Monday, November 03, 2003

Wrapped Up Like (Another) Endorsement
The following letter showed up in the mailbag this morning:


Who do I have to vote for to make sure that Newsom doesn't end up as our next mayor? I'm thinking Gonzalez or Alioto, but I can't discern who has a better chance.

Frozen in Frisco
Another election already? I’m getting fed up with this democracy crap. Well, never fear, Froz, the WULAD Ballot Brigade is here. Sort of. Before I get to the endorsements, have I told you about the time I ran into Gavin Newsom at the Lush Lounge? My band and I were playing, and a large group of people in suits came in, including a young guy who came up the stairs to the stage and requested a song which I don’t remember. He was wearing a big “Newsom” button, and my piano player said, quite brashly I thought, “Wow, a black Newsom volunteer—never thought I’d see that.” The volunteer guy looked at the pianist for a minute, then shook his head and said, “Yeah, whatever.” I was just glad not to have a political brawl start on stage. But as we resumed playing, I noticed the Soon-to-be-Anointed Boy King himself sitting at the bar below, looking uncomfortable.

Where was I? Ah, endorsements. WULAD must freely admit that we haven’t been following the SF mayoral election nearly as closely as the Ramblin’ Recall, and the issues are not as clear cut. One answer to your question of who can make sure Newsom doesn’t win is: Anybody, because whoever comes in second will likely face Newsom in a December runoff (assuming Gav-o doesn’t get 50% of the vote), thereby ensuring that tomorrow’s election won’t determine the outcome. The favorites for second placers include Angela Alioto, Tom Ammiano and Matt Gonzalez, all of whom have spent time on the Board of Supervisors. Looking at the merits:
  • Alioto seems to have the endorsements of a lot of people with the last name “Alioto,” and has stated rather non-negotioably, "I've always wanted to be mayor…I'll love being mayor. I am the next mayor.''

  • Ammiano has said “The City’s approach to homelessness is not working, and it has to change… City officials either ignore homelessness or they exploit it for political gain. As a result $200 million is spent each year on mismanaged, fraudulent programs,” (Tru Dat!) and has the added bonus of being a dead ringer for former Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

  • Gonzalez seems to be gaining in polls and studied Comparative Literature, so he presumably realizes how much Market Street resembles the squalor of Dickens’ London, without the lovable urchins and Victorian charm.
However, the other answer to your question is: Nobody. Because in spite of who Newsom faces in the runoff, he’s going to win, since a) he’s been “appointed” by Czar Wille and the business community, b) he’s got money and connections up the wazoo, and c) he represents to voters that elusive promise of “change”—while the percentage of people who want to see San Fran turned into a Giulianiesque police state is relatively low, it is obvious that the city’s current strategy towards homelessness isn’t working, and people are willing to take a little walk to the Right on the philosophy that anything different is at least not the same. Additionally, the City is already so far to the left that although Gav-o may seem like George Wallace compared to some of the other candidates, in the national spectrum he’s still a fairly middle-of-the-road Democrat.

So, WULAD will probably vote for Alioto on the basis of her general electability level (since Gonzalez is a Green and has a bad haircut and Ammiano will be perceived as a “gay candidate” and has low poll numbers); this may seem cynical, but we’re talking realism here. And like I said, Newsom is going to win anyway. As for ballot measures, how the funk would I know? I’m just some schmo with a blog anyway.

For those zealots who’d like a broader palate of opinion on the subject, here’s a pretty good guide to the mayoral candidates; the SF Bay Guardian has also compiled this handy chart outlining the endorsements of all the conniving special interest groups.

Tomorrow, back to the kind of general-interest hoo-hah that keeps our national readers coming back for more in spite of our endless soapboxing. Less talk, more mindless entertainment, I promise!