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Friday, January 16, 2009

Tom Ammiano Compares Capitol to "Alice in Wonderland" -- and He's Alice

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 6:30 AM

San Franciscans already know that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't the only Sacramento politician with a background in film. That was Assemblyman Tom Ammiano playing himself in Milk -- and while it wasn't a stretch for Ammiano to play Ammiano, his next project may call for a bit more range.

When asked for his his impressions of Sacramento after a month and change as a legislator, the former supervisor immediately replied, "It's kind of like Alice in Wonderland and I guess I'm Alice right now." Ammiano in a blue dress? It could work.

Asked to carry this analogy to its logical conclusion, Ammiano cast Schwarzenegger as the Mad Hatter and laughed as he enlisted anti-tax ideologue Grover Norquist as the Red Queen (raise taxes? Off with their heads!). Finally, "The white rabbit is the budget."

The biggest surprise of Ammiano's brief Sacramento career has been discovering that his Republican colleagues hold the same opinion of Schwarzenegger's governing that movie critics had of his acting.

"I do find it fascinating that the first thing I learned is that the Republicans are more disenfranchised by the governor than the Democrats. He doesn't engage them. There's a joke going around that he attended a Republican caucus and they all wore name tags," said Ammiano. "The Republicans don't hold the governor in high regard. A lot of it is just personality and the doctrinaire thing on their part about no taxes."

This week, however, Republican leaders have finally entered in earnest into budget negotiations with Schwarzenegger, joining top Democrats. "They're predicting by the end of the month, perhaps in a week or two" there may be a solution, said Ammiano.

While the state is ailing, Ammiano has come up aces. On committee assignments, "I got pretty much everything I wanted." The freshman was placed on the health, education, human services and appropriations committees -- "That's the moolah."

Ammiano may be the funniest man to ever hold office in San Francisco -- though we hear Sunny Jim Rolph used to craft filthy limericks -- but the former supe's propensity for dirty jokes may not survive the trip to Sacramento. The man who quipped that Gavin Newsom and Chris Daly should have make-up sex probably can't talk like that now  -- for perhaps the first time ever -- he has to work with conservative Republicans.

"Most of them are the nicest people ever," he says of his rightist colleagues. But he ain't inviting them to the Folsom Street Fair.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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