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Friday, October 1, 2010

Only In SF: Theresa Sparks, Transgender Former Sex Toy Exec, 'Conservative' Candidate

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Your 'downtown,' 'conservative,' 'establishment' transgender sex toy exec-turned politician. - FRANK GAGLIONE
  • Frank Gaglione
  • Your 'downtown,' 'conservative,' 'establishment' transgender sex toy exec-turned politician.
"Only in San Francisco" is a phrase all too often employed to belittle our city's good intentions as it establishes bond financing to pave the road to hell. And yet, sometimes, you've just got to take a step back, look at what's going on here, and shake your head:

Theresa Sparks, a transgender woman who used to run a sex toy company, has been depicted as the "conservative," "establishment" candidate for District 6 supervisor. With the possible exception of Holland, that's truly an "only in San Francisco" moment.

"My son lives in Kansas," said Sparks. "When he heard I'm considered 'moderate,' or 'conservative,' he said 'In Kansas, you'd probably be lynched."

And yet, painting Sparks as the establishment candidate and choice of mustache-twirling downtown big shots is a popular move. All of her top opponents have done it. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has reveled in it. Outgoing Supervisor Chris Daly, channeling Leon Trotsky, disgorged a turgid, 2,500-word treatise on Fog City Journal decrying Sparks as the puppet of the moneyed "downtown boys." 

click to enlarge Your 'downtown,' 'conservative,' 'establishment' transgender sex toy exec-turned politician. - FRANK GAGLIONE
  • Frank Gaglione
  • Your 'downtown,' 'conservative,' 'establishment' transgender sex toy exec-turned politician.
Sparks, meanwhile, can only laugh at being labeled the "establishment" anything. "This points to how people in this city love to construe and redefine the term 'progressive.' Progressive here -- and I've said this before and people don't like to hear me say this -- is just a term for another political machine," she says. "That's what it's morphed into. And that's too bad."

What sorts of views make Sparks "conservative"? Well, she "supports the police." She blames the "progressive board" for defunding academy classes, causing the force to be understaffed by several hundred officers.

And she supports business. "I am against the hotel tax," Sparks confesses. "I think it'll have a negative impact on tourism, much like it did in New York City." And she supports Proposition G, which would remove Muni drivers' exalted position in the city charter guaranteeing their salaries and force them into collective bargaining.

And yet the "conservative" is staunchly against Prop. B, which would raise city employees' pension and health care contributions. "It was bad public policy the way it was written and the way it was thrust on the unions."

Taking on the city unions on this issue, incidentally, wouldn't be "conservative." It'd be "suicidal."

Overall "Only in San Francisco" Rating (on a scale of 1-10): 10
It's hard to conceive of any other American city in which a candidate with Sparks' background would be portrayed as an insider in favor of protecting the status quo.

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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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