December 2003


Today at the local market, adiposity I was in line two people behind a frowsy older lady with two pekingese dogs and her hair in a turban. Another pekingese was tied up outside. I commented that “each one is cuter than the last”. She said that the one outside wasn’t hers, but another lady’s, that lady then appeared, they greeted each other, kissed, greeted me. A younger man came in, the dogs ran over, the frowsy lady called him Uncle Dougie, and chastised him for taking her dogs for such a long walk the day before that they’d slept all night, exhausted. She then bought six holiday scratch off lottery tickets and breezed out. The grey-haired lady one in front of me said nothing. She was buying a chicken pot pie for one and some macaroni and cheese. Is personality fate, or is fate personality? Happy New Year.

My last night in Japan, thumb Brad and I got off the streets and into the upper eschelons of Tokyo society, view literally. We headed to Shiodome, an unassuming – if tall – building from the outside. But inside, it is a luxurious, modern atrium surrounded by several floors of expensive, no, really expensive, bars and restaurants. All dark wood, translucent panes of glass etched and back lit, and an unbelievable, expansive view of the city highlighted by bars that face out towards uninterupted panes of glass. After an uncomfortable moment in the first bar,

where figured out we had to take our shoes off a bit late, then tried to sit in the best view reserved section, then balked at the cover charge for drinks, we went across the hall to a slightly less ridiculous place.
We spent the money we saved on the cover charge on several olives. Still, my martini was lovingly stirred, Brad’s whisky came in a glass with a giant spherical ice cube that perfectly fit the glass, and we had four oysters, which were stunningly good.

We then went to a robatayaki place in Roppongi, where the waiters all shouted each time someone placed an order. Brad got post traumatic stress disorder. I, however, got pretty drunk, so we had a lovely time. The food was good, and it was definitely fun. My favorite was the whole red snapper rubbed with salt,

But the skewered beef, served with fresh wasabi and grated green garlic on the side, was maybe the most delicious thing on a stick I’ve ever had.

Brian is in town on business, hepatitis so last night he and I went out with some friends of his, page first to a Harvard Business School party at “Soho”, this I think, then to a bar called Propaganda in Roppangi. At the HBS party, the bar looks like you’re tightly glassed in next to a minature version of New York’s Guggenheim. I was first introduced to two women who worked at Disney and DeBeers, two of my top nemesis companies. Disney I have a love-hate thing going on with. Toy Story is one of my favorite movies, but we spend a lot of time at the Center disagreeing with the company on copyright issues. DeBeers is another matter entirely. The woman was carrying an ostentatious Dior purse, in the Tokyo style.

We left there after some hedge fund apologist annoyed Brian and headed for the bar. Strangely, it reminded me of every American bar I’ve ever been in in any foreign country I’ve ever been in. Except that the people were even drunker! Someone passed out in a locked stall in the ladies room and the flirtatious bar back had to go in there with a screwdriver to pry her out. At about 2:30 A, I took my leave and battled the other early-departing older members of the partying crowds for a taxi. There were lots and lots of people and several cabs there, but they all appeared to be waiting for something other than being hailed. I walked about a half mile down the street for a better vantage point, but there were drunk people there too, and they were very aggressive! Finally, some kind soul pulled over and took me to my hotel, following the directions on the full color GPS driven map he had in the cab. The ride cost US$40, but now I can cross Roppongi off my list.
At New College, prescription
Prof. Eugene Lewis had us read Jacques Ellul, healing
from whom I learned to fear the self-propulsion of technological development, even if he was a religious nut (Ellul, not Lewis). Subsequently, I�ve come to embrace, then adore, then be employed because of, technology. So, this morning I went to the world famous �Electronic City� of Akihabara to pay homage.

My goals were simple. See if I could buy a digital camera and see if there were any cool doodads or geegaws for my father�s Christmas present. My expectations were high. When I was little, my father took me once to New York�s tech town, down near Canal Street. I remember loving the different blinking lights, but being pretty underwhelmed with all the resistors and transformers, until one sales guy showed us a �piano� he�d made from those parts that would sound different notes when you hit the keys with a magnet in the tip of a drinking straw. I was amazed. I wonder if my father remembers that.

I�d done my research by reading Tech Know, an excellent column on Tokyo�s electronics scene published in Metropolis Magazine. From there, I�d actually checked Kakaku.com for the prices on the camera I wanted. The review was in Japanese, but the price was in English. So I had some idea of what it should cost, which was pretty close to what I could get it for in the U.S.

