Frank Havenner

Frank Havenner

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Franck Havenner was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, on 20th September, 1882. After studying at Stanford University he became a journalist in San Francisco.

A member of the Progressive Party Havenner was elected to the 75th Congress in 1936. He later joined the Democratic Party and served in Congress until January 1941.

Havenner was a member of the California Railroad Commission between 1941 and 1944. He was elected to Congress in November 1944. An early victim of McCarthyism he lost his seat in 1952. Franck Havenner died in San Francisco on 24th July, 1967.

A political advertisement inserted in the San Francisco Chronicle of Monday, October 30, 1944, carried an accusation of Communism against Representative Frank Havenner running for Congress in which was set forth unsupported testimony given before a so-called Dies subcommittee on July 16, 1940 in Beaumont, Texas, at which Mr. Dies was the only member of the committee present.

On January 11, 1945, Mr. Havenner, Representative from California, rose on the floor of the House and stated, among other things: "At the time of this meeting I was a Member of the House of Representatives and had been for three and one-half years next proceeding that date. I had never received any notice of this hearing prior to the time it was held and have never received any notice of the hearing from the Special Committee on Un-American Activities or from any other person up to the present time. The first knowledge I had that such a subcommittee meeting was held was more than four years later when I read this political advertisement... I have never been given an opportunity to appear before that committee to face my accuser or to reply to his testimony. If the chairman of the committee believed that this sworn testimony was true it was his duty to report it to the House of Representatives and recommend that I be brought before the bar of the House and expelled. If there was any doubt in his mind as to the truth of this testimony, it certainly was his duty to notify me and call me before his committee to disprove the testimony, if I could . instead the record of this secret meeting was pigeonholed for more than four years, when suddenly and mysteriously it was made available for use against me in political campaign."

What Americans Had To Say About Jewish Refugees Fleeing the Nazis

They were called “so-called” refugees, told they were alien to American culture and warned against as potential enemies of the United States.

This heated anti-refugee rhetoric in America was directed against Jews trying to flee Europe, not Mexicans or Syrians. Back in the 1930s and ’40s, the fear was of Nazi and Communist infiltrators sneaking in along with the refugees rather than the Islamic militants or Mexican criminals that some fear today.

Here’s a snapshot of what Americans were saying about Jews as they sought to escape Hitler’s Nazi vise for refuge in the United States.

In 1938, when Hitler’s threat to Jews in Germany already was apparent, America still was emerging from the Great Depression, and xenophobia and anti-Semitism were commonplace. In a July 1938 poll, 67 percent of Americans told Fortune magazine that America should try to keep out altogether German, Austrian and other political refugees, and another 18 percent said America should allow them in but without increasing immigration quotas. In another 1938 poll, cited in the book “Jews in the Mind of America,”some 75 percent of respondents said they opposed increasing the number of German Jews allowed to resettle in the United States.

In January 1939, 61 percent of Americans told Gallup they opposed the settlement of 10,000 refugee children, “most of them Jewish,” in the United States.

In May that year, 12 percent of Americans said they would support a widespread campaign against Jews in the United States and another 8 percent said they would be sympathetic to one, according to the book “FDR and the Jews.” By June 1944, the number had risen to 43 percent of Americans who said they would support a campaign against the Jews or would be sympathetic to one. Polls cited in “Jews in the Mind of America” showed 24 percent of Americans believed Jews were “a menace to America.”

At the same time, however, 70 percent of Americans said in an April 1944 poll commissioned by the White House that they supported creating temporary safe haven camps in the United States where war refugees could stay until the war’s end. Only one such camp was set up, at Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York 982 refugees were placed there in August 1944.

The statements

Rep. Jacob Thorkelson, a Montana Republican, said Jewish migrants are part of an “invisible government” tied to the “communistic Jew” and to “Jewish international financiers.”

Sen. Robert Reynolds, a North Carolina Democrat, said Jews are “systematically building a Jewish empire in this country.”

“Let Europe take care of its own people,” he said. “We cannot care for our own, to say nothing of importing more to care for.” (JTA)

Reynolds told Life magazine he merely wanted “our own fine boys and lovely girls to have all the jobs in this wonderful country,” according to

President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself warned that Jewish refugees might be Nazi spies, coerced to do the Reich’s bidding with threats against relatives back home. At a news conference, Roosevelt explained how refugees – “especially Jewish refugees” – might be forced into service for the Nazis with the threat that if they declined, they would be told, “We are frightfully sorry, but your old father and mother will be taken out and shot.”

Similar warnings against Nazis disguised as refugees appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest and American Magazine, according to

The numbers

America did not take specific action to help Jewish refugees until January 1944, when Roosevelt, conceding to pressure from members of his own government and American Jews, established the War Refugee Board to help rescue Jews in Europe.

Until then, several thousand Jewish refugees had gained admittance into the United States under the German-Austrian quota from 1938 to 1941, which wasn’t limited to Jews. But for most of Roosevelt’s presidency, the U.S. quota for immigrants from Germany went less than 25 percent filled, according to the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. In all, more than 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis-occupied countries sat unused during the Holocaust.

In 1938, just two weeks after the Kristallnacht progrom, the U.S. interior secretary floated the idea of settling refugees in Alaska, and soon his office began researching the possibility. In March 1940, Sen. Robert Wagner of New York and Rep. Frank Havenner of California proposed bills to resettle 10,000 war refugees in the remote territory who wouldn’t count toward America’s immigration quotas. But the idea ran into opponents in Congress who expressed concerns that “these foreigners cannot be assimilated in Alaska, and will constitute a threat to our American civilization.”

In one of the most infamous incidents involving Jewish refugees, the SS St. Louis, a ship loaded with Jews fleeing the Nazis, sailed to the waters off of Florida in 1939, its passengers begging Roosevelt to enter the country. But Roosevelt said no, and the ship – once close enough for passengers to see the lights of Miami – returned to Europe. Nearly half its passengers would perish at the hands of the Nazis.

Even after World War II, Jewish refugees and displaced persons who wanted to resettle to the United States faced tight restrictions. Overall immigration to the U.S. did not increase after the Holocaust, but in an effort to bypass congressional inaction and help war refugees, President Harry Truman ordered that existing immigration quotas be filled by displaced persons. Under the provisions of the Truman Directive, some 22,950 DPs came to the United States between late 1945 and 1947 two-thirds were Jewish.

In 1948, Congress loosened immigration restrictions to allow 400,000 DPs into the United States. Most of those spots went to Christians, however only about 20 percent, or 80,000, were Jews.

In all, 137,450 Jewish refugees had settled in the United States by 1952, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

By comparison, more than four years into Syria’s civil war, America has accepted about 1,500 Syrian refugees. (JTA)

This article has been updated and originally appeared on December 3, 2015.

Jewish history is one long story of seeking refuge. From Hitler’s Berlin to Soviet Moscow, from fundamentalist Teheran to chaos-ridden Addis-Ababa — read more of Jewish refugees’ stories here.


Three people were arrested Wednesday night after Volusia County deputy sheriffs seized heroin and marijuana during two separate traffic stops.

Volusia Deputy Michael Havenner stopped a pickup truck at 9:27 p.m. for driving with a faulty brake light along Dickson Avenue near Murray Street in Osteen.

The two occupants, Jeremiah T. Frank, 20, of Sanford and Robert P. Dease, 20, of Osteen, were arrested after Havenner found 122 grams of marijuana and a .22-caliber, semiautomatic handgun.

Frank was charged with possession of marijuana and narcotics paraphernalia, while Dease was charged with carrying a concealed firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were released from the Volusia County Branch Jail after posting $1,500 bond apiece.

In a separate case, Deputy David Brannon spotted a car driving down Providence Avenue without taillights at 11:25 p.m. The driver didn't pull over immediately and continued along Tivoli Drive and April Avenue before stopping.

Deputies found seven packets of heroin and a marijuana joint. The driver, Alberto Riutort, 25, Deltona, was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of under 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Matt Gonzalez was born in McAllen, Texas. He received his B.A. at Columbia University and J.D. from Stanford Law School. After a decade as a deputy public defender in San Francisco Gonzalez served a term on the 11-member Board of Supervisors. He thereafter co-founded a civil rights law firm Gonzalez & Leigh LLP, which was active from 2005-2012, and was Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2008 on an Independent ticket. In early 2011, he returned to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office as Chief Attorney.

Since 2006 he has exhibited artworks in a variety of Bay Area art venues including Park Life, Guerrero Gallery, Adobe Books, Incline Gallery, and Johansson Projects. He has shown with Dolby Chadwick Gallery since 2014.

Early Years

Matthew Edward Gonzalez was born on June 4, 1965 in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, in the city of McAllen, Texas (pop. 35,000 in 1965), nine miles north of the U.S. — Mexican border and 250 miles south of San Antonio, Texas. At the time of his birth the family lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Gonzalez’s mother Oralia Martinez Rendon is a native of Jalisco, Mexico. His father Mateo Gonzalez was born in Laredo, Texas and worked for Brown & Williamson Tobacco, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. Although Gonzalez Sr. began selling cigarettes out of his car in the late 1950s he rose to an executive position in the company, during which time the family lived in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Louisville. When the younger Gonzalez was eleven years old, the family relocated to McAllen, Texas. Gonzalez Sr. left the tobacco company after 20 years of employment and started an import/export medical equipment company with his wife that primarily did business with Mexico.

Gonzalez attended Milam Elementary School, Lincoln Jr. High School, and McAllen Memorial High School, all public schools in McAllen, Texas.

Gonzalez’s high school yearbook graduation photo, 1983.

College and Law

At Columbia University in New York City, Gonzalez double majored in political theory and comparative literature, and graduated in 1987. He excelled in collegiate debate and in his senior year won the George William Curtis prize in Oratory, a competition open to both undergraduate and graduate students (notably famed lawyer Louis Nizer won the Curtis award twice while attending Columbia Law School).

Gonzalez at Stanford University, 1987. Photo by Michael Sandmire.

At Stanford Law School Gonzalez worked as a research assistant to the then-Dean of the Law School Paul Brest, on constitutional law issues such as the religion clauses of the First Amendment. He is credited in the 3rd edition of Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking: Cases and Materials by Paul Brest & Sanford Levinson (Boston: Little Brown, 1992) as contributing to the research that comprises the book. While at Stanford, Gonzalez interned for the California Appellate Project, which handles or directly supervises all death penalty appeals in California. He published The Demise of Due Process: Murray against Giarratano in The Stanford Humanities Review (Fall/Winter 1990 special issue devoted to Critical Legal Studies), concerning a capital defendants right to counsel in state habeas corpus proceedings.

Gonzalez began work as an attorney in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in 1991. At the time Jeff Brown was the elected Public Defender and the Chief Attorney was Peter Keane. Gonzalez developed a reputation as a skilled trial attorney who routinely won difficult cases. A former colleague Doug Rappaport noted “You’d get an offer that was enticing to your client, such as two or three years instead of risking upward of 20 years by going to trial. Matt had a belief in what he was doing and wasn’t afraid to roll the dice when it was a question of a man’s innocence.” (SF Chronicle, 12/07/03). Peter Keane, Dean of Golden Gate University Law School and former Chief Attorney of the SF Public Defender’s Office, called Gonzalez a “brilliant, creative, and ethical” trial lawyer (Stanford Lawyer, Fall 1999).

On two occasions Gonzalez was jailed for contempt of court (by Superior Court judge Wallace Douglass in 1992 and Superior Court judge Perker Meeks in 2000), and ordered arrested by sheriffs a third time (by now-Court of Appeals Justice Barbara J.R. Jones in 1995) (SF Chronicle, 10/18/03). Reviewing courts overturned each of the findings and Gonzalez amicably resolved his differences with each of the judges. “Retired Superior Court Judge David Garcia, who used to play chess with Gonzalez during breaks in courtroom proceedings, said of Gonzalez: “He’s a man of honor, you don’t have to agree with him to respect him.”” (SF Chronicle, 10/18/03).

Addressing the incident in 2000, the SF Bay Guardian wrote an editorial “Free Matt Gonzalez!” stating “Gonzalez continued to raise objections about the issue, and eventually his frustrations got the best of him. “I don’t know what side of the bed you got out of this morning,” he told Meeks — and the angry jurist cited him for contempt of court and ordered a five-day sentence. Local lawyers say it’s by far the harshest contempt sentence meted out in the San Francisco courts in as long as anyone can remember.” (SF Bay Guardian, 01/26/00).

Friendship with poet Jack Micheline

Matt Gonzalez & Jack Micheline outside the Kilowatt bar in San Francisco, 1993. Photo by Andrew McKinley.

Gonzalez met the beat poet Jack Micheline in 1991. He recounts the story of their meeting, which took place at the Albion Bar in the Mission District of San Francisco, in a long essay published in John Bennett’s tribute Ragged Lion, which collects a number of essays about the poet. Micheline arranged to keep about 50 suitcases in a shed behind the house Gonzalez and Whitney Leigh rented in the Mission, on Sycamore Street. As a result they saw Micheline on a nearly daily basis during the last six years of his life. In 1997, Gonzalez edited and published a 200-page collection of Micheline’s poetry, Sixty-Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints under the imprint FMSBW. A second expanded-edition was published after Micheline’s death in 1998.

Jack Micheline, Sixty-Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints (San Francisco: FMSBW, 1997).

In a review of the book, Jennifer Joseph wrote: “In this stunning tribute to Micheline’s bohemian life and unadulterated talent, his son, Vincent Silvaer, and editor Matt Gonzalez have assembled a remarkable collection of his work, including poems, photographs, letter excerpts from Micheline’s youth (when his name was Harvey Silver), and his final writings, penned just days before his death. Included as well is a fascinating biography that depicts his nascent New York years, his friendships with Kerouac and Bukowski, and assorted other revealing tidbits.” (SF Bay Guardian, 04/28/99).

Micheline’s obituary noted: “Always quick to pack his bags and take a trip, then roll into town and sleep on my couch until he could get his hotel room back,” is the way his publisher, San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Matt Gonzalez, described him. “He had a lot of different sides. He was very spiritual, and he also had the Beat sensibility and a great big heart,” Gonzalez said. “He had an immense number of friends.” Mr. Micheline could also be a pain in the neck to work with – even denying authorship of a poem until shown the manuscript in his handwriting, Gonzalez said.” (SF Examiner, 3/01/98)

In 1999 Gonzalez wrote the introductory essay about Micheline for the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, published by Thunder’s Mouth Press, and edited by Alan Kaufman, which is still in print.

In 2003 SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin offered legislation naming a street in North Beach after Micheline which Gonzalez cosponsored and which was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Matt Gonzalez with Jack Micheline’s granddaughter Nicole at the celebration for Jack Micheline Place, 2003.

1999 Race for District Attorney

After gaining experience as a trial attorney, during which time Gonzalez handled numerous life-in-prison matters successfully, he entered his first political contest in 1999. He challenged then incumbent Terrence Hallinan who claimed to be the most liberal DA in California. Gonzalez challenged him from the left alleging that Hallinan’s administration was still pursuing life in prison sentences in non-violent 3-strikes cases, aggressively prosecuting drug offenses (primarily marijuana offenses), and was ignoring environmental crimes and instances of police brutality. Gonzalez also said he would prosecute landlords who were pretextually using owner move-in laws to evict tenants. He argued for increased training in the DAs office and said he would expand staffing in preliminary hearing courtrooms where a majority of serious cases reach settlement.

Gonzalez’s progressive campaign for District Attorney is the earliest known instance of a public defender attempting to be elected District Attorney in an American city. It preceded the campaigns of Tiffany Caban in Queens and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco by 20 years.

Gonzalez exiting the California State building in San Francisco after speaking at a candidate’s forum, 1999. Photo by Dave Monks.

Gonzalez was alone among the five candidates to categorically state opposition to the death penalty in all cases. The SF Examiner noted “Gonzalez, who criticized Hallinan and Fazio on the issue, called on all candidates to support a “death penalty moratorium,” saying that “moral leadership on this issue should start in San Francisco.” “There is no reason to execute people,” Gonzalez said. “It’s wrong.” (SF Examiner, 10/27/99). Hallinan would later adopt this position, late in the campaign, as Gonzalez gained traction among progressives.

Gonzalez’s progressive platform prompted columnist Ken Garcia to write that “in another era Gonzalez would have been in the Socialist circle of Eugene V. Debs” (SF Chronicle, 10/26/99).

Although a political novice, Gonzalez distinguished himself in two televised debates. At the time, Robert Oakes, an adjunct professor at McGeorge School of Law was quoted in the San Francisco Examiner saying “I think Matt Gonzalez probably has a great future as a public defender or progressive politician, but this probably isn’t a good job for him.” (SF Examiner, 10/26/99). Jim Costello, a veteran San Francisco prosecutor said of Gonzalez “Personally, I don’t like him very much. Let’s just say we don’t travel in the same circles. Professionally, I admire him a great deal. He’s got a job to do, and he does it very, very well.” (SF Examiner, 10/26/99)

San Francisco District Attorney’s candidate forum at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, 1999. L-R Moderator, Steve Castleman, Bill Fazio, Matt Gonzalez, Terence Hallinan, & Mike Schaefer. Photographer unknown.

During a 1999 interview SF Poet Laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti was asked if there were “Any political candidates you’re excited about in the upcoming city elections?” Ferlinghetti responded: “I like Matt Gonzalez, but he’s crazy to run for District Attorney. It’s a thankless job that requires the repression of the people. I think he should run for the Board of Supervisors instead, to represent the Mission District.” (SF Chronicle, 07/06/99)

Gonzalez was endorsed by a number of political clubs: The Tenant’s Union, the Latino Democratic Club, the Northside Democratic Club, and the City College Democratic Club. Although he led the balloting at the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club with over 50% of the vote against Hallinan, he could not reach the 60% threshold for the endorsement.

On the day of the Milk Club vote, Hallinan ally Warren Hinckle published an article in the Fang family-owned newspaper The Independent, which Hallinan campaign workers distributed at the Milk Club meeting, alleging Gonzalez was a racist for questioning some of the qualifications of Hallinan’s hires and promotions, and that he was anti-gay for representing a man accused in a hate crime. To prompt this, Gonzalez had said that, if elected DA, no prosecutor with less than 10 jury trials would be promoted to handle felony cases and no prosecutor without trial experience would lead a trial unit in the DAs office. Gonzalez defenders pointed out that a diverse San Francisco jury (including gay and lesbian members of the jury) had unanimously acquitted Gonzalez’s client in the hate crime trial.

The SF Chronicle reported that: “Members of the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Democratic Club, which was deciding Tuesday night whether to endorse Hallinan or Gonzalez, said the Tuesday morning publication of the column [by Warren Hinckle] was no coincidence. “This is a sophisticated group of voters. We do read it and we do know what their style of writing is,” Milk club president Criss Romero said. “We knew that the article was an attempt to take away votes from Gonzalez in our endorsement.” Gonzalez topped Hallinan, 111 votes to 94, too close for either candidate to get an endorsement.” (SF Chronicle, 9/30/99).

The 2,100 members of the Police Officer’s union, the POA, voted to give their endorsement to former prosecutor Bill Fazio. Gonzalez received only 7 of the over 1,000 votes cast in the balloting (originally reported as a single vote) (SF Examiner, 10/07/99).

Three publications endorsed Gonzalez: The SF Bay Times, The Bayview Newspaper, and The New Mission News. Publisher Victor Miller wrote “Gonzalez is a rare candidate who puts forward an enlightened platform, is not a political insider and has a genuine chance of winning.” (New Mission News, 10/01/99).

Ultimately Hallinan and Bill Fazio both received about 36% of the vote to earn a place in the December runoff, which Hallinan won. Gonzalez finished 3rd in the field of five candidates, with just over 11% of the total vote, and just over 20,000 votes. By contrast the 4th place finisher was Steve Castleman, a career prosecutor, who spent over $900,000 and finished behind Gonzalez who spent under $20,000. In 5th place, with 5% of the vote, was Mike Schaefer, who was a former prosecutor, who had served two terms on the San Diego City Council, from 1965-71. (Schaefer later won election to the California State Board of Equalization in 2018).

After the election the SF La Raza Lawyers Association named Gonzalez the Attorney of the Year for 2000.

2001-2005 Board of Supervisors

Gonzalez’s official Board of Supervisors’s portrait, 2001.

In April 2000 Gonzalez entered the race for the newly drawn District 5 supervisor race, an area that includes the Haight, Western Edition, Japantown, Cole Valley, Inner Sunset, and Hayes Valley neighborhoods. Gonzalez had lived in the Mission district (Dist. 9) for many years, but had moved into District 5 a few months earlier when the home he rented was placed on the “for sale” market and prospective buyers were being told the tenants could be legally evicted. During a fundraiser he cosponsored for progressive candidates for the Democratic Party County Central Committee at his new home in Hayes Valley, some activists who had been unaware he now lived in the district began urging that he run for supervisor as no progressive candidate had yet emerged in that contest. Since district elections were new, and few even knew the boundaries of their district, charges of being a “carpetbagger”, now common in San Francisco city council races, did not arise. Gonzalez would face another eviction during the campaign, but was able to relocate to a nearby apartment, living with photographer Michael Rauner, among other roommates, thus maintaining his eligibility to represent the district.

He was endorsed by Tom Ammiano and Angela Alioto, both liberal supervisors who had previously run for mayor.

