On Sept. 16, supporters of Proposition B, the pension reform measure that would also reduce health care benefits for the children of city workers, held a fundraiser at Le Méridien Hotel which is one of the hotels on the union boycott list. That was a bad idea, and it put Public Defender Jeff Adachi, the sponsor of Prop. B, in a difficult bind. His proposition, his fundraiser and he had to cross a picket line to get in the door. So did former mayor Willie Brown, who was one of the fundraiser’s feature guests.
Labor people were furious about the two Democrats crossing the line. Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson told Guardian City Editor Steven T. Jones that the move was "outrageous." At the very least, it’s highly unusual in this labor town.
And I thought of something else unusual: Brown, who among other things is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, was helping host a political fundraiser. That’s interesting because just a few weeks earlier, the conservative San Francisco Coalition for Responsible Growth invited the Chron’s C.W. Nevius to speak at a fundraising event and when the SF Appeal reported on it, Chron management told Nevius that wasn’t allowed.
What’s the difference? One columnist can do fundraisers and one can’t? When I asked Chron Editor Ward Bushee, he referred me to a Matier and Ross column, which included a quote on the matter from Managing Editor Steve Proctor:
"When we gave him a column, we never had any illusion he would cease to be involved in politics. I think the readers of the Chronicle understand that."
So it’s one standard for Willie, another for everyone else. Just like old times.