Eating humble pie with Glendon "Anna Conda" Hyde

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It was with a sinking feeling that I read the comments that Glendon “Anna Conda” Hyde’s supporters left on the Guardian's website last week, after I wrote about the DCCC questionnaires last week—and managed to screw up by omitting Conda/Hyde from my hasty round up.

“How is it that you've omitted Anna/Glendon from your election roundup?” was one of many similar comments made by Conda/Hyde’s outraged supporters. “This looks awfully like PREJUDICE, darlings. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Anna/Glendon's candidacy is not a joke. S/he is one of the most promising progressive voices in SF. Wake up."

So, I picked up the phone, and called Conda/Hyde to offer my humble apologies.

And today we sat down and talked about the role of the media and political endorsement clubs in propping up the marginalization of marginalized candidates and communities—and the role of radical queers in pushing back against the status quo and the political machines.

Conda/Hyde kicked off by recalling how the DCCC offered congratulations on the campaign’s artwork.

“But then they said you are not a viable candidate, and have you thought about taking the spotlight off yourself,” Conda/Hyde claimed.

(After our interview, I put in a call to DCCC chair Aaron Peskin. He had no recollection of the conversation going down quite like that. But Peskin also noted that the DCCC had done a ton of interviews recently.

“I like Glendon and I remember him appearing,” Peskin said. “But I don’t remember anyone telling him he was not viable.”

But with 26 candidates in the D. 6 race, and 27 candidates in the D. 10 race, it's likely that some similar-minded candidates in those contests may decide, or be advised, to rally together between now and the election to increase the chances that  “the bad guys” don’t win, right?

“You’d think,” Peskin said. “That’s why I dropped out of the Board of President’s race when Willie Brown’s guy looked like he was going to win, and as a result, Matt Gonzalez won the race.”)

Anyways, back to my interview with Conda/Hyde, who also claimed that D. 6 candidate h.brown recently got barred from a small business debate in SoMa.

I wasn’t at that particular forum, or the D. 10 debate that the SF Young Dems recently hosted in the Bayview.

But I have watched videos of the outrage that was triggered at the Young Dems forum, when D. 10 candidates Dianne Wesley Smith, Nyese Joshua, Ed Donaldson, Marie Harrison and Espanola Jackson were excluded from the debate, even though the Bayview is where they are based.

And it's similar to the outrage that Conda/Hyde supporters understandably felt when their candidate's positions on issues like Mayor Gavin Newsom's sit-lie legislation weren't included in my original summary of the DCCC questionnaire. Especially since Conda/Hyde led the pushback against Newsom's sit-lie measure.

“Marginalized districts, marginalized candidate voices,” Conda/Hyde observed.

The point Conda/Hyde is making here is that all candidates bring unique voices and perspectives to a race, and they provide marginalized communities with a rare opportunity to push back against powerful interests and ill-advised measures before this or that political machine can shoe horn its preferred slate into office.

“I was the first candidate to come out against sit-lie aggressively,” Conda/Hyde noted, by way of example.

At this point in our conversation, Labor leader and DCCC member Gabriel Haaland, who sat in on today’s meeting and voiced sharp criticism of my Conda/Hyde omission last week, chimed in.

“So many candidates were ducking sit-lie, so when I introduced a resolution opposing sit-lie at the DCCC, so many people were pissed off,” Haaland said. "And it was refreshing to see Anna Conda vocally opposing sit-lie in drag on Polk Street.”

Haaland added that he’d be working for Conda/Hyde’s campaign, “if not for a 15 year friendship with Debra Walker.”

And then he pointed to the central role that radical queers have played in pushing for political change.

“The first queer to run for elected office was a drag queen,” Haaland observed. "Radical queers have always been leading the movement, busting a move and changing the world. And Anna Conda is more the Harvey Milk of the race, in my opinion."

“You reflect my radical queer positions more,” Haaland continued, addressing Conda/Hyde direct.  “And you have a real base in the district in a way that Theresa Sparks does not. But people are moving into the district and having bases created for them.”

Conda/Hyde then observed that plans are afoot for an inclusionary District 6 forum.

“Jane Kim and I are getting together to do a forum that includes all the D. 6 candidates,” Conda/Hyde said, “We’ll be including James Keys, Dean Clark and Fortunate ‘Nate’ Payne, who are all out there working hard on their campaigns, as well.”

The ability to raise funds is often an indicator of whether a candidate is viable. Campaign finance records show that Conda/Hyde has applied for public funds, the application is under review, and that Jane Kim, Jim Meko, Theresa Sparks, Debra Walker and Elaine Zamora have qualified for public financing in the D. 6 race.

That level of public fund raising is only bested by D. 10 where Malia Cohen, Kristine Enea, Chris Jackson, Tony Kelly, DeWitt Lacy, Steven Moss, Eric Smith and Lynette Sweet have already qualified for public financing, and Diane Wesley Smith, has her application under review.

(In D. 2, Kat Anderson and Abraham Simmons have already qualified for public funding. In D. 8, Rafael Mandelman, Rebecca Prozan and Scott Wiener have already qualified, and Bill Hemenger’s application is under review.)

At the end of our meeting, Conda/Hyde talked about name recognition problems.
“I have a lot of name recognition as Anna Conda, and not as much as Glendon Hyde," Conda/Hyde noted, choosing to pose as Glendon Hyde next to his D. 6 campaign sign.
“I think I’ve already proven that I’m a drag queen," Hyde explained.

“And not just a pretty face,” Haaland concluded.