Saturday, May 15, 2021
News + Politics Tom's Town: Reflections on City College ...

Tom’s Town: Reflections on City College …


…. and the city after a campaign for office

By Tom Temprano

DECEMBER 6, 2015 — Helllllllllo 48 Hills! Did you miss me? I missed you! It seems like forever ago that Tom’s Town went on hiatus to make way for my City College Board campaign but I’m back and we have so much catching up to do.

The last six months on the campaign trail have been incredible. I laughed, I cried, I walked up at least a million flights of stairs and though the election may not have gone my way (or any of the ways I wanted outside of Supervisor Peskin) I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything.

48hillstempranoAt the end of the day nearly 40,000 San Francisco voters thought that I was the right person to help move City College forward and I owe each and every one of you a huge and incredible thanks. So please be sure to leave your address in the comments so I can send you one of the 40,000 holiday fruitcakes I baked.

Though every single moment was a learning experience I decided that, since the Internet LOVES a list, I should distill all I learned into my top five campaign lessons.


  1. San Francisco loves City College… but has no idea what’s going on there. It seemed as if almost everyone I spoke to was a past, present or prospective student at City College. With an enrollment of 80,000 that’s no surprise. What was a surprise is that many of those past, present and prospective students thought that that college was about to shut down – some even thought it already had closed. City College definitely has some issues, but none seem to be greater than the crisis of misinformation about the college’s accreditation.
  1. Mornings are nice. As a bar owner/tender and nightlife denizen, mornings were a complete mystery to me. I pretty much refused to believe people who told me the sun rose in the East. The East!? After waking up early every day for months to talk to voters at BART and MUNI stops I’m surprised to say that mornings aren’t that bad. In fact, they’re kind of nice!
  1. Homophobia is alive and well. Despite being in one of the bubbliest bubbles around, being a (very) openly gay man on the campaign trail wasn’t a breeze. From being spat at and called a fag by one especially lovely morning commuter to having political insiders decide that post-marriage American means LGBT representation doesn’t matter, there were some real eye openers about how some people really feel about all of us gays in the Bay.
  1. People love Tom Ammiano. I mean, obviously. But being out there with big signs that say “TOM” prompted dozens and dozens of “I love Tom Ammiano” responses. I hated to disappoint people and let them know that I was, in fact, his less handsome friend who nonetheless had his endorsement.
  1. San Franciscans are pissed off – and ready to do something about it. I was completely overwhelmed by the huge number of volunteers for my campaign who turned out because they wanted to do something to help save the city they love. This election – and not just my campaign but the campaigns of Broke-Ass Stuart, Aaron Peskin and Prop’s F & I brought dozens and dozens of people off of the sidelines for the first time. One of my friends remarked after the election that he didn’t know what a precinct was before my campaign but now he’s walked five of them. We’re going to need to keep these folks off the sidelines and get even more to join them if we’re going to win back City Hall/beat back AirBnB/etc. in 2016.



Fuck guns. Sorry – there’s no delicate way to put it. Fuck guns, the people who use them to murder others and the politicians who enable those people to be murdered by being more afraid of a lobbyist organization once led by a man whose biggest claim to fame was getting his ass kicked by a bunch of monkeys in a movie than the reality that their spouse, child or parent could be the next to be killed.

From Colorado Springs to San Bernardino to the streets of San Francisco where this week a 26-year-old man lost his life at the hands of police, America has a gun problem that is tearing our country apart. As we gear up for local and national elections in the coming year, we owe it to all who have been lost to gun violence to make their lives the campaign issue in 2016.



For those who don’t remember, or have never read before, this column is loosely inspired by Willie Brown’s weekly Willie’s World column in the Chronicle. The most inspiring part of that column is Willie’s weekly reviews of whatever the hell he happened to see in the theatres. It is in that spirit that I do my best to review a movie (or TV show, or youtube video, or hilarious gif if we’re really short on time) every week myself.

This week – Spectre. My big takeaway from this film is that Daniel Craig is definitely the hottest James Bond yet. There was an old Pierce Brosnan Bond movie on TV this week that I flipped through and all I could think was “how did we ever settle for this?”

Aside from Daniel Craig being ridiculously good looking there wasn’t a whole lot keeping me interested. There were huge scenes of mass chaos and destruction at the beginning and end that were pretty decent but everything else was a snoozefest. I may have actually slept through 80 percent of the movie, which was a good call on my part.