During the campaign, just before the general election, Gonzalez joined the Green Party stating that he felt more aligned with it’s platform than that of the Democratic Party (SF Guardian, 11/15/00). This move lead some local democratic leaders to withdraw support and cancel fundraisers. “Juanita Owens said Gonzalez’s decision could be an issue in some voters’ mind in a district where there are 33,519 registered Democrats and 2,735 Green Party members. Some leading Democrats have already acted. County central committee member Jane Morrison and longtime local and national party leader Agar Jaicks canceled a fund-raiser they planned for Gonzalez after learning of his switch.” (SF Chronicle, 11/18/00).

Art Agnos, a Democrat and the former mayor of San Francisco, continued to support Gonzalez after his switch to the Greens: “I believed then, as I do now, that the important thing was his honesty, his character and his commitment to the issues that we share: economic justice and neighborhood empowerment.” (Columbia College Today, 07/04).

Despite the party switch, the SF Examiner also endorsed him in both the general election and runoff saying: “On a shoestring budget, Gonzalez polled a huge margin over the second-place finisher, school board member Juanita Owens, in this district east of Golden Gate Park. He’s a deputy public defender who made a respectable showing a year ago when he ran for district attorney. His politics match those of his district: So far left he almost falls off the horizon. Nonetheless, he has a certain star quality combined with a supple intelligence and concern for the underdog. He’ll judge things on their merits – and not as a reflection of someone else’s political agenda.” (SF Examiner 11/19/00)

The SF Bay Guardian endorsed saying “Gonzalez has amply demonstrated that he deserves a seat on the board. His positions on his district’s most pressing issues — gentrification, homelessness, tenants’ rights — are solidly progressive and particularly well reasoned. A highly regarded lawyer, he’s fluent in policy matters but never loses sight of the human consequences of political decisions. And he has brought a unique and thoughtful style to the stump, treating campaign events and debates not as occasions for sloganeering but as opportunities for discussion. He’d be an open, accountable, and engaged member of the board.” (SF Bay Guardian, 12/06/00).

Gonzalez won easily with over 65% of the vote defeating Juanita Owens, the then-president of the SF Board of Education. Sensing she was in trouble with voters who saw her aligned with the development policies and cronyism of Mayor Willie Brown, Owens had sent out political hit-pieces late in the campaign blaming the Green Party and Gonzalez for George Bush’s defeat of Al Gore in Florida. District 5 voters were not moved as Gonzalez won by over 30 percentage points.

Gonzalez raised the least monetary contributions of all winners, $40,000, and had a surplus at the end of race. He closed his campaign bank account after the election and did not accept contributions during his term.

Gonzalez was quoted the day after being elected as part of a new progressive bloc of Supervisors saying: “I think (the mayor’s) power today clearly is not what it was the day before the election,” said Supervisor-elect Matt Gonzalez, a public defender who won in District 5, which includes the famously liberal Haight-Ashbury. “Things have changed, and I’m sure that because of that, we’ll see a more progressive mayor.” (SF Chronicle 12/14/00)

Gonzalez quickly became an advocate for progressive causes and worked on many successful and unsuccessful pieces of legislation and ballot measures: he created a local minimum wage which remains the highest in the country (because it adjusts for inflation), successfully opposed the sale of naming rights to Candlestick Park (a city-owned stadium), and successfully blocked chain stores from entering neighborhood commercial districts with legislation which became a national model. He opposed the repeal of San Francisco’s business tax , then urged the adoption of a gross receipts model. He was a champion of publicly-owned municipal electrical power and promoted tidal energy. He advocated for the creation of a municipal bank. He led an effort to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections and advocated free muni for seniors, disabled, and youth, and he proposed a plan for limiting cars in Golden Gate Park on Saturdays. He supported transgender health benefits for city employees, the acceptance of matricula consular ID cards for immigrant workers, expanded whistleblower protections for city employees, and he was a cosponsor of the successful municipal solar bond. He worked on the creation of a local Community Land Trust, and on strengthening the Office of Citizen’s Complaints which investigates complaints against Police Officers. He was involved in changing how Planning Commissions are appointed, creating an Elections Commission, reforming the Ethics Commission, efforts to raise the real estate transfer tax on high-priced properties (to match the tax rate of neighboring cities), and adopting ranked-choice voting (aka Instant Run-off Voting) for all municipal elections. He also, unsuccessfully, attempted to place the troubled Housing Authority under Board of Supervisors control ultimately settling for public hearings exposing corruption.

The SF Chronicle noted: “Gonzalez has been a vocal critic of Mayor Willie Brown’s administration, pushing plans to reduce Brown’s cadre of special assistants and to blunt the mayor’s control over certain city commissions and the Department of Elections.” (SF Chronicle, 01/09/03).

The SF Bay Guardian rated him the most progressive of all the supervisors when they graded how the Supervisors voted, finishing ahead of Supervisors Chris Daly and Tom Ammiano. (SF Bay Guardian’s good vote scorecard, 10/30/02).

On some matters Gonzalez joined conservatives, including opposing many bond measures which unfairly required tax burdens to be carried by property owners.

One of his lasting contributions to city government, which was formulated with his colleague Tony Hall when they served on the Rules Committee together, was advocating shared power when making appointments to city commissions. They proposed that rather than give all commission appointments to the mayor, the mayor would get a majority but the others would be made by the Board of Supervisors. He also required the Mayor’s appointments to be confirmed by a majority of supervisors rather than requiring a super-majority, 8 of the 11 supervisors, to reject a nominee.

Gonzalez was also chair of the Local Agency Formation Commission LAFCO where he pushed the agency to conduct numerous hearings on alternative energy, desalinization, solar, and funded a feasibility study on the cost of municipalized electricity.

Supervisor Gonzalez in the legislative board chamber during a meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

Minimum Wage

In 2003 Gonzalez began working on establishing a local minimum wage that would be higher than both the state and federal wages which were set at $6.75 and $5.15 an hour, respectively. Fellow Green Party member, small business owner Barry Hermanson, personally funded an economic impact study and public hearings were convened to give all interested parties a chance to be heard. The SF Chronicle reported: “In a move that will probably send the business community into orbit, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez plans to push a ballot measure to boost the city’s minimum wage by $1.75 an hour, bringing it to $8.50. That’s still $1.50 shy of the $10-an-hour “living wage” that the board adopted in 2000 for firms doing business with the city. But this one would cover all workers in the city — from fast-food restaurants on up. The plan, requiring the backing of at least three other supervisors [to get on the ballot], would boost “the most vulnerable workers — usually minority and youth workers” who aren’t covered by the current law, Gonzalez said.” (SF Chronicle, 04/13/03).

“Supervisor Matt Gonzalez didn’t suggest what the wage should be, but he said during a City Hall hearing on the idea that the state’s minimum of $6.75 an hour falls short of what people need to get by. The city adopted a law two years ago that set the minimum wage for employees of city contractors and for airport workers at $10 an hour. “This excludes thousands of workers, in many cases, the most vulnerable ones,” Gonzalez said. The state minimum wage, he added, does “not correlate with the reality of trying to exist in a city such as San Francisco with such a high standard of living.” But Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Urban Institute at San Francisco State University said there could also be benefits for businesses that pay workers more. He said studies have shown that their employees are less likely to quit, improving productivity and saving the firms money on recruiting and training.” (SF Chronicle, 02/28/02).

A coalition of organizations formed to advance the effort including: People Organized to Win Employment Rights, Chinese Progressive Association, Young Workers United, Hotel & Restaurant Employees Local 2, Mission Agenda, Day Labor Program, Central Cities SRO Collaborative, ACORN, and the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition.

Ultimately the wage was set at $8.50 which voters approved by 60% to 40%. Importantly, the measure included a cost of living adjustment, tied to the consumer price index for the area, which has caused the wage to rise automatically every January once those adjustments are calculated. As of 01/01/2015 the San Francisco minimum wage was $11.05 an hour making it the highest minimum wage in the country.

A study that tracked the impacts of San Francisco’s new minimum wage law found it “hasn’t hurt the city’s economy or its businesses, according to a report from a Berkeley labor policy think tank. Michael Reich, a UC Berkeley economics professor and one of the study’s authors, said he was surprised by the data he analyzed and said it should encourage other cities and states to raise their minimum wage levels. “We found that the San Francisco minimum wage policy has proved to be a very effective means of raising wages, without adverse effects on employment, business or the city’s economy,” Reich said Tuesday. “It’s also promising in that it means that other increases in the minimum wage in other cities or at the state level are likely to have similar effects.” The institute’s study, which surveyed the minority of businesses in San Francisco that can attract employees while paying the minimum wage, mostly restaurants, found the city law increased an estimated 54,000 workers’ pay while keeping their health benefits stable.” (SF Chronicle, 01/04/06).

In November 2014, 77% of San Francisco voters approved Proposition J which set a time line to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by July 2018. However, rather than facing the kind of opposition Gonzalez’s original minimum wage measure had faced from business owners, Prop. J was placed on the ballot by Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors and was part of a national effort to raise wages. It was presented as a compromise between a coalition of labor interests and business interests and it set a timetable for a gradual increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 2018.

Concerning the original minimum wage effort in 2003: Former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez said the minimum wage law was cooked up over burritos late one night at Taqueria Cancún at 19th and Mission streets in 2001, when he and a few overworked legislative aides were debating ways to extend their pro-labor agenda to thousands of San Francisco’s low-wage workers. “We started wondering what the guys behind the counter were being paid,” Gonzalez said. “The following day we started researching the creation of a local minimum wage and whether it was preempted by state law.”
The reformers answered that question resoundingly in 2003, when they teamed up with anti-poverty activists and the local Green Party to persuade 60 percent of voters to “vote yourself a raise.” The Minimum Wage Ordinance briefly elevated Gonzalez to the status of standard bearer for San Francisco’s political left wing, culminating in a close but unsuccessful run for mayor against Gavin Newsom.
After leaving the Board of Supervisors, he briefly carved out a new role for himself in the ecosystem of worker protections through his private practice as a lawyer, taking on class-action lawsuits against big-time minimum wage violators. In 2007, he settled a lawsuit over wages with Marriott Hotel for $1.35 million and contributed back some of the proceeds to the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement for pursuing minimum wage claims. (KQED, 05/06/13).

Animal Rights

Gonzalez worked on a number of animal rights issues. In 2004 he pushed legislation that prohibited the San Francisco Zoo from keeping elephants. Ordinance 041461 would “prohibit the keeping of elephants at the San Francisco Zoo by any City department or contractor.” However, to obtain a super-majority of support among the supervisors, which was need to override an expected mayoral veto, the measure underwent amendments. Specifically the revised version called for a 15 acre minimum for the elephant exhibit at the zoo. This nevertheless had the effect of shutting down the exhibit as zoo administrators, who had previously dedicated just 1/64th of an acre for multiple elephants, said they would not commit more acreage to the exhibit. Gonzalez was prompted to act after two elephants died prematurely while in captivity at the zoo. Questions about whether such large mammals should even be held in confinement and how much area they needed to live comfortably took center stage. KTVU reported that “Animal rights advocates expressed hope that the San Francisco measure would set a precedent for elephants at urban zoos across the country. “We should not have them suffer because people want them as exhibits,” said In Defense of Animals founder Elliot Katz.”” (KTVU 12/07/04).

Earlier in his tenure, in 2002, Gonzalez called for and presided over public hearings on animal experiments at Univ. of Calif., San Francisco (UCSF) that animal rights activists had long questioned as useless. The experiments in question involved very invasive brain experiments on rhesus macaque monkeys by Dr. Stephen Lisberger. Of particular concern was that these experiments, which had been happening over the course of 5 years, had not resulted in any documented, usable medical information yet were being conducted on live and conscious monkeys.

In 2003 In Defense of Animals recognized Gonzalez’s work on behalf of animal rights by presenting him with a Distinguished Guardian Award at a ceremony in Santa Monica where Jane Goodall was honored for her life’s work.

Chain Store Legislation

Gonzalez passed “groundbreaking legislation” (BeyondChron, 08/14/06) to protect neighborhood commercial districts from chain stores. Specifically, the measure allowed neighborhoods to ban chain stores altogether or alternatively lessen restrictions that made it easier for chain stores to enter a commercial district. He argued that the measure was actually good for everyone involved because the trend had been for neighbors to raise objections to chain stores late in the planning process after a business establishment had already obtained permits and signed leases. This way, everyone one would know what the neighborhood wanted beforehand. The original measure placed a ban on chain stores in the Hayes Valley neighborhood and was later extended into North Beach and other locations.

In an opinion editorial in Mesh Magazine Gonzalez noted that economically speaking, chain stores are not good for the local economy. “A recent study in Austin, Texas concluded that chain stores are more likely to take money out of the local economy, while independent local merchants are not. The findings are quite astounding. Chain stores only reinvest $13 out of $100 spent in their stores in the local economy. By comparison, for every $100 spent in independent neighborhood stores, $45 is reinvested in the local economy. The study concluded that if each household in Travis County, Texas redirected $100 of planned holiday shopping from chain stores to stores that were locally owned, the local economic impact would reach approximately $10 million dollars. Not a bad way to revitalize the local economy.” (Mesh Magazine #4, 04/04)

Dean Preston, then-tenants rights attorney who would be elected to Gonzalez’s District 5 Supervisor seat in 2019, noted “Working closely with neighborhood activists in Hayes Valley, Gonzalez introduced the original “formula retail” law in 2003. The law defined “formula retail” as a business with more than eleven locations and certain standard characteristics (such as uniform signage). Gonzalez’s legislation imposed notification requirements on formula retail establishments seeking to open in neighborhood commercial (NC) districts. The law also imposed a complete ban on formula retail in Hayes Valley, and provided that formula retail was a “conditional use” in Cole Valley.

“Following the passage of the Gonzalez formula retail legislation in March 2004, several Supervisors introduced legislation to bring about limits on chain stores in specific neighborhoods within their districts. Ross Mirkarimi introduced legislation to make chain stores a conditional use (CU) on the Divisadero Corridor. Aaron Peskin introduced a ban on chain stores in North Beach. Most recently, Chris Daly introduced legislation to make chain stores a conditional use in Western SOMA. All of these proposals passed the board with veto-proof majorities.” (BeyondChron, 08/14/06)

Ultimately, the legislation was seen as a national model with other jurisdictions exploring how it could be implemented.

Non-citizen Voting

Gonzalez sponsored a ballot measure (Proposition F, November of 2004) that would have given non-citizens, including the undocumented, the right to vote in local school board elections. Precedents for this include New York City, where non-citizens voted in school board elections from 1970 to 2003 (when school boards were dissolved as part of a recentralization effort), and Chicago, where non-citizens received school board voting rights in 1988. The measure was defeated by the narrowest of margins, 51 to 49%.

When questioned why the measure didn’t exclude undocumented persons Gonzalez stated that he didn’t think it was feasible to require the department of elections to make determinations of immigration status. He further noted that undocumented immigrants would not likely register to vote and draw any such attention to themselves which had been the experience in New York and Chicago.

Gonzalez published an opinion editorial in the SF Chronicle noting that from 1776 until the 1920s, many states in the United States allowed non-citizens to vote in elections, and even hold office in some cases, based on a desire to encourage immigrants to invest in local civic institutions and become fully assimilated in their new communities.

Also, Gonzalez noted that many Americans who live abroad are allowed to vote in local elections without giving up their US citizenship. “Ireland, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland are among the 23 countries that afford this right.” (SF Chronicle, 07/20/04).

The Migration Policy Institute noted that “considering that just a few months ago, noncitizen voting rights were a somewhat shocking, new idea to many San Franciscans, it is notable that approximately 49% of voters were in favor of the initiative.”

Building the Green Party

After his election to the Board of Supervisors, Gonzalez worked to build the Green Party although he faced obstacles. The SF Chronicle quoted Gonzalez as saying: “Jello Biafra (of punk band Dead Kennedys and former Green Party presidential nominee) told me, ‘[Joining] the Green Party is like naming your band the Dead Kennedys. There will always be places you are not invited to go,’ ” Gonzalez said. Biafra, who met Gonzalez at a fund-raiser this fall, called the new supervisor courageous. “He automatically cut himself off from the Democratic machine that stood primed to vault him into the legislature,” said Biafra, who ran for mayor here in 1979.” (SF Chronicle, 2/21/01)

Poster for an event featuring Jello Biafra, Medea Benjamin, Kevin Danaher, & Matt Gonzalez, 2004.

Locally Gonzalez recruited candidates to run for office. Nationally he travelled to other parts of the country, including Maryland, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Oregon, and Washington, at his own expense, to discuss Green Party strategy.

In 2001, in Maryland he met with a number of activists including Isaac Opalinsky, Co-Chair of the Maryland Green Party, who he encouraged to run for a local city council race. Opalinsky, a 25-year old graduate of St. John’s College, refused until he lost a coin toss to Gonzalez. The loser had agreed to run for any office the winner chose. Opalinsky went on to win 43% of the vote in his bid for Annapolis City Council. Significantly, Opalinsky was the first local Green candidate ever on the ballot in Maryland.

In a 11/25/01 letter to the editor of the Annapolis Capital newspaper, Gonzalez praised Opalinsky’s effort:

As a member of the Green Party and a member of the Board of Supervisors of the city and county of San Francisco, I was pleased to see how well Isaac Opalinsky did in his effort to win the Ward 1 aldermanic seat in Annapolis.

Although he didn’t win the race, he succeeded in having his party affiliation listed on the ballot, thus making him the first Green to “officially” run for office in Maryland. He also came very close to defeating his Democratic Party opponent, incumbent Louise Hammond. The final count was 723 to 527 votes, which means that if 100 of Mrs. Hammond’s votes had instead been cast for Mr. Opalinsky, he’d have been elected.

The fact that such a young newcomer (age 25) could come so close to unseating a well-financed incumbent should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party in Maryland. Many voters are increasingly choosing the Green candidate (when they have the option) because they are tired of machine politics and business as usual at city hall.

The Green Party posted a number of recent electoral victories, most notably by gaining two seats in both the Minneapolis and New Haven, Conn., city councils, bringing the total number of Greens currently holding office in the United States to over 100.

We look forward to our first victory in Maryland.

Gonzalez, often in tandem with Green Party School Board member Mark Sanchez who had registered Green following a victory as a Democrat, encouraged people he believed were electable to seek public office. Gonzalez hand-picked Sarah Lipson and Jane Kim who both won school board races, and John Rizzo who was elected a trustee of the City College Board, to run for office.

Mayor Willie Brown would later comment: “As for Gonzalez’s impact on local government, Brown said, “He was able to help elect a number of people who had views similar to his. He certainly did it against candidates I supported.” (SF Chronicle, 01/03/05).

2003 Election as President of the Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, newly-elected Board President Matt Gonzalez, Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, and Supervisor Tom Ammiano, January 8, 2003. Photograph by Hank Donat.

On January 8, 2003 Gonzalez was narrowly elected president of the Board of Supervisors after 7 rounds of voting. The San Francisco Chronicle reported: “San Francisco, long a stronghold of the Democratic Party, got a jolt Wednesday when Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez made history by landing the powerful post of Board of Supervisors president. The board president, elected by the supervisors, makes committee assignments, orchestrates the movement of legislation and, if effective, builds a majority coalition to pass laws. It’s the second most powerful job in City Hall, after mayor. The job will put the soft-spoken but passionate Texas native, who at times has gone out of his way to avoid media attention, into a high-profile role.” (SF Chronicle, 01/08/03)

The San Francisco Bay Guardian described the victory: “And in the end, just about everyone was shocked: Matt Gonzalez, the 37-year-old former public defender and Green Party member who has built a reputation as a hard-line progressive – a fighter, not a conciliator –was in the top spot on a fractured, contentious board.” (SF Bay Guardian, 01/15/03).

Gonzalez had been nominated by the most conservative member of the board, Independent Tony Hall who represented District 7, stating “Matt Gonzalez has all the qualities that we need to steer this board as a legislative family. Gonzalez is a man of integrity and intelligence, who will carry out his responsibilities fairly and impartially.” Others joining the majority were Chris Daly, Gerardo Sandoval, Aaron Peskin (who dropped out of the running and threw his support behind Gonzalez), and Jake McGoldrick.

Many had framed the race between Gonzalez and two other democrats as a referendum on the Democratic Party, reporting that prominent democrats were making phone calls to stop a Green Party victory.

The SF Chronicle reported: “Gonzalez’s election as board president was not, obviously, made along party lines. Nine of the 11 supervisors are Democrats, and some of the Democratic Party’s heavy hitters, most notably State Senate President John Burton, lobbied against Gonzalez, not wanting to see the elevation of a Green. Jane Morrison, chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, was reluctant to comment on the Gonzalez victory. “You’d think that with nine Democrats on the board, they would have voted Democratic,” is all she would say.” (SF Chronicle, 01/09/03).

The Greens certainly saw it as a major victory announcing that “San Francisco is now the largest U.S. city or county (pop. 776,000) to have its legislative body headed by a Green.” (Green Focus, 01/03).

David Binder, a local pollster, said: “This was about uniting behind a progressive who gets along with his colleagues,” Binder said. “He got elected because of his personality and his politics and his potential effectiveness. The spin on the Democratic Party [implications] is overplayed. (SF Bay Guardian 01/15/03).

“Political scientist Rich de Leon suggested that the vote – particularly Gonzalez’s ability to bring along a conservative like Hall – shows Gonzalez can put together “improbable coalitions.” “San Francisco is working on politics in an experimental way that is not happening anywhere else.” And he said Gonzalez’s appeal may be because he’s not part of any faction: “Maverickness has a certain currency [in San Francisco], and obviously it works.”” (SF Bay Guardian, 01/15/03).

Gonzalez was the first third-party president of the Board of Supervisors since Frank Havenner won the post in the 1930s. Havenner was a member of the Progressive Party and later was elected to Congress.

Once elected Gonzalez continued his progressive focus and by all accounts presided over the Board in a fair manner. Randy Shaw noted: People knew they could disagree with Gonzalez without fear of retribution, something that was not true under the progressive leadership of Tom Ammiano. Nor did most business leaders and developers see Gonzalez as out to destroy their livelihoods, a fear Ammiano could not overcome in his 1999 race against Mayor Brown.” (BeyondChron, 01/03/03).

While Gonzalez pushed for curbs on big commercial development, he managed to gain the support of Joe O’Donoghue, president of the Residential Builders Association, and Walter Wong, a politically powerful building permit expediter who [later] offered Gonzalez space in his building for a mayoral campaign office (which the Gonzalez campaign paid for at market rate). Said political consultant Alex Clemens: “Matt was very good at not cultivating enemies. He was really good at focusing on issues rather than personality politics.” (SF Chronicle, 01/03/05).

As board president, Gonzalez made many internal reforms: he sponsored a ballot measure making the job of supervisor full-time and allowed the salaries to be set by the Civil Service Commission he moved the Board meeting from Monday to Tuesday increasing the availability of members to attend regional board meetings (since neighboring county supervisors all met on Tuesdays and subcommittee meetings were often scheduled on Monday) and he was a champion of shared appointment authority between the Board and Mayor, something he had already begun during his tenure on the Rules Committee.

2003 Campaign for Mayor of San Francisco

The 2003 campaign for mayor, to replace two-term mayor Willie Brown, was essentially a race between Gavin Newsom and everybody else. Newsom, a city supervisor who had first been appointed by Brown, was primarily known as an establishment politician who did as Mayor Brown wanted. He had strong ties to the wealthy Getty family, who had invested in a number of his business ventures financially, thus affording Newsom financial security and the ability to proclaim he was a successful entrepreneur. Newsom, in his own right, had launched a campaign to change how government assistance money was doled out to the poor, a measure he called “Care Not Cash”, that was popular with the electorate. Critics claimed the services were not guaranteed while Newsom countered that the money taken from direct payments to the poor would fund the services.

Other candidates in the race included former supervisors Tom Ammiano, Angela Alioto, and Susan Leal (who was then serving as City Treasurer), and former police chief Tony Ribera (the lone Republican in the field).

Gonzalez and his progressive allies on the Board wanted to support Ammiano, who had been the standard-bearer for progressives in the 1999 mayor’s race, but were concerned that he had lost by such a wide margin in that contest, 39% to 61%. Ammiano had also disappointed some of his allies, during the four years since the 󈨧 race, by attempting to make inroads with moderate and conservative business and property interests. Angela Alioto, whose father had been a mayor of San Francisco, was liked by the labor unions but had already lost the mayor’s race two times. Susan Leal was seen as trying to take on the local political machine only after it had rejected her candidacy and lined up behind Newsom. Tony Ribera was well-liked but not as liberal as the others and didn’t appear to have the broad political support to win.

Gavin Newsom, Tony Ribera, & Matt Gonzalez, 2003.

Matt Gonzalez & Tony Ribera, 2003.

Last week of the 2003 SF Mayor’s race, Matt Gonzalez and Bobby Coleman (on the right of the photo). Photo by United Press International.

Gonzalez believed Newsom could be beat, in part, because he faced off against him in a debate over his Care Not Cash measure in 2002, at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav synagogue in San Francisco. Gonzalez was standing-in for Ammiano, who had declined to debate Newsom at the last minute, one on one. Those close to him confided that Ammiano didn’t want to be the face of opposition to the popular measure. The Gonzalez/Newsom debate was a standing-room-only event and by most accounts Newsom did not fare well against the better-prepared Gonzalez (despite his only having a single day to prepare). The difference was that Newsom spoke casually as if giving an after dinner fundraising speech while Gonzalez came armed with policy studies of similar failed efforts from other jurisdictions. In a story published after the debate journalist Frank Gallagher, writing for the SF Examiner, said he felt he had just witnessed the first skirmish in the city’s next mayor’s race.

After the debate with Newsom, Gonzalez met with Ammiano and offered to help him prepare for the likely mayoral debates between the two, by proposing a mock debate wherein Gonzalez would pretend to be Newsom. At first Ammiano agreed, but then changed his mind. Gonzalez made the same offer of Alioto and she readily accepted. Gonzalez and Alioto debated at SEIU offices in Oakland one weekend in mid-2003. Gonzalez was so unimpressed with her performance that he decided he could not support her.

To understand Gonzalez’s decision to enter the mayor’s race one has to understand how Supervisor Ammiano and Gonzalez grew apart on many issues. Randy Shaw noted: “After taking office with other newly elected district supervisors who ran against the so-called Brown machine, Gonzalez became the quintessential anti-politician who gets elected only to realize that his colleagues rhetoric about fundamental change is not matched by actions. Two major issues quickly impacted the new Supervisor.

First, in early 2001 Gonzalez waged a valiant effort against approving the city business tax settlement. He was surprised to learn, however, that then Board President Tom Ammiano, the supposed leader of the city’s progressive movement, supported the deal. Daly and Sandoval were the only supervisors who joined Gonzalez in opposing the business tax deal, while the other “reformers” were given progressive cover by the Board President. “Gonzalez viewed Ammiano differently after the business tax fight. The dispute led him to realize he would have to forge a new direction for progressives, rather than counting on Ammiano to lead the way.

“The second issue that greatly impacted Gonzalez in 2001 was the budget fight. Gonzalez had a coveted spot on the committee that reviewed the city budget, and this is where he built his relationship with the Board’s most conservative member, Tony Hall. Gonzalez found himself agreeing more with Hall than with his progressive colleagues, and he soon concluded that most of the Board was not interested in meaningful budget reform. “The budget process further disillusioned Gonzalez about Ammiano’s commitment to progressive reform. Since Ammiano controlled eight votes on the Board in 2001, Gonzalez felt that a unique opportunity to meaningfully change the system had been squandered.” (BeyondChron, 01/03/05).

Randy Shaw: What changed his mind and led him to run? Gonzalez felt by the spring that Tom Ammiano’s campaign was going nowhere and that Angela Alioto could not win. His assessment was that Gavin Newsom was a lock to win unless a new candidate entered the race. Gonzalez was not alone in his assessment. But whereas the city unions and other progressive interests were unwilling to come out and say that Ammiano could not win, Gonzalez saw a train wreck happening and was unwilling to sit by and watch the crash. That’s what is known as leadership. After Gonzalez failed to recruit other people to run, the daily “Run, Matt Run” poundings from Chris Daly and others finally convinced the reluctant Gonzalez to enter the mayor’s race.” (BeyondChron, 01/03/05).

Once it was clear that neither Tom Ammiano nor Angela Alioto’s campaigns were resonating with voters, progressives sought out a candidate who could mount a winning campaign. The fear was that Newsom would win with a conservative/moderate mandate and progressives wanted a candidate that could defend progressive issues eloquently.

Peter Keane noted: “There was a feeling in regard to progressive people in San Francisco that by default Gavin Newsom is just going to slide into the mayor’s office because there was no alternative,” said Peter Keane, dean of Golden Gate University Law School. When Keane was the second-in-command at the public defender’s office in San Francisco, he hired Gonzalez. “Matt is a clear alternative, an honest, progressive candidate who’s not someone anyone’s going to buy or anyone’s going to control.” Keane said San Francisco was ready for a Gonzalez in the mayor’s office. “At its heart, San Francisco is not a centrist town, it’s a progressive town,” he said.” (SF Chronicle, 09/03/03)

Gonzalez entered the mayor’s race on the last day to file after heavy lobbying by supporters who had seen polling data indicating voters would consider his candidacy favorably. Gonzalez’s campaign was managed by Enrique Pearce. His treasurer was Randall Knox who was assisted by Michelle Mongan. Ross Mirkarimi served as media spokesperson and Whitney Leigh was the original fundraiser who raised $10,000 in one day so that Gonzalez could make the filing deadline.

In addition to Peter Keane, Gonzalez’s biggest backer was former mayor Art Agnos who helped assuage voter concern about electing a member of the Green Party as mayor. Supervisors Gerardo Sandoval and Chris Daly endorsed Gonzalez immediately. Supervisor Tony Hall, a friend of Gonzalez, didn’t directly endorse Gonzalez because of their ideological differences, however, he did take every opportunity to let voters know he liked and respected Gonzalez. The SF Chronicle noted: “Supervisor Tony Hall, who represents the city’s more conservative neighborhoods west of Twin Peaks and has been a vocal critic of insider dealmaking at City Hall, said Gonzalez cannot be bought. “He is as honest as they come,” said Hall, who, despite ideological differences with Gonzalez, nominated him for the post of board president last January. (SF Chronicle, 12/08/03).

Gonzalez won the endorsement of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and the Green Party. The later was a hard fought battle because many Greens had worked with Ammiano for years and felt they were betraying him by supporting Gonzalez.

The Bay View Newspaper was the only print publication that endorsed Gonzalez in the general election.

Gonzalez made it into a runoff against Newsom who finished with 42% of the vote. Gonzalez had 19% going into the runoff.

Ammiano who was upset at finishing 4th with only 10% of the vote in the general election refused to appear at a press conference endorsing Gonzalez, although each had mutually agreed to endorse the other if they didn’t themselves win a runoff slot. On the yearly candlelight march in the Castro District commemorating the death of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, just 12 days before the runoff election, Ammiano finally caved to progressive pressure to state his support for Gonzalez over Newsom. Ammiano completed his remarks at the end of the march, and began to leave the mic, when he turned briefly to say “Oh and vote for Gonzalez”. It was the only endorsement he would give, refusing repeated requests from the Gonzalez campaign to appear with the candidate.

Other candidates, such as Alioto and Leal, who had built entire campaigns running against Newsom and the establishment fell back into line and endorsed Newsom once they were not in the run-off. It appeared unlikely that Gonzalez could win the contest.

Notably, actor Danny Glover, labor activist Dolores Huerta, and musician Jonathan Richman were among Gonzalez’s biggest supporters. The San Francisco Bay Guardian which had endorsed Alioto in the general election now put it’s full strength behind Gonzalez.

Campaign poster by Niffer Desmond.

Campaign poster by Chuck Sperry.

Campaign poster by unknown.

The Gonzalez campaign was unconventional with Gonzalez refusing to allow campaign street signs to be erected except in homes and apartments (at the time it was still legal to put signs on telephone polls and lampposts). He pushed issues he had talked about as a supervisor including tidal power, the creation of a municipal bank, and replacing the payroll business tax with gross receipts business tax. He also cautioned against letting San Francisco become strictly a tech city and spoke about protecting industrial zones (that housed business that provided working class jobs) from redistricting to housing or offices

The race between Newsom and Gonzalez was spirited and pitted two under-40 politicians against one another in a city famously known for political activism.

The Democratic political establishment feared Gonzalez might win: “The ‘03 mayoral race “was a particularly vicious campaign,” recalls former Newsom apparatchik Frank Gallagher. It’s hard to overstate how much was at stake in the showdown between Gonzalez and Newsom, who was the choice of the city’s Democratic establishment. It’s hard to overstate how much a Gonzalez win would have eviscerated the political equilibrium of this city — and state. Newsom’s people knew this. They outspent Gonzalez by a factor of 10. “Everyone was terrified Gonzalez was gonna win.”” (SF Weekly, 07/09/14)

John Mecklin of the SF Weekly credited both candidates: “Either Newsom or Gonzalez will make a good mayor, but Gonzalez has the creative edge.” (SF Weekly, 12/03/03) Mecklin wrote: “Had anyone but Matt Gonzalez made the runoff, I’d be recommending a vote for Gavin Newsom. Had Angela Alioto gotten to the runoff, I’d be screaming: “VOTE FOR GAVIN NEWSOM!” But Gonzalez did make the runoff, and I’m recommending a vote for him because he’s a smart, decent guy who seems to have a quality that is rare in public life: imagination. … The ability to imagine a future that others cannot see – and to work the real-life details necessary for that future to become a reality – is one of the primary traits of leadership. Unless my people-reader has lost its bearings, Matt Gonzalez has the imagination gene in spades, and therefore the slightly better claim this time around to the mayorship, and the chance to prove that he will do what he’s claimed he would do to improve San Francisco. But I’m not losing a second of sleep contemplating the possibility of Gavin Newsom as mayor, and neither should you.” (SF Weekly, 12/03/03)

Marshall Kilduff, one of the editors at the SF Chronicle, noted: “Guess who at City Hall is the most worried about Gonzalez as mayor? The bureaucrats. A highly unscientific sampling of insider opinion puts Gonzalez at the top among his colleagues in brainpower and independence. Whether you’re the deputy director of curb painting or head of a $100 million department, Gonzalez can make you nervous. He’s not ready to rubber- stamp every union request, and he led the charge to yank the mayoral dominance of the police and planning departments. He probes and annoys, refusing to make the dozens of little deals that keep the status quo rolling along. He doesn’t like holy causes. Consider the proposal for a City Hall gift of $60 million to the public schools. What city programs take big hits to create this financial care package for a system that just won a $295 million bond measure? Gonzalez isn’t sold on the idea. In personal terms, the guy is baffling. He doesn’t help himself with the monotone delivery and a personality that’s more pilot light than burning flame. … The city may not be ready for a brash outsider like Gonzalez. He may need more allies, seasoning and law-making skill. But he’s more than a fringe ideologue. He provides a door-kicking challenge and canny intelligence missing from City Hall. Don’t be surprised when that brings him votes next Tuesday.” (SF Chronicle, 12/03/03)

Although the campaign gained ground with polling showing it was a dead-heat in the final week of the election, Campaign money would be the deciding factor, with Newsom spending 8 million to Gonzalez’s $900,000. Newsom ultimately won with 53% of the vote to Gonzalez’s 47%. In all 250,000 people had voted, the highest of any mayoral election in San Francisco history.

Interestingly, Newsom likely won because Republican voters turned out for him: “In a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle after the runoff, the chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party asserted that Republican votes “saved San Francisco.” The New York Times reported that an informal survey of Republicans found that 85 percent had voted for Newsom. Professor Rich DeLeon looked at how voters in Newsom’s and Gonzalez best precincts in November voted in the October recall [of Democratic Governor Gray Davis] and gubernatorial election. His “voting pattern analysis” appeared on the San Francisco Sentinel website shortly before the runoff election. One generalization he arrived at: “Voters in top Newsom precincts were the most supportive of the Davis recall… and they were clearly the least supportive of [Democrat] Bustamante [against Republic Arnold Schwarzenegger].” In Gonzalez top precincts, voters were strongly opposed to the recall and strongly supportive of Cruz Bustamante.” (Berkeley Daily Planet, 12/19/03)

Randy Shaw noted: “Matt Gonzalez nearly pulled off the most astonishing upset victory in the history of American municipal politics. Gonzalez galvanized the city and forced Gavin Newsom to spend the most money per capita of any mayoral candidate in American history (Newsom’s $8 million of spending does not include the highly publicized visits on his behalf by Bill Clinton and Al Gore, nor the daily pro-Newsom stories and columns in the San Francisco Chronicle). (BeyondChron, 01/03/05).

Former Mayor Art Agnos with Gonzalez just before his concession speech in the Mayor’s race, December 9, 2003. SF Chronicle photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez.

Gonzalez Legacy

After completing his term, Gonzalez decided not to seek reelection. Randy Shaw noted: As Matt Gonzalez leaves the Board this week, his impact will not be measured in legislation passed or speeches given. Rather, from the moment he switched from Democrat to Green during his 2000 runoff election, Gonzalez realigned San Francisco politics in a way that could shape the city for years to come. For all of his political skills, Gonzalez’s personal traits were also critical to his success: he respected those with differing views, refused to divide people into political camps, and provided an ethical model for both activists and politicians. Matt Gonzalez burst on the political scene like a comet and it is hard to believe that he leaves public life (likely temporarily) this week. Most people are likely to remember Gonzalez for his amazing mayoral campaign, while overlooking his role in virtually redefining the city’s political battle lines.” (BeyondChron, 01/03/05).

“For all of the hype about the young people and newly energized voters who got their start in the Gonzalez campaign, more significant was the active involvement of those not included on the usual list of progressive suspects. This was Gonzalez’s genius. He could win the active support of individuals and groups with whom he disagreed on many issues because they felt he was trustworthy and took positions based on conviction, not expedience.

“Conviction, not expedience. Matt Gonzalez never cast a vote or took a stand based on campaign donations or some future considerations.” (BeyondChron, 01/03/05).

From the SF Chronicle: “Rich DeLeon, a political science professor at San Francisco State University, said that even where Gonzalez failed, he made progress by serving as a catalyst. “I think he did push the envelope in key areas,” DeLeon said. “Even in areas where people were not prepared to go that far, like noncitizen voting, it’s in the political space now, where it wasn’t before.”

“But what Gonzalez will be remembered for most, DeLeon said, is jumping into the mayor’s race at the last minute and getting into the runoff, where he won 47 percent of the vote. “His candidacy for mayor — the incredible race he made of the runoff and challenging Newsom despite being outspent 10 to 1 — that was a significant political event,” DeLeon said. “If there’s any single thing that came out of the last four years, it’s raising the banner of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.” Even if it took a Green to do it.” (SF Chronicle, 01/03/05).

Richard Marquez said: “With his Mayoral run, Matt Gonzalez’s rise to fame marked a watershed in the City’s progressive electoral movement. Gonzalez’s campaign injected “motion into the movement” and during those final weeks of electrifying fever, he became widely know as “Matt” to ordinary, white progressive San Franciscans, and “Gonzalez” to prideful Latino immigrants. For some critically conscious liberal and moderate San Franciscans on the Westside, Matt Gonzalez wasn’t Gavin Newsom, who reeked of silver-spoon, patrician privilege, and was downtown’s “Golden Boy” and Mayor Brown’s anointed, heir apparent — that in itself — were reasons enough to vote for Gonzalez because some Westside voters instinctively knew that Newsom had been groomed, literally, since kindergarten, to rule the world that the rest of us labored in.

“Gonzalez was the first Mexican-American, non-Democratic Party candidate in the City’s history to actually campaign, unabashedly, as a leftist and anti-corporate politician. He turned San Francisco’s sordid and sold-out political history upside down, invoking an inspired and conscious resistance from the City’s previous generations’ experiences of exclusion, exploitation, disenfranchisement and displacement. Unlike Mayor Willie Brown, progressives and working people knew that Matt Gonzalez would never become that type of minority politician, donning tuxedo tails at Symphony balls, courting developers and realtors, and cutting the ultimate deal. There’d be no bronze bust of Mayor Matt in City Hall at the end of his term.” (BeyondChron, 04/07/04).

Gonzalez, who was well-known for holding monthly art parties at City Hall left with a bit of controversy. “Gonzalez’s parting exhibit was typically irreverent — he invited graffiti artist Barry McGee to tag an office wall with the slogan, “SMASH THE STATE.”” (SF Chronicle, 01/03/05). When asked about it Gonzalez said he knew his walls were scheduled to be re-painted for the next occupant.

Matt Gonzalez, Andy Blue, and Larry Harvey, October 4, 2006. Photograph by Catherine Rauschuber.

Private practice, Gonzalez & Leigh LLP

After leaving public office Gonzalez started a law firm with a Stanford Law School classmate Whitney Leigh who left John Keker’s law firm, where he was a partner, to start the venture. Other progressive lawyers joined them and they proceeded to build a practice that focused on civil rights cases.

Gonzalez & Leigh filed a class action lawsuit against a local hotel to enforce the minimum wage they filed suit against Clear Channel in a naming rights dispute they sued the Yolo County Superior Court and Grand Jury alleging discriminatory practices in the selection of grand juries there they sued a number of municipalities and Ringling Bros. Circus for denying free speech to animal rights protestors and they represented minority owned businesses in lawsuits alleging the deprivation of property interests.

Most notably, Gonzalez won a punitive damages verdict, the first of its kind in California, against an elected county district attorney and one of his investigators, for retaliating against a person’s free speech rights. The case was tried in Federal Court before District Judge Lawrence Karlton in Sacramento.

Some of the cases the law firm handled:

Gonzalez & Leigh filed a lawsuit enforcing San Francisco’s local minimum wage: “Former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, the lawyer for the workers, said it is the first private class-action suit seeking to enforce the wage ordinance, Proposition L, since it was passed by city voters in November 2003 and took effect the following February.” (SF Chronicle 10/07/05).

“Former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez announced on January 2nd that his law office has settled a class action claim against the Marriott Hotel to enforce the City’s minimum wage ordinance. The settlement concludes sixteen months of litigation against the hotel chain for failing to pay its workers the local minimum wage – and failing to post notices at the work-site regarding the minimum wage, as required by law. Filed in October 2005 on behalf of four workers at the Marriott (and all other employees similarly situated), the complaint alleged that the hotel chain ignored the city’s minimum wage ordinance – and retaliated against the lead plaintiff, Joseph Aubrey, when he complained to management. The parties agreed to a settlement in the amount of $1.35 million. “We appreciate Marriott’s cooperation in reaching an amicable resolution in this matter,” said Gonzalez. “This settlement affords the plaintiffs appropriate relief and serves as a reminder to employers that all workers in San Francisco must be paid the city’s minimum wage.” As part of the negotiated settlement, funds that are not distributed to employees will be contributed to the City’s Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement for enforcement of the local minimum wage ordinance.” (Beyond Chron, 01/03/07)

Gonzalez & Leigh filed suit in Yolo County challenging how grand jurors were selected: “On Wednesday, [Superior Court Judges] Mock and Warriner were issued a summons to respond to the civil complaint with 20 days. Robyn Weaver, the jury commissioner, also is named as a defendant. Gonzalez, in a phone interview on Wednesday, said the exclusion of nonwhites as grand jurors is an ongoing abuse of process. “It cannot be coincidental that the grand jury never reaches Latino or Asian representation,” he said. “The lawsuit raises questions about the lack of racial diversity, bringing action against individual judges for improperly recruiting jurors.”” (Davis Enterprise, 07/06/06)

Gonzalez & Leigh filed suit shutting down the live animal markets at the UN/Civic Center famer’s market: “The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by San Francisco attorney Matt Gonzalez, charges Young and his employees of assault and human rights violations, and the market of negligent supervision, among other complaints. Activists with LGBT Compassion began protesting last March, videotaping and replaying footage of how the fowl were handled. The two most adamant activists, Alex Felsinger, 25, and Andrew Zollman, 43, of LGBT Compassion, cite more than half a dozen instances of being physically or verbally attacked by Young’s employees.” (SF Chronicle Blog, (01/27/11)

The San Francisco Appeal reported: “Sales of live chickens and other live poultry at the Heart of the City Farmers Market at UN Plaza — the only farmers market in San Francisco to offer live birds for sale — will end May 27, the market announced Sunday, a move that led a group of animal rights activists who had worked for years to stop the poultry sales to claim victory. …”It’s an amazing victory for the animals and for public health,” he said. “The violations we documented at the farmers market were rampant… it’s really amazing it didn’t happen sooner.” (SF Appeal, 05/02/11).

Gonzalez & Leigh successfully defended the Yolo County Housing Authority executive director against corruption charges: “[David] Serena, the retired executive director of the Yolo County Housing Authority, faced 19 felony counts of insurance fraud… The judge dismissed the case Feb. 25, finding no evidence of fraud. The judge found the listings were the result of administrative errors that should have been resolved outside of court… “It is difficult to believe that the grand jury was investigating his agency year after year,” said Matt Gonzalez, Serena’s attorney. “They were issuing statements with factual errors. They had no concern that they were doing damage to his reputation.” Serena, now retired, is again living in Salinas, the city where he began his career of political activism and public service. He served two terms on the Hartnell College District Board and was the first Latino elected to represent the east Salinas area. He now teaches at the Farm worker Institute of Education and Leadership Development in Watsonville.” (The Salinas Californian, 04/02/08).

The Monterey Herald reported: “On March 15, a Yolo County Superior Court judge dismissed all counts by the county against Serena for fraud and grand theft… All along, Serena maintained his innocence and said the charges were politically motivated. In 2006, only a few days after he filed suit against the grand jury for not seating enough minorities, Serena was charged with the 19 felony counts… After two days of testimony at a preliminary hearing earlier this year, judge Richard Kossow wrote on March 15 that he found no evidence that Serena was not entitled to add the children to his employee dental and health insurance… “His lawsuit changed how they select the grand jury” in Yolo County, said Matt Gonzalez, former San Francisco county Supervisor and Serena’s attorney. “There’s never going to be a disproportionate representation of Latinos again. Ultimately, we showed very disturbing patters of lack of racial diversity.”” (Monterey Herald, 03/25/08).

Gonzalez disassociated from Gonzalez & Leigh LLP in early 2012 and Whitney Leigh continued the firm in association with other lawyers. Leigh initially elected to keep the name intact, as it had become known in legal circles, but later changed the name to Law Offices of Whitney Leigh.

Matt Gonzalez & Krist Novoselic at a Fairvote event in Oakland, California, May 20, 2011. Photograph by Dave Kadlecek.

Matt Gonzalez speaking at the Institute of Government Studies, U.C. Berkeley, October 2, 2014. Photographer unknown.

San Francisco Collage Collective

In 2006 Gonzalez founded the San Francisco Collage Collective with Robin Savinar and Albert Herter. “It is a loose-knit group of artists from a variety of disciplines and varying degrees of formal art training, who occasionally gather together to make collage and montage works. The primary idea is to democratize art by inviting anyone to participate.” (SF Collage Collective website). Gonzalez has worked with many artists in the collective including Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Theophilus Brown, and Glenna Putt.

He has exhibited his paper collage art works at a number of venues in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2006 including: Johansson Projects, Soap Gallery (solo show), Adobe Books Backroom Gallery (solo show), Lincart, 111 Minna Street Gallery, Guerrero Gallery, a.Muse Gallery, Jack Fischer Gallery, Smith Andersen Editions, The Luggage Store, George Krevsky Gallery, B. Sakata Garo, Incline Gallery, and Triple Base Gallery among others. Since 2014 he has shown with Dolby Chadwick Gallery and had shows there in 2015 and 2018.

Various art show announcements promoting Gonzalez’s work.

Ava Jancar has said of Gonzalez’s collage work: “Gonzalez’s collages elevate detritus to a more revered status, acknowledging not only its aesthetic worth but also its historical and social implications. Just as in the unfinished walls of Adobe Books, there is an inherent beauty in these scraps of boxes and notes and bills that would otherwise have been discarded or overlooked. The textural quality of a dirtied receipt, the yellow crispness of a newspaper snippet, the gleam of a turquoise sliver of cardboard — the combination of all such items is nice. However, the act of placing these bits of so-called trash in jagged compositions is nothing new. The works bring to mind, most obviously, those of Dada artist Kurt Schwitters, whose collages, like Gonzalez’s, were created from materials culled from the city streets and daily life. As a rule, Schwitters’s art was apolitical, although each of his pieces couldn’t help but become a miniature capsule that preserved history as time elapsed. Similarly, Gonzalez’s collages capture a moment in San Francisco’s arts and culture scene, pointing to the trend of rough, street-inspired art. Unlike Schwitters’s, his work does not lack a political edge, and as the exhibit’s title, “Let Her Make a Speech for Me,” suggests, these collages are likely Gonzalez’s latest expressions of his interests.” (SF Bay Guardian, 11/21/07).

Mark Van Proyen: “Now Gonzalez is back in the public eye, but not because of his political activities. Instead, he returns as a self-taught artist who makes intimate, witty and charming collage works, 25 of which are on view in this exhibition. The temptation to read these works as imaginary records of the process of a “picking up the pieces” that we might assume comes along with the retreat from public life is all but irresistible. But resist we shall, because these works are far too accomplished to be constrained by such a mono-dimensional reading. Although they tend to be quite small, they are quite sophisticated in their evocation of the collage works of the Beat era, as well as the more canonical precedents established by collage artists such as Kurt Schwitters and Robert Motherwell. Which is to say that most of the works are earmarked by their elegance and restraint, as well as their focused attention to the aesthetic subtleties of color and shape relationship.” (Art LTD/West Coast Art + Design, 07/07).

Hiya Swanhuyser: “Torn cardboard and witty phrases are threads that run through the visual art of Matt Gonzalez. Yes, that Matt Gonzalez, whose riveting life as a Green Party-er and near-swiper of the Mayor’s Office has just now given way to a new chapter. Some might say that repurposed recyclables and sharp observations were hallmarks of his shoestring mayoral campaign — it’s safe to say he’s good at getting things done using his giant brain and whatever else is at hand. But the Georges Braque-inspired collage work he presents in this eponymous exhibition proves that his visual skills are right up there with his political ones. The pieces are delicate and colorful paste-ups of common street trash Gonzalez picks up himself, and he gives them names like “With the Throat of a Silver Vale.” Columbian painter Omar Chacon exhibits as well.” (SF Weekly, 04/16/07).

Artist Gustavo Ramos Rivera & Matt Gonzalez, 2013. Photograph by Bobby Coleman.

Partial installation photo of Gonzalez’s Park Life show, 2013.

Paul Occam: The work is composed of images and discarded packaging, the disambiguation of old meanings through minor resurrections of color, compositions and forays into textures and curiosity. … The pieces are a playful critique of modern society and throwaway culture. Gonzalez pays attention to ideas and things left in the margins, and rescues them from oblivion and unconsciousness in such a way as to show us the ghost of modern living that lurks outside our doors. Gonzalez goes further than Jorn and Debord when he appropriates the Situationist concept of the “Drift” — a deliberately poetic and uncalculated exploration of the city — and catalogues it by creating artifacts of experience, an archaeology of everyday life created from discarded images and messages that he juxtaposes into small works of art.” (Mission Local, 12/26/10).

Anthony Torres: “Rather than making overt political statements that directly address social issues, Gonzalez’s visual condensations seem to be concerned with engaging, stimulating ideas, and triggering associations from diverse histories through the multiple interpretations that reverberate in the works. Indeed, with this work he seems less concerned with affecting consciousness for social transformation, or creating a feeling of solidarity centered in sympathetic issue identification, or reinforcing ideologies that separate or demarcate art from politics in contemporary life, than with constructing objects that affirm the notion that art and everyday life are connected and open to multiple interpretations.

“Here, a simplistic separation and fragmentation of art from society, which tends to relegate politics in art to legible content and to reduce cultural politics to declarative messages that communicate to an already initiated sympathetic audience, is undermined in favor of recognizing that the construction of art is integrally related to the making of meaning through interpretive viewing — a politics of cultural representation that implicates the both the maker and the viewer in discursive entanglements connected to various histories and cultural discourses.

“These works are heir to avant-garde traditions centered in subverting hierarchies in the arts that were anchored in social divisions of labor and the compartmentalization of knowledge related to the rise of capitalism, which established a distinction between “high” and “low” cultural practices. These avant-garde strategies critically re-examined the visual conventions, traditions, premises, rules, concepts of order, canonic standards of beauty, and codes of art that had previously structured and constituted what is “art,” by re-signifying and blurring distinctions between media to formally render the nature and significance of the materials and the objects constructed as fluid.” (Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, 10/08).

2008 Campaign with Ralph Nader

In 2008 Ralph Nader decided to run for president and asked Gonzalez to be his running mate. Gonzalez saw himself as a stand-in for Peter Camejo who had run with Nader in 2004 but was now unavailable because he was battling cancer a second time. Camejo specifically encouraged Nader to select Gonzalez who was one of the few elected officials in the nation to publicly endorsed their ticket in 2004. Gonzalez agreed with the condition they not seek the Green Party Nomination. Nader was in accord. Both were supportive of Cynthia McKinney’s efforts to win the Green Party nomination and believed both campaigns could complement one another. The decision not to compete against McKinney for the Green Party nomination and to run as independents meant they could not rely on a preexisting party apparatus to gain ballot status.

Shortly after the announcement that Gonzalez would be Nader’s running mate, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said “Matt Gonzalez is a formidable person. He is incredibly articulate and extraordinarily bright. I am concerned that with former Supervisor Gonzalez getting in the race with Ralph Nader that the Nader ticket has now strengthened exponentially.” He went on to add “Don’t underestimate Matt Gonzalez. Don’t underestimate what he means to Ralph Nader and the Green Party. Don’t underestimate his ability to galvanize young voters.” (KRON Channel 4, 3/08)

Peter Camejo, Matt Gonzalez, & Ralph Nader, 2004. Photograph by Liz Ross.

Matt Gonzalez & Ralph Nader, c 2006. Photograph by Adam Aufdencamp.

Ralph Nader & Matt Gonzalez at the National Press Club, Washington D.C., 2008.

Hoda Bandeh-Ahmadi, Matt Gonzalez, & Ralph Nader at the Peace and Freedom Party Convention, Sacramento, 2008.

The Nader/Gonzalez ticket obtained ballot status in 45 states, and write-in status in four of the five remaining states. This was more than Nader had in any previous election. Gonzalez registered “declined to state” to accommodate ballot requirements in states such as Idaho, Delaware, and Oregon that do not allow a party member to run as an Independent if their party has nominated other candidates for the same post they are seeking.

Gonzalez wrote prescient critiques of then-Democratic Party nominee Barak Obama that were widely circulated on the internet :

He also wrote a rebuttal to claims Nader had spoiled the 2000 presidential contest:

In California, the Nader/Gonzalez ticket won the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party (a self-described feminist/socialist party) thus gaining ballot access in California which had eluded the Nader/Camejo ticket in 2004. Nader/Gonzalez also appeared as Peace and Freedom Party candidates in Utah and Iowa.

On the eve of the election, 11/02/08, Gonzalez participated in a debate among the third-party candidates for vice-president, the first such debate of its kind, which took place in Nevada at UNLV sponsored by Free and Equal Elections. The debate moderator was journalist John Geluardi, then working for the San Francisco Weekly newspaper. The debate was streamed live on the internet. Wayne Allyn Root the Libertarian Party running-mate of Bob Barr, and Darrell Castle the Constitution Party running-mate of Chuck Baldwin also participated.

Flyer for an event featuring Jello Biafra & Matt Gonzalez, 2008.

Campaign poster by Chuck Sperry, 2008.

Despite a near media blackout and exclusion from debates with the major party candidates the Nader/Gonzalez ticket won about 740,000 votes. However, understood in a broader context this amounted to less than one percent of the total votes cast. The ticket won no electoral votes and finished a very distant third place to the Obama and McCain campaigns, each garnering over 60 million votes.

Other vote totals included:

Nader/Gonzalez — 740,000 votes

Libertarian Party — 525,000 votes

Constitution Party — 200,000 votes

Green Party — 160,000 votes

After the election, Gonzalez returned to his practice at Gonzalez & Leigh LLP.

Chief Attorney, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

In February 2011 it was reported that Gonzalez had left private practice to take a position as Chief Attorney of the SF Public Defender’s Office. In that role, Gonzalez would be second-in-command to elected public defender Jeff Adachi, a long-time friend and political ally.

Adachi has been credited with building one of the most impressive public law offices in the nation having won the American Bar Association’s national award for excellence in public defense. Adachi had been chief attorney when Gonzalez had left the office at the time of his election to the Board of Supervisors. In that capacity Gonzalez had been among Adachi’s strongest supporters in what would be a successful campaign for Public Defender in 2002 against the appointed-incumbent Kimiko Burton, daughter of State Senator John Burton.

Many speculated Gonzalez took the Chief Attorney position to better position Adachi to run for mayor, which he ultimately did in late 2011. Adachi countered that he was looking for an experienced lawyer he trusted who would command respect both among his staff and at city hall.

The office has over 100 attorneys and 80 support staff with a number of different units including: juvenile, mental health, felony, misdemeanor, investigations, paralegal, social work, and clerical units.

In 2012 Gonzalez was criticized for handling a civil matter while on paid vacation from his duties at the Public Defender’s Office. The case involved a lawsuit brought by his former law firm. The State Bar issued an ethics opinion finding no conflict of interest, because the matter involved a civil dispute. Notably, when Gonzalez had accepted the position of Chief Attorney in early 2011, he had indicated he might take a leave of absence to complete important cases he had worked on while at his former law firm. A news story published when Gonzalez assumed the Chief Attorney position noted: “His private firm, Gonzalez and Leigh, which focuses on both civil and criminal matters, “Will continue without me, though there are a couple cases I’ll keep an eye on, and may take a leave if and when they come to trial,” Gonzalez said.” (San Francisco Appeal, 2/22/11).

The case involved Cobra Solutions, a minority owned business, that had been wrongfully suspended from being able to bid on city information technology contracts. Of note: Gonzalez’s was not paid for his work on the case once he joined the Public Defender’s Office. In all, Gonzalez & Leigh had represented Cobra Solutions for nearly a decade and had successfully litigated pre-trial issues before the California Supreme Court. The lawsuit, which started as a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought against Cobra Solutions by the City, ended with a 25K judgement against them which was reversed on appeal.

In February of 2012 the press reported that both Adachi and Gonzalez were personally handling murder cases: “While San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and his second-in-command Matt Gonzalez each appeared in court this week to handle murder cases, District Attorney George Gascon said today that he does not plan on personally trying a case any time soon. Speaking today to a roundtable of reporters, Gascon said his responsibilities are much different than those of Adachi or Gonzalez, the public defender’s chief attorney. Adachi is representing Rickey Leon Scott, a man accused of a fatal stabbing at a homeless shelter last week, while Gonzalez is representing Rodney Pool, a man accused of a killing at a residential hotel in the city earlier this month.” (SF Appeal, 02/16/12).

In October 2013 the press reported that Gonzalez had won an acquittal in what was alleged to be a gang-related murder. “After five days of deliberating, the jury decided that Carnell Taylor, 25, was not guilty of all charges, including murder, discharging a firearm into a car, possession of a firearm, as well as multiple gang enhancements. He was facing life in prison if convicted.” (SF Weekly, 10/04/13). Gonzalez was quoted saying “This was a tragic murder, but Mr. Taylor did not commit the crime.” (SF Chronicle, 10/04/13).

Gonzalez accepting the American Bar Association’s Hodson Award (recognizing an outstanding government or public sector law office) on behalf of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, with other individual awardees (Major General Kenneth Gray (USA Ret.), and Norman Metzger), at an ABA conference, Chicago, IL, July 31, 2015.

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate (aka Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez) case

In July 2015 the press reported that Gonzalez was the lead defense attorney for immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate (aka Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez) who was accused of shooting Kate Steinle on Pier 14, the popular tourist location in San Francisco. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to the case to highlight his anti-immigrant policy positions and Fox TV show host Bill O’Reilly initiated efforts at stiffer penalties for immigrants who enter the country illegally. At the preliminary hearing the defense established that the shooting appeared to be an accidental ricochet: “The bullet in this case appears to have hit the concrete surface of the pier and traveled (a long) distance from where Mr. Lopez Sanchez was believed to be seated and where the victim was struck,” Gonzalez said outside court. “Candidly, I doubt an expert marksman could make that shot.” (SF Chronicle, 8/26/15)

Bob Egelko, of the San Francisco Chronicle, profiled Gonzalez as part of the paper’s coverage of the Lopez Sanchez/Garcia Zarate case, “Immigrant charged in slaying has strong defender in Matt Gonzalez”, SF Chronicle, 7/12/15.

The defense team wrote a number of editorials countering the portrayal of the Garcia Zarate case in the media:

The Garcia Zarate defense team: attorneys Michael Hinckley, Matt Gonzalez, & Francisco Ugarte, November 15, 2017. Photo by Mark Iverson (not pictured are attorney/paralegal Zac Dillon and investigator Danielle Thompson).

On November 30, 2017, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was acquitted of all murder related charges, including Murder in the First Degree, Second Degree, and Involuntary Manslaughter. He was also acquitted of Assault with a Deadly Weapon. The jury only found Garcia Zarate guilty of gun possession.

Gonzalez defended the jury’s verdict in interviews following the announcement of the verdict on FOX News, November 30, 2017, and on KPFA, December 4, 2017.

On August 30, 2019 a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeal overturned Garcia Zarate’s gun possession conviction finding that the trial judge erred in refusing a defense request to instruct the jury on the defense of “momentary posession.” The judge who wrote the opinion was a former prosecutor who has been a judge for 34 years (Republican Gov. George Deukmejian first appointed her to the bench in 1985). The two concurring judges both worked at one time in the California Attorney General’s Office.

The remittitur, officially declaring the judgment of conviction had been reversed, was spread upon the minutes in the San Francisco Superior Court on December 4, 2019. Rather than retry the single remaining count, the District Attorney dismissed the gun possession charge in light of the fact that Garcia Zarate was facing federal charges.

Gonzalez wrote three lengthy articles assessing the trial explaining both why the defense prevailed and why he believed Garcia Zarate did not receive a fair trial:

Death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi

Following the unexpected death of San Francisco’s Public Defender Jeff Adachi on February 22, 2019, by operation of the City Charter, Gonzalez became the Acting Public Defender, awaiting the appointment of a new Public Defender by Mayor London Breed. On March 11, 2019 Mayor Breed announced she would be appointing Manohar Raju, one of the managers of the Felony Trial Unit in the Public Defender’s Office, to succeed Adachi as Public Defender. Raju was sworn in on April 25, 2019.

Mano Raju & Matt Gonzalez at City Hall during the public announcement by Mayor Breed that Raju was her choice to succeed Jeff Adachi as Public Defender of San Francisco, March 11, 2019. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

Jeff Adachi & Matt Gonzalez exit Department 9 of the San Francisco Superior Court at the Hall of Justice, following the arraignment of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, July 7, 2015. Photo by Michael Macor for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Portrait of Matt Gonzalez by artist Paul Gibson, Mixed water medium on Lennox paper, 48″ x 77″, 2015.

Matt Gonzalez and Ralph Nader at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, October 18, 2016. Photo by Stacey Lewis.

Matt Gonzalez (Chief Attorney of the SF Public Defender’s Office 2011-present) Jeff Brown (SF Public Defender 1979-2001) Peter Keane (Chief Attorney 1979-1998) and Jeff Adachi (SF Public Defender 2003-2019, Chief Attorney 1998-2001). Photo taken at Golden Gate Law School, San Francisco, April 14, 2016. Photographer unknown.


Gonzalez was baptized in Reynosa, Mexico with his uncle and aunt Efrain & Argelia Martinez Rendon serving as godparents. During 1981-83 his uncle, a medical doctor, served as mayor of Reynosa, a border town with a population estimated at 1 million people.

