Heart of the City Archives

Portrait of Mister SF by Robert Altman.

Mister SF's Message for Winter, 2005

Dear Readers:

Many thanks to everyone who has written to ask what we've been up to at MisterSF.com over the past several weeks. Exciting things are happening with the site, but more about that in a moment. Jeff and I have finished decorating the new house and have taken on the responsibility of expanding our family. If you thought wrangling building contractors was a challenge, try raising a Dachshund pup. We thought we were going to take in a Katrina-rescued dog, but there was Freddie, lost in the fog at 40th and Taraval. (Heaps of blessings to the good people at the SFSPCA and Animal Care and Control.)

Thank you also to the 35,000 attendees of Oracle OpenWorld at Moscone Center. Kris Kosach of MTV2 and the Travel Channel served along with me as hosts of a Mister SF video series that aired at the conference and on its hotel welcome channel. The warmth of OpenWorlders who introduced themselves during the conference was only matched by that of all the wonderful local business owners who participated in the series. Thanks also to Mayor Gavin Newsom for his participation.

As a follow up, I am appearing this fall on Turner Classic Movies' documentary on Alfred Hitchcock. The folks at TCM have done a beautiful job tracing the footsteps of the legendary director who was so inspired by San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Of course, the summer that is autumn in San Francisco has been rife with fine friends and good times. Bob Pritikin's Labor Day Party, the St. Francis Hospital 100th Anniversary dinner, Comedy Day in the Park, the new DeYoung, the Johnny Moseley ski jump, and Fleet Week have all been highlights. The City took a lot of heat from some national media over the Folsom Street Fair this year, but hey. If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.

I was profoundly disappointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of Assemblyman Mark Leno's gay marriage bill. Leno is a leader among leaders. When we spoke at Pritikin's, he was optimistic. Victory was in the air. Leno had pulled off a minor miracle earlier this year after similar legislation failed to catch fire in Sacramento. While Leno was ultimately able to garner legislative support, responsibility for rallying the public was left to those who were simply not up to the task. Perhaps it's only a symptom of a larger leadership vacuum in progressive communities, but the effort of Equality California (EQCA) fell short. No wonder the crowds at pro-gay marriage rallies continued to decline throughout the year, even here at home. Leno is resolute. We must work to defeat anti-gay measures on the ballot in upcoming elections. For my money, LGBTs and their supporters would stand a better chance at the ballot box if the community would recognize the need for new and aggressive leadership by asking EQCA's Geoffrey Kors and Molly McKay to resign. After parading around for more than a year in one of five wedding gowns, McKay came to look more like a circus clown than a serious political advocate. Watch for an equally laughable "payback the Governor" campaign which will likely garner community support but also begs the question, "Why didn't you mobilize when it mattered?" Come on my LGBT brothers and sisters; demand better.

Surviving Bush: My last remaining coping mechanism for dealing with the crisis our country is facing, the reign of George W. Bush, comes from non other than Vice Mayor Angela Alioto. "If you want to be okay," said Alioto after Bush's reelection, "You can't wake up each day thinking, 'four more years.' You have to think, 'every day is one day closer to the last day of his administration." Words to live by.

It looks like the last day has come for the Independent, San Francisco's citywide neighborhood newspaper. It joins Julie's Supper Club in the Farewell Favorites. The Independent was recently absorbed into the new weekend edition of the Examiner. Editors tell me they plan to continue the coverage of prep sports that was always a good reason to pick up the Indy. I was delighted to have "Heart of the City" appear in the Independent for the past several years. We made some history as an online column that was picked up by a print outlet at a time when the word "blog" was scarcely used. I have had some conversations about continuing the column in the weekend Examiner, but file that under "wait-and-see." Heart of the City will continue where it started, right here at MisterSF.com, in late-November, following some time off for travel.

Now, speaking of the site; use the Recent Items button to view more than a hundred new photos, including a series on the Moseley "Icer Air 2005" ski jump. I'll be back at my post in a few weeks with more interviews and observations about life, love and politics in the heart of San Francisco. Plus, drum roll please, Mister SF will have an announcement about a major sponsor and a fun new way that you can enjoy MisterSF.com's City while out and about on the streets of San Francisco. It's neither Wi-Fi nor Di-Fi, and I know you'll love it!

All my best regards,

Hank Donat
Mister SF

Welcome to MisterSF.com. Please visit the site often to keep in touch with San Francisco, for your own amusement, and to use the Local Joints section as a portal for independent businesses. Keep your money in the neighborhoods... Watch this space for observations, interviews and more from around town. All other sections of MisterSF.com are also updated continually, so come back and watch us grow!

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Copyright 2005 Hank Donat
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