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Best Political Transformation San Francisco 2005 -

Matt Gonzalez

Gonzalez & Leigh LLP, 332 Pine (at Sansome), 217-3200

A grooming-challenged deputy public defender known mostly for pissing off judges -- one whose previous stab at political office, a run for DA, barely registered with voters -- might have seemed a long shot to represent the Haight-Ashbury area on the S.F. Board of Supervisors. Soon after he took office in 2000, however, Matt Gonzalez made it hard to imagine the board without him. He also seemed an unlikely candidate for board president: The contest was supposed to be between leftish city-ordinance-memorizer Aaron Peskin and middle-of-the-roader Sophie Maxwell from Hunters Point. But Gonzalez looked like the inevitable choice once in the president's seat, too. He kept order with the weary sighs of someone who'd spent a lifetime commanding petty tribunals. Messiah of San Francisco's frustrated, utopian left seemed a bit of a stretch as well, before the 2003 mayoral campaign got under way. Once it did, though, there was something weirdly fated about the way he inspired thousands of passionate, dreadlocked vegans to walk precincts in the rain. Now comes another act of conceptual whiplash, as Gonzalez posits himself as a Financial District legal sharpie, forming a downtown law firm with his old Stanford roommate. Clearly, he'll prove a natural.

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