Dog Bites

The Last Word
The San Francisco Bay Guardian trumps Willie Brown in its Aug. 30 interview with the political snake-oil salesman as Editor Bruce B. Brugmann so thoroughly hectors Brown about PG&E, Manhattanization, the joy of increased taxes, Viacom, and other Guardian hobbyhorses that he finally explodes.

"You guys are bizarre!" Brown says.
But the most telling Q&A material was left on the cutting room floor. In the unexpurgated interview available on the Guardian's on-line service, Brown gets the best of Brugmann. Asked to volunteer information about the legal work he has done for his clients, Brown protests that to do so violates the canons of ethics, and that it would cause him to lose his membership in the bar.

Brown: -- and I ain't never goin' back to pickin' cot-ton --
Brugmann: -- would you, as an attorney --
Brown: -- or shinin' shoes, runnin' a taxicab --
Brugmann: Let me ask you the key question --
Brown: -- or doin' a fry cook. I'm not gonna do any of that shit.
Brugmann: You don't have to.

Brown: Oh, yes, I would; if I lose my law license I'll have to learn a skill.

Brugmann: We'll set you up with a (inaudible) --
Brown: I have no other skill! No way, I have no other skill! I am a lawyer, above all else.

Unable to KO Brown on the issues, Brugmann fouls out of the contest with his execrable manners.

Brugmann: All right, sum it up for us. See, you're soft! You've been getting all those softballs down in Sacramento all these years --

Brown: Are you kidding? Are you kidding me?
Brugmann: Softballs!
Brown: Are you kidding me? Are you kidding?
Brugmann: We just got warmed up here.
Brown: I never get any softballs.
Brugmann: Sum it up for us.
Brown: All right.
Brugmann: Sum it up.
Brown: I will sum it up.
Brugmann: We will not interrupt you. Sum it up.
Brown: I don't believe that, but I accept your --
Brugmann: No, we won't interrupt you.
Brown: I don't know why I should --
Brugmann: We won't interrupt you.

Brown: I don't know why I should trust that representation, if nothing else, it's --

Brugmann: We will not interrupt you. Calvin [Welch], keep notes.
Brown: See? He's already interrupting me.

I'll Be Watching You
Citizen activist Bill Hale has turned the high beam of his scrutiny on the city's public libraries -- a light that City Librarian Kenneth Dowlin wants to track. According to the minutes from an Aug. 8 meeting of the main library's department heads, "Ken [Dowlin] wishes for departments to log Bill Hale's calls -- number of times, length of calls, and subject matter discussed."

Hale surmises that Dowlin's directive came after Hale requested documents, particularly those relating to LibraryExpress, a pay-per-use research service Dowlin is pushing. "What's he hiding?" Hale wonders. "It's probably in response to my digging behind the scenes over LibraryExpress. He [Dowlin] has never articulated a coherent reason as to why it should go through ... or why the library should develop something so exclusionary."

By Jack Shafer, John Sullivan

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