1) Eat at Roosevelt Tamale Parlor. I am SO bummed to hear that local 100-year-old staple Roosevelt Tamale Parlor will be closing its doors after this weekend. Not only because it was my go-to brunch secret while everyone waited forever at St. Francis but because its delicious, currently queer owned, and will allow me to get a side of chilequiles with my tamales. I already have plans to eat here Saturday and Sunday so I’ll see you there.


2) Emerge Kickoff @ Temple 6:30-8:30pm. Emerge has helped shape an entire generation of women leaders in politics and I’m especially excited to celebrate this year’s fantastic class of Emerge trainees. I have lots of friends who will be joining this great program but want to give some huge love to my friend Mia Satya aka Mia Tu Much who is the first transwoman to ever be accepted to Emerge California.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. sffoghorn, It’s obvious we never met and we do not know each other. You clearly suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  2. Tom, if you really cared at all about this City, then you would have joined those of us who volunteered with our neighbors to prevent the passage of the heinous Proposition F. Prop F, and any attempt at taking property from San Francisco families, was an existential threat to tens of thousands of San Francisco families who have a fundamental right to occasionally rent out their guest rooms if they so choose in order to pay their mortgages, meet new people, and improve their communities. The fight against Props F and I energized a lot of San Franciscans, especially the working class and middle class, who wanted to protect our City and neighborhoods from these frankly nearly fascist laws. Also, if you really want to fight homophobia and help those of us in the gay community, then why not rally behind the Alice B. Toklas gay Democrcatic club and oppose the ‘progressive’ cabal that attacks the rights of gay homeowners (many of whom are landlords whose livelihood is threatened by rent control and unjust anti-eviction and anti-home sharing regulations)?

  3. “fuck guns”

    While I personally disagree, I respect that you are at least honest about your position. No attempt to placate hunters/sportsman, no assurances that “we’re not coming for your guns, jeez.” Absolute prohibition of civilian ownership, confiscation, and destruction is the only policy course that would, over a period of decades, bring gun deaths down to a level that you might find acceptable. I would even support this policy, however politically impossible it is, if I could bring myself to trust the police with a monopoly on lethal force.

  4. The contemporary political history of San Francisco is riddled with conservative subservient lickspittle shin kickers such as Dewsnup aspires to be.

    Fredrick Hobson, Eric Allen Bass (joefire) and Ryan Chamberlain, lonely men who seek political validation in the diminished reflection of the powerful elites.

    I am sure that there were others. And there will be more.

  5. Only the minority who dislike Lee’s success and popularity try and propagate the delusion that Lee’s win was not a stroll in the park.

  6. Tom only campaigned in the Mission and the Castro and refused to show up at any of his debates with his opponents. The Homosexual winner campaigned “citywide” and performed well during the testy debates with (the girl with the frown) Wendy Aragon. If you put the Aragon votes with the Temprano votes the total votes still would not have surpassed the winners total votes.

    City College is still going through troubled times and everyone recognized it needed SOLID Leadership…..

  7. Nobody should take that crap but at this point conduct like that is such an outlier that it poses no real threat but holds real value to those who posit themselves victims. I just laugh at people when they do that these days. The claim that homophobia has any substantive impact on election results in 2015 is baseless. If it does not have any political impact they why bring it up?

  8. The SF approach to who we elect and whose appointed is really bizarre. That we elect the School Board but not the Planning Commission, or, like you said, the DA and Sheriff, but not the Fire Chief is totally inconsistent.

    I agree with you. I think we should elect our Mayor and our Sups and let them run the city. I do understand, however, that some folks believe that this kind of system would just mean that these jobs wouldn’t go to experts, but rather to ambitious ideologues who are friends with the Mayor.

  9. Over 2/3 of votes cast made a choice for Lee. Landslide.

    Doesn’t matter that you try and spin that as a loss. He gets 4 more years and you get to cry like a baby.

  10. A related issue is that some of these positions should not be elected at all. Surely what is really is needed are experts in education, and not some ambitious ideologue with an agenda but no practical experience?

    I am also baffled why we’d elect a sheriff and DA but not a police or fire chief. If the job requires subject matter expertise, then why elect?

  11. According to SFDOE:

    Total ballots counted: 203,069
    Total votes for Lee: 105,298

    More than 12,000 of those who voted didn’t bother to vote for mayor.

    Of the total ballots counted, Lee got less than 52% of the vote.

    You can spin this however you want and so can I. Regardless, Lee’s vote it isn’t a landslide and it isn’t a mandate. I see it as an embarrassment for Lee. You can see it however you wish.