In his youth, Gonzalez was a boy scout and attained the rank of Eagle Scout as did his younger brother Charles. Both were members of Troop 78 in McAllen Tx. Also, Gonzalez was president of his graduating high school class at McAllen Memorial H.S. in 1983 as was his brother 5 years later.

At the age of 18, before beginning his studies at Columbia University, Gonzalez took summer courses in the English Department at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV, formerly Pan American University) in Edinburg, Texas. His first college paper was on poet Robinson Jeffers.

Gonzalez played in an indie rock band, John Heartfield, which was active during 1995 to 1999. The band’s original line-up included Whitney Leigh on guitar and vocals, Gonzalez on bass, and Keith Challberg on drums. Later the band added Liz Ross on rhythm guitar, and substituted Pat Spurgeon on drums (they performed as Hannah). One of the band’s songs Blue Moustache was used in the soundtrack of the movie Road Kill (1999) a film produced and starred in by Jennifer Rubin and directed by Matthew Leutwyler.

Gonzalez playing bass at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco.

Gonzalez has curated a number of art exhibitions including:

Paintings by Sacha Eckes, John Bovio, & Raha Raissnia at Adobe Books, January 25, 1997

Harry Bowden, American Modern at the Worth Ryder Gallery, UC Berkeley, September 25, 2013 (with John Zarobell)

Welcome to the Left Coast (election themed exhibition), Luggage Store Gallery, May 13, 2016 (with Andres Guerrero)

Verse Verse Chorus: New works by Tim Cohen & Chelsea Wong at Adobe Book Backroom Gallery, opening September 10, 2016

Thrum Spectacle: Paintings by Rachel Dwan & Brad Bernhardt at a.Muse Gallery, opening January 14, 2017

Word, Brush, paintings by Tamsin Smith, Agneta Falk, and Mary Julia Klimenko at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, opening September 28, 2018

The Delectable Still Life — 11 Paintings at Alamo Square Seafood Grill, opening August 23, 2019.

Poet Jack Hirschman and Swedish-Anglo poet Agneta Falk were married in the back yard of a house Gonzalez shared with Whitney Leigh in the Mission District of San Francisco, in 1999. Hirschman wore one of Leigh’s suits and poet David Meltzer performed the ceremony. Hirschman’s poem commemorating Gonzalez’s campaign for mayor, The Matt Gonzalez Arcane, was included in Hirschman’s 1,000 page book The Arcanes, published by Multimedia Edizioni in 2006. A poem written for Gonzalez after he ran for District Attorney, Likeunto, was included in Fists on Fire published by Sore Dove in 2003. Gonzalez narrates the 2010 documentary film Red Poet about the life of Jack Hirschman directed by Matthew Fury.

Jim Dorenkott, Matt Gonzalez, & Jack Hirschman, 2003.

National Book Award winner William T. Vollman quotes from an interview with Gonzalez in his book The Royal Family, published by Viking in 2000, in a chapter called An Essay on Bail. Novelist Alfredo Vea Jr., named a character in his book Gods Go Begging, published by Penguin in 2000, after Gonzalez. The character, named Matt Gonzalez, is a defense lawyer originally from South Texas.

From early 2000 through 2001, Gonzalez served as a board member of Intersection for the Arts, the oldest, independent, non-profit art and theater space in San Francisco. From 2011-2016 he served on the board of 509 Cultural Center & the Luggage Store Gallery.

Gonzalez taught “Evidence” at New College of California in 2000, “Art and Politics” at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004, and “Government and Elections” at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2006. Recently he has lectured on “Evidence” at the Free University of San Francisco in 2011.

The founding of the Free University: Bobby Coleman, Diamond Dave, Steven Gray, Joe Donohue, Sarah Page, Matt Gonzalez, Alan Kaufman, Andrew Paul Nelson, & others, at Viracocha, December 19, 2010.

Inaugural poster by Chuck Sperry announcing the first course offerings of the Free University, 2011.

Gonzalez has published numerous interviews including one with Clash frontman Joe Strummer for Bang! magazine published in September 2001 and one with Mission School artist Barry McGee for a zine published by artist Xara Thustra in 2006. Gonzalez interviewed filmmaker Stanley Nelson about his film Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple which was published in the SF Bay Guardian, 04/04/06, and he also interviewed artist Andrew Schoultz in 2013 for a publication of the Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City, Andrew Schoultz: Statements, which coincided with Schoultz’s show Fall Out. In 2017, Gonzalez interviewed artist Terry St. John in conjunction with his opening at Dolby Chadwick Gallery.

Joe Strummer, Matt Gonzalez, & Whitney Leigh, Murio’s Trophy Room, San Franicisco, 2001.

Gonzalez gave the 2003 commencement address at San Francisco Law School and the 2005 commencement address at New College of California Law School. In 2004 Gonzalez gave the Raven Lecture at UC Boalt Law School. The address “The American City: A Tool for Progressive Change in the 21st Century” was published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2005.

Gonzalez published My Green Manifesto, a playful listing of reasons to vote for the Green Party, in Comet Magazine, #4, in 2003. A broadside of the manifesto which Gonzalez says was written in the spirit of Christopher Logue and Jack Micheline, for his friends in the Maryland Green Party, was issued by Pino Trogu and Jack Stauffacher of the Greenwood Press in 2004.

Detail of My Green Manifesto, 2004.

In 2004 the California Mexican American Political Association awarded Gonzalez the Premio Bert Corona for his work advancing the rights of working people and immigrants.

Gonzalez was the sponsor in 2004 of the resolution that approved the placement of a bust to slain SF Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco City Hall. It was installed in 2008 and remains the only tribute to an openly gay person in a government building in the United States.

In 2007 Gonzalez and political activist Van Jones were invited to speak before the Richmond City Council at Gayle McLaughlin’s inauguration as mayor of Richmond, California. In 2008 Gonzalez was invited to testify before the Los Angeles City Council as they considered an ordinance by then-council member Tony Cardenas (now Congressman) to ban elephants at the LA. Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

In 2009 Gonzalez founded, along with Okla Elliott, an associate professor of English at Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (later an assistant professor at Misericordia University in northeast Pennsylvania), and Jim Dorenkott, a Bay Area political activist, the progressive blog As It Ought To Be which features progressive critical essays and poetry.

An avid art collector, Gonzalez has gifted works from the 1950s by Mexican American artist Jose Ramon Lerma to both the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and the Mexican Museum in San Francisco. He donated a painting by Bay Area Figurative artist James Weeks to the Cantor Museum collection at Stanford University in 2010. He gifted a major early work by Andrew Schoultz to the Oakland Museum of California and works by Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Harry Bowden, Lundy Siegriest, and Estelle Chaves to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. A painting of the poet Neeli Cherkovski by Jack Freeman was donated to the Beat Museum in 2016, and paintings by Jack Hirschman and Jack Micheline were donated in 2017. A painting by Rigoberto A. Gonzalez was donated to the Art Museum of South Texas, in Corpus Christi, in 2018.

James Weeks, Still-life with fruit and flowers, oil on canvas, c. 1958. Collection of the Cantor Museum, Stanford University.

Estelle Chaves, Still-life Reflections, oil on board, 1965. Collection of the Crocker Museum, Sacramento.

Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Bulerías, oil on canvas, 84″ x 85″, 2009. Collection of the Crocker Museum, Sacramento.

Rigoberto A. Gonzalez, La Llorona, oil on linen, 80″ x 60″, 2008. Collection of the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi.

In September of 2010 Gonzalez spoke at a public rally, sponsored by the Campaign for Liberty, along with Congressman Ron Paul, Congressional candidate John Dennis, and former SF Supervisor Tony Hall.

John Dennis, Ron Paul, Tony Hall, & Matt Gonzalez, 2010. Photograph by Luke Thomas.

Socialist Workers Party 1976 presidential candidate Peter Camejo includes an entire chapter about Gonzalez’s campaign for mayor in his memoir, North Star: A Memoir, published by Haymarket Books in 2010.

Since 2011 Gonzalez and his business partner Hansu Kim are majority owners in DeSoto Cab Company (also known as Flywheel Taxi) in San Francisco. Kim, a former professional bicycle racer, is president of the company. Gonzalez is not involved in the day to day operations of the company. (SF Weekly, 02/18/11).

In 2011, poet Micah Ballard published ten poems written by Gonzalez between 1992 and 2004, The Violet Suitcase, under the imprint Lew Editions. In 2020, FMSBW published Gonzalez’s verse collection Beauty Will Be Convulsive.

The Violet Suitcase published by Lew Editions, 2011.

Beauty Will Be Convulsive published by FMSBW, 2020. Cover image by Rachel Dwan.

Gonzalez has read his own poetry on eight occasions:

a.Muse Gallery, May 26, 2011, with Micah Ballard, Patrick Dunnagan, Christina Fisher, Erik Noonan, Cedar Sigo, and Sunnylyn Thibodeaux

Adobe Bookshop, June 4, 2013, with Justin Davis, David Highsmith, Erik Noonan, and Julien Poirier

Green Apple Books, March 18, 2014, with Erik Noonan, and Justin Davis

Bazaar Cafe, April 8, 2015, with Leah Candelaria-Tyler

Dolby Chadwick Gallery, as part of “Lightning Strikes”, December 12, 2015, with Devorah Major, Bill Berkson, Tamsin Smith, Peter Coyote, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Jack Hirschman, Charlie Pendergast, Renny Pritikin, and Truong Tran

Sebastopol Center for the Arts, November 3, 2018, with Tamsin Smith, Betty Les, JoAnn Smith, Linda Stamps, Gwynn O’Gara, and Nancy Dougherty.

Dolby Chadwick Gallery, as part of “Lightning Srikes II”, December 7, 2019, with Naomi Shihab Nye, Dean Rader, Tamsin Smith, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Sara Mumolo, Renny Pritikin, Robert Hass, Matthew Zapruder, Tess Taylor, Jack Hirschman, and Devorah Major

Revolution Cafe, as part of “Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here”, March 5, 2020, with Aggie Falk, Rosemary Manno, Tamsin Smith, Bobby Coleman, Annice Jacoby, Tate Swindell, among others.

Flyer for the Adobe Bookshop poetry reading, 2013.

Flyer for Bazar Cafe reading, 2015.

In 2016 Gonzalez introduced Ralph Nader at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco to celebrate the publication of Nader’s book Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think. It marked their first joint appearance since the 2008 presidential election. You can hear the event here.

In 2018, Francisco Ugarte and Matt Gonzalez were named “Defender of the Year” by the California Public Defenders Association for their work on the Jose Ines Garcia Zarate case.

In 2018, Gonzalez began publishing a poetry series, The Page Poets Series, under the imprint FMSBW. In 2020, FMSBW began publishing novels and memoirs, etc., in a series called The Divers Collection.

In 2020, the California Public Defenders Association announced that Mano Raju, Chris Gauger, and Matt Gonzalez would be honored with a Special Recognition Award for their victory in People vs. Landers (Adrian Landers, defendant Manohar Raju, Objector and Appellant) 31 Cal.App.5th 796 (2019) which overturned a trial court’s monetary sanctions order and defined important defense discovery rights. Gonzalez successfully argued the case before the California Court of Appeal, First District.

In 2021, Ricochet, a film about the Jose Ines Garcia Zarate case, featuring Gonzalez and his co-counsel Francisco Ugarte, was premiered at CAAMFest (Center for Asian American Media film festival) where it won the Audience Award. It is directed by Chihiro Wimbush and Jeff Adachi. Here is the trailer:

Gonzalez serves on the National Advisory Board of Restore Hetch Hetchy and the Advisory Board of the Beat Museum in San Francisco.

Florence Kahn, Mary Norton, and Edith Rogers: The First Career Congresswomen

I’m aware that Women’s History Month is in March, but this doesn’t stop me from covering the role of women in history at other times of the year. Although the first woman to serve in Congress was Jeanette Rankin of Montana, she served only two terms, and the second term was over twenty years after her first. Her greatest distinction, aside from being the first woman to serve, was that as a pacifist she voted against involvement in both world wars. Today’s post covers the first women who made serving in the House more than a one-time venture or merely succeeding their late husbands for the remainder of the term. All three have significant accomplishments in Congress ranging from funding the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge to the establishment of the federal minimum wage.

Florence Kahn (1866-1948) of San Francisco was the wife of Republican Congressman Julius Kahn, who had served for over twenty years beforehand and was notable for authoring a law that made Chinese exclusion from immigration permanent (it was repealed in 1943). However, by 1924, Julius was very ill and by the end of the year he was dead. Florence succeeded him and became known for her wit, support of conservative causes, and support for increasing the war preparedness of the United States. An example of such wit was when she was criticized by progressive Fiorello LaGuardia (R-N.Y.) for her support of the stances of ultra-conservative Senator George Moses (R-N.H.), and in response, Kahn, who was Jewish, responded “Why shouldn’t I choose Moses as my leader? Haven’t my people been following him for ages?” which elicited laughter throughout the House, including LaGuardia, whose mother was Jewish (Stone, 126).

Although she was assigned to the Indian Affairs Committee when she had none in her district, Kahn nonetheless committed herself to working on their issues. She was a strong supporter of funding for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which won her praise from Director J. Edgar Hoover who dubbed her “the mother of the FBI” and would serve as a pallbearer at her funeral (Stone, 127). Kahn also succeeded in securing funding for the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate bridges. By the 1930s, her conservatism manifested in opposition to most of the New Deal, resulting in her losing popularity in San Francisco. In 1936, she lost reelection to Franck Havenner, who ran on the Progressive and Democratic Party tickets.

Mary Norton (1875-1959) of Jersey City was the first Democratic woman to run for Congress without having succeeded her husband and the first to be elected from New Jersey. Her career was actively and staunchly supported by her mentor, Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague, the political boss of the southern half of New Jersey. Norton stood as a reliable liberal internationalist and overall a faithful supporter of the New Deal as well as loyal to Hague.

In 1932, she was selected to head the Democratic Party in New Jersey and in 1944 became a member of the Democratic National Committee. Norton perhaps has the most lasting legislative impact of the three women, since as chair of the House Labor Committee, she sponsored the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established a federal minimum wage. She also played a significant role in the passage of the Social Security Act. Norton also stood as a strong advocate of unions and of women’s rights and stood as a model. However, as a Catholic, she opposed the 1931 Gillett Bill, which would have provided federal funding for the dissemination of birth control information. Compared to today’s political and social environment, this seems a tame proposal. Norton also opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because hard-fought labor protections for women would be removed. Norton, at 75 years old, opted for retirement in 1950.

Edith Rogers (1881-1960) of Lowell, Massachusetts, was preceded in Congress by her husband, John Jacob Rogers, who had been elected in 1912. Edith was deeply involved in her husband’s campaigns and served as his political advisor. She also volunteered for the YMCA, Red Cross, and at Walter Reed Hospital. This experience led President Harding to appoint her his personal representative to visit veterans and military hospitals. Sadly, John Rogers developed cancer and died in 1925, aged only 43. She took over where her husband left off, and instead of stepping aside after finishing her husband’s term as many Congressional wives did, she forged a career of her own. In office, Rogers opted to de-emphasize her role as a woman, choosing to be regarded as another member of Congress who just happened to be a woman. During FDR’s first term, Rogers staunchly opposed the New Deal, voting against practically all of the First 100 Days legislation, but moderated after 1936. She also had mixed views on foreign policy: while she voted for a peacetime draft as well as repealing the Neutrality Acts, she voted against Lend-Lease, regarding it as a provocation to war. In 1939, she was the House sponsor of the Wagner-Rogers Bill, which, had it been adopted, would have taken in Jewish refugees. Her most significant legislative accomplishment was, with Veterans Committee chair John Rankin (D-Miss.), the GI Bill, which provided federal funding for four years of college education for returning soldiers. Rogers stood as an advocate of veterans and in 1949 joined Rankin in support of a veteran pension bill opposed by the Truman Administration.

Rogers proved strongly supportive of anti-communist legislation and of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations. She also never failed to vote for anti-subversive legislation. In the 1950s, Rogers called for kicking the UN headquarters out of New York City if Red China was admitted. However, this period saw a significant shift in her ideology: in 1949, the liberal lobbying group Americans for Democratic Action scored her a 0, but in 1960 she scored an 89. Rogers had shifted from the conservative to the liberal wing of the Republican Party. She was one of the Republicans who had changed numerous views after the election of Dwight Eisenhower, with the most notable change in her record being on public housing. In 1949, she had voted against the Taft-Ellender-Wagner Housing Bill, which included public housing, but after 1952 she regularly voted to increase public housing. It is quite possible that her district and the shifting political affiliation of Massachusetts overall contributed to this and other changes. Although she had won renomination in 1960, Rogers died of heart failure two months before the election.


Rice University, Tex.
Dates of Interviews: 1974-76

Topics include aspects of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project relating to electrical technology and engineering.

Niels Bohr Library, New York

The Bohr library has an extensive collection of interviews pertaining to physics and physicists. Many of the physicists interviewed had important roles in the development of such things as masers, lasers, computers, and semiconductors. Interviewees include John Bardeen, Nicolaas Bloembergen, Walter Brattain, Gregory Breit, Vannevar Bush, Lee A. DuBridge, John G. Kemeny, Benjamin Lax, W.K.H. Panofsky, Arthur L. Schawlow, Edward Teller, Charles H. Townes, and Merle A. Tuve.

Charles Babbage Institute, Minn., OH-98
Interviewers: Bernard A. Galler, Robert F. Rosin
Date of interview: 6 September 1985
Place: Marina del Ray, Calif.
Length of interview: 6 hrs.
Transcript: 193 pp.

In this collection, individuals responsible for the development from 1957 through the 1960s of the Burroughs 5000 computer series discuss it in a conference sponsored by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) and the Burroughs Corporation. In the first two sessions, a group of managers, engineers, and consultants discuss the technical aspects of the B 5000 and 5500. Topics include the 5000's predecessors, particularly the ElectroData 101, B 201, B 205, and B 220 factors influencing the decision to produce the B 5000 reasons for designing the machine for ALGOL rather than FORTRAN and the effect of that decision on the computer's development and sales. The group reviews the MCP operating system, PERM, Polish notation, descriptors, stacks, the BALGOL compiler, and other innovations of the computer. In the second session, the group discusses the commercial development of the B 5000, including the effect of the administrative organization on the project, the relations between hardware and software engineers, the interaction of project personnel and upper-level management, field marketing, and customers, the COBOL processor, the head protrack disc system, the operating system, ALGOL, and documentation of the computer. In the third session managers, sales personnel, and customers of the B 5000 discuss Burroughs's product line before the 200 and 5000 series computers, sales training and marketing reaction to the B 5000, acceptance of B 5000s at the Ohio Oil Company and Stanford University, and rejection by the University of Michigan, and reasons for not marketing the B 5000 overseas. Burroughs's presidents Raymond Eppert and Ray MacDonald are also discussed. The participants in this conference were Robert S. Barton, Henri Berce, George A. Collins, Bobby A. Creech, David M. Dahm, Benjamin A. Dent, James Ford, James Hale, John Hale, Erwin A. Hauck, Joseph T. Hootman, Paul D. King, Norman L. Kreuder, William R. Lonergan, Duncan MacDonald, F. Brad MacKenzie, G. Clark Oliphant, Ralf W. Pearson, Lloyd Turner, and Richard Waychoff.

University of Missouri
Interviewer: William Sullivan
Dates of interviews: Dec. 1981 - Jan. 1982
Length of interviews: 3 cassettes, 2 reels
Partial transcription

This is a collection of four interviews with members of a group of concerned citizens and scientists who formed the Greater St. Louis Committee for Nuclear Information, which in April 1958 became the Committee for Environmental Information. Their goal is to collect and evaluate information on nuclear tests, weapons, and energy. In the 1960s the group expanded its interests to include other environmental issues, such as air and water pollution, solid waste recycling, pesticides, aerosols, and chemical warfare. The four interviewees are Michael Friedlander, Dan Bolef, John Fowler, and Barry Commoner.

University of Iowa
Dates of interviews: 1977-1983
Length of interviews: 220 hrs.
Transcript: 2,400 pp., indexed

This is a collection of interviews with early members of the Communications Workers of America, focusing primarily on efforts to build their union. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Tom Adair, Al Atkinson, Morton Bahr, Farrell Beaver, Joseph Anthony Beirne, Melvin Bers, Helen Berthelot, Ben Blankenship, Ken Blount, Lavie Bolick, Willard Brown, Marie Bruce, Helen Carmody, John Carroll, Douglas Chisholm, Mabel Cooney, Gus Cramer, John Crull, Lonnie Daniel, Al Di Prospere, William Dunn, Joe Dunne, George Du Val, Muriel Edwards, William Edwards, Curtis Fletcher, Ed Follis, Nancy Franks, Madge Giles, George Gill, Clarence Good, D. K. Gordon, Arne Gravem, Paul E. Griffith, Claude Gwin, Richard Hackler, Mary Hanscom, Al Herrington, Stanely Hubbard, Ken Hutchinson, Louis Knecht, Charles V. Koons, Art Le Fevre, Frank Lonergan, Sylvia McCollum, D. L. McCowen, June McDonald, J. L. Mahady, Mae Mann, W. E. Martin, James Massey, Eugene Mays, George Miller, Pat Morgan, Martha Moudy, Earl Moye, George Myerscough, Norma Naughton, James Orr, Jules Pagano, Jane Palmer, Audrey Patterson, Ed Peil, Robert Pollock, Ben Porch, La Roy Purdy, Horace Rairdon, John Risser, Tom Ryan, Walter Schaar, Jacob J. Schacht, Sam Simms, James Smith, Anthony W. Stein, Scott Stephens, George Strick, Frank Thernes, Harvey Tweedy, Fred Waldeck, William Walsh, Glenn Watts, J. W. Webb, T. E. Webb, Philip Welsh, and Nelle Wooding.

