One never knows what to expect in what they call the “silly season” of San Francisco politics. For instance, we don’t hear often from the Dr. Rev. Amos Brown. But an e-mail from the pastor of the Third Baptist Church and influential black San Franciscan arrived in our inboxes Friday — and it was Biblical in nature.
It was a comparison to Pontius Pilate that compelled Brown to call out former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. “Our interim mayor is not Pontius Pilate,” said the Roman Catholic Alioto-Pier, one of the Board’s more religious members during her six-year tenure. She spoke at a press conference called by multiple mayoral candidates to gang up on the mayor, who said that investigations into illegal contributions were out of his hands, according to KGO-TV. “He can’t take the tough issues and the just walk away and wash your hands and pretend it has nothing to do with you.”
Brown — or someone associated with Brown — shared with the media a letter addressed to Alioto-Pier, penned on Third Baptist Church stationary objecting to the reference.
“While we understand that the final days of election season can be intense, comparing the Mayor of San Francisco to the man who condemned Jesus Christ to death crosses the line,” wrote Brown in the email, sent under the heading “Comparison to Pontius Pilot Unbecomming [sic]”. “We call upon you to apologize to Mayor Lee and to all persons of faith, and we call upon all candidates for Mayor to join us in condemning these inappropriate and offensive remarks.”
Brown is close to former Mayor Willie Brown, who appointed the influential black San Franciscan to the Board of Supervisors in the 1990s, and who is among Mayor Ed Lee’s chief supporters. He was not the only black leader connected to Willie who came to bat for Ed Lee last week; on Thursday, the Ed Lee campaign circulated a Lee endorsement from Rev. Jesse Jackson, who campaigned for Brown in 1999.
Alioto-Pier’s crew did not offer an apology, nor did the campaign distance itself from the comments. “We’ve said all we’ve wanted to say,” a spokesman for the former supervisor said, declining to comment further.
Thus far, the Rev. Brown’s calls for a united front against religious references is going unheeded. A spokesman for the Lee campaign — which was “shopping around” the letter on Friday, according to a rival campaign — said he did not want to further publicize Alioto-Pier’s “unintended” comments, and called any connection to the Jackson endorsement “a remarkable amount of hypothesis and speculation.”
“But I’ve come to expect no less in this campaign,” wrote campaign spokesman Tony Winnicker in an email.
Lee was religious himself this weekend, attending church services at Providence Baptist Church in the Bayview and Glide Memorial, according to Winnicker.
That wasn’t all the silliness the weekend had in store. A national campaign committee connected to an anti-LGBT senator from Kentucky is paying for Facebook ads slamming City Attorney Dennis Herrera for his alleged reluctance to support gay marriage in 2004.
“Where was Herrera?” asks the sponsored ad, which was paid for by a 527 committee called Citizens for Strength and & Security. The committee’s ad links to the Chronicle article in which anonymous sources say Herrera was not an initial supporter of former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s notion to begin marrying gay couples shortly after he became mayor in 2004.
A 527 committee is exempt from many disclosure rules — and this particular committee, funded mostly by labor unions, spent heavily in favor of West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, who opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, according to the Washington Post.
Facebook ads are considered inexpensive, and the ad is hardly sophisticated. But why would a committee connected to an anti-LGBT candidate take interest in the San Francisco mayor’s race? And who’s behind it? That’s the beauty of the 527: there are no records on file with the Federal Elections Commission regarding the committee.
“These hypocrites are attacking Herrera with their baldfaced lies for not being supportive enough of LGBT rights,” Herrera spokesman Matt Dorsey told the Appeal late Sunday. “Yet they themselves fund anti-gay bigotry!”
As if that wasn’t enough: recall Too $hort’s concert in benefit of state Sen. Leland Yee, author of restrictions on violent video games featuring Too $hort’s music? On Saturday, another local musician got into the mix, as Supervisor John Avalos’s mayoral campaign received a boost of the gothic cabaret variety.
Amanda Palmer, who sings for The Dresden Dolls and is married to author Neil Gaiman, was in town to play a show at the Palace of Fine Arts. She “dropped by the Avalos HQ on Saturday and attended to grunt work, affixing stickers to pieces of literature, according to her Twitter feed.
It was Avalos’s nationally-publicized support for the Occupy San Francisco movement that spurred Palmer to visit the campaign, and to tweet support for the District 11 supervisor to her 529,000-plus Twitter followers, the chosen son of the city’s progressive movement (and pet of former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, according to The Argonaut’s Warren Hinckle). And that’s just fine with Avalos.
“So touched and impressed by her coming to my campaign office that I bought and downloaded ‘Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on her Magical Ukelele,'” Avalos told The Appeal. “I recommend it highly.”
This all ends Tuesday, folks.
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