Former mayoral candidate Chicken John Rinaldi has had time to reflect on his first failed political campaign (which means he's finally sobered up after his election night Losers' Ball at 12 Galaxies), and he's bitter about the media, the Ethics Commission, and the city's status quo politics.
But Rinaldi isn't so bitter that he isn't considering a run for the Board of Supervisors. In fact, the jokester showman sounds as if he's taking himself seriously. "I'm looking at all of my options and trying to decide if I can be of some value to my district," he says with the practiced coyness of a seasoned politician. "I haven't decided to take out papers yet."
Well, no, but if you look at the mayoral campaign mural on the side of his warehouse on Cesar Chavez Street, it has been modified to read "Chicken John Rinaldi for Supervisor."
Rinaldi is encouraged that the District 9 seat, currently held by the popular and termed-out Supervisor Tom Ammiano, will open up in 2008.
If Rinaldi decides to throw his funny-looking hat in the ring, he will be up against five candidates: Police Commissioner David Campos, Latin American business consultant Martin Ford, public school teacher Mark Sanchez, telecommunications tech Eric Storey, and Dolores Street Community Services executive director Eric Quezada. All have already taken out papers to run next November.
Rinaldi may be a more viable candidate now that he has a political track record. Before you scoff at the sound of "Supervisor Chicken," remember that Ammiano started out as a mediocre comedian. Rinaldi has shown he can collect a fair amount of money and win votes (with absentee ballots counted, he came in a weak sixth out of a field of 12). "The main thing I learned from my first campaign is that political change is possible, but it's much more difficult then you can ever imagine," he says. "And that has activated me."
Rinaldi's "activation" and the attention (a showman's lifeblood) he received as a mayoral candidate probably means that San Franciscans may once again see chicken on the ballot-box menu. That is, if he can overcome the bitterness over his treatment in the press. "The media sucks," he says. "It was impossible for me to get my message out. The media is calibrated to focus on one candidate [Newsom], and they wash his feet with their hair."