"I wouldn't be surprised if some whites say, 'If the blacks are going to stand together, so are we,' " Binder says. Standing together for whites, of course, would most likely translate into votes peeling off to Jordan, the Ultimate White Guy. Couple Binder's analysis with the dozens of hate calls the Brown campaign has received in the wake of the non-guilty verdict and San Francisco could be in for a bumpy mayor's race.
Belly Up to the Bar
History never repeats itself -- exactly. And District Attorney Arlo Smith is surely comforting himself with that thought after his abysmal performance in last week's Bar Association plebiscite. The upset -- Smith came in last with 19 percent of the vote -- need not remind him that when he first ran for office, beating then-DA Joe Freitas in 1979, it was Freitas' pitiful Bar Association showing that foretold his demise.
But others are drawing parallels. "This guy is going down," predicts Peter Keane, deputy public defender. "He struck an iceberg. He may have the orchestra on the deck playing 'Nearer My God to Thee.' But he's sprung a big ol' leak."
Smith's campaign is downplaying the Bar Association debacle, saying that the top vote-getter, former assistant DA Bill Fazio, lied his way into the hearts and minds of 55 percent of voting Bar Association members. On his resume, Fazio says he headed the DA's narcotics unit in 1979, that he established the DA's Domestic Violence Unit, and that the office has no Hate Crimes Unit -- all lies, Arlo Smith says.
"By submitting a false resume, Fazio has demonstrated that he doesn't have the character to do the job," Smith says in a press release. Fazio shoots back: "Arlo is a desperate man. He is wasting his time on this stuff."
Fazio, whom Smith fired when Fazio announced that he was running, says all his claims are true: "I told him to set up that Domestic Violence Unit. ... I was a snot-nosed punk DA, and I told him to do it." Fazio has documentation to show he was indeed head of the narc team and that the office lacks a hate crimes unit. Well, it's nice to know the DA's race is generating some high-level debate.
God Is a Co-Pilot
Mathew Atkins, deity, has a small confession to make. Something about a cab ride back from a North Beach blues bar, a petition, a signature, it was late, there had been alcohol at one point or another in the evening, and, anyway, the ballot should be -- OK, OK. He's not God, after all. OK?
Contrary, that is, to what it says on Page 21 of your San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlet, that green-and-white tome appearing in mailboxes around town this week. Right there, under the list of sponsors for mayoral candidate Ellis Leonard Anthony "By God, let us take back our government of course and turn it around" Keyes, Atkins appears, with his occupation: Deity.
"I was in a cab ride and I was a little inebriated at the time," Atkins says. "Probably because I was drunk and just joking, I put deity.
"I actually would hope this guy doesn't get elected given that I don't know much about him, but I think the ballot should be open to everyone," he says.
And what deity, exactly, would Atkins be, if he were one?
"Honestly? Passion," he says. "The god of passion."
By George Cothran, Ellen McGarrahan