It has been fun being a political columnist for the San
Francisco Call. Since I am really a political novice, I have been looking
at the political game in San Francisco with a fresh pair of eyes. Here are
my closing thoughts as an amateur political junkie:
1. Be nice to everyone. You never know whom you might need
a favor from in the future. Todayís enemy is tomorrowís ally. One of our
candidates for mayor personally called me and left a nasty message on my
voicemail. Little did he know that I am on the Endorsement Committee for
one of the cityís political parties. Occasionally your grandmother was
right -- be nice to everyone.
2. You can learn from everyone. No one has the complete
picture or plan to solve everything in politics. So learn from everyone --
the Democrats, the Peace and Freedom Party members, the Republicans, the
Greens ,and yes, even the Radical Socialist Party. You might not agree
with 99% of what they are saying. But there is always a nugget of truth
that you can learn from.
3. Just because the legislation passed doesnít mean that
it will be implemented. For every piece of legislation to be implemented
as a policy, there are two steps that must happen. First, money must be
set aside to implement it. Second, political will must move it into the
bureaucratic arena. A case in point is Instant Runoff Voting. Yes, it was
passed in March 2002. Yes, there have been many memos and letters written
to the various Election Commissions about IRV. But without funds and the
political will to implement this or any other piece of legislation, all
you get is a piece of paper.
4. Remember that politicians are people. (News Flash!!)
They donít like being asked to do something without you even asking about
their health, their family, or their day. Would you go up to anyone else
and ask them for a favor without going into small talk? So why do it to a
5. There are 11 supervisors. If one isnít interested in
your legislation, try another one. All supervisors are not equal. One is
interested in one type of program; another is interested in another. You
want to pass legislation on water, planning, and/or the bay, then you
should go to Peskin. You have legislation on the homeless, then you should
go to Daly. If you are interested in street cleaning, then Dufty and
Sandoval are the people to contact. I know of someone who contacted the
same supervisor six times about one issue. The supervisor didnít respond.
She contacted another supervisor once -- and his staff responded the next
day. Another issue came up. She contacted the supervisor who had been so
very responsive -- she didnít get a response from the previously
responsive supervisor after three calls. She called the formerly
nonresponsive supervisor -- his staff called her back within two days.
There is a reason why there are 11 supervisors -- use it to your
Itís been fun being a journalist! Thank you for your kind
emails and encouraging words. May you have everything that you wish for
and even more.