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February 29, 2008

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Jason

Wow. Mexican-American kid from Texas border town makes good, becomes Eagle Scout and president of his high school class, heads off to Columbia and then Stanford Law (made law review), actually WINS cases as a public defender, wins an election for Board of Supervisors (even if he "should have no shot at getting elected to anything"), loses only to Gavin Newsom in a mayoral election, decides to join Ralph Nader's ticket ... and he's been waiting for a bong hit all day? He's a slacker?

Dan Filler

Jason, everything you say is true AND he's a San Franciscan in the proudest 1980's tradition! If you heard an insult in my post, rest assured that it wasn't intended.

Mark Fenster

Now that Dan's sought to downplay the inference that Jason reasonably drew from his original post (and that my first read of the post shared), it seems kind of beside the point to chime in, but I'll just say I lived in SF when Gonzalez was on the Board of Supervisors, and the guy was a very fine good government guy, certainly to the left of most everywhere else but right in the middle of SF's capaciously leftward bell curve. He was generally beloved in the public interest legal community, too. He was a mellow 1960s and 70s-era Ralph Nader type for the post-punk world, and very good at attracting young voters and getting them interested in government. He probably couldn't have been mayor, though, because I don't think his coalition could garner citywide support, especially against a well-funded candidate like Gavin Newsom. In the end the cultural trappings just clothed a very smart, engaged, and committed politician-lawyer. I don't think of him as a Medea Benjamin type, whose earlier public interest work might have been quite good, but she seems always to be running quixotic campaigns for whatever.

In all, I find it rather disappointing that he's joined Nader here. A(nother) Nader campaign simply isn't a good vehicle for pushing political issues, and I'm not sure what the point of a third party campaign waged by a non-billionaire is these days otherwise.

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