Akihabara was all bright colors and neon and the cutest roundest pinkest washing machines I�d ever seen. It wasn�t particularly attractive, and neither were the prices. In the huge Laox, the camera was listed at 10,000 yen more than Kakaku said I should pay. All the stores were similar. But they did have the camera in a sparkly red! I wanted it.

Eventually, I found a bunch of cramped stands, one selling transistors, then next, resistors, the next capacitors, the next cords to connect stereo components. I thought of all the gearheads Brad and I knew and how they should be here with me. In that warren, I found the camera I was looking for, also at the inflated price. After some heavy bargaining, in a mixture of broken English and passing the calculator back and forth with our offering price displayed, we came to a mutually satisfactory deal, or at least I thought so. We had a serious misunderstanding over how much extra memory was included in the setto I�d negotiated for. Whereupon, already stricken with the amount of money I was prepared to pay, and after a series of experiences traveling in Brazil after which I vowed not to be a push over about money when traveling where I don�t speak the language, I expressed my willingness to revoke the deal by handing back my credit card for a refund, the seller sighed heavily, walked off, and returned somewhat huffily, agreeing (again?) to my price. Do you have to make the seller mad to feel like you got a good deal? To calm down afterwards, I got sushi on a conveyer belt. Excellent.
A fun day with Brad, pills
Yuko and Ryoki. First, Brad and I reveled in our navigational limitations when, lost in Shinjuku while looking for an anemic flea market, we realized we were unbelievably hungry and passed up several coffee shops serving toast in hopes of something better, only to find ourselves in a coffee shop, half an hour later, hungrily ordering toast, because that was all we could find.

We then met up with Yuko and Ryoki and went for an excellent lunch, where we had chirashi, because it was the specialty of the house. I asked why that was the special and the chef said if I ordered it, it would be obvious why. It was. It also came with an odd pudding that had chewy lumps of something of the same color in it, making them difficult to avoid, and a hidden shrimp and green-yellow-red maple leaf shaped confection.

We then went to a lovely strolling park that was built to illustrate the stories and principles of poetry – Brad: Principle One: It Doesn�t Always Have to Rhyme – and then to some bookstores to shop for manga. There, in addition to lots of great books about visual art of all kinds, we saw a popular calendar girl holding her shaking-hands opportunity for a long line of eager young men.

Perhaps perversely, I really enjoyed Yuko and Ryoki navigating us around the city. Native Japanese speakers, they also tended to be unable to locate where we were going or which way to turn. Upon asking at stores in the native tongue, salespeople also were found to be remarkably ignorant of the neighborhood. For example, Yuko asked a hair salon employee where the street was that the sushi place was on, and she said she didn�t know, maybe over somewhere to the left. Just before following her uncertain hunch, Ryoki spotted it, one block straight ahead.

With Brad in town, we�ve now made a solemn pact to focus on eating well. Tonight, we�re heading to Shinjuku, Blade Runner territory, for shabu-shabu.
Shinjuku is unbelievably vibrant. There are floods of people going every which way, troche
listening to music, playing music,


drinking, checking out the sex clubs, playing video games,

eating shabu-shabu (us). But if you ever notice they are all going the same way, that is because the subway is about to close, and its time to get on it, unless you want a $50 cab ride home.

Brian is in town on business, hepatitis so last night he and I went out with some friends of his, page first to a Harvard Business School party at “Soho”, this I think, then to a bar called Propaganda in Roppangi. At the HBS party, the bar looks like you’re tightly glassed in next to a minature version of New York’s Guggenheim. I was first introduced to two women who worked at Disney and DeBeers, two of my top nemesis companies. Disney I have a love-hate thing going on with. Toy Story is one of my favorite movies, but we spend a lot of time at the Center disagreeing with the company on copyright issues. DeBeers is another matter entirely. The woman was carrying an ostentatious Dior purse, in the Tokyo style.