MIT, Mass.
Dates of interviews: 1976-77
Length of interviews: 19 cassettes

This is a collection that covers the early history of computers at MIT. Topics include Project Whirlwind, Project MAC, and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. There are interviews with John W. Carr, III, Robert R. Everett, Jay W. Forrester, Harold L. Hazen, and Alan J. Perlis, who were participants in Project Whirlwind. There is also a transcript from the seminar entitled "Attitudes Towards Artificial Intelligence" with Philip Morrison, Jerome Lettvin, and Joseph Weizenbaum.

University of Connecticut

These interviews cover a broad range of topics, concentrating on the social impact of electrical technologies. Interviewees and general topics include: Alton P. Aldrich (an electrician in the early 1920s), Pamela Bates (a computer programmer) Philip Bellico (who worked with computer-tape machines at Hamilton Standard Co.), Allan Bossoli (a warehouse worker at Siemens and Halske Company), Michael Broderick (electrician in the construction industry) Russell W. Brown (discussing computer assisted engineering), William Carey (a typographer) David Downs (submarine engineer), John Driggs (an air traffic controller), James Dubois (a projectionists), Georgia Engram (a graphic artist), William Gomez (a machine operator), George Graeber (an electrical engineer), Sandy Grange (a secretary), Gail C. Gregoire (a computer clerk), Raymond Gregoire (a turret lathe operator), Robert M. Grills (an engineer at the Electric Boat Co.), John Harrity (a machinist who discusses computer tape machines), Thomas Healey (a machinist who discusses numerically controlled machines), Kimberly Kwort (a secretary who discusses word processing machines), J. C. Lyon (an engineer at the Electric Boat Company), Saul Nesselroth (a labor professor), Adeline Pappas (a production worker who does electrical soldering), Edward Patterson (discussing computerized machine tools), Tony Pelosi (a tool and model maker), Claire Pluff (union local president), Martin Poulin (a machinist), Cynthia Purdie (a group leader on an electronics assembly line), Mark Rayel (who discusses machine tools), Carl J. Ricci (a machine repairer), Lorraine Rovero (a solderer, and electronics assembler), Frank Sacramone (who discusses the making of machine tools), George T. Sanders (a worker in newspaper printing with experience in Linotype machines), George Scott, (an.employee of the Electric Boat Co.), Joann Sienkiewicz (a Naval architect and marine engineer who discusses computers), Judith Soucie (an electronics assembler at the Siemens Company), Greg Stoltz (a mechanical engineer), five anonymous telephone workers (no.1, a keypunch operator no. 2, a tester/installer and frame man no. 3, a customer service representative no. 4, a repairman, cable splicer, and lineman and no. 5, an operator), Ivan Tetreault (a Linotype and teletype machinist), John Tierney (a mechanical engineer at the Electric Boat Co.), Walter Tisdale (a mechanical engineer at the Electric Boat Co.), Esther Tracey (a keypunch operator and administrator), Joseph Vitkus (a machinist involved in lathe operation), and an anonymous watch and gyro assembler.

Charles Babbage Institute, Minn.
Interviewers: Arthur Norberg, Judith O'Neill
Dates of interviews: 1990

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been the largest U.S. funder of computer research. DARPA grants have traditionally supported hardware-oriented research concentrating on interactivity (timesharing, networks, graphics, and artificial intelligence). Interviewees (with Babbage Institute call numbers in parentheses) include Paul Baran (OH-182), Allan Blue (OH-173), Bruce G. Buchanan (OH-230), Vinton G. Cerf (OH-191), Wesley Clark (OH-195), F. J. Clark (OH-162), Stephen Crocker (OH-233), William Crowther (OH-184), Charles A. Csuri (OH-180), Jack Bonnell Dennis (OH-177), Robert M. Fano (OH-165), Edward William Feigenbaum (OH-157), Howard Frank (OH-188), Frank Heart (OH-186), Charles Herzfeld (OH-208), Robert E. Kahn (OH-192), Leonard Kleinrock (OH-190), J. C. R. Licklider (OH-150), Stephen Lukasik (OH-232), John McCarthy (OH-156), Alexander McKenzie (OH-185), Marvin Lee Minsky (OH-179), Allen Newell (OH-227), Nils J. Nilsson (OH-155), Ronald B. Ohlander (OH-175), Severo Ornstein (OH-183), Douglas T. Ross (OH-178), Jack Ruina (OH-163), Jules I. Schwartz (OH-161), Robert Lee Simpson (OH-187), Ivan William Sutherland (OH-171), Robert William Taylor (OH-154), Keith Uncapher (OH-174), David Walden (OH-181), Franklin H. Westervelt (OH-199), Terry Winograd (OH-237), Patrick Henry Winston (OH-196), Charles A. Zracket (OH-198).

Columbia University, N.Y.
Date of interview: 1966
Transcript: 2,907 pp., indexed

The James B. Duke Project chronicles the personality and career of James B. Duke (1857-1925) and the origins and development of the Duke Endowment. Some interviews include discussion on the development of the Duke Power Company and various other business ventures designed to advance the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Also discussed is the rapid industrialization of the region during the early twentieth century following the provision of dependable power. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Mildred Baldwin, Bernard Baruch, Clarence E. Buchanan, E. R. Bucher, Charles A. Cannon, Norman Cocke, Wilbert C. Davison, Mary Few, John Fox, Bennett Geer, Mary Glassen, Edward S. Hansen, Philip B. Heart, Christy Hibberd, Leon E. Hickman, Tom F. Hill, Roy A. Hunt, Thomas D. Jolly, Marvin Kimbrell, Carl Lee, Mrs. E. C. Marshall, Grier Martin, Robert Mayer, Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Merrick, Thomas L. Perkins, Rufus P. Perry, Richard Pfaehler, John L. Plyler, Grady Rankin, Watson S. Rankin, Charles S. Reed, William Robinson, Frank W. Rounds, Jr., Mary Semans, Hersey Spence, Kenneth C. Towe, C. T. Wanzer, Edward Williams, Mrs. John Williams, and Bunyan Snipes Womble.

Columbia University, N.Y.
Dates of interviews: 1972-73
Transcript, index

This is a collection of interviews with family members and associates of Thomas Alva Edison that illuminate his character, personality, and motivation. Interviewees discuss the appearance and arrangement of the family home and the laboratory in West Orange, N.J., and recall specific projects carried on in the laboratory. The collection also includes earlier recordings prepared by the Edison National Historic Site. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Harold S. Anderson, Edward K. Cary, John C. F. Coakley, John C. F. and Thelda Coakley, Edward J. Daly, Charles W. Durr, Theodore Edison, Karl Ehricke, Samuel Gardner, Thomas Halstrom, William H. Hand, A. E. Johnson, P. Kasakove, Roderic Peters, Madeleine Edison Sloane, Norman R. Speiden, Ernest L. Stevens, and Lillian P. Warren.

Columbia University, N.Y.
Date of interview: 1962
Transcript, index

This project contains testimony from individuals who played major roles in the Eisenhower administration. The list of participants includes engineers, and portions of the interviews concern technology. Interviewees include William F. Knowland (member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy), Neil H. McElroy (who discusses the development of missiles and satellites during the 1950s), John S. D. Eisenhower (who discusses Dwight D. Eisenhower's views on missile satellite development and Sputnik), Lewis L. Strauss (who discusses nuclear power plants), James J. Wadsworth (who discusses the Atomic Energy Commission, and his Atoms for Peace speech), Arthur V. Watkins (involved in water development projects along the Colorado River), and Edward L. Beach (recalling the Atoms for Peace movement).

Eisenhower Library, Kansas
Dates of interviews: 1967-78

The Eisenhower presidential library has a number of holdings related to the electrical history. Several interview subjects were involved in the federal regulation of public utilities, or had some connection to nuclear power. Interviewees include George D. Aiken (U. S. Senator from Vermont, member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy), Allen V. Astin (Director of the National Bureau of Standards from 1952 to 1961, discusses proximity fuses, radio telemetry, the famous battery additive scandal, Sinclair Weeks, the Radio Standards Laboratory, research activities of the NBS, Dr. Edward Condon, satellites, and the Radio Propagation Laboratory), John W. Bricker (member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, and the Atomic Energy Commission), Wallace R. Brode (member of the Atomic Energy Commission), Noobar R. Danielian (U.S. Commerce Department official from 1939-43, discusses the electrical power portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway project, and the Federal Power Commission), Elmer Bennett (who discusses the Pacific Gas and Electric Company), Richard Cook (deputy general manager of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1954 to 1958), Clarence A. Davis (who discusses the electric power business, hydroelectric power, Columbia basin dam projects, public power projects, and the Tennessee Valley Authority), James M. Gavin (who discusses satellite development during the 1950s), Andrew J. Goodpaster (who discusses Radio Free Europe), Wilson F. Harwood (Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation, who covers the Battery Additive Case, the National Bureau of Standards, and the Atomic Energy Commission), Katherine G. Howard (who describes relations between the Atomic Energy Commission and its chairman, Lewis Strauss), Jesse C. Johnson (an advisor of the U.S. delegation to International Conferences on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva in 1955 and 1958), Arnold R. Jones (Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) from 1957 to 1966), George B. Kistiakowsky (member of the President's Science Advisory Committee), John A. McCone (chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission), Edward P. McGuire (who discusses satellites), Don Paarlberg (involved in rural electrification), Howland H. Sargeant (a radio broadcasting executive who worked at Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe), Robert C. Seamans, Jr. (who had a role in communications satellite programs), David M. Shoup (chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission from 1958 to 1960 who also discusses the nuclear power plant at Camp Pendleton, California), Theodore Streibert (who discusses his Radio Free Europe, television, and his role as Vice President of Time-Life Broadcasting, Inc.), Nathan F. Twining (who discusses Sputnik and man-made satellites), and Mr. and Mrs. Abott Washburn, (Abott was commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission from 1974 to 1982).

University of North Texas
Interviewers: Ronald E. Marcello, James Riddlesperger
Dates of interviews: 1972-1975

In this series of interviews, Texas politicians and attorney discuss various aspects of public policy in Texas, including legislation relating to public power utilities. Interviewees include Fred Agnich, Kay Bailey, Ben Bynum, Bill Clayton, Ron Clower, Tom Creighton, Dewitt L. Hale, O. H. Harris, Eddie B. Johnson, Grant Jones, James Kaster, Oscar Mauzy, Chris Miller, Walt Parker, and Charles Wilson. Another interview with Paul Kilday, a judge, concerns the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission.

University of California, Berkeley
Interviewer: Arthur L. Norberg
Dates of interviews: 1973-78

This is a series of interviews with electronics entrepreneurs. The topics discussed include San Francisco Bay area amateur radio, radio pioneering, and the founding and development of various electronics companies in northern California. These companies include the Ampex Corporation, Eitel-McCullough, Inc., Fisher Research Laboratories, Heintz and Kaufman, Incorporated, and the Lenkurt Electric Company. Research activities are also discussed, and those mentioned include those of the Federal Telegraph Company, Dalmo-Victor Company, and Litton Engineering Laboratories. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Kurt E. Appert, Harold H. Buttner, William W. Eitel, Gerhard R. Fisher, Charles P. Ginsburg, Ralph Heintz, Jack A. McCullough, Norman Moore, Tomlinson L. Moseley, David Packard, Alexander M. Poniatoff, and Roy Woenne.

Southwest State University, Minn.
Interviewers: H. Warren Gardner, David L. Nass, Maynard Brass
Dates of interviews: 1972-73

This is a set of interviews with the members of the Farm Holiday Association, who discuss its history and activities during the Great Depression. The interviews also include information on the Minnesota Valley Electric Light and Power Cooperative, the Rural Electrification Administration, and New Deal legislation.

Columbia University, N.Y.
Date of interview: 1978
Transcript: 303 pp.

This is a series of interviews on the Federal Communications Commission during the 1950s and early 1960s, focusing on issues, policies, and personalities. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Frederick W. Ford, E. William Henry, Robert E. Lee, Newton Minow, and Frank Stanton.

Pennsylvania State
Interviewers: Various
Dates of interviews: Summer 1975
Place: University Park, Pa.

During the summer of 1975 group interviews were conducted at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, with members of the Federation of Telephone Workers of Pennsylvania. The interviewees are James Bartholomew, Harry Conlin, Ray Fleagle, Steve Holzer, Jean Kurtz, Anthony Lemansky, Lawrence Lightbody, John Money, Inez Morahito, Thomas Payne, James Pierce, David F. Quinlan, Carl Raitano, Regis Rice, Pete Treible, Joseph Toner, Cosmo Violi, and William Wallace.

Columbia University, N.Y.
Date of interview: 1967
Transcript: 655 pp., indexed

This is a collection of interviews with friends and associates of James L. Fly (1898-1966), who recall his life and particularly his chairmanship of the Federal Communications Commission from 1939 to 1944. The interviewees involved in this project are Thurman Arnold, Edward Brecher, Marcus Cohn, Thomas Corcoran, Norman Corwin, Benedict Peter Cottone, Charles R. Denny, Clifford J. Durr, William C. Fitts, Jr., Abe Fortas, Fred W. Friendly, Lucien Hilmer, Rosel H. Hyde, Leonard H. Marks, Neville Miller, Charles S. Murphy, John Lord O'Brian, Harry Plotkin, Paul A. Porter, Joseph Rauk, James Rowe, Peter Shuebruk, and Telford Taylor.

Mercyhurst College, Pa.
Date of interviews: 1976
Place: Pennsylvania
Length of interviews: 24 tapes

This collection consists of 24 taped interviews (four of which are anonymous) with Erie General Electric employees conducted in 1976. The employees are asked about their ethnic background, why they chose to work for General Electric, the type of work they do, and especially about their involvement with trade unions. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Frank Blewett, Thomas Brown, Sophie Buchholzer, Ted Buczek, Anna Doutt, Norman Doutt, Emery Gidos, Joseph Heberlein, Hattie Kaczmerak, Shade Marshell, Phillip Moskalczyk, James Pepicello, Thomas Rafter, Michael C. Somokae, Everett C. Whipple, and William Winn.

Charles Babbage Institute, Minn.
Interviewer: George Green
Dates of interviews: circa 1980

Green, a professor at the University of Minnesota, assembled these videotaped interviews on the topic of computing in American business. Interviewees include Uta Merzbach, curator of computing at the Smithsonian Institution (OH-28), John L. Rankine, (OH-32), Thomas Parke Hughes, a professor of history (OH-2) Herman Heine Goldstine (OH-19), active in the early development of computing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute for Advanced Study, and IBM, and Paul Armer, (OH-1) of Rand Corp. and AFIPS.

Hewlett-Packard, Calif.
Length of interview: 75 hrs.
Transcripts: 1700 pp.

This is a collection of 50 interviews concerned primarily with the early history of the Hewlett-Packard Company, including products, working conditions, and company events, philosophy, and practices.

Mark C. Honeywell Collection
Carnegie Library, Ind.
Length of interviews 35 hrs.

People interviewed or discussed in interviews include Wayne Adams, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Derickson, Darrell Hamilton, Mrs. Mark C. Honeywell, Charles R. Keppel, Adrian Leland, D. L. Leland, Morris K. Magner Jr., Melvin "Bud" Martin, Roland J. McDaniel Sr., Mrs. Michael McNarney, Alonzo Mullendore, Marian Nixon, Marvin Pettiford, Gene Ranstead, August Rumpf, Mr. and Mrs. James Sailors, Carl Schwab, Gerald R. Smith, Harold Sweatt, Elbert Wibel, and William H Woods.

Interviewers: William Aspray, John Bryant, Andrew Goldstein, Frederik Nebeker
Date of interviews: June-August, 1991
Place: Boston, Mass.
Length of interviews: approximately 55 hrs.
Transcripts: incomplete

Engineers, scientists, administrators, and office staff discuss the large-scale radar development effort at the MIT Radiation Laboratory during World War II. Interviewed were: Henry Abajian, Royal Allaire, Kenneth T. Bainbridge, Edythe Baker, M. A. Chaffee, Britton Chance, Lee L. Davenport, Howard Doolittle, Art Fong, Bert and Kathryn Fowler, Virginia Gerdes, Ivan Getting, Dorothy Gillette, Fred J. Heath, Joan Leamy James, Lawrence Johnston, Robert Kyhl, Benjamin Lax, Frank Lewis, Louis F. Moose, Russell O'Neal, E. C. Pollard, Robert Pound, Edward Purcell, Norman Ramsey, Randal Robertson, Denis Robinson, Nathaniel Rochester, Ragnar Rollefson, Chandos Rypinski, Ted Saad, Catherine F. Scott, Samuel Seeley, Chalmers Sherwin, Virginia Powell Strong, Leo Sullivan, Gerald Tape, Helen L. Thomas, George Valley, Herbert Weiss, and Jerome Wiesner. Common subjects were radar systems, magnetrons, klystrons, science and the military, science and industry, engineering education, research and development, and working women.

Iowa Historical Society
Dates of interviews: 1977-83

This project consists of over 1000 interviews in numerous collections. Of these, there are more than 100 interviews in five collections with members of electrical or electrical-related unions. The relevant collections are those of the Communications Workers (26 interviews), the Electrical Workers (53 interviews), the Operating Engineers (8 interviews), and the Printing Unions (29 interviews). No specific information about individual interviews is available.

University of California, Berkeley
Interviewer: Arthur L. Norberg
Dates of interviews: 1974, 1977

Topics discussed in this collection include the design of the Klystron tube, research in radar during World War II, the electrical engineering departments of MIT and Stanford University, and especially such staff members as William Hansen and Frederick Terman.

University of California, Berkeley
Interviewers: Arthur L. Norberg, Graham Hale
Dates of interviews: 1975-78

This is a collection of interviews with William M. Brobeck, Owen Chamberlain, A. Carl Hemholtz, Malcolm G. Henderson, John J. Livingood, Edward J. Lofgren, Wallace B. Reynolds, Glen T. Seaborg, David H. Sloan, Robert L. Thornton, and Herbert F. York--all of whom had connections with the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Topics discussed include early physics and chemistry research at the Laboratory in a search for high energies and new elements, alterations in and building of new machinery including the 60" and 184" cyclotrons and the Bevatron, research during World War II at the Laboratory and in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on magnetic separation of uranium isotopes, and relations of the Laboratory with the physics department at Berkeley.

University of California, Berkeley
Interviewer: Arthur L. Norberg
Date of interviews: 1976

This is a collection of interviews with Norris Bradbury, Darol K. Froman, John H. Manley, J. Carson Mark, Raemer E. Schreiber, and Cyril S. Smith in which the establishment of the Laboratory during World War II, the administrative structure of the Laboratory, various aspects of research on the atomic and hydrogen bombs, the relationship with the University of California and the Atomic Energy Commission, and competition with the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory are discussed.

University of California, Berkeley
Interviewer: Sally S. Hughes
Date of interviews: 1979

This is a collection of interviews with James L. Born, John H. Lawrence and Alexander V. Nichols in which research at Donner Laboratory and at the University of California at Berkeley, nuclear medicine, accelerator biophysics, heavy-particle cancer therapy and lipoprotein studies, the structure of the Laboratory and interaction of research groups, post-WWII establishment of the Division of Medical Physics, and radiation research at Crocker Laboratory from 1939 to 1962 are discussed.

Shelby County Library, Tenn.
Date of interview: 1978

This collection includes a 90-minute tape on the history of the WREC radio station.

University of Minnesota
Dates of Interviews: 1977-79

This is a collection of fifty interviews dealing with the construction of a high-voltage electric power-line across farmland in western Minnesota. The interviews include the viewpoints of both opponents and proponents of the line, and contain information on electric energy usage, decisions about power line location, construction policies, and the place of electric power in U.S. energy policy.

Mississippi Power Co.
Dates of interviews: 1984-1988

This series of 11 interviews has been compiled by the Mississippi Power Company. Mississippi Power, founded in 1925, serves 23 counties in the southeastern part of the state. Interviewees include Lucy Erwin, William Jolley Carr, James Samuel Eaton, Allen Arno Mills, Victor James Daniel, Jr., Ishmael Howard, Francis W. Lull, Jr., Allan John Watson, Jr., Adele Winona Latimer, John Thomas Turnipseed, John Pearson Stephens, and Hollis Ray Brown.

Charles Babbage Institute, Minn.
Interviewers: William Aspray, Andrew Goldstein, Frederik Nebeker
Dates of interviews: 1990

The U.S. National Science Foundation has been a major funding agency for computer research. The general thrust of the NSF has been to fund basic research, generally in the form of research grants to individuals or small groups. These interviews (with Babbage Institute call numbers in parentheses) concentrate on the administrative history of the Foundation. Interviewees include W. Adrion Richards (OH-211), Bruce Barnes (OH-213), John Charles Cherniavsky (OH-223), Thomas Gallie (OH-222), Arthur Grad (OH-216), Harry Hedges (OH-221), Thomas A. Keenan (OH-217), John R. Lehmann (OH-219), Peter Lykos (OH-214), Andrew R. Molnar (OH-234), Granger Morgan (OH-224), Val Tareski (OH-225), Alvin Thaler (OH-220), Frederick Weingarten (OH-212).

