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Dog Bites 

The Return of the Insider

Wednesday, Dec 8 1999
We can't always be a "smartass," as correspondent Stark Raving Brad called us last week. It's tiring, and sometimes Dog Bites just wants some peace and quiet and a sunny patch of floor on which to read the ChronEx. This Sunday morning, though, just as we were settling in with a lengthy yet relaxingly text-light spread on autumnal flower arrangements by Zahid Sardar (and Zahid: It's Loropetalum with two o's), we were distracted by what turned out to be a long, weirdly slathering feature on Willie Brown, which made much of the mayor's credentials as a political outsider.


That must mean it's members of a different Brown political machine who are assiduously doing their parts to discredit Ammiano because he's gay. The Fang family-owned Asian Week ran an editorial cartoon depicting a Chinatown festooned with pro-Brown banners and Chinese lanterns; Tom Ammiano stands below, saying, "Look! What wonderful decorations! I should come here more often!"

The live-work loft-building Residential Builders Association, meanwhile, distributed fliers to west-side churches on Sunday bearing the heading, "The San Francisco Catholic community has been humiliated by a member of the Board of Supervisors. His name is Tom Ammiano and now he wants to be your mayor." Apart from objecting to Ammiano's support for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Easter parade through the Castro last year, the flier also claims Ammiano attacked the Catholic community over the domestic partner benefits issue. "The Catholic community should resoundingly reject Mr. Ammiano and his contempt for our traditions and beliefs," the flier concludes.

Ammiano supporters are nonplussed. "The mayor's resorting to homophobia in his attempts to woo -- uh, homophobes, I guess," says Belinda Griswold, Ammiano's media liaison.

The Return of Nestor Makhno
Driving home from work the other night we saw Christmas lights and thought, perversely, of Kevin Keating. Here it is, once again, the season in which commodity fetishism reigns supreme. "What could our Kevin be doing?" we wondered.

As it turned out, we didn't have to wonder long -- nor is he our Kevin any longer. Sniff! He's freelancing for the Examiner, where, in a recent op-ed piece titled "Electoral politics is a 'shell game;' don't bother to vote," he argues that those who want real change should help organize a citywide rent strike with the "modest goal of reducing all rents to 25 percent of their current rate."

Keating's latest contribution to the public dialogue has not passed unnoticed; frequent Dog Bites caller Lt. Bill Trask speculates that, after the Chron and Ex merge, Keating and Ken Garcia could share a column, Point Counterpoint-style. "It could be the Kenny and Kevvy show -- the knee-jerk Republican versus the knee-jerk Marxist," he suggests.

Whoa there! We know Kevin wouldn't be too happy with that description of his politics. Nevertheless, we were diverted by his complaints about the mayoral election. "Billionaires, millionaires and their servants in the media, legal and academic professions decide what the issues are and frame the terms of discussion," he writes -- which does strike us a surprisingly classical Marxist analysis coming from an avowed anarchist. We also note that the paper describes him as "Examiner contributor Kevin Keating," which we suppose makes him a fellow lackey of the oligarchy.

Kevin: Congratulations! It's nice work if you can get it! Pssst! Meet us in the alley behind the Bohemian Club next Tuesday at 2 a.m.; we'll have your badge and decoder ring ready.

The Return of Mallory Keaton
More complaints about the election come from the Mission Community Task Force Working Group Coalition's Mallory Keaton, who took a break from tallying San Francisco Residential Validity Applications to snipe that Brown "has been for sale like a Capp Street working girl for the past four years and now pretends to be a world-class, loved-by-all coalition-builder. 'Increase the peace,' he says, a state apparently achievable by bending over backwards to attend to big money and equally big parties with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of roses courtesy of Stanlee Gatti."

God, Mallory, could you be any bitchier? It's like that time we were at the gym and you said Dog Bites could, quote, "stop admiring your own butt in the mirrors any time now." And then you wondered why we didn't talk to you for three weeks. You have a negativity problem, OK?

Anyway, Mallory writes:

The Mission Community Task Force Working Group Coalition wishes to thank all those Dog Bites readers who have submitted their official San Francisco Residential Validity Applications. We are aware that the promised four weeks' response time has passed, but we are having intense intra-insular-political-organization debates about exactly how many people to get rid of.

We do know this: In 1990, according to the US Census Bureau, there were 723,959 residents of San Francisco, 47% of whom were white, 14% Hispanic, 11% African-American, and 28% Asian and Pacific Islander. Back then, only the most bizarre individuals were talking about "gentrification" here; rents were relatively low, and the housing stock was recovering from the earthquake. And not much new housing was being built, but no one could foresee the implications of that yet.

In 1997 (the latest year for which we found numbers), San Francisco's total population was 777,384. Forty-one percent of residents were white, 16% were Hispanic, 10% African-American, and 33% Asian and Pacific Islander. Puzzled at the apparent absence of the white invasion that has been fingered as the cause of all of San Francisco's problems, we attributed our confusion to the effects of cell-phone radiation and pressed on. We also found that by 1998, the year in which the call for a purge of the human stock of the city reached a tea-kettle wail, our total population was 789,600 -- a difference of 65,641 individuals. So maybe that's how many people we should work towards running out of town.

But even with the aforementioned overwhelming response, we haven't received nearly that many completed applications yet. And we don't want to kick everyone who submitted an application out of town just because we know who you are. Some of you really deserve to stay. Saving junkies' kittens from necrotizing fasciitis and training them to give out condoms in schools is really commendable. We even shared some of these touching and inspiring stories at the Bubble Lounge, the Application Review Committee's official meeting place. Not a dry eye.

So the MCTFWGC's work continues. We do acknowledge, however, that this waiting period leaves you all feeling cramped by your very own encroaching Them. And that each of you, whether you know it or not, is a part of someone else's Them. If everyone weren't busy watching stupid stuff on TV or meeting in coffee houses about Mumia (and what, really, are people doing waving Mumia banners at the WTO?) or running over pedestrians and bicyclists in their cars or going to San Francisco General to have their junk-shooting-caused abscesses treated (the number one reason for admissions to our hard-working public hospital), we might really have a problem on our hands.

Anyway, in order to alleviate this discomfort (and start the exodus) we would like to make two preliminary recommendations:

1) Look, the schools are really quite a mess here. If you have young kids or are going to have them, you should leave. If, with the current prosperity, the schools aren't getting more attention, they never will -- Mayor Brown's vote-getting bone-throw to arts funding notwithstanding.

2) All of you who threaten loudly to move to New York because you think it is cooler there, or because you think you will have a better chance of launching your artistic career there, or whatever: Just go. Now. Those of us who obligingly beg you to stay every time you start that again mean it less and less each time.

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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