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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cesar Ascarrunz Would Have Spiced Up Mayoral Candidate Forum

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2011 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge Hmmmm. How could we make the mayor's race a little spicier! - MATT SMITH
  • Matt Smith
  • Hmmmm. How could we make the mayor's race a little spicier!

Cesar Ascarrunz, the legendary nightclub impresario and current mayoral candidate, blasted the University of San Francisco for excluding him from a recent candidate forum.

"They're afraid, because they know I'm going to win the election," said Bolivian immigrant Ascarrunz, famed for multiple runs for mayor during the '90s. "It's in the air. You can smell it. Everywhere the people are telling me: Run for mayor. Run for mayor."

Perhaps this is the case. But that's not why the university excluded him -- and many other candidates -- from the Thursday evening forum.

click to enlarge Hooraaaaay! We're all exactly the same! - MATT SMITH
  • Matt Smith
  • Hooraaaaay! We're all exactly the same!
Organizer Cory Cook tells us that it would have been impractical to invite all 45 San Franciscans who have expressed interest in running. As of last week, Ascarrunz hadn't stood out from that crowd.

"I selected the candidates based on what I was reading/hearing back in February/March, with the one exception that when Supervisor [John] Avalos entered the race we thought it imperative to invite him," Cook said via e-mail. "And I used a range of things to determine who to include -- fundraising, whether they had a campaign presence, a Web presence, had been previously elected, etc."

The fact that Ascarrunz, who was the subject of a 1999 mayor's

race cover story in SF Weekly,

never got his invitation in the mail was an unforgivable slight, and

here is why: Ascarrunz would have definitely enlivened what turned out

to be a

nearly unbearable two-hour platitude-palooza.

click to enlarge I'm all for the people! So am I!. Me too; I also support the people. And me, I'm for the people, too. - MATT SMITH
  • Matt Smith
  • I'm all for the people! So am I!. Me too; I also support the people. And me, I'm for the people, too.
Candidates answered every question with vacuous statements, such

as "It's all about the people," and "I want to put the community first." There was

Assessor Phil Ting's doozy, "A key part is that San Francisco is at its

best when it is diverse."

Ting spent part of his time advocating partial repeal of Proposition 13, the 1978 property tax-cutting initiative that is widely reviled in liberal San Francisco. Yet this was wasted time, because the mayor has no influence over state law. Great, a candidate who doesn't like something that I don't like and who will do nothing about it: He's got my third-place vote!

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said that, as mayor, he'd appoint "community ambassadors" so that he'd be more attuned to concerns of neighbors. Now there's a policy people who share no meaningful beliefs can get behind.

State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) advocated getting "universities behind the idea of civic engagement" -- and who in their right mind would argue, or vote, against that? Avalos, meanwhile, said he is "committed to cooperative and collaborative politics." Hm. What exactly does that mean in San Francisco?

But Ascarrunz -- in contrast -- would seem constitutionally incapable of such pablum. During an interview Monday, he pledged to set heads rolling the moment he steps into office in January.

click to enlarge Phil Ting takes notes on what other candidates are saying. Is it so he can be sure to say the same things? - MATT SMITH
  • Matt Smith
  • Phil Ting takes notes on what other candidates are saying. Is it so he can be sure to say the same things?
He alleged that most of San Francisco's ex-mayors are behind a financial conspiracy to house the homeless in downtown SRO buildings; Ascarrunz's plan would be to move them into the empty schoolhouses about San Francisco.

He's got plenty more RCV-unfriendly platform plank where that one came from: According to Ascarrunz, thousands of San Francisco employees are patronage hacks whom he'd fire. He'd use his considerable force of personality to confront public employee unions, whose pensions and featherbedding, he claims, are dragging down the city. He said he'd revamp Muni, renegotiate employee pensions, and otherwise "arreglar el asunto" -- take care of business. Now that would have electrified the snoozy debate.

"Tengo Facebook. Tengo mi Web site," Ascarrunz tells SF Weekly.

He then punctuated his comment by saying, "En todos los otros candidatos, no hay carne de res," which is a Spanish-language reference to the 1984 Wendy's advertising catchphrase, "Where's the beef?"

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