Heart of the City Archives

Can't help falling in like with you
by Hank Donat

Praising the nomination of her niece Michela Alioto to the Port Commission by Mayor Willie Brown, Angela Alioto says, "It's a good first step in bringing integrity back to City Hall." 

Then in her usual provocateur/warrior fashion Alioto quips, "The mayor wanted a name that stands for honesty and integrity - mine." 

Clarifying remarks he made at a recent fundraiser for Alioto's campaign for mayor, Supervisor Tony Hall wants you to know he hasn't endorsed anyone yet despite his profuse praise for Alioto. 

True, Hall never said "endorse" in his original remarks. That's the "E" word in a political campaign and something on the level of the "L" word in relationships. Don't say it unless you really mean it, otherwise you're considered a cad and rightly so. 

Hall is clearly in like with Alioto. "Angela's a friend," says Hall, "but I'm waiting to see which candidate is the most truthful with voters about the road ahead for San Francisco. If someone doesn't surface, I'll jump in."

Alioto says, "Tony has made it clear he's upset with the status quo, as are the rest of us. I welcome his support and I would welcome him in the race."

Elsewhere on the campaign trail: Treasurer Susan Leal was on a roll at the Pacific Heights home of Priscilla Geeslin, where woman leaders in business, government, and non-profits stood up to express their support. 

Among those using the "E" word for Leal were ACT Director Carey Perloff, San Francisco Bar Assoc. President Angela Broadstreet, and San Francisco Family Violence Prevention Fund founder Esta Soler.

Similarly, Supervisor Gavin Newsom rocked the Presidio at a formal bash at the home of Michael Acabado. Up to 300 people came out to support Newsom.

A few rats I know confided they had attended only to see Acabado's house, which happens to be the former General's Mansion. 

Hidden agendas are not unusual for even the most casual campaign reception-goer. Or, as Tom Ammiano once said at the kickoff party for a former mayor's failed re-election bid, "Love your brie, hate your politics." Finally, a man who's not afraid to use the "L" word.

Onward and downward: Filmmaker Judy Irving's documentary "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" is almost finished. Sadly, Irving reports the passing of composer Chris Michie, whose music score she says transformed the film with its grace and beauty. 

When Michie, 55, died from melanoma on March 27, he had completed all but one music sequence for the film. In February, Michie was able to attend a screening of Irving's work-in-progress at Industrial Light & Magic in Marin. 

The composer's individual music style, talent, and creativity are all irreplaceable says Irving, who will dedicate the film to Michie. The documentary about San Francisco's magical flock of wild cherry-headed conures and their caretaker, Mark Bittner, is on track for release later this year.

Bits & Pieces: Julie's Supper Club celebrates 16 years in business at 1123 Folsom Street with "Sweet 16" menu items that each cost, you guessed it, $16.

Jayson Wechter's Great San Francisco Treasure Hunt is a game of urban exploration and discovery on the streets of SoMa, Chinatown, the Embarcadero and the Financial District. In June, hundreds of would-be gumshoes will solve clues provided by Wechter, creator of the popular annual Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt. www.sftreasurehunts.com

St. John's Elementary School in Glen Park has received the 2003 "Catholic Schools for Tomorrow Award For Innovation in Technology." The National Catholic Educational Association recognized 12 schools nationwide for achievement in bringing technology into the classroom. 

St. John's offers students a wireless environment with lap top computers. What's most impressive is that the program is run by students. Congrats!

Shack Attack: Woody LaBounty is a Mr. San Francisco in the Sunset and one of that neighborhood's best friends. 

His Western Neighborhoods Project took the lead in an effort to preserve four earthquake refugee shacks at 4329-4231 Kirkham Street. 

The shacks were among more than 5,000 hauled from refugee camps for $100 each following the rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

The owners of the lot where the shacks sit intend to sell the property. The dilapidated remains of the two cottages into which the shacks were fashioned will be demolished if a new location isn't found. 

LaBounty says the shacks are artifacts of our history regardless of whether they're eligible for any historic or landmark status. 

He would like to see the shacks moved, restored, and displayed for the public. "They represent more than just an old building," LaBounty says, "They represent how San Francisco rallied to support its homeless population. That's more relevant now than ever."

Last month the Presidio Trust turned down a Western Neighborhoods Project proposal to move the structures to the Presidio, which already has two original refugee shacks of its own. 

Visit the web site of the Western Neighborhoods Project (outsidelands.org) to find out how you can support the effort to save these artifacts of the 1906 earthquake and fire. 

Words, like time, pass too quickly. I'll be back in two weeks. Until then, I'll see you in the heart of the city. 

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Copyright 2003 Hank Donat
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