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Thursday, December 24, 2009

S.F. Babylon: A Decade of Hypocrisy, Scandal, and Weirdness Pt. 2

Posted By on Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Over the past decade, we have often felt as though we might be living in an adult playground run by a feisty bunch of hypocrites, philanderers, and drunk-dialers. This, we have to admit, makes San Francisco a pretty exciting city in which to gather the news. Narrowing down the top 10 (okay, it's really 11 -- we couldn't resist) San Francisco SNAFUs of the decade was no easy task, but we did it. Today, we offer you part two of our list, in descending order of absurdity.

5. Migden's Wild Ride

Throughout her political career, state Sen. Carole Migden was notorious for her bad temper. But on May 18, 2007, she became notorious for her bad driving. While driving her state-owned SUC that day, Migden went on what the press dubbed her "wild ride." Witnesses reported seeing her driving erratically on I-80, hitting a guardrail. Supposedly en route to Marin, Migden somehow ended up in Fairfield and rear-ended a sedan at a stop light. Someone at the scene said Migden then screamed, "I'm a senator." She wasn't for much longer.

click to enlarge Now with twice the misunderstood public figure!
  • Now with twice the misunderstood public figure!

4.5: Barry Bonds' "Hat Size"

We don't want to waste too much bandwidth on the well-covered topic of Bonds and steroids, but we do want to thank the Chron for forcing the mercurial Giants slugger to answer the question we were all asking: Were his balls smaller than they were in his rookie year?

4. The Fall of Kevin Shelley

In the early part of the decade, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley was a rising star in the Democratic Party. Then the former S.F. supervisor imploded. The Chronicle reported in 2004 that it appeared a taxpayer grant had been illegal diverted to Shelley's campaign two years earlier. The hits just kept coming after that: He allegedly used federal election funds for partisan purposes (like promoting the awesomeness of Kevin Shelley) and ex-aides kept surfacing to say what an asshole he was. While under investigation for a variety of alleged misdeeds, Shelley resigned in February 2005.

3. The Ed Jew Debacle

San Francisco voters didn't know much about Ed Jew when they made him supervisor in 2006. For crissakes, he was a Republican! When was the last time San Francisco elected a Republican? (Dianne Feinstein doesn't count.) Jew's darkhorse campaign was largely ignored until he somehow got elected (many blame the quirks of ranked-choice voting for his victory) and then proceeded to disgrace his public office, which is saying something in this town. Within months, he was accused of shaking down local businesses and not even living in San Francisco, let alone his district. After being convicted for extorting bribes, Jew's attorney blamed his client's bad behavior on a head injury sustained in childhood. City residents, however, couldn't blame brain damage for voting him into office in the first place.

2. Lie of the Tiger

Tatiana was a 243-pound Siberian tiger. Carlos Sousa Jr. was a 17-year-old kid visiting the San Francisco zoo with two friends. Both lost their lives on Dec. 25, 2007, when the tiger managed to escape its enclosure and attack. (After the tiger clawed the boys up and ripped Sousa's jugular, police shot it to death). Almost as soon as the word got out, a competing narrative emerged from the zoo, which had hired crisis communications specialist Sam Singer to help manage the media. The press began questioning the integrity of the victims and printing rumors that they might have been climbing on the wall or launching projectiles at the tiger with a slingshot. The teen boys weren't angels - they had Marijuana in their systems and vodka in their car - but that didn't change the fact that the tiger enclosure was four feet shorter than the AZA recommends. The zoo paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle the resulting civil suits.

click to enlarge Mayoral oversight
  • Mayoral oversight

1. Thought You Newsombody?

Not sure if this is part of some city ordinance, but it seems that when you are the mayor of San Francisco, you get to fuck anybody you want. Back in his first term, Gavin Newsom took as a lover his appointments secretary, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, who also happened to be the wife of Newsom's trusted campaign strategist, Alex Tourk. By the end of the sordid affair, both Newsom and Rippey-Tourk had checked their cuckolding selves into rehab. A few short months later, the people of San Francisco overwhelmingly voted Gavin Newsom back into the mayor's seat.

So that concludes our list of infamous moments from the past decade. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments section.

By Ashley Harrell and Will Harper

Read more in "S.F. Babylon Part 1."

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