Davis and wife Sharon Davis at Union Square in San Francisco
shortly before his re-election in November 2002.
San Francisco dreams to outlast recall nightmare
by Hank Donat
In case you thought
you had fallen asleep at the movies, I also woke up this morning
in a country where George W. Bush is president, in a state where Arnold
Shwarzenegger is the governor-elect.
The day after the election, Shwarzenegger said in an afternoon press
conference that he won't be making any movies for a while. Finally,
there was a silver lining.
The other bright side to the day was the day itself. San Francisco is
as always a vision in the clear October light. That's just one of the
things they can't take away from you, even if the nuts have taken over
Likewise, and at least for now, no matter what else happens in Sacramento
or Washington you can still get free pancakes with breakfast at Tappe's
Sutter Street Bar & Grill.
In San Francisco you can still run into your ex-roommate's ex or one
of your own if you're minding your own business at Frederickson's Hardware
on Fillmore Street or on BART.
You can still get the world's best Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe.
Celebrity bartender Frank Siletti recently demonstrated his winning
entry in the 2003 World Irish Coffee Championship. Frank's brew, which
is actually ten Irish Coffees, is mixed and poured in glasses made into
a model of the Golden Gate Bridge. The demonstration is a difficult-to-describe
piece of performance art that had more than a few locals holding back
Tony Bennett will always leave his heart in San Francisco. That's another
thing you can count on.
Three 30s will come before a 45 at the Stockton Tunnel, especially if
you're late but not if you're waiting for a 30.
"Quintronic Embezzelments" protestor Frank Chu and the shouter sometimes
called Danny the Reagan hater in front of the Hyatt Regency are two
people I like to take for granted in a city with enough characters for
a dozen cities twice its size.
Tom Ammiano will tell his "Dianne Feinstein Planet of the Apes hairdo"
joke the next time he gets on a comedy stage, and the time after that,
too. You can count on that.
Just when you think you can't be outraged any further by bad driving,
someone will cut in turn at the intersection at Noe and 24th, just like
that tiny person in that big SUV did last weekend.
You can still conjure the timeless atmosphere of Florence, Italy with
an Illy Caffe cappuccino at Powell and O'Farrell if you take it next
door to the Via Florence Hotel and sit in front of the fantastic mural
of the Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo.
Kids coming out of the zoo on Sloat Blvd. will still squeal over the
sight of the Doggie Diner head, especially if it's sticking out of the
Political message boards are still going to be angry.
San Francisco is still going to be a haven for the loners and hucksters
and passive-aggressives that show up in our lives.
We'll continue to welcome every new San Franciscan with a dream of something
wonderful that's just about to happen to them. You know they're here
They'll keep coming for their own slice of what Armistead Maupin, Dashiell
Hammett, Jack Kerouac, Jerry Garcia, or Maragret Cho promised them.
After just one bite of this pie you can be mighty real, lost in the
fog, a whole new woman or man, man.
San Francisco is the kind of city that makes you feel like the star
of a fabulous party. It is a cinema city, where people from all walks
of life walk the same sidewalks.
Each city block is a tile in a vast mosaic. We meet along the grout,
in the intersections that hold the mosaic together. Here, there are
fewer degrees of separation between Matt Gonzalez and Danielle Steel
than meet the eye. (She has 28 parking spaces; he has no car.)
In the 1960s, former madam Sally Stanford ran for Sausalito city council
by telling voters she would "Keep Sausalito Sausalito." Sally, who also
said, "Sinners never give up," was one of the people who made San Francisco
Walter Jebe is also one of those who make San Francisco San Francisco.
He ran Jebe's Camera Shop on Mission Street in the Excelsior for 48
Excelsior neighbor Rebecca Silverberg tells me there was once a soft
drink business, the Excelsior Bottling Company, on Edinburgh Street.
The company label was an 18th Century woman stepping gingerly out of
the basket of a hot air balloon while showing only the appropriate amount
Memories are San Francisco's most venerable institution. They are older
than Swenson's Ice Cream and Levi's combined.
My own memories of San Francisco are written along a straight line that
connects every gaffe or accident that led me here twenty years ago and
has kept me here in spite of all my faults.
This line connects all of these disparate things I've mentioned. It's
what connects a San Franciscan to a neighbor across town.
It's what will keep the city the city in a state where Arnold Swarzenegger
is the governor.
to MisterSF.com. Please visit the site often to keep in
with San Francisco, for your own amusement, and to use the Local
Joints section as a portal for independent businesses. Keep your
in the neighborhoods... Watch this space for observations, interviews
more from around town. All other sections of MisterSF.com are also
continually, so come back and watch us grow!