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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What the Hell Is Guardian Thinking With Newsom-Police Chief-District 6 Love Triangle?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 5:30 AM

click to enlarge Pose with the mayor and he'll support your run for higher office. It's the law.
  • Pose with the mayor and he'll support your run for higher office. It's the law.
Anyone who ever languished through a Rhetoric 1A course in college knows the joys of syllogisms: We won't delve into the ins and outs, but we do recall a few examples of spectacularly bad logic, along the lines of: A. My father is bald; B. Ben Franklin was bald; C. Therefore, my father was Ben Franklin.

This manner of thinking was jarringly brought to mind when I read an article on the San Francisco Bay Guardian's politics blog yesterday postulating that since Tenderloin activist David Villa-Lobos' one-man band, the Community Leadership Alliance, has been pushing for Susan Manheimer to succeed Police Chief Heather Fong, and since the Chronicle quoted unnamed sources touting the race as Manheimer's to lose, then Gavin Newsom may support Villa-Lobos for District 6 Supervisor.

The reason this logic is so bizarre is that the Guardian's article goes on to state exactly why Manheimer is an attractive candidate to nearly everyone involved: She's a 16-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department -- which makes the Police Officers Association happy.  But, as chief of the San Mateo Police Department, she's also an "outsider" -- which makes Gavin Newsom happy. Also, left unsaid in the Guardian article, she's a woman. Think that doesn't factor in? So, with all that going for her, what the hell does it matter that Villa-Lobos gave her his blessing? Apparently it doesn't, as the article quickly abandons all attempts at any manner of logic and states that Newsom may well support Villa-Lobos' supervisorial run because -- and this is not a joke -- Villa-Lobos has a picture of himself with the mayor on his organization's Web site. This is a genuinely baffling statement; your humble narrator has a photo of his youthful self with Snow White, but Disney isn't writing yours truly any letters of recommendation. 

The fact is, multiple trusted sources in the Tenderloin tell SF Weekly that Villa-Lobos is seen as something of an eccentric there. In fact, Villa-Lobos claims Newsom stiffed a town hall meeting he set up several years back -- which the activist protested by going on a weeklong hunger strike ("Mayor Newsom's staff weren't amused," he notes).

Even Villa-Lobos told SF Weekly he was confused by the Guardian's logic -- and says he doesn't anticipate any help from Newsom (who didn't even bother to endorse him for a slot on the Democratic County Central Committee). So, if I had to guess what the hell this article was all about, I'd conjecture that the Guardian,  which has hardly bothered to conceal its rapturous support for D6 progressive candidate Debra Walker -- see here, here, and here -- is making an attempt to attach Newsom's name to a particularly longshot moderate candidate. Of course, I don't have any photos or anything to prove this hunch.

Left unmentioned, sadly, is a point that both the Guardian and your humble narrator can freely agree upon: What the hell does it matter who Gavin Newsom supports? We've written it time and time again -- the man has no political coat tails. None of the people or things he campaigns for -- unless backed by heavy handed, multi-million dollar soft money campaigns (that Villa-Lobos won't get) -- pass muster with San Francisco voters.

Perhaps that's what the Guardian's getting at. Newsom's support for Villa-Lobos might be the best gift Debra Walker could ever hope for.

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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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