I went to City Hall yesterday for the hearing on Supervisor Fiona Ma's proposed sign ban. Missed the hearing itself, but learned that the issue has been continued (that's bureaucratese for "postponed") until next week. I also took the opportunity to go around to the offices of a number of the supervisors to lobby directly.
I spoke to Fiona Ma and Bevan Dufty, and left messages with the staff of Gavin Newsom, Sophie Maxwell, Matt Gonzalez, Gerardo Sandoval, Aaron Peskin, Tony Hall, and Chris Daly. (Jake McGoldrick's office was locked, and I think Tom Ammiano dislikes me.)
Fiona was very friendly, even when she heard Libertarians were opposed to her sign ban. She is altogether too charming... a politician to watch out for. Listened politely to my reasons she should drop the legislation, tried to disagree as non-confrontationally as possible. Dufty was likewise friendly and charming, but he does seem to be leaning against the ban. Said he didn't think it had a chance of passing, which seemed to be the general consensus among the people I spoke with. However he spoke of the Castro only having two bulletin boards, both of which are always full, and wanting to create more approved areas to post things — suggesting that he would favor prohibiting postings in other areas.
Matt Gonzalez's aide invited me to use their office computer to write Matt a note in my own words, so I ended up leaving him quite a lengthy letter. Besides discussing the sign ban, I also suggested that we would be interested in having a Libertarian or Libertarians appointed. I specifically mentioned the Elections Commission as a body that ought to have representation from the various political parties.
Speaking of which, while in Bevan's office I found out that one of his two paid legislative aides is a registered Libertarian! I had no idea of this, and Bevan only remembered it after first thinking it was an ex of his who'd belonged to our party and only a few minutes later remembering it was a member of his staff. Anyway, the aide is a young-looking guy named Hershow Al-Barazi, and I invited him to come to our meetings, which he duly listed in his calendar. He also said we could send him a packet. When I asked why he became a Libertarian, he said he was pretty much a laissez-faire kind of guy and was generally for limiting new legislation. This was certainly an unexpected pleasure! He said he lived in SF, but preferred to get mail at the City Hall address. I'm not completely sure on the formatting of the address, but I think this should work:
ATTN: Hershow Al-Barazi
(Office of Supervisor Bevan Dufty)
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place,
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689
The other staffers I spoke with didn't indicate which way their supervisors were planning to vote on the sign ban except for those of Gonzalez (who said he is definitely against it) and Daly and Maxwell, who sounded like they probably opposed or at least had serious concerns with the legislation. Maxwell's aide seemed particularly in agreement with the reasons I gave to oppose it.
Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>
P.S. - As I was leaving the building, I found out why McGoldrick wasn't in his office -- he was with Mayor Brown, at a small reception in the rotunda for the publishing of a new coffee table book on the city. Brown was in usual form, receiving the lavish praise of one of the people involved with the book with nary a modest rejoinder. He praised one photo of City Hall in particular as "magnificent," and drew polite laughter by adding that the photo would have looked even better "without those people in it," and if they'd put his picture on the front instead. I whispered to the woman standing next to me, "He says these things, and people think he's joking!" She gave a tight little smile.