Monday, August 26, 2019

Bernie "cranky," Warren "wonderful" in SF

Photo: Win McNamee

Amy Graff on SFGate:

Sen. Bernie Sanders was in town for the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting and dined out with staff at San Francisco's iconic John's Grill on Thursday, according to Politico.

The presidential hopeful didn't impress the owner of the 111-year-old restaurant, John Konstin. "It was all very nice, except for cranky Bernie," Konstin told Politico.

Konstin told SFGATE the U.S. senator from Vermont declined to shake hands and take photos and "was rude" to staff. "He was just rude, not friendly," Konstin said. "I think he was just hungry and didn't want to be a politician. He lost my vote."

John's Grill opened in 1908 and was famously used as a backdrop in Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon." Politicians frequent the restaurant and their photos adorn the wood-paneled walls.

Lee Houskeeper, the media contact for John's Grill, said it's uncharacteristic for Konstin to say anything negative about his patrons. "Bernie had to be in a terrible mood," Houskeeper said. "Anyone in the public eye needs to understand when it's time to order room service." He added Sanders left a tip and his wife apologized as the group was leaving the restaurant.

The DNC's three-day event in San Francisco was attended by 13 presidential candidates in the 2020 race who participated in caucus, council and committee meetings. Former Vice President Joe Biden was one of the few candidates to not attend.

Konstin told Politico his restaurant hosted a party with Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was "pure class."

Sanders' rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren also recently dined out in the city, visiting in June for the 2019 California Democrat Convention.

Warren, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, brought her staff to Ayala in Union Square's Hotel G.

"She was absolutely wonderful and came into our kitchen," Ayala General Manager Alexandra Loulias said. "So complimentary of our staff. She took individual photos with everyone. Just the nicest lady."

After speaking with John's Grill owner John Konstin, SFGATE updated the story at noon on Monday. SFGATE has reached out to the Bernie Sanders campaign and will update the story again when we hear back.

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Rose Pak and the race card

Photo: Jim Herd

From a recent edition of the SF Chronicle:

Over the objections of hundreds of Chinatown residents, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency narrowly voted Tuesday night to name the city’s newest Muni station after the late Rose Pak — a heroic role model to supporters, but a “morally corrupt bully” and “liar” to many others.

The cliffhanger 4-3 vote will establish the “Chinatown Rose Pak Station.” The naming issue has long divided the city’s Chinatown community, and the vote capped five-and-a-half hours of testimony in a sweltering hearing room where the air conditioning was broken and the polarization was complete.

Opponents — dozens of whom spoke in Mandarin with translators, or by video from their Grant Avenue shops — urged the seven transportation directors not to “shame” the community by naming the not-yet-finished station after Pak. 

They accused the brassy, cigar-chomping community organizer of being a Communist spy, of failing to pay for her meals, and of masquerading as low-income even though she had wealth. They said she opposed practitioners of Falun Gong.

“I cannot deny that there are people who love Rose Pak,” said resident Adam Zing. “But you can see that so many people do not love her. Why force this on us? This is a public station. Take your love private. Don’t bring this upon us”...

Rob's comment:
The Central Subway might not have been built without a deal between Rose Pak and Willie Brown. 

Just as important, Pak degraded the city's political culture by playing the race card against critics of the Central Subway project.

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