We left there after some hedge fund apologist annoyed Brian and headed for the bar. Strangely, it reminded me of every American bar I’ve ever been in in any foreign country I’ve ever been in. Except that the people were even drunker! Someone passed out in a locked stall in the ladies room and the flirtatious bar back had to go in there with a screwdriver to pry her out. At about 2:30 A, I took my leave and battled the other early-departing older members of the partying crowds for a taxi. There were lots and lots of people and several cabs there, but they all appeared to be waiting for something other than being hailed. I walked about a half mile down the street for a better vantage point, but there were drunk people there too, and they were very aggressive! Finally, some kind soul pulled over and took me to my hotel, following the directions on the full color GPS driven map he had in the cab. The ride cost US$40, but now I can cross Roppongi off my list.
At New College, prescription
Prof. Eugene Lewis had us read Jacques Ellul, healing
from whom I learned to fear the self-propulsion of technological development, even if he was a religious nut (Ellul, not Lewis). Subsequently, I�ve come to embrace, then adore, then be employed because of, technology. So, this morning I went to the world famous �Electronic City� of Akihabara to pay homage.

My goals were simple. See if I could buy a digital camera and see if there were any cool doodads or geegaws for my father�s Christmas present. My expectations were high. When I was little, my father took me once to New York�s tech town, down near Canal Street. I remember loving the different blinking lights, but being pretty underwhelmed with all the resistors and transformers, until one sales guy showed us a �piano� he�d made from those parts that would sound different notes when you hit the keys with a magnet in the tip of a drinking straw. I was amazed. I wonder if my father remembers that.

I�d done my research by reading Tech Know, an excellent column on Tokyo�s electronics scene published in Metropolis Magazine. From there, I�d actually checked Kakaku.com for the prices on the camera I wanted. The review was in Japanese, but the price was in English. So I had some idea of what it should cost, which was pretty close to what I could get it for in the U.S.

Akihabara was all bright colors and neon and the cutest roundest pinkest washing machines I�d ever seen. It wasn�t particularly attractive, and neither were the prices. In the huge Laox, the camera was listed at 10,000 yen more than Kakaku said I should pay. All the stores were similar. But they did have the camera in a sparkly red! I wanted it.

Eventually, I found a bunch of cramped stands, one selling transistors, then next, resistors, the next capacitors, the next cords to connect stereo components. I thought of all the gearheads Brad and I knew and how they should be here with me. In that warren, I found the camera I was looking for, also at the inflated price. After some heavy bargaining, in a mixture of broken English and passing the calculator back and forth with our offering price displayed, we came to a mutually satisfactory deal, or at least I thought so. We had a serious misunderstanding over how much extra memory was included in the setto I�d negotiated for. Whereupon, already stricken with the amount of money I was prepared to pay, and after a series of experiences traveling in Brazil after which I vowed not to be a push over about money when traveling where I don�t speak the language, I expressed my willingness to revoke the deal by handing back my credit card for a refund, the seller sighed heavily, walked off, and returned somewhat huffily, agreeing (again?) to my price. Do you have to make the seller mad to feel like you got a good deal? To calm down afterwards, I got sushi on a conveyer belt. Excellent.
A fun day with Brad, pills
Yuko and Ryoki. First, Brad and I reveled in our navigational limitations when, lost in Shinjuku while looking for an anemic flea market, we realized we were unbelievably hungry and passed up several coffee shops serving toast in hopes of something better, only to find ourselves in a coffee shop, half an hour later, hungrily ordering toast, because that was all we could find.

We then met up with Yuko and Ryoki and went for an excellent lunch, where we had chirashi, because it was the specialty of the house. I asked why that was the special and the chef said if I ordered it, it would be obvious why. It was. It also came with an odd pudding that had chewy lumps of something of the same color in it, making them difficult to avoid, and a hidden shrimp and green-yellow-red maple leaf shaped confection.

We then went to a lovely strolling park that was built to illustrate the stories and principles of poetry – Brad: Principle One: It Doesn�t Always Have to Rhyme – and then to some bookstores to shop for manga. There, in addition to lots of great books about visual art of all kinds, we saw a popular calendar girl holding her shaking-hands opportunity for a long line of eager young men.

Perhaps perversely, I really enjoyed Yuko and Ryoki navigating us around the city. Native Japanese speakers, they also tended to be unable to locate where we were going or which way to turn. Upon asking at stores in the native tongue, salespeople also were found to be remarkably ignorant of the neighborhood. For example, Yuko asked a hair salon employee where the street was that the sushi place was on, and she said she didn�t know, maybe over somewhere to the left. Just before following her uncertain hunch, Ryoki spotted it, one block straight ahead.

With Brad in town, we�ve now made a solemn pact to focus on eating well. Tonight, we�re heading to Shinjuku, Blade Runner territory, for shabu-shabu.

