Impressions of the San Francisco Mayoral Race

City Tense Over Possible Outcome(s)

Vote Date: December 9th                

Stephen Vincent

Gavin Newson, Democrat vs. Matt Gonzales, Green

Matt Gonzales is round, Gavin Newsom is flat. Gavin's photo as teenager in
morning Chron exudes suspicious Modesto innocence of whatever his name was
in American Grafitti. Glad-handing and feeding off and feeding the Rich

Matt's high school photo, the long sideburns, thin angular face suggests "I
will be your teen idol" in that New Jersey wannabe crooner Italian mode -
"Even if we don't go all the way, I will whisper sweet nothings in your ear
and make you feel like you can be with your friends and let on like we've
really done it, anyway." A much harder read - the sensual, imaginative
physical in blend with the political righteous.

"Newsom is a spoiled brat subsidized by the Getty family. Gordon Getty does
not want to be Mayor. He just wants a pawn, a little shit like Newsom that
he can tell what to do." Retired Shriner, City native, 79 years old, Noe
Valley Bar & Grill, 24th & Church.

"We went out on a date. I will never forgive him for not walking me all the
way home, but I'm still definitely voting for him." Young woman with yellow
on black Gonzales button, smiling, as if she still got something, getting
coffee at Tartine's.

"Three Newsom people came to my door. 'Aren't you in the wrong
neighborhood?' I asked them. They didn't care. They kept pushing posters and
bumper stickers at me. I am sure they were getting paid and had to get rid
of the stuff to show their bosses that they did their work." My 26 year old
son, Lucas, at home in the Mission near General Hospital.

When, one by one, the Gonzales' young come to my door - at least three times
last week - they often seem about to giggle, as if political virgins
carrying a giddy secret, a special possibility, as if Matt is a fertile
goat, a few votes away from leaping full born out of the electoral cradle.
Someone who promises to mate with City desires.

"I voted for Matt the first time. Now I don't know. Did you read the
Independent this morning. He's got the support of Wong, the Developer, who's
also taking down forests in the Amazon. How can he still be Green?"
Thirty-something woman outside the Dolores Café.

"I am worried about Matt. Art Agnos is behind him. Agnos is the one who
caused the homeless problem in the first. One of them - either Newsom or
Matt has to do something about the homeless. Everyday in this town it's like
running the gauntlet." Another woman outside the Dolores Café.

"I want to vote for a guy who can afford a hair cut at Isa's." Isa at Isa's
Hair Salon. "I guess you know who I am voting for."

"It's only because you own buildings, Isa."

Matt's campaign surrounded by dark and light.

18th and Guerrero - the Mission - is Gonzales territory. Not an apartment,
and often several, with one or more windows checkered with "Matt Gonzales"
signs. Instinctively the young prefer the round to the stiff.

Then there is always the turf war - the one who will protect rent control
and the one - backed by the Landlords - who will take it away.
Gonzales, the fertile goat ready to mate with the imaginative soul of the
City. Gavin, the shielded cow, once elected, all udders ready for the
corporate pulling. The City as Muse - the dignified, classy, sexy lady who
is ready to dance - either fiercely or slowly - no matter in the light or
the dark. Versus the City as the unimaginative, much drained, trammeled
upon, borderline, hardly working, used-up, sad, Civil Service whore.

In the eyes of many it's the risk of poetry versus an exhausted, predictable
prose. Matt is considered a friend of poets and a great reader and public
supporter of poetry. Recently, at a "Poetry Reading for Gonzales." he was
able to identify about 20 photographs of the 19th and 20th Century poets on
the poster, and, more recently, helped lead the San Francisco Library's
celebration of the 100th birthday of Carl Rakosi.

Secure investments versus sensuality, imagination, risk and desire. Why one
first comes and the young continue to come to the City.

The City Trembles - Youth going to a war it wants, and, insistently wants to
win. To regenerate the City, anew.

It will be a cliff hanger. Or a flaming loss. Vote.


Read Chris Stroffolino's take >>