Monday, June 13, 2011

Bevan Dufty’s Mayoral Neighborhood Gathering: A Pancake Breakfast Rally in the Castro

A large crowd that rivaled the mass rallies against Proposition 8 that met in the same former Tower Records site space near Café Flore welcomed San Francisco mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty on June 11. It was promoted as a pancake breakfast that was prepared by Don Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, which is highly regarded by many of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club members at the Saturday rally from the days when Robert Barnes was the club president and he presented meetings and parties at that popular South of Market venue.

Dufty wore an apron to join City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, activist Roberta Achtenberg, and the BART Board’s Lynette Sweet to serve a pancake treat to hungry precinct walkers. Many of the people who gathered to hear community leaders announce their support for Dufty knew each other from Dufty’s two supervisor campaigns and were happily greeting each other. Dufty’s communications director Roby Chavez coordinated the event and there was a smooth transition between the introductions and stage events.

Treasurer Cisneros acted as the event’s MC and introduced Achtenberg and Sweet, who glowingly spoke of their approval of Dufty as San Francisco’s next mayor, mostly as a hands-on people pleaser who has had the necessary experience while working for Mayor Willie Brown and also as a City Supervisor.

Dufty was then introduced to loud applause and he expanded on his years of service and his expectations as the city’s chief executive. He said that the event was a chance for his supporters to meet the campaign team. He introduced communications director Chavez and a dynamic young man named Joseph Rocha, who is working on the campaign. Rocha had a critically important job with the military and he was relieved of his duties because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). As he told his story, the audience was moved when they realized that he was an explosive detection canine handler, but his positive message that drew smiles was that he expects to return to service when DADT is ended. Astute audience members realized that a canine commando like Rocha was the first of the Navy Seals team to enter Osama Bin Laden’s lair during a recent incursion into Pakistan.

Prominent activists who attended the event included Cisneros’ partner Mark Kelleher, Audrey Joseph, Rafael Mandelman, Bob Dockendorff, Rebecca Prozan, Rebecca Goldfader (the mother of Dufty’s child Sidney), Michael Costa, and Bob Mitchitarian.

There were discussions in the crowd about Dufty’s chances for victory. As mentioned in a Dec. 30 San Francisco Bay Times article, Dufty has new traction in  the race for mayor because State Senator Mark Leno likes his commission appointment in Sacramento and chose not to run for mayor. Since then, however there is chance that his Senate position will be eliminated and that decision is just a few days away from the deadline filing for mayor.

Candidate Dufty is know for his June Pride party floats which are more of an outrageous traveling dance party than the usual sight of a politician progressing slowly down Market Street in a car. A hint of how extreme this year’s Dufty Experience will be were the huge masses of blue and yellow balloons mounted in doorways, the kind that are worn at carnivals.

No comments: