The message of Brown's noncampaign so far has been that he is the candidate who can evict Jordan, the one who can balance the city's competing interests. His task will be to keep that message in focus, and he can do it with less money than Jordan, who must project his own message and counter the messages of three opponents.
Embracing spending limits also helps Brown dispel the notion that he wins elections through his prodigious fund-raising abilities. The move also lessens the possibility that Achtenberg, running on a platform against "politics as usual," can portray herself as the intended victim of monied titans stomping the little folk who challenge the "system."
Brown's lead in the polls is by no means insurmountable, nor does it reflect the outcome of a hard-fought campaign. But Willie Brown at long last has made a decision, and by picking campaign spending limits as his first issue, he has made San Francisco politics interesting again.
Once More Into the Breech
Supes postponed for a week their approval of the $27,000 pay/benefits hike for both Police Chief Anthony Ribera and Fire Chief Joseph Medina despite claims that the guys have been shortchanged for two years compared to chiefs elsewhere. Now comes a survey from the city of Phoenix showing our two guys are already number two in the nation (among 46 cities), and that's without the increase. Even Chicago, notorious for well-paid gold braid, pays less.
They Have Answers -- We Have Questions
Former S.F. GOP vice chair turned fire commissioner turned supervisor turned police commissioner Annemarie Conroy may have enough hair to balance all those hats, but can she balance one more? Word is that she is considering a run on the GOP ticket for the Assembly seat now held by John Burton, which is coveted by Sup. Kevin Shelley. There's also word that Conroy's last campaign manager, Clint Reilly, won't enter the derby with her. "She's still pissed off at me for supposedly blowing her [supe] campaign," Reilly says ... Why is John Burton working overtime to line up endorsements for his run for Milton Marks' state senate seat? Perhaps he fears another potential candidate -- My Old Boss Art Agnos -- would have a stronger claim to voter loyalties and that the city's politicos would have a hard time turning down Agnos after the graceful and self-effacing way he moved aside for Willie Brown's mayoral bid. Burton pledged to retire two terms ago, but even term limits haven't made him keep that promise ... Police Chief Anthony Ribera claimed that his plan to rename all police inspectors as sergeants and give the corresponding salary increase was "career development" and not a ploy to provide a $4,400 salary boost during a wage-freeze year. So when the Police Officers Association (POA) rank and file distrusted Ribera's motives and voted down his proposal, why was Ribera flushed with anger at his captain's meeting, claiming, "When has the POA ever voted down a pay raise?" ... Mayor Jordan amended his economic disclosure report belatedly to show the value of his Twin Peaks suite mentioned in this column two weeks ago, but that's not all, folks. Responding to questions, Jordan now says he will amend the report again -- this time to show that he, too, received $600 worth of tickets to hear Barbra Streisand in concert. His attendance there might have gone unnoticed except that it was also Election Night, and Hizzoner couldn't be found until the wee hours to give his spin on the results. Now how about all those free meals, Frank?
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