Jeff Adachi for mayor!

In his February Chronicle editorial, Adachi warned of pension overload, and testified in favor of a pension reform measure backed by Supervisor Sean Elsbernd. "We're spending 28 times more on pensions and health-care costs for city employees than we are to fix our streets," he said during a recent interview. "This is the first year in San Francisco history that we have no summer school for kids. When we consider the fact we spend one out of every five dollars on pension and health-care costs, it simply makes sense to make it sustainable."

That began what's beginning to look like a real political fight. Already, San Francisco Labor Council executive director Tim Paulson has been quoted as saying, "It's Adachi's singular decision to act like [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Meg Whitman and unilaterally attack gardeners, nurses, firefighters, and the lowest-paid workers." Newsom, meanwhile, reportedly blasted Adachi for not consulting him first.

And local lefty wags sympathetic to public employees have been cobbling a counter-argument that looks something like this: It's fat-cat financiers, not lowly government employees, who caused our economic debacle. Yet Adachi is accepting money from billionaires so he can stick it to the little people.

This point is augmented by the fact that $245,000 of the measure's $314,295 in campaign donations came from venture capitalist Michael Moritz and his wife, Harriet Heyman. Another $10,000 came from Ron Conway, known during the 1990s as "The Godfather of Silicon Valley." Another $10,000 came from former money manager David Crane, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's policy director.

But by tapping the Bay Area's community of Democratic technology investors, Adachi has created more of a bonus than an onus for his campaign. Silicon Valley libertarians are known for backing candidates and causes they believe will bring efficiency and creativity to government, involvement spanning the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Barack Obama.

Adachi has so far built a ground operation of 150 volunteers and paid workers. And he told me that, once the pension reform measure passes, he'd like to begin speaking out about other ways San Francisco government doesn't function the way it should.

"There are so many things that people aren't aware of that go on behind the scenes, that has a profound effect on the quality of life, and this problem with the pensions is a part of that," he says. "If you aren't going to address them, there are consequences, and we look forward to bringing these issues to the public." He declined to specify what other problems he planned to bring up.

When I noted that using an insurgent political operation as a soapbox is a good way to get elected mayor, he again demurred.

That very well may not be a mayoral candidate I heard talking. But I'm hoping it was.

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