Chicken and the pot - Page 3

Marginalized mayoral candidate Chicken John raises big bucks to emerge as a force in the race

We just want to raise the level of the conversation," said Rinaldi, who refuses to criticize Newsom on the record, insisting that the incumbent "should be treated with respect and admiration."

That conciliatory treatment has caused some to speculate that Rinaldi is aiming for a job within the Newsom administration, perhaps a staff position on the Arts Commission. But Rinaldi insists that slamming the mayor is an ineffective way to start a productive conversation and that his real goals are less tangible than that.

"The intention of my campaign is inspiration, to leave San Francisco politics better than I found it," Rinaldi said. "When I come out of this experience on the other side, I'll be smarter.... It's my intention to get an education and to have the people of San Francisco help give me that education."

As maddening and incomprehensible as that lack of political motivation and policy goals is to seasoned political professionals and journalists, many of his supporters find it refreshing.

"Politicians aren't the only people who can navigate the world of politics," Rinaldi said, specuutf8g that some of his support comes from people who are disenchanted with conventional politics and drawn to his fresh, outsider approach to the race.

"It's somewhat different than the usual political campaign," Osherovich said with obvious understatement, noting that the campaign has received so much support from people "because they know Chicken can do great things and great things are going to come out of this."

At the very least, interesting things are bound to come out of this campaign. Rinaldi is deliberately vague about exactly how his campaign will unfold or what his endgame might be, except to remind us that good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And he's now at the beginning.

"More than half of what I do is a dismal failure," Rinaldi admitted. "But failure is now we learn."

Yet his successful fundraising over the past month is leading some to believe that this campaign won't be a failure. Rinaldi said he's been in daily contact with the Ethics Commission and is fairly confident he can satisfy its concerns and win public financing.

"I received a certain amount of funds, and I'm supposed to document where the funds came from by the 5 p.m. deadline. They said it wasn't good enough, but I now have what's good enough," Rinaldi said. "They are doing a lot of hand-holding. It's like the DMV. It's great."

So now he's off and running.

"I just hired a staff. This is not a joke anymore. I'm serious," Rinaldi said, later adding an important caveat: "I could definitely go to jail if I do this wrong. I understand that."

PS Rinaldi said he has already booked 12 Galaxies — which has hosted his The Ask Dr. Hal Show and other projects — for his election night party, which he's dubbed "The Loser's Ball."