Starchild For Supervisor - Report on Tuesday's Candidate Forum/Bay Guardian interview TOMORROW 1030am!

I've been meaning to post about Tuesday's candidate forum -- it went pretty well. The event was co-sponsored by the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association and the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association, and about 40-50 people attended. As previously mentioned, I wasn't invited and found out about it by accident when I picked up the DTNA newsletter.

  So I showed up early, as people were getting settled, and eventually the organizers approached me. They said that I wasn't on the schedule (duh) but invited me to speak after the main program if I wanted to say a few words. I told them that was unacceptable. The head of BVNA said it was their event, and I said I respected that it was up to them, but if they chose to be exclusionary and undemocratic, I would be letting people know about it. He asked if I was threatening them, but at that point the DTNA president Dennis Richards pulled him aside and asked if I would excuse them while they discussed it briefly outside. So while they were out, I introduced myself to some of the other folks in the room and let them know I might or might not be allowed to be part of the debate, and that I'd appreciate their good word if the organizers tried to keep me out. But in a couple minutes Dennis and the other guy came back in and told me I could participate in the forum with the other two candidates. Sometimes it pays to be a troublemaker and hold your ground! 8)

  When Bevan Dufty arrived, I saw one of them talking with him, and assume it was to let him know I'd been added. Bevan came over and nicely told me that he thought I should be allowed in all the debates, and that he would send me the listings he has for other upcoming events (this still hasn't happened yet, but I think he is sincere). He was supportive of inclusion during the last race, as were the other candidates, though not to the point that he refused to participate in the Plan C debate where I was excluded. But he did remember me protesting outside that event! Politicians tend to have very good memories.

  Eventually Alix Rosenthal arrived, and I got to meet the other challenger for the first time. She's basically the candidate of the left, filling the role that Eileen Hanson did last time as the main challenger. The main differences is that there were several other candidates in that race and now it's only them and me, plus now Bevan of course is the incumbent and in a stronger position. Some people seem to think he's made a lot of folks unhappy, but Alix is also seen as a relatively weak candidate and Bevan is given credit even by his opponents for being really good at delivering constituent services. In fact Alix even said during the forum that he was "the best" at this. The tone of the event was very civil -- none of us took any shots at each other. Bevan even said he appreciated my principles. He did get surprisingly passionate on a couple questions though, one of them being Halloween in the Castro, which he called a "human hurricane." Given the devastation caused last year by Katrina, I thought the analogy was kind of ridiculous.

  Alix Rosenthal made housing and evictions a major focus. She decried "housing speculation, and couldn't believe how difficult it was even for her to afford a house as a "highly paid corporate attorney." Bevan defended his record on the issue as being friendly to the left (he didn't say "the left" of course), saying that he supported Aaron Peskin's legislation (forget what this was offhand), and "strongly opposed the Ellis Act as a tool." The Ellis Act being the state legislation that lets people reclaim their property and evict tenants by taking it off the rental market for a period of time. Both she and Bevan spoke of supporting "land trusts," which is something I know some Green Party members have been talking about, but Alix stressed that "the city has to dedicate the funds" to make this happen, sounding like she suspected that Bevan was paying lip service to the idea but wouldn't support a government program.

  I felt like I held my own, and managed to use pretty much all the time I was given for responses without stumbling over my words much or running out of things to say. Some of the other issues that came up included: development of the Market Street corridor (the questioner didn't want high-rises), building preservation, how to make the city more youth friendly, keeping the elderly and people with AIDS from losing their apartments, bicycle lanes, and the proposed Saturday closure of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to traffic. There were no Libertarians or other supporters there unfortunately, but several people told me afterward they thought I did a good job. I also met the owner of Cafe Flore, a popular hangout at Market and Noe. He said they want to stay open later, but Bevan basically "sabotaged" the effort and told him it's not going to happen. I suggested that he start a petition and encourage customers to sign it.

  Terrance Allen of the SF Late Night Coalition was among the audience members -- sorry I did not think until later to try to put the two of them in touch. Terrance and I sometimes butted heads when I was on the SFLNC steering committee, and even tried to avoid allowing me to speak to the group as a candidate when I later ran for Supervisor last time around. Although we did not speak at the event other than when he asked a question of the candidates, he afterward sent me a nice email with an invite to a candidate's event (presumably sponsored by that group although the email did not say), to be held on October 5 from 630-930 pm at the Eureka Valley Rec Center. Chris Maden had already tipped me off that they might be doing an event, so it was good to have it confirmed with an invite.

  Best of all, the Guardian's City Editor Steve Jones was there, not so much in an official capacity I think as in his other role as Alix Rosenthal's boyfriend. Amusingly, while Terrance's position as the head of the city's Entertainment Commission seems to have made him look much more conservative than when I last saw him -- he used to have blonde and purple hair -- Steve looked more radical, sporting a mohawk, while his partner the candidate was conservatively dressed in a black business suit. I once spent some time hanging out with Steve with some mutual friends, so we sort of had some previous acquaintance, and he seems like not a bad guy. We talked a bit afterward, and I said I'd run into Guardian Publisher Bruce Brugmann the other day and was trying to get an interview arranged. Whether it's because he likes me or just because he feels he has to bend over backward to be fair due to his own conflict of interest, whether they now feel I have leftist credibility because I was charged with prostitution, or whether it would have happened anyway, he invited me to call him the next day to schedule an interview.

  He was as good as his word, and I'm supposed to go down there tomorrow morning at 1030am, to talk with whoever is available of himself, Bruce, Managing Editor Tim Redmond, and their various writers who want to sit in. As far as I can recall, this is the first time a Libertarian candidate has actually been able to get any more from the Guardian than a passing mention, so I'm pretty stoked about it. I plan to try to talk with them not just about my candidacy, but about finding common ground between Libertarians and the left, and hopefully improving the coverage we get in their paper.

  I asked about other people coming along, and Steve said I was welcome to bring anyone related to my campaign. So if you are interested, let me know. Yes it's short notice, but I make no apologies for that, because now that Morey is moving I really haven't been getting any help from the group, and there's a lot of stuff to try to keep track of and post about. I may be the candidate, but running for office is really not a one-person operation! We could get a lot more mileage out of this if people were actively putting in time. Anyway, I think the Guardian session should be extremely interesting and informative, so if you can go and want to join me, give me a call -- (415) 621-7932. I already left Phil an invite message -- as he is running for Congress, they should be talking with him anyway, and hopefully his presence will help make that happen.

  I'd also think about attending if you might run for office yourself in 2007 or 2008, as it will be educational about what kind of questions to expect and good practice in thinking of responses and seeing what sticks. Give it some thought -- where else are our candidates going to come from if not from people on this list? Wouldn't it be embarrassing if we didn't have any local candidates?

  If you're reading this after 1030am tomorrow and disappointed about missing out, please think about helping volunteer for my campaign so it can be more organized.

Love & liberty,
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