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Wednesday, Jan 15 1997
Government in Exile
Political moderate Barbara Kaufman, the newly sworn president of the S.F. Board of Supervisors, sounded a conciliatory tone in opening remarks of her installation speech Jan. 8.

"[We] have a duty to ensure that our political differences do not tear apart the fabric of our city and do not prevent us from reaching a common goal of doing what is best for our residents," Kaufman lectured. She added: "The most vocal and extreme constituent groups should not rule our agenda. While there are legitimate differences among us, there are far more issues that unite us."

Was an olive branch being extended to the city's left, which saw the election of Kaufman to the board presidency Nov. 5 as a political defeat? If so, it was snipped away moments later when Kaufman announced the new legislative committee assignments.

Supervisor Sue Bierman, the board's slow-growth icon who finished second to Kaufman in the race for president, was denied a seat on the one committee with jurisdiction over land-use matters, the policy area with which Bierman is most associated. She also was passed over for the committee that will hear communications-related issues, even though Bierman delved into that arena in 1996 to carry legislation to create a city telecommunications commission.

Bierman, said to be privately furious about the snubs, sounded a philosophical note in an interview. "This will not stop us from dealing with important issues. I am having trouble figuring out what my exact role will be right now, but we will be fine."

Bierman's kindred spirit on the left, Supervisor Tom Ammiano, was similarly Pollyanna-ish -- for the record. The board's lone gay male, the champion of legislation to regulate sex clubs, was exiled to the backwater Rules Committee with the board's leading social conservative, the Rev. Amos Brown.

Said Ammiano: "A committee assignment can be just a matter of convenience. There is always a different way."

-- C.F.

Have Sea Monkeys, Will Travel
Uncle Mame is looking for a new home. After 18 months at its 15th and Market streets location, the S.F. outpost of the five-store '50s kitsch cooperative (see "The Man From Uncle ... Mame's," Bay View, Dec. 13, 1995) has to make way for its landlord's condo project that was 10 years in the making. Mame and two neighboring sites will be demolished and replaced with a building that combines street-level retail space, offices, and residential units, Mame owner/manager David Sinkler reports.

"We signed a lease knowing it was a great possibility," says Sinkler, adding that the entire transaction has been amicable. "There is no evil" to blame, he says, just irresistible market forces. "We took a gamble, and so far the gamble's paid off" is how he optimistically put it. They got a good deal on a high-visibility location near the Castro in exchange for the potential for being booted out.

They've posted signs explaining the situation and have slipped notices into "every bag of every customer since Thanksgiving," Sinkler explains. "If you know any moguls, or if your next-door neighbor or uncle is a landlord, tell them there is a pleasant, amiable business that would like to be in their building."

Right now, they occupy about 1,000 square feet of sale space, designed by the same firm that laid out stores for the Nature Company. But they're willing to shrink: "We'd have to make some careful deletions." They expect to receive their 60-day notice to vacate "pretty immediately."

Sinkler wouldn't say what items would be pruned first. But count on him keeping the glow-in-the-dark praying hands pencil sharpeners, as well as the pope fans.


About The Authors

Chuck Finnie


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