By Tim Redmond
I sat next to Sup. David Campos Saturday at the celebration of Sue Hestor’s 70th birthday, and at one point he looked over at me and said: “Wow, what a great history lesson.”
Yep: People told stories about Hestor’s life (she was born on the East Coast, but conceived in SF while her dad was in the Navy, she read all the Nancy Drew books before she was nine) and reminded us that she has been the most dedicated, selfless lawyer for the San Francisco urban environment in the past 40 years.
They also reminded us what that has meant.
I’ve known Sue since 1982, when I first started writing about San Francisco politics and planning. She was, and is, what the journalist group Media Alliance once called an “utterly reliable source:” With Sue, you get no spin, no selective facts. You get the straight story, you don’t always get it politely – and if you write it wrong, you hear about it. She is driven: I remember a day, long before cell phones, when she called me about five times at 7am (willfully refusing to accept that I am so not a morning person that I would never be awake at that hour) and the last message she left on my answering machine said: “Tim, you simply have to give me your girlfriend’s phone number, because you obviously aren’t at home and something important is happening and I need to be able to reach you.”
I’ve slept through her phone calls, but if I’m awake I’ve never ignored one: She knows more about land-use policy and politics than anyone alive in this city – and after 31 years as a reporter, I can’t think of a single time she’s been wrong. (more after the jump)