Heart of the City Archives

Pier 29: Angela Alioto wants to know if this was the end of the line for San Francisco voters.

Angela Alioto's Inferno (continued)


"My problem with the current board is they're not leaders. Tom Ammiano is not a leader." In her 1997 book she says Ammiano stood alone against the rubber stamp for whatever the party machine wanted. Now she says, "He's become the rubber stamp. There are a few Board members standing alone, but none of them are leaders and Tom Ammiano is not a leader. 

"He started to be then became arrogant. It immediately reminds me of Art Agnos. I'll never forget, before I decided to run against Agnos for mayor in 1991, I said 'Art, did we get the Sierra Club endorsement? Did we get this? Did we get that?' and he said, 'I don't need those people.' I'll never forget thinking, 'You're kidding me, right? You don't need people? Then who do you think you need?'" It was an arrogance that you can see now in Tom Ammiano. He doesn't take my calls and I don't have bitterness that it's directed at me. I have bitterness that it affects the coalitions that call me instead of him. I'm not in public life. You wouldn't know it." 

You certainly wouldn't know it if you attended the swearing in ceremony for the current Board of Supervisors last January. The biggest ovation from the standing room only crowd during recognition of honored guests was for Alioto. Why is that? "Because they call me and I'm there for them and I love being there for them. People know when you care and they know when you're being superficial. 

"I'm supposed to be this huge liberal, progressive but I've never been in favor of district elections. I'm fundamentally for what's fair. What's fair is not liberal or conservative. I've always been for the Boston method of five district and six citywide supervisors or vise versa. I, Angela, could never represent just a district to the detriment of another district. It's terrible."

Alioto says mutual disrespect contributes to a struggle for the current board to rise above the level of fiefdoms that fight against each other at the expense of the City at large. Infighting, she says, is worse than ever, even in a City with a long history of infighting. "I've never seen anything like this. There's no respect. I was on the board when Richard Hongisto and Wendy Nelder were there and they hated each other but they never treated each other this way. Likewise Terrence Hallinanan and Bill Maher. They would say a couple of terse words, but the way this board treats even Gavin Newsom, who I don't think is a leader either, is totally disrespectful. They call each other name like a-hole and stuff. I would be so stunned by this disrespect and for them it's run-of-the-mill. When Chris Daly made his speech about "there's no love in here" I knew exactly what he meant, exactly. I like Chris, even though I get the feeling that he's kind of wandering."

She predicts that the next mayor's race, in 2003, (if she decides to run) will come down to herself, Ammiano, Supervisor Gavin Newsom, and Police Chief Fred Lau. Ammiano, whose stunning write-in campaign took him to the run off in 1999, is a favorite according to local pundits, as is Newsom. "It'll be ugly," says Alioto. 


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