Nebraska Historical Society
Dates of interviews: 1963-1987

The interviews in this collection cover a variety of topics, and several are wholly or party relevant to the history of electricity or electronics. W. H. Beaver, Martin Douhan, Douglas Butler, Glen Gingles, Charles Gray, Jack Hanssen, Pricilla Hoy, Robert Jensen, George Kister, Gardner Moore, James Platz, Johnn Rall, E. H. Snyder, Gerry Wiebe, and Emanual Wishnow each discuss early radio in Nebraska. Jess Williams talks about music on early radio. Two interviews are related to the "Watchful Citizen" radio program produced by KFMQ, Lincoln. The first is a segment from the program featuring Senator Clifton Foster (who discusses public power in Nebraska). The second is a panel discussion on public utilities with Terry M. Carpenter, Clarence David, Clifton Foster, and Ray Schacht. An interview with Charles Gray concerns an early radio station in David City, Nebraska. Elmer Peterson talks about generators in Valley County, Nebraska. In a group interview entitled "Alfred Poska, et al.," Poska and his colleagues recall individuals involved in early radio broadcasting in Nebraska. Stations they mention include KFAB, KOIL, KJAG, and KFOR. Subjects interviewed include Robert R. Jensen, Helen Jensen, Jane Sunder, Bill Baldwin, Alene McKinney, John Kendall, Helen Kendall, and Enid Baldwin.

Washington State
Interviewer: Hugh Rundell
Dates of interviews: 1976-78

The Pacific Northwest Broadcasting Oral History Project consist of a series of interviews with various radio broadcasting pioneers from the region. A variety of subject matters are covered based on individuals' experiences in radio and television broadcasting. The individuals who were interviewed are Leo Beckley, Al Bond, Jack Clarke, Homer Pope, Robert Priebe, and James Wallace.

Interviewers: Frank Polkinghorn, Norval, Dwyer, Mark Heyer, Al Pinsky, George T. Royden, Kenneth Van Tassel, Julian D. Tebo
Dates of interviews: 1968-1976

This series of interviews covers a number of disparate topics within electrical engineering. Interviewed are: Harold Beverage (radio), Lloyd Espenschied (AT&T), Leonard Fuller (Federal Radio Co., in California), Frank Godsey (Westinghouse) Alfred N. Goldsmith (radio and television), Thomas T. Goldsmith (television research), Clarence Hickman (Bell Telephone Laboratories), James Hillier (electron microscopy), Albert S. Hoagland (digital storage for computers), Karl Honaman (Bell Telephone Laboratories, head of the School for War Training and the Publication Department at Bell Laboratories), Arthur C. Keller (sound reproduction), Archie King, Harold B. Law (television), Ernst A. Lederer (vacuum tubes), Humboldt W. Leverenz (television), Warren P. Mason (filter development at Bell Telephone Labs), Joseph Maxfield (sound motion pictures), Julian Z. Millar (radio researcher at Western Union), Charles W. Mueller (transistor research), Russell S. Ohl (semiconductors), Harry F. Olson (sound reproduction), Harold O. Peterson (radio), Jan Rajchman (ferrite core computer memories), George T. Royden (early radio), Peter C. Sandretto (aviation radio), Philip Smith (antennas and transmission lines), Ellery W. Stone (early radio, ITT), Fred J. Vogel (transformers), Paul K. Weimer, Edwin L. White (early radio), Irving Wolff (radio detection), and Vladimir Zworykin (television).

University of Minnesota
Dates of interviews: 1967-78

In 1972 the Cooperative Power Association and the United Power Association began discussing the feasibility of building a power plant in North Dakota to transmit energy along a 400 kilovolt direct current line to their Minnesota customers. In 1975 construction of the plant was begun in North Dakota, and at that time groups began forming to oppose the construction of the high voltage power lines. This project involved interviewing numerous people involved in the power line issue. A substantial collection of printed documents related to the power line is also part of the project.

Charles Babbage Institute, Minn. and Princeton University, N.J.
Interviewers: William Aspray, Albert Lewis, Frederik Nebeker, Evar Nering, Karen Parshall, Terry Speed, Albert Tucker
Dates of interviews: September 1975-June 1985
Length of interviews: approximately 55 hrs.
Transcript: 602 pp., name index

Members of the Princeton mathematical community in the 1930s, in their discussions of the institutional and social context of the development of an eminent mathematical research and graduate-education center, mention personalities and topics relating to electrical history such as National Research Council Fellowships, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, computability in mathematical logic, the Ballistics Research Laboratory, the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Army Specialized Training Program at Princeton University, linear programming, game theory, the Fire Control Research Project at Princeton, the ENIAC computer, Oswald Veblen, Alan Turing, Kurt Göedel, John von Neumann, G. A. Bliss, Enrico Fermi, Herman Weyl, Stan Ulam, W. V. O. Quine, Haskell Curry, E. L. Post, and Marvin Minsky. Interviewed were (interview call number follows the name): John Bardeen (PMC-1) Valentine Bargmann (PMC-2) George W. Brown and Alexander Mood (PMC-3) Robert Cameron (PMC-4) Alonzo Church (PMC-5) Leon W. Cohen (PMC-6) Joseph Daly and Churchill Eisenhart (PMC-7) William L. Duren, Nathan Jacobson, and Edward J. McShane (PMC-8) Churchill Eisenhart (PMC-9) William Flexner (PMC-10) Merrill Flood (PMC-11) Alfred Leon and Ilse Foster, Derrick and Emma Lehmer, and Frances Morrey (PMC-12) John Giese (PMC-13) James Wallace Givens Abraham H. Taub, and Angus E. Taylor (PMC-14) Herman Goldstine (PMC-15) Robert E. Greenwood (PMC-16) (PMC-17) Israel Halperin (PMC-18) Leon Henkin and Albert Tucker (PMC-19) Banesh Hoffman (PMC-20) Robert Hooke (PMC-21) John Kemeny (PMC-22) Stephen C. Kleene and J. Barkley Rosser (PMC-23) Jack Levine (PMC-24) Deane Montgomery (PMC-25) Malcolm Robertson (PMC-26) Robert Singleton (PMC-27) Ernst Snapper (PMC-28) Albert Tucker (PMC 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40) John Tukey (PMC-41) Robert Walker (PMC-42) Hassler Whitney (PMC-43) Eugene Wigner (PMC-44) and Shaun Wylie (PMC-45).

Johnson Space Center
Dates of interviews: 1957-72

In addition to extensive correspondence, committee, group, panel, and contractor reports, special collections and photographs, this collection contains 327 oral history interviews with Apollo Program participants. Some of these discussions are on topics relevant to electronics and electrical engineering. The tapes and transcripts are held by the Johnson Space Center. Interviewees include Gene Abbey (General Precision, Inc. simulators), Don Atwood (AC Electronics , guidance and navigation systems), Richard Battin (guidance and control apparatus at MIT), Chuck Bixler (General Electric), Dan Blake (Link Simulators), R. O. Burmood (Collins Radio Company contracting), Gordon Butler (Collins Radio Company contract administration), Aaron Cohen (guidance and navigation), Ron Decrevel (Bell Aerospace Corporation, lunar simulators), Harold Dodge (IBM computers), Charles Stark Draper (guidance and navigation, guidance and control work at MIT), Stanley Faber (Apollo simulators), Charles Fitzgerald (Link Simulators), Charles Frick (Philco-Ford), Barry Galman (General Electric), David W. Gilbert (Apollo guidance and navigation), Harry J. Goett (Philco-Ford), Glen Goodwin (Apollo guidance, control, and trajectories), Ted Hammes (lunar module environmental control), Gordon Hardy (Saturn V rocket control and guidance), David G. Hoag (Apollo guidance and navigation), George Holden (bio-instrumentation and biosatellites), Lincoln Hudson (Honeywell, Apollo stabilization and control equipment), Karl F. Jackson (AiResearch Div., Garrett Corporation, Apollo environmental control systems), Vytautas, Klemas (General Electric, optics), Walker Kupfer (Apollo guidance and navigation systems), R. W. Lawton (General Electric), William A. Lee (Raytheon's involvement with the Apollo Program), Henry Lessing (Apollo reentry guidance), Riley D. McCafferty (training and simulation), Dick McKnight (Link Simulators), Cliff Meldrum (Link Simulators), Edward S. Miller (General Electric), John E. Miller (Apollo guidance and navigation apparatus), Donald L. Muller (General Electric), John Nugent (Apollo inertial subsystems), Jim O'Connell (Link Simulators), William W. Petynia (environmental testing), R. F. Pickering (Collins Radio), Ralph Ragan (Apollo guidance and navigation apparatus), Joseph Smith (bio-instrumentation and bio-satellites), Richard L. Taylor (Link Simulators), William D. Thompson (Apollo guidance and navigation), Oreland A. Thornsjo (Apollo stabilization and control equipment), Milton B. Tregeser (Apollo guidance and navigation), Dick Vale (Collins Radio, Apollo communications equipment), Ladislaus W. Warzecha (General Electric), Joseph Welch (Apollo guidance and navigation systems), Rodney Wingrove (Apollo reentry guidance and trajectories), C. H. Woodling (Apollo astronaut training and mission simulation), Howard Wright (Grumman Corp., lunar module electronics), Arthur F. Wulfsberg (Collins Radio, communications for the Apollo Program), and Harold C. Yost (AC Electronics, Apollo guidance and navigation).

Rice University, Tex.
Dates of interviews: 1958-71

In addition to design notes, correspondence, status reports, mission files, and photographs, this collection contains 261 interviews covering the period from 1966 to 1970. Some of these discussions are on topics relevant to electronics and electrical engineering. The collection also contains audio tapes of Gemini postflight conferences and television interviews. The Gemini collection contains interviews, videotapes and reel-to-reel tapes covering such subjects as astronaut debriefings, air-to-ground communications, and mission simulations.

Washington State
Interviewer: Burt Harrison
Dates of Interviews: 1977-78

The Public Radio Oral History Project papers consist of a series of interviews with pioneers of public radio. These interviews were conducted by Burt Harrison, former manager of KWSU radio, during a period from 1977 to 1978 under a contract from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are Jack Burk, Martin P. Busch, Hugh Cordier, John C. Crabbe, John DeCamp, Richard Estell, Albert P. Fredette, Lee Frischknecht, Lawrence Frymire, Betty T. Girling, John Gregory, William Harley, Ruane B. Hill, Robert L. Hilliard, Robert C. Hinz, Richard B. Hull, Albert Hulsen, Kenneth Kager, Lucinda Kindred, Harold B. McCarty, Carl Menzer, James S. Miles, Allen Miller, James M. Morris, Robert A. Moot, Frank W. Norwood, Morris S. Novik, Burton Paulu, Donald R. Quayle, John A. Regnell, James Robertson, Jerrold Sandler, Frank Schooley, Sam Scott, Martha and Walter Sheppard, John D. Summerfield, Patricia L. Swenson, Ralph Titus, I. Keith Tyler, Robert E. Underwood, John Witherspoon, and Elizabeth Young.

Wisconsin Historical Society
Interviewer: James Robertson
Dates of interviews: 1979-82

This collection contains 93 tape records and four boxes of transcripts from interviews with 55 individuals. This program, funded primarily by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, focuses on the early history of public television broadcasting in the United States.

Sangamon State University, Ill.
Interviewer: William Ortman
Place: Springfield, Ill.

This is a collection of interviews with Glen Farrington, Al Germond, Shelby Harbison, Jim Jordan, J. Martin Kay, Jim Palmer, Bob Pennington, A. W. Pistorius, Dan Rion, Doug Seigel, Cal Shrum, Spizz Singer, Kenneth E. Spengler, and Bill Wheeler, relating to the history of radio in Springfield, Ill. and the effect of television on radio.

Columbia University, N.Y.
Dates of interviews: 1950-
Transcript, index

This is a comprehensive record of the early history of radio, as told by engineers, station and network executives, government officials, writers, directors, and performers. The interviewees discuss scientific matters including types of sending apparatus, early experiments with wireless, radio antennas, wireless and radio transmitters, the Alexanderson alternator, early experiments with television, transmitters for radio stations, mobile radio units, problems of engineering in network broadcasts, manufacturer's laboratory research, and the effects of World War II on radio engineering. The growth of the radio business from the days of amateurs is described through accounts of manufacturing apparatus for the radio market (Westinghouse Electric Co., General Electric Corp., and the Radio Corporation of America), wireless telegraphy and telephony on the Great Lakes, operating methods in early radio stations, establishing and financing a radio station in the 1920s, persuading advertisers to buy radio time, responses of and to the radio audience, broadcast ethics, and the impact of television with its new business and performing methods. The growth of networks and network competition with local stations is detailed in accounts of the development of the National Broadcasting Company, the Red and Blue networks and the outgrowth of the American Broadcasting Company from them, the Columbia Broadcasting System, Mutual Broadcasting System, American Telephone & Telegraph Company, and the stations of General Electric and Westinghouse. Radio's relations with the government are dealt with in accounts of the Washington Conference assigning international wavelengths (1927), the Federal Radio Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, radio law and legislation, government regulation and comparisons of radio in the U.S., Great Britain, and Canada, the British Broadcasting Corporation, patent licensing and the Department of Justice (1932), U.S. censorship in World War II, and postwar problems. The problems of programming and the evolution of types of radio programs are described, particularly musical programs, the use of music on radio, early radio acting, talent scouting, audience participation programs, children's programs, and information and public service programs. News reporting is discussed, including matters such as news analysis, sports reporting, the rivalry between the press and radio, radio columns and columnists, the Association of Radio News analysts, and an account of reporting the Spanish Civil War by H.V. Kaltenborn. Specific details are provided on the history of Stations WWJ (Detroit), and WBEN (Buffalo), the development of a classical music station (WQXR-NY) and a municipal station (WYNC-NY), and on such programs as "Amos n' Andy," "Information, Please," "Town Meeting of the Air," and "The Voice of Firestone." Impressions are given of David Sarnoff, conductors Walter Damrosch and Fred Waring, NBC program manager Bertha Brainerd, electrical engineer Frank Conrad, Henry Ford, William S. Aylesworth, Al Jolson, lawyer Owen D. Young, and others. The individuals who were interviewed for this series are Ernst Frederick Werner Alexanderson, Ed Allen, Frank Atkinson Arnold, Walter Ransom Gail Baker, Harry Ray Bannister, Howard Barlow, Patrick Henry Barnes, Joseph M. Barnett, Gustave A. Bosler, Everett L. Bragdon, Harry P. Breitenbach, William Wilbur Brown, Lyman Lloyd Bryson, Orestes Hampton Caldwell, Joseph D. Cappa, Phillips Carlin, Thomas Edward Clark Chasins, Norman Corwin, Louis Cowan, Thomas H. Cowan, Roderick Cupp, Lee De Forest, Richard K. Doan, Glen Dolberg, Lloyd Espenschied, Walter Chew Evans, Edgar Felix, John Earl Fetzer, Fred Friendly, Robert Fuller, Wayland Fullington, John Gambling, George Gingell, Harry Goodman, Dorothy Gordon, Ben Grauer, Gordon Gray, Gordon Greb, Rosaline Greene, Wilton Gunzendorfer, Raymond Frederick Guy, Joseph Anthony Haeffner, Kolin Hager, Richard F. Hanser, William E. Harkness, Herschell Hart, Laurence Ashley Hawkins, William Saxby Hedges, John E. Hill, Lawrence LaMotte Holland, Herbert Clark Hoover, Albert Wallace Hull, E. P. H. James, Eddie Janis, Arthur Judson, William J. Kaland, H. V. Kaltenborn, Ken Kennedy, Alfred Henry Kirchhofer, Kirk Knight, Chester Henry Lang, Leon Lichtenfeld, Donald B. Little, Edgar J. Love, Ruth Lyons, Stanley Rutter Manning, Carlton Morse and Michael Rafetto, Ray Newby, Paul Oliphant and F. C. Sowell, Dorsey Owings, John F. Patt, Daniel Petrie, James A. Pike, Elton M. Plant, Herbert Ponting, Robert L. Pratt, Harry Rasky, Philip H. Reisman, Lord John Reith, Gruce Robertson, Otis E. Robinson, William N. Robson, Manuel Rosenberg, J. Harold Ryan, Abel Alan Schechter, William Edmund Scripps, Robert L. Shayon, John L. Slaton, Robert Smiley, Ira D. Smith and Fred J. Hart, Sigmund Spaeth, Jeff Sparks, Davidson Taylor, Sybil True, Edwin Lloyd Tyson, Clyde D. Wagoner, James Truman Ward, Gene Waters, Irving Reid Weir, Grover A. Whalen, Rex G. White, William Cummings White, Mark Woods, and William R. Yates.

SUNY-Albany, NY
Interviewers: Elizabeth Griffin, Gerald Zahavi
Dates of interviews: 1991-

The Schenectady General Electric in the 20th Century Project contains over 60 interviews, totaling more than 120 hours, with employees of General Electric's Schenectady facility. Interviews will be open to researchers after the summer of 1993.

Skagit Historical Society, Wash.

The Skagit County Historical Museum oral history collection includes eleven interviews related to the Skagit River & West Coast Telephone Company, the Everett Telephone Company, the Seattle City Light, the West Coast & General Telephone Company, the early Bell Telephone Company, the Summit Park, Bell & Independent Telephone Company, the Skagit Valley Rural & Continental Telephone Company, the Western Union Telegraph, Pass Lake, and Electric Light Plant production.

Rice University, Tex.
Dates of interviews: 1974-77

This is a collection of documents and oral histories about Skylab. Some of these discussions are on topics relevant to electronics and electrical engineering.

Smithsonian Institution, D.C.
Transcript, index

This collection was compiled jointly by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Society of American History. Henry S. Tropp and Uta Merzbach were the AFIPS and Smithsonian directors respectively. The approximately 200 interviews in this collection were conducted between 1969 and 1970 with engineers, scientists, mathematicians and others directly involved in the development of computers and computing. Approximately half of the interviews are open for research. Interview subjects include, among others: Forman Acton, Charles Adams, Howard Aiken, Gerard Allard, John Alrich, Franz Alt, Group Argonne, Paul Armer, John Atanasoff, William Atchison, Isaac Auerbach, Jean J. Bartik and Frances E. Holberton, Walter Bauer, Allan Beek David Feign and Ted Hertz, Mort Bernstein, Julian Bigelow, Gertrude Blanch, Richard Bloch, James Bradburn, J.G. Brainerd, George W. Brown, Gordon S. Brown, Robert Burns and I. Bernard Cohen, Howard Campaigne, Robert Campbell, Richard G. Canning, Edward W. Cannon, James Cass, Richard Clippinger, John Coombs, Lynn Couret, Perry O. Crawford, John H. Curtiss, Joseph R. Desch and Robert E. Mumma, Arthur H. Dickinson, Robert C. Dietzold and Bernard Holbrook, Stephen H. Dodd, Richard D. Dotts, Donald E. Eckdahl, Robert D. Elbourn, Harlan Elkins, Gerald Estrin, Robert Everett, William Farrand William Downey and Ernie Brashear, Louis Fein, Alfred Fenaughty, George Forbes, Cameron Forrest, Jay W. Forrester, Stanley Frankel, Ken Garrison, Murray A. Geisler, Stanley Gill, E. L. (Ted) Glaser and Fred Way III, Harold Goheen, I. J. Good, C. C. Gotlieb, Jackson Granholm, Irwin Greenwald, Sidney Greenwald, Herbert Grosch, Fred Gruenberger, William F. Gunning, Glenn E. Hagen, Maurice H. Halstead, Leon Harmon, Harold Haxen, Paul Herget, Henry Herold and Jack Mitchell, Grace Murray Hopper, Robert Horn, Bernard Horwitz, Alston S. Householder, Bernard Howard, Bernard Howard and Harold Skramstad, Cuthbert C. Hurd, Harry Huskey and Mrs. Harry Huskey, David R. Israel, Mario L. Juncosa, Josef Kates, Roy Koufold and Walt Edwards, James R. Killian, Jr., Les Kilpatrick, Paul King, Russell A. Kirech, Irving Korn, Norman Kreuder, Sandy Lanzarotta, Harry T. Larson, Sam Legvold, Derrick Lehmer, Lovell C.A. Henry, John Lowe, John McPherson, Don Madden, Ethel Marden, Richard Martin, Daniel R. Mason, John Mauchly, Myron J. Mendelson, Donald H. Menzel, Nick Metropolis, Frederick G. Miller , Roger Mills, Owen Mock, Philip Morse, Paul Morton, Vincent Neisius, Eldred Nelson , G. Neovius, Max Palevsky, R.D. Parker, Robert Patrick, Byron E. Phelps and Werner Buchholz, Montgomery Phister, Harry Polachek, John Postley, Emmett Quady, Rabinow Jacob, Jan Rajchman, Norman J. Ream, Irving S. Reed, Mina Rees, Ida Rhodes, Rex Rice, Nathaniel Rochester, Stanley Rogers, Milton Rosenberg, Paul Rosenthal, Morris Rubinoff, John M. Salzer, Arthur L. Samuel, H.H. Sarkissian, Roger E. Schuette, Robert Serrell, Ralph J. Slutz, Joseph Smagorinsky, C.V. L. Smith, Samuel Snyder, Richard Sprague, Floyd Steele, George Stibitz and E. G. Andrews, Jack A. Strong, Richard Tanaka, Norman Taylor, Gregory Toben with Jim Smith Dave Montgomery and Roy Harper, John Todd, John Todd and Olga Taussky-Todd, Erwin Tomash, Mark Torfeh, Irven Travis, Keith Uncapher, Arthur von Hippel, Frank Wagner, An Wang, Willis H. Ware, Joseph Weizenbaum, Wieselman Irving, C. Robert Wieser, Arthur Wild, Maurice V. Wilkes, James Wilkinson, Charles Williams, Philip Wolfe, Way Dong Woo, Ben D. Wood, William Woodbury, John W. Wrench, Jr., Patrick Youtz, Everett Yowell, Heinz Zemanek, and Konrad Zuse.