Brian is in town on business, hepatitis so last night he and I went out with some friends of his, page first to a Harvard Business School party at “Soho”, this I think, then to a bar called Propaganda in Roppangi. At the HBS party, the bar looks like you’re tightly glassed in next to a minature version of New York’s Guggenheim. I was first introduced to two women who worked at Disney and DeBeers, two of my top nemesis companies. Disney I have a love-hate thing going on with. Toy Story is one of my favorite movies, but we spend a lot of time at the Center disagreeing with the company on copyright issues. DeBeers is another matter entirely. The woman was carrying an ostentatious Dior purse, in the Tokyo style.

We left there after some hedge fund apologist annoyed Brian and headed for the bar. Strangely, it reminded me of every American bar I’ve ever been in in any foreign country I’ve ever been in. Except that the people were even drunker! Someone passed out in a locked stall in the ladies room and the flirtatious bar back had to go in there with a screwdriver to pry her out. At about 2:30 A, I took my leave and battled the other early-departing older members of the partying crowds for a taxi. There were lots and lots of people and several cabs there, but they all appeared to be waiting for something other than being hailed. I walked about a half mile down the street for a better vantage point, but there were drunk people there too, and they were very aggressive! Finally, some kind soul pulled over and took me to my hotel, following the directions on the full color GPS driven map he had in the cab. The ride cost US$40, but now I can cross Roppongi off my list.
At New College, prescription
Prof. Eugene Lewis had us read Jacques Ellul, healing
from whom I learned to fear the self-propulsion of technological development, even if he was a religious nut (Ellul, not Lewis). Subsequently, I�ve come to embrace, then adore, then be employed because of, technology. So, this morning I went to the world famous �Electronic City� of Akihabara to pay homage.

My goals were simple. See if I could buy a digital camera and see if there were any cool doodads or geegaws for my father�s Christmas present. My expectations were high. When I was little, my father took me once to New York�s tech town, down near Canal Street. I remember loving the different blinking lights, but being pretty underwhelmed with all the resistors and transformers, until one sales guy showed us a �piano� he�d made from those parts that would sound different notes when you hit the keys with a magnet in the tip of a drinking straw. I was amazed. I wonder if my father remembers that.

I�d done my research by reading Tech Know, an excellent column on Tokyo�s electronics scene published in Metropolis Magazine. From there, I�d actually checked Kakaku.com for the prices on the camera I wanted. The review was in Japanese, but the price was in English. So I had some idea of what it should cost, which was pretty close to what I could get it for in the U.S.

Akihabara was all bright colors and neon and the cutest roundest pinkest washing machines I�d ever seen. It wasn�t particularly attractive, and neither were the prices. In the huge Laox, the camera was listed at 10,000 yen more than Kakaku said I should pay. All the stores were similar. But they did have the camera in a sparkly red! I wanted it.

Eventually, I found a bunch of cramped stands, one selling transistors, then next, resistors, the next capacitors, the next cords to connect stereo components. I thought of all the gearheads Brad and I knew and how they should be here with me. In that warren, I found the camera I was looking for, also at the inflated price. After some heavy bargaining, in a mixture of broken English and passing the calculator back and forth with our offering price displayed, we came to a mutually satisfactory deal, or at least I thought so. We had a serious misunderstanding over how much extra memory was included in the setto I�d negotiated for. Whereupon, already stricken with the amount of money I was prepared to pay, and after a series of experiences traveling in Brazil after which I vowed not to be a push over about money when traveling where I don�t speak the language, I expressed my willingness to revoke the deal by handing back my credit card for a refund, the seller sighed heavily, walked off, and returned somewhat huffily, agreeing (again?) to my price. Do you have to make the seller mad to feel like you got a good deal? To calm down afterwards, I got sushi on a conveyer belt. Excellent.

Brian is in town on business, hepatitis so last night he and I went out with some friends of his, page first to a Harvard Business School party at “Soho”, this I think, then to a bar called Propaganda in Roppangi. At the HBS party, the bar looks like you’re tightly glassed in next to a minature version of New York’s Guggenheim. I was first introduced to two women who worked at Disney and DeBeers, two of my top nemesis companies. Disney I have a love-hate thing going on with. Toy Story is one of my favorite movies, but we spend a lot of time at the Center disagreeing with the company on copyright issues. DeBeers is another matter entirely. The woman was carrying an ostentatious Dior purse, in the Tokyo style.

