By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
On Oct. 3, the San Francisco Bay Guardian published its endorsements for the Nov. 6 election. Every election cycle, year after year, the Guardian's owner, Bruce B. Brugmann, has blessed his current favorites and damned his many enemies. His explanations are long, full of moral outrage and self-reference, and are marvels of illogic. Despite all the verbiage, there are a few important facts Brugmann manages to leave out. As a public service -- this year only -- SF Weeklyread most of the Guardian's endorsements so that no one else has to. We also added a few details about each endorsement that the Guardian won't tell you.
What it says:The Guardian endorses Neil Eisenberg, even though the first half of its endorsement is a list of the candidate's many imperfections -- he's a longtime backer of conservative causes and politicians; he doesn't support "progressive" (i.e., Brugmann-approved) land-use issues; he "clashes" with neighborhood groups and affordable-housing activists, etc.; he's really a pretty rotten fellow. In fact, the Guardian backpedals and suggests voting for Steve Williams, who "has an impressive résumé," likes neighborhood groups, hates (the Brugmann-hated) developers, and believes (mistakenly, like Brugmann) that San Francisco is not enforcing the Raker Act. "We like Steve Williams just fine," says the Guardian, "but on this one our endorsement goes to Eisenberg."
What it doesn't say: So why is the paper supporting Eisenberg? Because he has been one of the main supporters of the Municipal Utility District item on the ballot, upon which Brugmann has lavished $100,000 in cash and free advertising. We asked Eisenberg why the Guardian's "endorsement" seemed so backhanded. He answered, "I try to be objective and fair, and that sits differently with different people. You can't make everybody love you."
What it says:Vote for Susan Leal, even though she "was never our first choice for this job. ... She's a pro-downtown vote with somewhat moderate views on social policy. ... She's fundamentally lacking in leadership ... missing in action ... a friend of big business and a loyal ally of the Brown machine." But her only opponent, Carlos Petroni, "hasn't shown us that he has the management skills, political savvy, or financial experience. ... So we'll hold our noses and go with Leal."
What it doesn't say:Petroni is a rival "progressive" who publishes his own alternative newspaper, San Francisco Frontlines. Petroni and Brugmann periodically flame at each other in e-mail debates that they broadcast all over the Internet. Petroni has said in public that he believes Brugmann is an agent provocateur masquerading as an enemy of PG&E so that no real opposition to the energy company can emerge.
What it says:The Guardianlikes a city housing inspector named Ron Dicks over Sierra Club energy specialist Dan Kalb, in part because Dicks is "committed to an immediate takeover of PG&E's facilities."
What it doesn't say:"Immediate takeover," meaning the day after the election, before a feasibility study can be done that might show eminent domain to be unwise. Dicks also believes the MUD could make a "sizable" profit. (How do you make a profit? You raise electricity rates.)
What it says:The paper supports Joe Alioto Veronese, son of Angela Alioto, who is "clearly Veronese's chief advisor, which gives us a certain amount of confidence."
What it doesn't say:Angela Alioto is also the free lawyer for the Guardian's MUD campaign committee, and if the Guardianhadn't endorsed Joe, Angela would have gone off on Brugmann like an unmedicated Soprano.
What it says:Joel Ventresca gets the Guardian's vote because of his financial experience and because he says the city should go into debt to buy the Potrero and Hunters Point power plants for about $500 million and shut them down.
What it doesn't say: Taking that half-billion-dollar hit to the MUD's bottom line would, without doubt, send electricity rates soaring. Thank God Ventresca lost the race for city treasurer four years ago.
What it says:Brugmann is going with Robin David, a retired PG&E worker who wants to immediately take over all the power plants in San Francisco.
What it doesn't say:Even the Guardianis annoyed by MUD candidate Medea Benjamin's publicity-seeking antics.
What it says:Cast your ballot for Garett Jenkins, "a Tenderloin activist" who would "quickly" take over the PG&E plants and shut them down.
What it says between the lines:The only thing Jenkins has going for him is that he's not his opponent, Bob Boileau, even though the Guardianadmits that Boileau "is articulate, is well versed on the issues, and has considerable experience in hardball negotiating." But Boileau "and his union have been tight in the past with [Mayor Willie] Brown," whom Brugmann hates, even though he endorsed Brown for mayor in 1995, because he hated Brown's opponent, Frank Jordan, more.
Municipal Utility District
What it says:Vote "yes, yes, yes" "to quickly and decisively take over" PG&E and end "its corrupting influence on City Hall." Because you see, PG&E is responsible for everything, and we mean every-fucking-thing, that has gone wrong in San Francisco since 1967, when the Bay Guardiantook 'em on, dammit.