Rich Conspiracy

Unless there's been a Newsom/Getty/bin Laden/Bush plot of some kind, how could voters support Care Not Cash?

When not misleading voters about their measure's effects, Newsom's caring troops have directed their disingenuousness resources toward a competing ballot measure sponsored by Board President Tom Ammiano. The measure identifies funding sources such as the Redevelopment Agency, the Jobs-Housing Linkage Program Ordinance, and the city's Residential Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program to be used in developing 1,000 apartments for people currently on the streets. Despite this clear delineation of financing sources, Newsom's troops speciously claim Ammiano's measure is unfunded.

Unlike Newsom's, Ammiano's proposal lists specific requirements for increasing the types of drug treatment and housing facilities known to help people get back on their feet. Yet Newsom's supporters claim their measure would be better at curing addicts, though it offers no guarantees of bolstered drugs programs.

They say Ammiano's measure is politically motivated, somehow overlooking the fact that the board president's record of defending the downtrodden hardly needs burnishing. They've called Ammiano's measure last-minute and reactionary, apparently ignoring the sensible among us who are relieved that at least one civic leader has acted to blunt the possible bad effects of Newsom's measure.

San Franciscans aren't ordinarily chumps. And they aren't typically mean. Yet a July poll showed Newsom's measure with 74 percent support. Clearly, forces from beyond the San Francisco Bay are at work. That's where the international conspiracy comes in.

- In 1979 George W. Bush obtained $50,000 from James Bath, sole U.S. business representative for Osama bin Laden's brother, Salem bin Laden, head of the wealthy Saudi family. It has long been suspected, but never proven, that the money, invested in Bush's oil company, Arbusto, came directly from Salem bin Laden.

- In 1984, following one of the most contentious corporate takeover battles in history, San Francisco oil scion Gordon Getty, who held sway over the majority of shares in Getty Oil, reneged on an agreement to sell the company to Pennzoil, selling instead to Texaco.

- At about the same time, or perhaps just before he was orchestrating the sale to Texaco, Gordon Getty penned an opera inspired by Shakespeare's Falstaff, performed by the San Francisco Symphony in 1985. Getty named the opera Plump Jack.

- The year after Plump Jack premiered, Arbusto emerged as another Bush-related firm, Harken Energy Corp., and when Harken ran into trouble in 1987, Saudi Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh bought a 17.6 percent stake in the company. Bakhsh's banker in Saudi Arabia just happened to be Khalid bin Mahfouz, who has widely been reported to have given millions to terrorist front organizations.

- That same year, Bush's Harken Energy acquired Aloha Petroleum, a chain of 40 gas stations in Hawaii, from -- who else? -- Getty Oil. Texaco, plump with its Getty Oil acquisition, would later join with the bin Laden-linked Mahfouz family, through Nimir Petroleum, to develop oil fields in Kazakhstan.

- In 1989 a group of Harken executives created a Harken-financed shell company to buy Aloha Petroleum, founded when Gordon Getty's father, J. Paul Getty, installed Hawaii's first gas pumps. This fraudulent transaction, described by analysts as identical to Enron's off-balance-sheet scams, allowed Harken to obscure $7.9 million in losses, providing time for George W. Bush to sell his own Harken shares, then use the ill-gotten money to become a political and financial player in Texas.

- In 1992 Gordon Getty backed his 25-year-old son Billy, along with Billy's older boyhood friend/chaperone Gavin Newsom, to open a wine store in Cow Hollow. Getty and Newsom named the store "PlumpJack." The Gettys, with Newsom as their front, then opened two upscale restaurants; a Napa Valley winery; a resort, restaurant, and wine store at Lake Tahoe; and a South of Market loft project, with restaurants planned for Los Angeles and London.

- In 1997 Ann and Gordon Getty used $2.3 million in Getty Oil/bin Laden/Aloha/ Texaco money to buy the Clinton Reilly Building at 704 Sansome St. for use as a base of operations for Gavin Newsom. The building was considered a "class B" office building, according to a story in the San Francisco Business Times. But at $230 per square foot, the Gettys paid Reilly a higher price than even the ritziest of downtown "class A" office towers. Reilly, a powerful political consultant and former Svengali to Mayor Frank Jordan, went on to orchestrate a wave of political upsets in the 2000 Board of Supervisors elections. It remains unclear whether Reilly continues to owe the Gettys political favors as a result of the 1997 deal.

- In 2002 Newsom emerges as an early front-runner in the 2003 San Francisco mayor's race. That year pricey billboards pop up around town touting Newsom's Care Not Cash ballot initiative. Hundreds of wealthy Marina District scions gather at Care Not Cash rallies. They hold political-canvassing parties.

- Mysteriously, S.F. voters seem fond of the measure. Odder still, they seem poised to boost Newsom/Getty/bin Laden/Bush into the office of mayor of San Francisco.

Mere coincidence? You decide.

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