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Class Action 

A peek at the future of higher political education

Wednesday, Feb 5 2003
Given his history of selfless public service, Mayor Willie Brown's announcement that he is working to create an eponymous public policy center at the University of California, Berkeley shouldn't have surprised anyone. That he plans to raise $50 million to fund the center is equally unremarkable to anyone even tangentially aware of Brown's talents for persuasion and fund raising. Still, Brown's flair for the dramatic, the distinctive, the superlative -- the unique, even -- has raised an intriguing question: What would a Willie Brown public policy center teach that other such institutes cannot?

Thanks to a partial, preliminary course schedule that SF Weekly found in the back room at Tosca, the answer seems clear: More than you could possibly imagine.

Schedule for Fall Semester 2003

Note: Meeting times, locations, instructors may change due to election, lawsuit, indictment, polling, opposition research. Unless otherwise noted, all exams will be graded by the Democratic Central Committee.

Course No.: Pol. Sci. 666
Title: Race Card Monte
Professor: Warren Hinckle
Meets: Sat. 1-5 a.m.
Location: Floor of Double Play
Course Description: Advanced instruction in why white people not favored by Fang Chair Prof. of Racial Politics Hinckle should, for the good of society, be called out as racist sometimes. Course includes basics of ad hominem attacks, bloated reminiscence, name-calling, bar dice.

Course No.: Psych. 303
Title: Converting Political Enemies into Allies
Professors: Joe O'Donoghue, Chris Daly
Location: A vacant live-work loft in SOMA
Meets: When we're goddamn ready.
Course Description: Beginning/intermediate/ advanced bluster; feigned Nixonian insanity; finding the love; thugs who vote; the ABCDs of retail electioneering; debating the mentally ill.

Course No: Journ. 123
Title: Strategic Ventriloquism
Professor: Phil Matier, Andrew Ross
Meets: Daily 9-9:08 a.m.
Location: MWF City Hall; T-Th 5th & Mission
Course Description: Seemingly endless series of short facile presentations. Sample topics: blind sourcing that works; marionette technique; reading the mayoral mind; comic disembowelment; Jack Davis -- local or national treasure?

Course No.: Biotech. 111
Title: Scientific Innovations in Class Warfare
Professor: Supervisor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Gavin Newsom, U.S. Rep. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senator Gavin Newsom, President Gavin Newsom
Meets: MWF 10-12
Location: J. Paul Getty Memorial Biohazard Level 4 Laboratory, UCSF
Course Description: A series of seminars on Newsom-related research in biotechnology. Subjects include: Cloning -- The Future of Reinventing Government?; Genetic Roots of Political Hairstyling; The Unfortunate Barbara Kaufman Experiment; Gene Splicing and the Homeless: Coddling or Cure?

Course No.: Gov. 1+3=8
Title: Working from Home
Professor: Tammy Haygood
Meets: Whenever
Location: (Distance learning course)
Course Description: Random angry comments on: tidal currents of San Francisco Bay; health care reform and the significant other; why experience is subjective; 5,000,000 reasons to say "racism." (Note: Guest appearance by Prof. Hinckle.)

Course No.: Either Eng. 301. Or Eng. 402. Or maybe Lit. 243.
Title: Leadership by Dithering (subject to change)
Professor: Tom Ammiano
Meets: T-Th 2-4, unless Migden announces; if Migden announces, class cancelled
Location: City Hall steps, or somewhere in the Castro. Or TBA.
Course Description: Intense, repetitive study of Hamlet of Denmark as model for effective political leadership. Proof of progressive certification required for entry to all classes except Nov. 4.

Course No.: Econ. 10000000000000000
Title: Financial Billiards
Professors: Feinstein, Hellman, Pelosi, Shorenstein, Boxer, Tsakapoulos, Davis, Blum, Burton, Migden, Prof. Emeritus Brown
Meets: Every night, seemingly
Location: Various cloakrooms, drawing rooms, back rooms in San Francisco, Sacramento, Washington, D.C.
Course Description: A series of round-table discussions on political fungibility, cross-funding strategies, zero-investment public/private partnerships, advanced back-scratching, and local, regional, state, and national log-rolling. Case studies include: Why CalPERS Belongs to Us; Making Indian Gaming Pay; Extending BART to Washington, D.C.; Campaign Finance Reform -- Treason or Evil?; Intermediate Pay to Play.

Course No.: Pol. Sci. 001
Title: Winning for Losing
Professors: Bruce Brugmann, Tim Redmond
Meets: Daily for weeks (maybe months) after November election
Location: Slo Club
Course Description: Detailed instruction in whining, blaming, denial, and why a progressive loss is always a win. Prerequisites: Public Power 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 218, 349, 557. Guest lecturer: Eileen Hansen.

Course No.: Humanities 808
Title: Family Values, Friendship, and Democracy
Professors: Emilio Cruz, Kimiko Burton, Paul Horcher, Billy Rutland (others TBA)
Meets: Now and again. And again.
Location: Here, there, everywhere
Course Description: Family values and lifelong friendships have transformed Bay Area politics and governance into a model of effectiveness emulated around the world. Leaders of the local family-and-friends movement explain its roots and accomplishments, tracking its success from San Francisco to Texas and then on to Nigeria, Iraq, Cuba, Haiti, Argentina, North Korea, and beyond.

About The Author

John Mecklin


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