Everyone seems to have this fixation with Bill Barnes. Barnes made the gossip circuit again when Supervisor Fiona Ma decided to bring him on for a temporary gig in here office, filling in for aide Jaynry Mak while she’s on maternity leave.
People are scratching their heads over this, because Barnes is most associated with being the longtime chief aide and political bottle-washer to the Stalinist supervisor Chris Daly. Ma on the other hand is regarded as a pragmatic moderate, quite the opposite of Daly. Pat Murphy has even put out an opinion piece urging Ma to Redact “Barnacle Bill.” Many people see Barnes’s political record as incompatible with his new job.
How quickly people forget. Barnes first hit the political scene in San Francisco in the employ of Willie Brown, and was elected to the DCCC originally on the votes of gay liberals and moderates. Rumors that he was a registered republican back east are unsubstantiated but persistent. And while he’s repackaged himself as a progressive by standing with Daly on prurient (but nevertheless Progressive) pursuits such as throwing a monkeywrench in pot club regulation and banning legal handguns, he’s also gone against his own party by doing constituent outreach work for Prop 78, the recent pharmaceutical industry-backed voluntary subsidy initiative. Barnes is a member of the local Democratic Party Central Committee, yet no one seems to have called him on working for a measure that his own party opposed.
Barnes sees himself as a political professional, so on one level the political ecumenicalism really isn’t that odd. Also, job positions are more like currency than identities in Barnes’ chosen level of the political world, and both Barnes and Ma have strong ties to the recently retired Senate Speaker Pro Tem John Burton.
So please, stop talking about Bill Barnes. Go ahead and ooh and ahh over his Friendster profile instead. Just don’t do it in earshot of me. Thanks.