
2. The Clash--London Calling
3. Joy Division--Les Bains Douches
4. Pavement--Slanted and Enchanted
5. Led Zeppelin I

Kamps' article is hilarious, in terms of what it says about the character of
each. Now I'll have to wear my Gonzalez button to the Malkmus show tonight I
suppose. And, now, I'm also thinking I'm really glad that they didn't ask
them what their 5 favorite poems, or poets, are. I know G likes some good
poets, but I betcha he doesn't even know our work Andrew and if by chance he
knew some contemporary poet it'd probably be one of those overrated ones the
eldsters have pushed forth. This would not be a fault of Gonzalez of
course---and maybe I'm wrong--but I just betcha that his taste in poetry
(especially were it contemporary poetry) would not be nearly as hip in my
opinion as his taste in music. Anyway, I'm absolutely sure Newsom's would be
worse (if he even had it). KIND OF BLUE is cool and everything, but the
other ones?

Dec. 5th

The title of this is symbolic, but contains an element of truth. But, I'm
writing today because I realize my last installment ran the risk of
emphasizing the "circus' over the "bread" (yeah, Gonzalez has hipper music
taste, so what---wouldn't you rather have a mayor who likes a musician who
is dating a starlet than one who love tore apart?). The question of "hip"
vs. "geek" could actually play into Newsom's hands, but luckily today I was
reminded of other (the so called "real") issues at stake as well. It stopped
raining enough for me today to do my bike-ride again (yes, sunny days are
more Gonzalez days, if "voter turnout" logic has any say in the matter), and
somewhere---I think at Haight and Divisidero---saw a telling sign, an
apartment house with Gonzalez signs in the lower window and Newsom signs in
the upper window. Now I can't assume, or generalize from my own experience,
that this means that the upper window signifies "landlord" and the lower
window signifies "tenant" (though I would love to be a bug in the wall as
the upper and the lower pass each other in the hallway), but when I returned
home there was a Gonzalez flier (all in red) "I strongly back rent
control..." etc. and I swiped it quick before my landlord got it (it was not
addressed---but assume it was more meant for us than the landlord). I will
not get into the issues in depth here, but I'm writing this in part because
I was talking to another friend today, who told me, "oh, you know Newsom
isn't so bad, when it comes down to it," and I found myself more
passionately arguing about all the things Gonzales wants to do---even if he
won't be able to do them (for instance, as mayor of San Francisco he's
likely not to make a dent in CLEARCHANNEL's censoriuous near-monopoly of the
music industry, though he did speak with some authority that he may be able
to keep Muni rates at present levels, and maybe even lower them
significantly)---that Newsom doesn't. Sure, if Newsom will continue many
Brown policies, one can say it won't be as bad for the city as Schwarten is
for the state, or Bush for the government. It won't become MORE conservative
and repressive here (though prop M and other things might give one pause),
but it certainly won't change for the better, and when it comes down to it
there's been more than enough slippage of social programs and social vision
in government since the mid-late 70s that the fact that Gonzalez is not
willing to settle simply for maintaining some of the existing social
services, etc, that are gradually being whittled away (especially in the
larger context of what's happening nationally), but is actively wanting to
try to stem the tide by considering other ways (that aren't just trying to
pour money on the problem, but are more grassroots), is something to vote


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