We left there after some hedge fund apologist annoyed Brian and headed for the bar. Strangely, it reminded me of every American bar I’ve ever been in in any foreign country I’ve ever been in. Except that the people were even drunker! Someone passed out in a locked stall in the ladies room and the flirtatious bar back had to go in there with a screwdriver to pry her out. At about 2:30 A, I took my leave and battled the other early-departing older members of the partying crowds for a taxi. There were lots and lots of people and several cabs there, but they all appeared to be waiting for something other than being hailed. I walked about a half mile down the street for a better vantage point, but there were drunk people there too, and they were very aggressive! Finally, some kind soul pulled over and took me to my hotel, following the directions on the full color GPS driven map he had in the cab. The ride cost US$40, but now I can cross Roppongi off my list.

Yak and I attended the Gonzalez for Mayor party following his defeat on Tuesday. Lots of perceptions, capsule but first, my first night in Tokyo.

I arrived at Narita airport pretty exhausted but excited, too. I’d plotted out my trip, but checked in with the Info booth girls who confirmed my plans. I rented a cell phone, the better to meet up with Brian, who’s in town tomorrow, and Yuko, who will sacrifice a weekend day with her boyfriend to shepard Brad and I around.

Finding the right train was no problem, though I purchased the speedy train ticket before I realized that it left 1/2 an hour later, eating up any time savings I’d have by taking the speedy train. I fell asleep on the ride in, but not before seeing a young boy licking his fingers and tugging at and smushing his nose with both hands, before checking it in the reflection from the window and starting all over again. Weird!

I also had no problem getting from Ueno train station to the subway to Asakusa, (pronounced Asaksa), or deciding to take the exit towards the gate I saw on my map of where my ryokan was.

Upon exiting, however, I rapidly lost all hope of having any clue where I was. There were no street signs. There were walking only streets that I couldn’t tell whether it was a street or an alley or an indoor/outdoor mall. I headed in a certain direction because it looked interesting and I smelled tempura. It got empty in a few blocks, so I stopped.

Then I asked a young guy smoking where my ryokan was. I said the name of the ryokan and showed him on the map where it was marked. Even if I said it wrong, I figured he could read it on the map, and even if he couldn’t read it, I figured he could figure out the map. About five minutes later he seemed to have determined where we were and gave me some directions in Japanese. I realized it was to the left somewhere, but that was about all, so I decided to take a cab.

I easily hailed one near the subway entrance, and the driver opened the trunk for my bags. Some pink washcloths were neatly hung on a clothesline to dry in there. I showed him the map and said the name of the ryokan. He was befuddled. He turned the map upside down a few times. I showed him the address. No avail. Then he started talking to me in Japanese. I shrugged with that helpless but needy – I know you’re trying to help me and I’m sorry to barge into your country, but I have no idea what you’re saying – look. He then went to the cab behind us, and they had a conversation, before he took my bag out of the trunk, pulled his car over, and took me to the police station a few yards away.

Normally, I don’t like to go to the police station, but I was pretty happy to see this one, because the officer probably knew where this ryokan that was famous enough to be printed on a map of his neighborhood would be. Well, he didn’t. Instead, he had to get out a magnifying glass and examine this complicated looking map for a couple of minutes. He and the taxi driver finally spotted it and decided that I should walk. The cab driver acted out me tromping down the street, to show that I should walk, and pointed the way. I thanked him (domo arigato) and he was on his way. The officer then tried to find me a cute map but the only ones he had were printed with the characters, not letters and had pictures of beer bottles on them. So, I just showed him my map. (Thank you, Bettina!)

I pointed to each block of the street I was to walk down and said, ichi, ni, san shi? He got it immediately and counted out the streets for me, hopefully offering up the word “eight” at the end. Connection! I thanked him too, and headed off. Sure enough, eight small blocks later, I found my ryokan.

The ryokan is lovely. My room is on the top floor, and there’s a view of the temple from my window. I have high speed Internet access and a futon on the floor, as well as a plethora of slippers for each different room. There’s hot tea, a TV, and a low table with a guide to ryokan to help me be more polite while I stay here. I’m thrilled and off to the public bath before it closes in an hour. I can’t wait for Brad to get here.

