Last night was the best free entertainment I’ve had in years. After living 48 years in the Sunset District I finally had a chance to step into the United Irish Cultural Center. I have to say it was a real treat and getting to meet most of the mayoral candidates and hear them talk was just icing on the cake.
The Irish American Democratic Club hosted a political debate that was pretty much a gloss over due to the fact that there were eight candidates they only had 2 minutes to introduce themselves and one minute to answer each question. The first humorous part was when they announced the order the candidates were going to speak. Saying they would start from the extreme right drew a roar of laughter. I thought we had passed a law against the extreme right in San Francisco. The second humorous part was the signal they used to notify each speaker that their time was coming to an end — a loud boinging sound. Boing meant wrap it up Boing Boing meant you time was up and Boing, Boing, Boing meant SHUT THE HELL UP AND SIT DOWN!
I suppose now would be a good time to summarize the opening statements. I’ll have to look back to the tweets I was sending out during the debate.
- Dennis Herrera: Fast out of the gate trying to get as much in as possible in two minutes that I didn’t really understand what he was saying other than vote for me.
- David Chiu: Like many San Franciscans he attended private school as a Chinese kid surrounded by many Irish Catholics. I guess he forgot to mention the Roman Catholics that were there as well, but first play of the Irish race card. I guess I’m also not like many San Franciscans because I attended public school and I’m not Chinese. I have been surround by Irish Catholics a few times, but I won’t go into that here.
- Joanna Rees: Speaks about diversity [always a word you have to use in politics] and entrepreneurial interests. She uses lots of adjectives and not many nouns, so I’m not sure what she was advocating.
- John Avalos: Speaks about families and how to keep them in San Francisco as well as bringing businesses to San Francisco. Safe, but smart move.
- Tony Hall: I’m a Republican talks about corruption in politics, jobs, cutting parking fees. I didn’t get much past the I’m a Republican part. Chances are slim with an opening statement like that.
- Leland Yee: Gives a nod to Tony Hall and how he grew up poor in a one room dwelling. Pretty good to grow up poor and have the most money invested in this election. Pretty bad that he gives a nod to the Republican in San Francisco.
- Phil Ting: In his years as assessor, we’ve brought in more money than we’ve been spending. OK, why then is the city in the red?
- Bevan Dufty: Tells us we have three choices, we know that. Tells us things aren’t working, we know that.
- Michaela Alioto-Pier: Plays the Irish card heavy telling everyone that she’s fifth generation Irish and even tells us which county in Ireland her family is from.
- Ranked choice voting: Everyone pretty much glossed over it to cover points on their agenda. The people with the better chance of winning were against it, the underdogs were in favor of it.
- Your thoughts on reunification of Ireland: WTF?!? What could the Mayor of SF do to influence the reunification of Ireland? Everyone of course said yes, because you don’t come into the U.I.C.C. and repay their hospitality with insult. The Irish race card was played heavily here to the point that David Chiu answered, I David O’Chiu say YAY! I had to step outside the box this morning and talk with a friend of mine in Dublin, Ireland. When asked the same question he said, Probably not. I would like to think that as members of the European Union we can celebrate nationalism without borders. Besides, violence would increase 10 fold with Irish unification. Sure England are our biggest exporters, actually they are pretty much carrying Ireland lol. OK ’nuff said.
- Keeping our neighborhoods safe: OK, would you really expect one of the candidates to say no to this?
I realized that I had been standing for well over an hour after the introductions and three questions were asked so I got a bit distracted and noticed that the rest of the questions were like question three in that you’d be an idiot to say no to them. The Irish card was played very heavy last night forcing @BethSpotswood to tweet: I’m just waiting for one of the candidate to be like, “And another thing. I love potatoes! And U2. And nuns.”
It was fun to hang out with the local bloggers and discover as we were tweeting our impressions from the back that I was standing next to C. W. Nevius of the Chronicle. I have yet to read his take on last nights proceedings though.
Overal, I didn’t get much indication of who TO vote for than I did get more who NOT to vote for. At least that helped me narrow down the playing field.