Matt Gonzalez began by congratulating Ross Mirkarimi on winning his
seat on the Board of Supervisors. Half jokingly, he pointed out that he
hadn't been termed out, so if Ross doesn't to a good job over the next
four years Matt would be glad to take his seat back. Then he talked
about the Gulf War, pointing out that it
has already cost San Francisco
$540 Million, and the State of California $19 Billion. He asked us
think just a little bit about all of the health care and education that
could be gotten for that much money. This has forced San Francisco into
a situation where they have to scramble to find money in so many ways.
Matt then said "we need real standup representatives to see that these
kinds of spending priorities happen, not the ones that collapse at the
first whimper from Corporate America." He finished by pointing out that
as long as we keep voting for the "least worst of the two candidates"
we will keep getting two very similar choices from the Corporate Party.
Ross Mirkarimi talked about how it felt to be vilified in the press by
the Grocers Association for proposing to tax
plastic bags. He said they were claiming the tax would hurt poor
people. He said it just wasn't true. The city had done a study of ways
to reduce waste, and places like Ireland had success with the strategy.
Then he talked a bit about his philosophy of change, saying "real
change comes from the streets."
A series of grass roots activists talked about their upcoming events.
Peter Camejo gave a speech next. Unfortunately, I forgot what he had to
say before I had a chance to write it down. I spent my first couple of
sittings typing in the other notes on this page. Sorry about that.
Ralph Nader got a good hand when he took the stage. He said that yes
our situation is bleak, with authoritarianism looming from the Bush
Administration, but it is not hopeless. For one thing, 58% of the
American People are disturbed by the way the Iraq war is going. This is
a huge lack of support for the war compared to what previous wars had
enjoyed. Also, there are significant organizations that have stepped
forward to facilitate opposition. He mentioned Military Families Speak
Out ( www.mfso.org ), Veterans For Peace ( www. VeteransForPeace.org ),
and a couple of others that I missed. Then Nader brandished a copy of
War Is A
Racket by Smedley Butler. He explained that the guys family
had reissued it through Feral Press in L. A. Nader is hoping we can
"get a copy of this book in the hands of every active duty Marine." He
thinks that would change things. Nader is worried that if we don't get
a MAJOR sea change working in American Politics this year the
Administration will get its fangs so deep in the system that speaking
out against the status quo will become a crime.
After Nader had made a number of other interesting points he explained
that he had finished his campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars
of debts. It wasn't the advertising, or the outreach, or the travel
expenses, or any of the things he had expected to spend money on. What
had caused him to run up the debts were all the suits the Democratic
Party had brought against him in 23 States to keep him off those
ballots. Yes many of them were frivolous, but he had needed to fight
every one. It had been expensive. He then introduced his friend, the
Oregon Lawyer in the gray coat, who asked us to empty our pockets to
help the campaign.
_________ Special thanks to Emmie for
taking all the pictures on this page! _________