The shopping here is Incredible, sales and I’m from New Jersey, so I know about shopping. Sure, its expensive, but the sheer variety of stuff they have, and the quality of some of it, and the way its laid out, and how its everywhere is amazing. I went to Loft, Seibu, Parco, and Rox today. Instead of having things organized by topic – shoes, dresses, coats – they’ve got everything organized by designer, like a bunch of indoor boutiques. I particularly liked the more downscale Rox. Each boutique was blasting its own Japanese/English Christmas carols and had its own set of differently tarted-up salesgirls. The stuff at Loft is great looking, sort of a Japanese Ikea: more warm. The And there’s a six story DIY store called Tokyo Hand, I believe. It made me think of Shana Berger and ReadyMade Magazine.

I need new boots, so I decided to shop for those. I looked around at the boots the women around town were wearing. Apparently, wide wrinkly high heel boots are in. Perhaps this is a more grown up version of the rusu-sokusu craze. Oddly, the women generally can’t walk in these heels. They are mincing about with bent knees and bowed legs. Many people look like they are actually limping. A little quick Internet research turned up an article suggesting that this is some cultural phenomenon based on little girls being encouraged to look and act juvenile. Its definitely the style, because when I was at Matsuya today, they were displaying the boots with the toes turned in. That’s right. I also went to Matsuya.

The second problem was that I don’t know my size in centimeters, which is how shoes are measured here. On the sales rack, they’d sorted the shoes by small, medium and large and by centimeters. So I just found an English/American brand on the “Large” shelf and checked the American size. Seven and a half. Since I wear a nine and a half, I figure Japan will not be the place where I find boots.

Amazing is the story of Uganda’s civil war that I heard last night on NPR. One of many rebel armies fighting against the single party government is the Lord’s Resistance Movement, diagnosis “best known for its abduction of thousands of Acholi Ugandan children to serve as involuntary soldiers and, generic in the case of girls, “wives” or concubines for the LRA officers. Extreme brutality is used to keep the children in line, including torture and forcing children to participate in the killing of other children who try to escape.” See HRW report. The LRM developed from a religious movement led by a woman named Alice. Alice claimed to channel several spirits, including an annoying white person and a Chinese man by some stereotypical name. The main spirit would often demand that Alice be taken out and beaten. She promulgated 20 commandments, including the original 10, as well as 10 others, which included things like, Thou shalt have two testicles, no more, no less. After some unbelievable military successes that rallied people to her cause, Alice’s movement was defeated. Soon thereafter, a man claimed that he was the new channeller for that special spirit and started the Lord’s Resistance Army. That group is reknown for both its brutality and for its religious fervor. Of course, Uganda’s government has a poor civil rights record and the country is desperately poor. For more information about the country, and the political economy behind this bizarro religious and social tale, you can read here.

The Slate Card is Out!

Friends, denture Romans, disorder Republicans:

Below are the Granick Slate Card picks for San Francisco’s important Mayoral election, exactly six days from today. Your voting place may have changed, so click here to find out where to vote.�

My picks are no surprise, since the candidates I endorsed are now in the run-offs.�

But I’m fresh from having watched the most recent mayoral debate, and here’s my analysis. In this final debate, I think that both candidates had something to overcome, and succeeded in doing so.

Newsom had to overcome the idea that he was conservative and uncaring and riding on homeless people as a political issue. He looked and sounded like he really cared and had spent a lot of time looking at other cities’ programs for ideas. That is, when he wasn’t smirking and laughing “off” camera.

Gonzalez had to overcome the idea that he is ideological and rigid. He clearly is thoughful and dedicated and not beholden to ideological positions.

My position didn’t change as a result of the debate, but I do feel a little bit better about Newsom. As a result, some readers of the slate card are leaning towards Newsom and one has submitted his 10 Reasons for Considering a Vote for Newsom. Below, I debunk each in turn.�

Green party strength leads to Democratic party weakness. You don’t see an insurgent party to the right of the Republicans, nibbling away at the conservative base. Naderites … were responsible for the election of Bush. A vote to strengthen or entrench the Green party in any way is tangential support for the GOP.

I wholly disagree that a Green mayor promotes the GOP in California or on the national stage, or in anyway weakens the Democratic Party. I don’t even think it will push the party more to the left, since the national stage considers San Francisco something of an out-lier. With a Republican governor and president, I’m not sure a Green will be any more at a disadvantage than a Democrat would.�

Newsom is proposing ambitious plans for the city’s worst problems: homelessness, the lack of low income housing, balancing the budget. They may not be perfect proposals, but at least on homelessness, with Care Not Cash, he dragged the issue back into public discourse. I never understood the argument that this was political grandstanding. The system is broken. Proposing a solution is… wrong?

