Heart of the City Archives

Automaton, J. Goldsmith Antiques, 1924 Polk Street.
Who Wants to Marry Joe Supervisor?
by Hank Donat

Here in the city of no seasons but several and 17 reasons but none, it makes perfect sense that two people who have been running for mayor for months launched their campaigns with "kickoff" events last week.

The stark demographic differences among the crowds addressed by Angela Alioto and Tom Ammiano, and by Gavin Newsom at his Green Room reception last month, reveal a city that's as splintered as it is diverse. 

Turn to Samson Wong's Political Notebook for the campaign skinny after absorbing the following diverse and splintered observations on a week in the life of my favorite city and yours.

At Taylor and Jackson streets a cable car trundles along, a familiar sight on this hill. "No Passengers" blares a bright red sign on car #60. "A brand new car!" the grip operator calls out to me as a strong odor of fresh paint wafts in the wake of the car and its ebullient grip.

Who wants to marry Joe Supervisor? It's not the latest reality TV series, but architect Paul Loeffler has been asking that question around town lately. Loeffler's pal Bevan Dufty got a surprise heave-ho from his longtime partner David Peckman on the night of the run-off election that put Dufty in the District 8 supes office.

Since then Dufty has referred to himself as "single and bitter," but the role doesn't suit the clown prince of the Castro and Loeffler wants to find a match for Joe Supervisor. Interested parties can contact me via my web site. I'll pass all info along to Loeffler, the Dolly Levi of Cole Valley.

If there's a true soul-match, it would be great to see Mayor Willie Brown officiate at a domestic partners ceremony with Dufty live on KTVU's "Morning's on 2." I will arm wrestle Loeffler and Mark Pitta for best man.

Unclear on the Concept Dept.: A public service billboard at Fillmore and Pine declares, "An unplanned pregnancy is not in my plans," because pregnancy is predictably unpredictable.

The cultural blood letting continues. J. Goldsmith Antiques, which specializes in antique toys and vintage Christmas decorations, will close after 35 years at Polk and Jackson. Owner Judy Carrasco is ready to retire. The beloved automatonic girl who waves hello from the store's window will wave good-bye in May.

It's wonderful to see that San Francisco's days as a small-town city haven't ended with the rise of our bloated downtown skyline. From the windows of MUNI busses while running the business of a usual life in this most unusual place, a San Franciscan can find a sea of familiar faces on any given Tuesday. 

These are the everyday star sightings of everyday San Franciscans: Peggy Powell, one of the last Finocchio's dancers, trudging up Leavenworth near Cup-a-Joe on Sutter; Kevin Samuels on Union Street doing his trademark walking tai-chi on his way to work at the Ritz Carlton; MUNI icon Robert Parks walking briskly down Stockton Street in Chinatown; Sue Bierman leaving the Castro Theatre; decorator Rick Booth in front of SFMOMA; jazzman Tim Hockenberry at Tully's on Polk; John Lee Hudson, who looks more like a rocker than the captain of industry his ACQUIRE license plate reveals him to be, climbing into his Excalibur at Divisadero and Bush; and Lynne Newton disappearing from view down the steps at Montgomery BART. Lynne is a Massachusetts native but she's from neither Lynn nor Newton. Lynne Newton hails from Worcester.

On the occasion of Angela Alioto officially entering her third mayor's race, North Beach denizen Edwin Heaven observes that like his invention THROX - socks sold in threes - when you lose two you've still got one to go. 

Heaven invented THROX as a solution to sock eating dryers, a menace far worse than kite eating trees. Now if he could only invent a car horn that makes a traffic light change faster he'd really have something

Mayor Brown dismissed all of Newsom's opponants' chances of beating the District 2 Supervisor in November, but Heaven of North Beach cautions against anybody counting chickens, "Newsom has the Gettys, but he doesn't have the Ferlinghettis!"

My pal, adman and author Jef Loeb, remembers hearing the late Mayor Joe Alioto speak at UC Davis when Alioto was stumping for governor in 1974. 

Loeb says, "A young man in the audience asked, 'How can you justify running for governor as an environmentalist when you approved the Transamerica Pyramid - one of the least energy efficient commercial buildings in history?'

"After a beat, Alioto - who spoke with his hands outstretched as if he were trying to embrace the audience - responded, 'Perhaps true. But if you have any romance in your soul, watch the moon rise over that building sometime and you'll know why we did it.'" Bravo, Mayor Joe, bravo! 

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Copyright 2003 Hank Donat
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