  12. Lee got over 55% on just the first round, while it took him 12 rounds to reach 60% last time, so clearly his support is growing.

    If 2nd and 3rd choice votes are included, less than one third of voters were unhappy with four more years for a popular mayor.

    And that is with no campaigning.

  13. No. It is an embarrassment that, if you count all people who voted in the election, Lee got less than 52% of the vote, especially since he didn’t have any real opponents.

  14. Doesn’t matter what I believe. Election results do not lie.

    Or are you saying that Peskin’s win was also meaningless? And that the only election results that are really believable are the ones that you personally happen to agree with?

  15. I love this self-serving post-election analysis. Nowhere in the autoapologia is there any self criticism of what the candidate might have done wrong during his campaign such as NOT HAVING ANY ORGANIC CONNECTION TO THE INSTITUTION HE WAS RUNNING TO LEAD AS A STEPPING STONE TO HIGHER OFFICE.

    To the contrary, he chalks up an electoral loss to homophobia because of the act of less than a handful of individuals on the margins.

    That morning thing, you know, when classes are that the CCSF students attend, the time that most voters are doing the work thing that most everyone does?

    brought dozens and dozens of people off of the sidelines for the first time.

    Every contested election brings people off of the sidelines. The trick is to keep those folks engaged in the process between elections so that they’ll come back to work on the next election and bring a few friends. That is how you get thousands of people to give a weeks of their lives to campaigns that, you know, win. The last time that worked before Peskin was Daly’s last reelection campaign in 2006. Your campaign was an imperceptible gnat outside of your small circle.

    But the political approach of the “progressives” is to play parlour politics, where their political in-group makes the decisions for the “official” “progressive” alternative behind closed doors as a vanguard on behalf of “the people” who should just shut up and be grateful for that dispensation.

    Undisclosed are the ethical conflicts inherent in the mixing of political advocacy, service provision and City contracting amongst those dominating the process. This is why they use San Franciscans as human props, calling us out when they need us for their purposes using us and then casting us aside when through. This has not worked in the past and is not working now.

    The only way to overcome the high spending corporate campaigns is through a an engaged, organized and mobilized citizenry. None of the CCHO/SFIC campaigns did that, Prop G of ’14, Props F and I of ’15. So long as the professional progressives fear San Franciscans as much as they love their sinecures, progressives will circle the drain.

    How feminist is it for a first-time male candidate with no connection to CCSF running against a woman of color who had a decent showing for a seat during the last election, and what does it mean that gay male politicos such as Ammiano and Campos endorse the man over the woman of color based on clique association rather than qualifications for the job?

  16. Re your (5), if the voters are really so upset about the state of the city, then why did over 2/3 of voters last month choose Ed Lee as one of their three picks?

    That does not sound to me like a wave of discontent with the status quo. Maybe your perception has more to do with your own biases, and the areas and demographics that you chose to canvass in?

    Judging by the election results, the voters were a lot more upset with the sheriff, the moratorium idea and the attempt to stop home sharing.

Comments are closed.

More by this author

Can people paying rent for a parking space be evicted for living in cars?

Caltrans is about to try to remove people from a lot under I-80.

Boudin allies speak out at a rally against ‘recall madness’

Elected officials, labor, and community leaders say that the DA has kept his campaign promises.

State Legislature moving to give telecom companies immense power

Bills would block any local control over placement of cell towers and antennas -- and it's passing with almost no opposition.

Is San Francisco a ‘conservative’ city? That’s what the Chron thinks.

But is opposing the Big Business and Big Tech Agenda really 'conservative?' Plus: Free Muni --and a complex new Muni yard. That's The Agenda for May 10-18.

Fate of Bayview facility threatens City College funding chances

The school promised $35 million to the community. Now, a battle over an obscure legal concept has the supes and the College Board at odds.

Most read

Boudin allies speak out at a rally against ‘recall madness’

Elected officials, labor, and community leaders say that the DA has kept his campaign promises.

What happened to Halston? New doc dives deep into designer’s story

In Halston, the new biopic about the visionary American fashion designer, director Frédéric Tcheng makes every effort to remain objective when portraying the contentious...

Can people paying rent for a parking space be evicted for living in cars?

Caltrans is about to try to remove people from a lot under I-80.

Not one dollar of state rent-relief money has arrived in SF

Hundreds of millions in federal funding is available -- but tenants aren't getting it.

You might also likeRELATED