Tapas with Sean: Some modest questions for a West Portal supervisor


Ever since the Brugmann family moved into the West Portal area in 1964 (with the help of local realtor John Barbagelata), I have been annoyed with the fact that many of our West of Twin Peaks supervisors prance around in their neighborhoods as “neighborhood supervisors,” then go to City Hall and vote to protect PG&E and vote the downtown/bigdeveloper/real estate line without blushing.

Barbagelata and  Quentin Kopp were notable exceptions. Barbagelata, when he was elected supervisor, even refused to go downtown to the election night parties and staged his own party in his West Portal real estate office and made the statement that there was a big difference between neighborhood and downtown issues.

Sean Elsbernd, my current supervisor, is good on some issues, shows some independence on occasion, and comes to the phone and answers emails and comes to the Guardian for interviews. In fact, I was emailing back and forth with him on Tuesday afternoon over my annual holiday card (and my note to “fear the beard in 2011") shortly before the historic board meeting on the interim mayor. I asked him why he wasn't more visible in West Portal and that I didn't see him in the Manor coffee shop (he replied he was a Village Inn type of guy) and that I didn't see him at Que Syrah, our local Best Of wine tasting gem. (He said he and his wife had gone to Que Syrah over the holidays but they were closed.) I explained that proprietors Stephanie and Keith McCardell had taken a week off.)

Anyway, a few hours later, Sean “mysteriously” nominated Ed Lee, the CAO traveling in Hong Kong, to take on the key city post of interim mayor. How in the world did this happen?

Was Sean once again demonstrating he was a neighborhood guy out in West Portal, but at City Hall the mayor's go-to -guy in the smelly deal to preserve the mayor's office and take control of the Board of Supervisors for PG@E and the mayor's downtown allies?

So I sent him an email with my questions as his constituent. And I invited him to come as guests of my wife Jean and I for the Thursday night special at Que Syrah (230 West Portal Ave), with flights of small production wines and tapas by Val, styled in wondrous Barcelona fashion. I gave him a deadline (noon today) to answer my questions and I invited him to comment on my Bruce blog or send me a letter or email that I would be happy to publish on my blog. Stay alert for news on what my West Portal supervisor is really up to at City Hall.

To Sup. Sean Elsbernd:

You baffle me once again.

I am curious, as a constituent,  why you nominated Ed Lee for interim mayor when he was (a) out of town in Hong Kong, (b) not publicly "out there" or "in public discussion" as a candidate or even known by the supervisors to be a legitimate candidate, (c) has not publicly stated his views on any of the major tough issues coming before the mayor, (d) was not available for questioning by the board when the discussion and vote came down, (e) is not as qualified for t his tough post in these tough times as the other public candidates, and (f) was obviously part of a backroom deal orchestrated by Mayor Newsom and his downtown allies?

I wait patiently  for  your reply.  And I hope you drop by Que Syrah Thursday night,  for tapas and wine flights, so you can explain personally  to the West Portal throngs what you are really  up to at City Hall these days. Jean and I will be there to host you.

Respectfully, Bruce B. Brugmann, 2262 14th Ave, West Portal


Why do you think he'd support anti-property rights initiatives when the majority of his district's constituents are owners of single-family homes?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 06, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

I looked on Zillow and it says 2262 14th Ave. only paid $824 in property taxes last year based on a property assessment of approx. $77,000. Zillow reports that the home is worth about $800,000 now. Why has the owner not asked to have the home reassessed so they can pay ten times more tax consistent with the SFBG's views on Prop 13 and the fact the rich should pay more taxes?

Posted by Patrick on Jan. 06, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

But I'd like to nominate you for the Pulitzer for that comment ;-)

I paid $10,402 last year in property taxes on a property not far from Bruce which is worth approximately as much. Sucks to be me.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 07, 2011 @ 9:41 am

Awesome, Patrick. lol...

And really Bruce, it would be the "right" thing to do.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 06, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

Whenever someone poor argues for higher taxes on the rich, the gotcha retort is that it's just out of class envy. Whenever someone wealthy argues for higher taxes on the wealthy, the gotcha retort is why don't they just unilaterally give more money to the government.

Both responses are done to avoid talking about the real issue of tax fairness, and to turn the debate into a character assault. Taxes are not charity. Taxes work because the whole community pitches in (the rich progressively more than the poor). Unilaterally paying more money to the government does absolutely NOTHING. I'm sure Bruce would be ready to pay his fair share along with everyone else if Prop 13 were repealed, and he's advocated for that policy. But until that repeal happens, simply paying more money and not using the tax loopholes available to him, is just stupid.

That comment is just gotcha politics at its worst.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 07, 2011 @ 9:52 am

I read Patrick's comment as being a bit in jest. Of course it's irrational behavior to change your personal tax position as a form of charity. His comment just points out an inconsistency. It's not just "someone" arguing for higher taxes. Its the SFBG, who considers itself a voice of the left and argues for higher taxes ad nauseum.

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 07, 2011 @ 11:15 am

The whole community according to progressives are only them.

Most progressives are not "poor." Some examples; the staff of the Bay Guardian, the howler monkeys on the board, the entitled SEIU flunkies and their college educated yuppies who lead it, the poverty industrial complex non profits and their "leadership." In general it takes a certain amount of indoctrination to be a progressive, indoctrination that is found in book's with a premises looking for an argument, or self pity festivals found in many university "studies" programs.

Fairness according to progressives is their decrees on the subject, any other view on "fairness" is to a progressive fascism.

Prop 13 isn't a tax loophole. Paying the taxes that abide prop 13 is not taking advantage of a loophole, no matter the orwelian jabberings of SF progressives. If Brugman thinks the city needs more money he should give the city whatever a new sale would require in taxes.

If the Progressives think the government is broke, they should lobby the state to offer a different rate for them, then they should pay it to set an example, to the "community."

I have to admit though, people like neo-cons, Ayn Rand fans, progressives and other true believers are entertaining in their studied use of language and outrage.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 07, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

There is an irony in Bruce's rhetoric and his actions. It is not just his tax position but also his dealings with his staff trying to unionize. Hypocrisy?

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jan. 07, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

Brugman turned his paper into a hysterical anti-tax platform.

By hysterical I mean hilarious to read.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 07, 2011 @ 4:31 pm