Outside of City Hall and its accompanying paparazzi, you’d struggle to find 10 people who’d ever heard of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, let alone anyone who could name any of its board members, what exactly they do, or what bearing — if any — it has on our day-to-day lives.
They don’t welcome us onto the bridge, force bikers to use the Western side of the bridge (which is reserved just for you, man on two wheels who nearly hit me) or offer us cool drinks once we finish our walk and arrive in Sausalito, so what’s the big deal?
Anybody here seen F.I.S.T.? Anyone? Photo: Chris Roberts/The Appeal
Well, the City Hall hoopla over the makeup of said board was enough to get the very Catholic Supervisor Sean Elsbernd to utter “SIN!” on the Board floor on Tuesday, and was also enough to get about 30 middle-aged gum-chewing men, dressed in lettermen jackets and in varying stages of hair loss (i.e. organized labor) out to the Board of Supervisors to see that Their Boy, Plumbers Union member Larry E. Mazzola, Jr, score a seat on the GGBHTD Board. The sin was letting anyone but a member of organized labor, and specifically Larry E Mazzola Jr of organized labor sit on the GGBHTDB, and sitting idly by while Mazzola was, in the words of some, put through the ringer by the Board’s resident bad boy.
On March 5, Mr Mazzola appeared before the Supervisors’ Rules Committee. The chair of said committee is former community organizer, Supervisor and certified master shit-stirrer Chris “I’m a Bad Boy and I Like It” Daly. His household and many others in District 6 received a political attack mailer back in the 2006 campaign, funded by the Plumbers’ Union. The Plumbers’ Union took umbrage to Daly’s support of — what else — a bunch of low-income tenants, who were worried that their landlord, the Union, might pull a Mr Potter and throw them out onto the street.
Supervisor Alioto Pier is clearly appalled. Photo: Chris Roberts/The Appeal
Mazzola and Daly had something of a heated exchange at that committee hearing, one that Supervisor Michela Alioto Pier, a certified No Friend of Shit-Stirrers dubbed “appalling.” Referring to a politicians’ “double-life” (1. campaign season, 2. not campaign season), Michela made the point that you’re not supposed to let political attacks get to you, see? Especially not when the political attack could cloud your judgment over who should sit on the vaunted Golden Gate Highway Bridge and Transportation District, by gum!
(Is Mazzola more or less qualified for the GGBHTDB is the operative question, of course, and the jury on that remains split. For his part, alternative candidate, former SF Bicycle Coalition head David Snyder received warm praise from all but… he’s just not labor enough. So the adulation was not universal.)
But on this board, being Chris Daly means being progressive, and being progressive means getting to do what you want, because you’ve got five other friends on the board. Daly offered a candidate in place of Mazzola — David H Snyder (like Mazzola, also of whom we’d never heard before).
OK, it is a little bad-ass. Photo: Chris Roberts/The Appeal
A movement to delay the vote on the appointment for two weeks was voted down, 6-5, and David H Snyder was voted onto the GGHBTDB, 6-5, sending organized labor out the door and on their merry way. Shortly after asking who the Appeal’s reporter worked for (and presumably wondering, ‘What the fuck is the Appeal?’) Tim Paulson, executive director of the labor council, declined to comment on the matter (but struck an oh-so-badass pose with he and his labor brethren as they marched down the stairs).
With the fireworks over, the meeting continued. But what does this mean to you, me and Bobby McGee? We’ll get back to you, but unless you wear a letterman jacket to work, we doubt it matters at all (Newspaper Guild members don’t get jackets, and there’s no Online Newspaper Guild yet, that we know of).