Man J. Kim, Supervisor Aaron
Peskin, former Supervisor Rev. Amos Brown, and Mayor Gavin Newsom form
a four-way ribbon cutting team at Sears
Breakfast gold in the City of happy returns
you hadn't heard, we have mastered maudlin civic pride as a
sport in this great old town that still insists on masquerading as a
city. I'm not talking about the return of the Vaillancourt Fountain
earlier this month, though that was a banner day.
Sears Fine Food, which closed last winter after 65 years, came back
with a fabulous pancake banquet for the community of Union Square merchants
last week. The restaurant under new owner Man J. Kim is not the wizened
Sears of recent years. That restaurant seemed heavy from rivers of syrup
and the weight of its owner's financial problems.
Kim's Sears has been remodeled beautifully and the food is as good as
ever. Of course, what would maudlin civic pride be without the purists
who will surely find a reason to complain? They'll say the menu has
changed. They'll cry foul. "That's not the same typeface on the welcome
mat!" I'll remind them that the original location was up the street
at 529 Powell. For most of us, last year's Sears was already a second
Sears joins a list of nearly-lost institutions that have died and been
buried and mourned only to rise again. The Washington Square Bar & Grill,
Clown Alley, Purple Onion, House of Shields, Hotel Utah, and the soon-to-open
Trader Vic's all come to mind.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin remembered some of them in his congratulatory
remarks at Sears. If only for Peskin and Mayor Gavin Newsom, ribbon
cutting should be an Olympic event. My score: Ribbon 9; Scissors 8.7;
Newsom hung out for several minutes in the kitchen with dishwasher Willie
Sledge. Newsom had a part-time job washing dishes as a teenager. Sledge
is among 20 of the new restaurant's employees who are formerly homeless.
As a model of someone who got off the streets, Sledge is a hometown
hero. It is important to remember him each time we see how far we still
have to go as a City with a homeless crisis.
I can't wait to see those absurd pictures of Mayor Newsom and his wife
Kimberly Guilfoyle splayed on Ann Getty's throw rug in the glossy pages
of Harper's magazine. I must have the art director's name for the Wall
A shot of Newsom in a recent edition of Newsweek was also unflattering.
In it, Newsom strikes a pose in front of a couple of tourists who view
him through a telescope. You will say, "huh?" even after you have seen
it. (The irony is that these images may be completely unnecessary
for building Newsom's marquee value on the national stage. Seen in
action as mayor, Newsom looks like a leader. - HD)
The same day the Mayor and Ms. Newsom's glamour shots appeared in the
Chronicle I joined the not-at-all exclusive club of folks who have witnessed
a homeless man whip out his business and urinate at Fifth and Market.
"In front of God and everybody," my grandmother used to say. In this
case, everybody would be the scores of surrounding tourists who will
never come back to our city. There's a picture for you.
Judging by the response at home to the more shallow aspects of the Newsom's
national celebrity it is clear that Mr. and Ms. San Francisco aren't
going to stand for style alone and no substance. Spearheading gay marriage
won't be enough in the city of St. Francis. Here, those of us who got
married to our gay partners already had things like homes and livelihoods,
and hope in this world.
Daughter of the city Angela Alioto sends regards from Rome. She writes
via her new Blackberry that she is having the time of her life on a
quest for Fra Angelico and Gozzoli angels with granddaughter Chiara
Mia. So often Alioto seems like she's having the time of her life and
I think that's her secret to success. Memo to Angela: Get Gavin on your
Blackberry and send him to Fifth and Market.
My thanks to members of the San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club who
nominated my San Francisco-themed web site, MisterSF.com, for "Best
Web Site." The Pub Club presents its media excellence awards Sept. 8
at John's Grill. Mister SF is nominated with others including Alex Clemens'
Usual Suspects political site and Craigslist, whose founder Craig Newmark
is the Meryl Streep of such awards.
Hats off also to the eagle-eyed Googlers who noticed that former Chronicle
columnist Samantha Mohr isn't the only professional typist with internet
access at the Junior Paper.
Mohr was sacked from the paper a few weeks ago after her editors admitted
she had lifted material for her column from the net with no credit going
to the original sources. The Googlers noticed that a version of Mister
SF's firsthand account of a clash with California's Attorney General
Bill Lockyer over gay marriage appeared four days later under the banner
of a Chronicle gossip. (I pressed Lockyer into admitting that he
thinks gay marriage will be legal in the next decade and that he sincerely
hopes his legal action against them does not promote intolerance. -
With hoaxes like Ben Vanderford's beheading video and the John Kerry/Jane
Fonda photo making their way around the world, the press is overdue
to figure out how to deal with the internet. For online outlets themselves
it's time to take a stand for fair play, just as the Chronicle did in
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