Dog Bites

Ab Fab Babs
Nobody, as far as Dog Bites knows, has ever accused Barbara Kaufman of being self-effacing.

After all, this is the woman who, when sworn into office in 1996 as president of the Board of Supervisors, devoted so much time to talking about herself that she plumb forgot to introduce any of the other new members of the board, and adjourned the meeting.

And two years as president haven't done much to change our Babs.
Last week, as she served as board president for the last time -- Tom Ammiano won presidency this time around -- Kaufman's real estate developer husband, Ron, suddenly popped out of the audience. (This would be the same Ron Kaufman who, during the last election, sent out a letter to his commercial tenants urging them to vote against Ammiano.) Along with their son and daughter, Ron used this time in a public forum to award his wife a family proclamation honoring her tenure as board president.


Y2K: The Rudeness Bug?
When Dog Bites runs out of other things to fret about -- which, admittedly, doesn't happen too often -- we fret about Y2K. So this morning on our way to work we were pleased to see that Macy's annoying digital millennium clock on Union Square (only 300 more shopping days till global meltdown!) had frozen at 354 days, 88 hours, 86 minutes, and 38 seconds. That is, we were pleased, until we realized that the clock's breakdown could well have been caused by an early flare-up of the Y2K bug.

We called Macy's to try to find out how this premillennial crisis was being addressed, and after being put on hold by the press relations department for 12 minutes and finally having to hang up to go attend to something else, we tried calling Divisional Information.

We transcribe the conversation below, as an illustration of the perils faced daily by investigative reporters on the job:

Dog Bites: "Hi, I'm calling from SF Weekly with a question about your millennium clock. I can't get ahold of anyone in your press relations department. Is there someone in your offices I could speak to?"

Snippy Operator: "I really don't know who you would speak to if not the buyer in that department."

Dog Bites: "No, this is about that big clock outside? Over Stockton Street?"
Snippy Operator: "Oh, well excuse me if I didn't know that."
Dog Bites (not enough coffee yet): "I beg your pardon?"
Snippy Operator: (Snorts loudly.)
Dog Bites: "What is your name? You're extremely rude."
Snippy Operator: "My name is Molly -- and that's just your opinion."
Dog Bites: "Um, do you have some kind of a problem?"
Snippy Operator: "No, I don't have a problem. Do you have a problem?"

As told to Laurel Wellman

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

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