Last night's Mayoral debate in the Fillmore doesn't sound like it was very well attended. Out of 12 candidates invited, a third of them didn't show up to the event designed to get candidates talking about the issues facing San Francisco's black residents. Of those missing four, the most conspicuous absence was incumbent Mayor Ed Lee, who passed on the event to go on a pub crawl in the Lower Haight instead.
Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the Mayor's campaign, seemed to think his candidate's absence was no big deal - pub crawls are, after all, a great way to meet constituents face-to-face. As Winnicker told Bay City News, "The mayor talked directly and in-depth to dozens of real, undecided voters--not political insiders--about the issues they care about," he said. "They're also fun."
It's a decent point - Pub crawls are fun after all. They're a great way to blow an entire evening and generally avoid responsibility. And no one will mistake the Lower Haight's punky, dive bar regulars for political insiders. But then again - try telling that to the city's black population who have been struggling to keep a voice lately. They're not exactly political insiders themselves.
Speaking of political insiders, tagging along for Lee's romp through the beer-and-whiskey neighborhood was Chronicle columnist and sit-lie endorser, Chuck Nevius who took to twitter to tell everyone how much fun barhopping with the mayor could be:
After the bar crawl, Lee moved on to a (previously scheduled) meeting with Cathedral Hill business and community leaders. Well, ain't that just a slap in the face.
For the record, Dennis Herrera, David Chiu and Phil Ting were the other three candidates who didn't show up to the Fillmore debate last night. Herrera and Chiu though, did send in pre-recorded responses to some of the questions that were posed to other candidates. Bevan Dufty, who gave an impassioned speech at a Western Addition debate last week, laid in to Herrera for calling Lee's appointment of Mohammed Nuru to DPW Director "cronyism" while calling for more African Americans representation in City Hall. And for what it's worth, it's nice to see somebody finally invited Green party candidate Terry Jean Baum to one of these things.
Update: We've reached out to Winnicker to get a list of bars Lee stopped in to last night, no official confirmation yet, but Haighteration has some additional details from the scene in the neighborhood: Lee was spotted at Toronado and Mad Dog in the Fog.