Air and Space Museum, D.C.
Interviewers David H. DeVorkin, Joseph Tatarewicz, Martin Harwit, Allan Needell
Dates of interviews: 1981-1983

This series of interviews is primarily concerned with space astronomy, including the design and implementation of various instruments, the careers of several physicists, and the administration of the scientific organizations involved. Many of the interviews concern topics relevant to electrical or electronic engineering, especially those related to instrumentation and rocketry. In the following list of interviews mentions the topics of discussion that are related to electrical history. Jules Aarons was a research physicist from 1946 to 1955 in various U.S. Air Force laboratories. Topics include the use of V-2 rockets, solar studies, and the Naval Research Laboratory [NRL]. A joint interview with Reuben H. Gablehouse and Fred Dolder covers the Ball Brothers contracts for early orbiting solar observatories from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, telemetry problems, and their work on Skylab. William Baum, a physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory, discusses the development of spectroscopy research at NRL, especially research in UV radiation. William Behring, a physicist, discusses solar spectrographs. Thor Bergstralh talks about his work at Ford Aeroneutronics and the Aerospace Corporation. Arthur D. Code, an astronomer, focuses on the development of ultraviolet stellar spectroscopy, the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory. Frank D. Drake, a radio astronomer, worked in planetary radio astronomy. William G. Fastie was a physicist at Johns Hopkins. He discusses his colleagues August H. Pfund and Robert W. Wood. Lorence Fraser worked in instrumentation at various government labs. He covers his work on the proximity fuse, radar, and missile guidance. Herbert Friedman was a director of upper air research at NRL. Robert Frosch, a physicist, was Administrator of NASA. Thomas Gold was an astronomer at the Center of Radiophysics and Space Research. Leo Goldberg, an astronomer at the University of Michigan, talks about the use of V-2 rockets after World War II to obtain solar spectra. NRL researchers Martin O. Harwit and Henry Kondracki worked on the development of an infrared Aerobee rocket payload. Another interview with Martin Harwit discusses his career in considerably more detail. Ralph Havens discusses his work at NRL, Lockheed, and Ford and his research in rockets. Albert R. Hibbs was a theoretical physics at JPL with an interest in planetary and lunar exploration. Noel Hinners discusses his tenure at NASA in various administrative positions. Hans E. Hinteregger was a physicist at the Air Force Cambridge Research Labs who was involved in ultra-violet research and rocket research. Charles Y. Johnson was a Naval Research Laboratory physicist from 1946 on. He discusses his interest in V-2 rocket science. Francis Severin Johnson worked at NRL as a physicist from 1946 to 1955, and at Lockheed from 1955 to 1962. He concentrates on missile guidance. Adolph Jursa is interviewed. Ernest H. Krause was a physicist at NRL, Lockheed, the System Research Corp., and Ford Aeroneutronics. He discusses wartime research, the Rocket Sonde Branch, cosmic-ray research, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Gerry Neugebauer worked with infrared astronomy, spectroscopy, instrumentation, and radiometry. Werner M. Neupert, a physicist, worked in solar physics and spectroscopy instrumentation. Gordon A. Newkirk was an astrophysicist who worked on infrared photometry and balloon astronomy. Charles R. O'Dell was an astronomer who worked on instrument design for NASA. William H. Pickering was a professor of electrical engineering and physics at the California Institute of Technology as an instructor and professor of electrical engineering. Pickering specialized in research on guidance and telemetry systems, including pointing controls, and the Radio Inertial Guidance. James D. Purcell was an NRL engineer who worked on rocket instruments like film recording mechanisms. William A. Rense, a physicist, worked on instrumentation for space exploration. Walter O. Roberts, an astrophysicist at Harvard, worked on the measurement of solar phenomena. Nancy G. Roman was an astronomer at NASA who worked on ground-based lunar and planetary astronomy. Dan Schneiderman was an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories [JPL] who worked on radar systems for aircraft, computer systems for rockets, and later guidance and instrument packages for spacecraft Ronald A. Schorn, studied radio astronomy. Martin Schwarzschild, an astrophysicist, discusses his involvement in the Stratoscope I and II projects. Richard Silberstein studied the effects of the ionosphere on radio transmissions at the National Bureau of Standards beginning in 1941. John Simpson was an instrument designer at Ball Brothers who developed guidance systems. Lyman Spitzer Jr. talks about the use of V-2 rockets for ultra-violet studies of the sun. Yoshio Tanaka is interviewed. Clyde W. Tombaugh developed instruments for missiles such as photographic techniques for tracking, and analyzing ballistic data. Richard Tousey, a physicist at NRL, was Head of the Instrument Section from 1942 to 1945 and then Head of the Micron Waves Branch from 1945 to 1958. Mona Tycz conducted research in lasers before becoming manager of a study on the Secondary Electron Conduction Orthicon detector for the Space Telescope in 1976. James Van Allen, a physicist, discusses his work with proximity fuses and atmospheric research. James E. Webb was a NASA administrator. James A. Westphal worked with the Seismograph Service Corporation from 1948 to 1953 and later at Sinclair Research Labs from 1954 to 1960, where he gained experience in designing and constructing a variety of instruments. He later worked on electronic instrumentation for space exploration. Charles E. Whitsett was an engineer who worked on simulators for space missions. Fred Wilshusen, an electrical engineer, did instrumentation research for space vehicles. George Gianopolis worked at JPL as a computer programmer and manager of ground systems for the Ranger, Mariner, and Viking probes.

Johnson Space Center
Dates of interviews: June 1983-October 1984

This is a collection that contains interviews related to the Space Shuttle. Some of the subjects discussed relate to electronics and communications. The individuals interviewed are William F. Barrett, Philip Culbertson, L. E. Day, Charles Donlan, Richard Foll, John D. Hodge, William E. Lilly, Douglas Lord, Joseph Mahon, Joseph McGorick, John E. Naugle, Henry Pohl, Wilhelm Raithel, Eberhard Rees, Arnold Schnyer, Willis Shapley, Milton A. Silveira, William Simon, Joseph G. Thibodaux, Richard Truly, Terry White, and Jack Wild. Tapes and transcripts are held by the Johnson Space Center in its History Office.

Johnson Space Center
Dates of interviews 1984-86

These interviews were conducted under a Space Station contract between 1984 and 1986. Some of the subjects discussed relate to electronics and communications. The interviewees were Gerald Griffin, Joseph Loftus, Ron Kubicki, Clark Covington, Neil Hutchinson, Tom Kloves, Robert Pannett, Dan Germany, Nancy Woods, Allen J. Louviere. There are also several interviews with engineers, although no further information is available about those interviews.

Sangamon State University, Ill.
Dates of interviews: 1973-74

This collection contains interviews with early employees of the Illinois Bell Telephone Company and other companies. The topics discussed include employee organizations and unionization, the effects of the Depression and World War II, and the towns of Cairo, Galesburg, and Springfield, Ill., during the early 1900s. The individuals who were interviewed for this project are telephone operators Alma Crumrin, Claire W. Perkins, Jeanette Praham, Winifred Hiles Sackey, and Mayme Workman, area managers Joe Bennett and Kenneth Evers, and line-men G.G. Easley, Marvel E. Fitzgerald, Edmund Bringer, and Charles V. Roberts.

Memphis State, Tenn.

This is a project to document the history of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) by examining the origins, growth, and development of the organization. It was done through interviews with individuals involved with the TVA. Those interviewed for this project are Paul Ager, Leland Allbaugh, Louise Allen, George M. Baker, Willis M. Baker, Neil C. Bass, Harry C. Bauer, Fannon Beaucamp, Mario Bianculli, Herbert J. Bingham, Nicholls W. Bowden, Wylie Bowmaster, Arthur Brazelton, Sam L. Breeden, William N. Calvert, Ed. J. Campbell, Harry L. Case, Fred E. Chambers, William E. Cole, Herman J. Daves, Paul J. David, J. Dudley Dawson, Glen Dooley, Earl Draper, Lawrence Durisch, Louis Eckl, Howard P. Emerson, Llewellyn Evans, Paul I. Fahey, Edward Falck, John P. Ferris, Gist Finley, William C. Fitts, Henry W. Fowler, Bernard L. Foy, David Freeman, Harold C. Frincke, Albert Fry, George F. Gant, Albert Gore, Sr., Julian Granger, Osborne H. Graves, A.J. Gray, Lee S. Greene, Van Court Hare, William J. Hays, John Ivey, Virginia White James, Hendon R. Johnston, Arnold Roosevelt Jones, Walter Kahoe, Roland Kampmeier, Richard Kilbourne, Eric L. Kohler, Julius Krug, Charles Krutch, Thomas M. N. Lewis and Madeline Kneberg Lewis, David Lilienthal, Henry T. Lofft, John C. Mc Amis, Charles McCarthy, Donald H. Mattern, Howard K. Menhinick, Sherrill Milliken, Jesse C. Mills, Robert A. Monroe, Edward W. Morehouse, Arthur Morgan, Richard O. Niehoff, John Lord O'Brian, Charles W. Okey, John Oliver, George Palo, Ed J. Paxton, Jennings Perry, John F. Pierce, Carl L. Richey, Mary Utopia Rothrock, Harry Scott, Robert E. Sessions, Walton Seymour, William Shafer, Edwin A. Shelley, Barrett Shelton, Edwin Shultz, Frank E. Smith, John I. Synder, Joseph C. Swindler, George H. R. Taylor, Harry Tour, Carroll Towne, Louis Van Mol, Herber D. Vogel, Earle R. Wall, John H. Walthall, Nat I. Washburn, Frank Welch, Abraham Wiebe, Harry Wiersema, Fred L. Wiess, John D. Williams, Marshall Wilson, Warren W. Woodruff, and Chares Young.

Murray State University, Kentucky
Interviewers: Sammy B. Fisk, Dr. Jerry A. Herdon, Margaret Hopkins, David Sullivan
Dates of interviews: 1975-1977
Places: Tennessee, Kentucky

This project examines the changes wrought by the Tennessee Valley Authority program of flood control and power production. Some of the interviewees also discuss the impact of electricity and electric power on their lives. Interviewees include Randolph Allen (Baptist minister, discusses the period when the TVA began buying land and acquiring church property), Thomas L. Askew (a farmer who talks about establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority in Tennessee and Kentucky), Annie C. Foust (effects of the TVA upon the social and economic life of the region), Otis Joyce (lived on property bought by the Tennessee Valley Authority), Helen R. Lancaster (whose husband was involved in litigation against the TVA), Irene Leneave (who discusses the TVA's effects on the populace of the region), Vance Leneave (who discusses the early independent telephone system in western Kentucky), Mrs. Euen Newton (who discusses the TVA).

U.S. Naval Institute, Md.
Dates of interviews: 1971-1981

Several of the interviews in this collection concern topics in electrical history, such as instrumentation, automatic guidance for missiles, the Polaris Program, and nuclear-electric power for submarines. Interviewees include Roy S. Benson (seven interviews including discussions of magnetic exploders, anti-submarine warfare, and submarine tactics), Phillip A. Beshany (the transition from diesel to nuclear power in submarines), two interviews with Arleigh A. Burke (on the Polaris Program and the DEW Line early warning system), John B. Colwell (the Polaris Missile), Slade Cutter (Commander of Submarine Division 32 during the early 1950s), Charles K. Duncan (the Navy's nuclear program), Jack Dunlap (the Polaris program), Daniel V. Gallery (guided missiles), Thomas S. Gates, Jr. (the Polaris Program), Edwin B. Hooper (the Atomic Energy Commission), Andrew M. Jackson (the Grumman F6F Hellcat , the USS Timbalier), Rita Lenihan (a lighting engineer), Waldo K. Lyon (the Navy's Radio and Sound Laboratory, sonar), Kleber S. Masterson (the Polaris Missile), Gerald E. Miller (computers at the Bureau of Naval Personnel during the mid-1950s), Henry L. Miller (antisubmarine hunter-killer task groups), Charles S. Minter, Jr. (antisubmarine warfare), Thomas H. Moorer (Chief of Naval Operations in 1967), Thomas Morton (Commander of the Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Virginia from 1960 to 1961), Raymond E. Peet (nuclear power), Gordon Pehrson (the Polaris Project), William F. Raborn, Jr. (the Polaris Missile), Eli T. Reich (the Tartar, Terrier, and Talos missile systems), Frances L. Rich (V-mail, the Navy's communications department and WAVES), Horacio Rivero, Jr. (an electrical engineer), Edward A. Ruckner (radar in World War II), Carleton Shugg (the Polaris Program), William R. Smedberg, III (the introduction of computers to the order-writing process at the Bureau of Naval Personnel), Henri Smith-Hutton (intelligence), Bernard Strean (operation Sea Orbit), John S. Thach (anti-submarine warfare), Clement Watson (who promoted the Polaris Project to Congress), Robert H. Wertheim (communications officer), Frederick Withington (the Atomic Energy Commission), Joseph M. Worthington (radar in cruiser gunfire control).

Baylor University, Tex.
Interviewers: Susie Monaghan, Janelle Easley, Susan Ferguson
Dates of Interviews: 1975
Place: Waco, Tex.

This collection of oral histories contains several interviews with relevance to electrical history. The interviewees include Mary A. Clayton, Fleta G. Woolsey (who discusses their memories of radio in separate interviews), Adrienne W. Olenbush (who discusses her memories of early radio and the telephone), Elizabeth L. Simpson (who recalls the streetcar system), Rowena A. B. Warfield (who discusses streetcars and home appliances)

University of Dayton, Ohio
Dates of interviews: 1966-67

This is a collection of interviews with relatives, friends, associates and employees of Orville Wright (1871-1948), Wilbur Wright (1867-1912), and Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958), which cover the early development of the airplane, flight, and the Wright Brothers' personal lives. Interviewees include Carl Beust, Zerbie Bradford, Marie E. Burner, Louis P. Christman, William Conover, Ernest Dubel, Samuel L. Finn, Richard Gaugler, Eleanor E. Gerard, Nelson R. Haas, Sr., William Huffman, James Wilbur Jacobs, Ruth Jacobs, Max Kohnop, Fred Krusch, Ivonette Wright Miller, Edmund B. O'Leary, Tom Russell, William Sanders, Henry Stout, B. L. Whelan, Horace Wright, and John Wright.

University of Florida
Length of interviews: 39 hrs.

This is a collection of twenty-five interviews, one of which is not transcribed, that address the history of Florida radio station WRUF.

American Music
Yale University

This is a collection of seven projects with or about contemporary composers, one of which focuses on electronic music. The interviews concerned with electronic music include those of Hal Alles, Jon Appleton, Pierre Boulez, Don Buchla, John Chowning, Charles Dodge, Emmanuel Ghent, Peter Goldmark, Lejaren Hiller, Charles Kaman, Otto Luening, Max Mathews, Robert Moog, F. Richard Moore, Robert Moore, Les Paul, David Rosenboom, Loren Rush, Laurie Spiegel, Morton Subotnick, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Barry Vercoe.

Frank Havenner - History

Order Back-Issues of Alaska History

Alaska History , the semiannual journal of the AHS, brings its readers the latest research on a wide variety of topics on the northern past, as well as reviews and notices of recent books. Copies of Alaska History cost $4 for AHS members and $6 for non-members.
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By Matt Gonzalez

Below are the top two finishers or runoff vote totals (when there was a runoff) in San Francisco mayoral races since 1939. Data for twenty-one mayoral races is included.

No candidate for mayor of San Francisco received over 100,000 votes prior to 1939.

Every winning mayor received at least 100,000 votes since 1939, with the exception of Ed Lee in 2011 (84,457 votes), Joe Alioto in 1971 (95,744 votes), Elmer Robinson in 1951 (98,611 votes), and Roger Lapham in 1943 (90,646). Lee, Alioto, and Robinson received over 100,000 votes in other mayoral races.

Only three candidates received over 100,000 votes and failed to win their contest: Mark Leno in 2018, Matt Gonzalez in 2003, and Franck Havenner in both 1939 and 1947.

The three closest contests were in 1951 between Elmer Robinson and George Christopher (Robinson won by 1,926 votes) 2018 between London Breed and Mark Leno (Breed won by 2,546) and 1975 between George Moscone and John Barbagelata (Moscone won by 4,270).

Listings below in bold indicate vote totals of a candidate who won the contest.

Votes received / Candidate / Election year

158,244 – George Christopher 1955

145,009 – George Christopher 1959

137,335 – Angelo Rossi 1939

133,546 – Gavin Newsom 2003

131,983 – Willie Brown 1999

120,560 – Jack Shelley 1963

119,329 Matt Gonzalez 2003

117,503 – Elmer Robinson 1947

117,489 – Diane Feinstein 1983

116,256 Franck Havenner 1939

115,977 – London Breed 2018

113,431 Mark Leno 2018

107,500 – Willie Brown 1995

106,814 – Joe Alioto 1967

105,596 – Gavin Newsom 2007

105,298 – Ed Lee 2015

104,098 – Frank Jordan 1991

102,898– Art Agnos 1987

102,635 – Dianne Feinstein 1979

102,100 Franck Havenner 1947

100,077 – George Moscone 1975

98,611 – Elmer Robinson 1951

97,726 Art Agnos 1991

96,685 George Christopher 1951

95,807 John Barbagelata 1975

95,744 – Joe Alioto 1971

92,627 Harold Dobbs 1963

92,252 Russell Wolden 1959

90,646 – Roger Lapham 1943

90,482 Harold Dobbs 1967

89,428 Tom Ammiano 1999

87,539 Quentin Kopp 1979

84,457 – Ed Lee 2011

82,173 Frank Jordan 1995

75,824 George Reilly 1955

68,637 Harold Dobbs 1971

57,699 George Reilly 1943

57,160 John Avalos 2011

44,275 John Molinari 1987

28,638 Francisco Herrera 2015

10,713 Cesar Ascarrunz 1983

9,076 Quintin Mecke 2007

Some Noteworthy 3rd Place Vote Totals from General Election Tallies

Votes received / Candidate / Election year

66,043 Jane Kim 2018 (this is the final tally for the candidate under rank choice voting)

60,651 Chester MacPhee 1947

56,538 Roberta Achtenberg 1995

53,911 Diane Feinstein 1971

52,013 Joseph Sullivan 1951

47,626 Angelo Rossi, 1943

40,206 Jack Morrison 1967

39,769 Roger Boas 1987

39,344 Diane Feinstein 1975

37,142 Dennis Herrera 2011

34,910 Angela Alioto 1991

33,446 Angela Alioto 2003

32,893 Frank Jordan 1999

27,581 Edward Mancuso 1963

23,099 Amy Weiss 2015 (this is the final tally for the candidate under rank choice voting)

Lions Club welcomes Soap Box Derby racers

Jun. 13—Competition and camaraderie were the name of the game as Soap Box Derby racers of all ages and experience levels competed for a place at the First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships to be hosted in Akron next month.

Josh Meyer, race director of the Owensboro Lions Club Soap Box Derby, said during the event Saturday at Ben Hawes Park that three divisions of cars were competing to race at the nationals event.

"There is stock, super stock and masters and the winner of each class here today gets to race at the nationals in Akron, Ohio," he said.

The Owensboro Lions club began sponsoring the regional race in 2001, which is open to competitors that call the racetrack at Ben Hawes Park, 400 Booth Field Road, their home tack.

"There is a track in Bowling Green and Madisonville and Hopkinsville, so if you live closer to there, you have to race there, but if you live in Owensboro or Daviess County, you are going to race here," Meyers said.

Nolan King, 13, who races in the super stock class, said this is his first year competing in Soap Box Derby.

"We saw it in the paper about two, three months ago, and dad said, 'hey, you guys want to do it?' " King said. "One of the cool things is I did pinewood derby cars and this is like a full-size version of that."

Sisters Cecilia and Mary Lou Thompson, ages 10 and 8, are also enjoying their first year of Soap Box Derby competition.

"Our poppa is part of the Lions Club and he has two cars and me and my sister race," Cecilia said. "It is just fun, it is like a roller coaster going down that hill."

Meyer said 25 kids were racing this year, which is less than the usual number of about 40, which participate in the Owensboro Lions Club Soap Box Derby during a typical year.

"Our numbers are down because of the pandemic," he said. "We do a lot of planning early on in the year, but of course early on in the year who knew what was going to happen."

The Lions Club would like to see about 50 kids racing during the event next year, Meyer said.

In addition to its June race, the Lions Club also hosts "rally races" at different times throughout the year, which are open to drivers from all over the country.

"We had a rally race this past May and we had kids from New York, Georgia, Illinois and Tennessee," Meyer said.

For those that would like to see what Soap Box Derby racing is all about, which is open to individuals age 7 through 20, the track at Ben Hawes Park hosts "open track" days from March until November.

"Anybody that wants to try it, we have a ton of cars here," Meyer said. "Just give me a call before that open track date and I would be happy to meet them out here and help get them down the hill."

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