There’s nothing wrong with a solution that works. There’s everything wrong with a fake solution. I think the homeless issue belongs to Gonzalez. He has accepted the principle of Care not Cash, so long as there’s some guaranteed Care. Without giving people food and shelter, Gonzalez is unwilling to take the money away, and I agree with that. Newsom’s solution was to take the money away first, and then see what services would show up. There was no realistic plan in his proposal to improve or expand services.

Couple this with his cynical placement of the anti-aggressive panhandling prop M on the last ballot, laws which are already on the books in San Francisco, and I doubt Newsom’s “solutions” even more. In the debate, he never answered the question of what was wrong with guaranteeing services before taking away the money. And make no mistake about the amount of money we’re talking about. Its about $400 a month. Could you live on $400/month?

He recognizes SF’s homelessness problem is linked to drug treatment and mental health. Gonzalez feels homelessness is best solved through new housing opportunities. Look at the streets: in in this city, it’s clearly not the whole problem. Were already spending 100 million a year on this and it gets worse and worse.

Difficult economic times and the city’s declining business base require a moderately business-friendly mayor. We need to fill all those empty buildings and restore the revenue tax revenues.

Gonzalez isn’t business unfriendly. He wants to lower business taxes on small business and raise them on richer businesses. I agree with that. Difficult economic times are times for balanced economic policies, not for pro-business ones, like cutting business taxes.

Newsom is in favor of more high rise, high density housing downtown and in mission bay. There are drawbacks to that, of course, but in a city with constrained land mass, there’s only one direction to go: up.

Gonzalez is for this too. He supports less development in the Neighborhoods, with any new housing concentrated around transportation corridors. He’s always supported this. Newsom came to it late, after he lost the support of Walter Wong, a developer who wants more neighborhood buildings. Wong now supports Gonzalez, but Gonzalez hasn’t changed his views.�

Newsom is simply more organized: he presents comprehensive, in-depth proposals on many issues, has a larger staff and more political allies. To me that translates into an ability to hit the ground running if he wins.

I agree that this is a weakness for Gonzalez, and probably the worst thing for his campaign from the recent debate. Newsom, when he wasn’t smirking at the camera, walked over Gonzalez in terms of appearing polished and prepared. He’s also spent 8 times the money on this race as Gonzalez. Gonzalez came to this race late, and Newsom’s been planning it for years. I think Gonzalez is professional and can and will rally organizationally. He’s put this campaign together in short order and on something of a shoestring. I won’t hold lack of money or long-term preparation against him.

Newsom talks about slimming city bureaucracy and improving city agency’s interaction with citizens.

Talks. So does Gonzalez. But Newsom supports business proposals over improving the city. He supports that tourist amusement park/mall up at the Piers, which Gonzalez says will hurt smaller businesses nearby and throughout the city by corralling the tourist dollars, and will bring more traffic to that area, without more transportation services. Gonzalez knows that the city government needs to be small. He’s fashioned two budgets in recessionary times as President of the Board of Supervisors, without super painful cuts.

Newsom received endorsements by Pelosi and Feinstein, elected officials I support.

I like Pelosi, but I don’t like the pro-business Feinstein. And besides, they’re both Democrats, so they are going to support the Democrat.�

Also, what is with that strange little saga of Newsom’s agreement with Angela Alioto in exchange for her endorsement?

Vote Matt!

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For those new to the list, or with short memories, here’s what I said last time about my choice for District Attorney, Kamala Harris:

District Attorney: Kamala Harris

San Franciscan’s want a progressive District Attorney, and this time we have a choice. Terence Hallinan, who I’ve endorsed before, runs the office like shit. People are demoralized and disaffected, which actually is a problem, even for a criminal defense lawyer, because the line prosecutors are too inexperience, afraid and uncertain to make tough decisions about when to dismiss and when to pursue cases. Supporters say only Hallinan has the guts to challenge the SFPD, but I don’t think the SFPD is any better now than it was 8 years ago. More, I think the whole fajita-gate scandal, the sloppy decision to charge the higher ups in the police department and the subsequent dismissal of those charges makes Hallinan look ineffective and unprofessional.

So I support Kamala Harris. She’s that rare bird, a prosecutor and a civil libertarian, too. She mentions consequences for crimes and constitutional rights in the same breath, and has a history as a civil rights litigator.

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Remember friends, the election is Tuesday December 9. Vote early, vote often and viva la democracia.

Jennifer

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