"It's almost a cliché in our world," says one "longtime city politico" to SF Weekly. "When something blows up, 'You better call Sam Singer.'" The kind of media relations specialist on whom Olivia Pope is modeled, Singer will be joining local concerned Catholic school teachers, parents, and students who oppose Archbishop Cordileone's recent strictures, as the Weekly reports.
As you may have heard on the nightly news the last few weeks, the controversy concerns Riordan, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, Serra, and Marin Catholic schools, where some are resistant to new morality clauses submitted in a faculty handbook. Cordileone has explicitly instructed the almost 500 employees of these archdiocese high schools to “affirm and believe” that actions such as homosexual relations, birth control, and masturbation are “gravely” or “intrinsically” evil. That's been interpreted as a ban on teachers expressing any views to the contrary or engaging in any of the "behaviors" themselves for fear of losing their jobs. But shouldn't drunk driving go on that list too, Archbishop?
Singer, who represented the SF Zoo after a tiger attacked and killed a patron back in 2008, has himself taken plenty of unpopular stances himself. Another notable: he helped Chevron after a refinery explosion in Richmond. He's been called a fixer, and a "top gun for hire" and hell, he added all the dubious praise to his website. SFist has called him a "hired goon," but weirdly, I'm not seeing that on his site bio.
Anyway, now Singer has told the Weekly that he's on board with parents, and hopes Cordileone will recognize his "loyalty oath" does "not keep with Catholic values. It's a group of concerned parents who are paying Singer, he disclosed. And his counter-campaign is already underway, it seems. LGBT supporters recently donned black at an Ash Wednesday vigil in what the Weekly calls a "slick" and classic Singer campaign.
As SFist noted briefly yesterday, Cordlieone sat down with the Chronicle Editorial Board in a video you can see here in which he seems to be backing down on some of these issues. However the Archdiocese quickly sent out a release insisting that none of the dictates are being repealed, only clarified. Cordileone, perhaps just being a good actor, told the Chron he was "surprised at the degree of consternation over this."