The Face That Launched A Thousand Quips: Tom Ammiano Bids Adieu to His Constituency

Categories: Politics

Finally, a reason to visit Sacramento

By Joe Eskenazi

After 14 years of racking up some of the world's best off-color, gay-themed double-entendres - and, incidentally, governing San Francisco - Supervisor Tom Ammiano tossed a few last one-liners to his adoring public before opting to leave civilization as we know it (e.g. moving to Sacramento).

On Friday night Ammiano celebrated his next occupation - likely the sole state Assembly Member with a turquoise stud earring. A jovial crowd at The Center on Market Street was pre-lubricated by Two-Buck Chuck and ready to laugh. Ammiano - who won not quite 84 percent of the vote for lucky District 13 - did not disappoint. In his Hanna-Barbera character-like voice -- that, in a perfect world, would be narrating our GPS machines - he quickly made 'em laugh with a quip about his diminutive campaign manager, Esther Marks, giving a PG&E lobbyist a knee to the jewels ("How 'bout that for public power?").

He described the joys of learning the intricacies of state politics as "S and M" and seemed less than enthused with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's sense of décor: "There's this replica of a Medieval tent with a green carpet that's the same texture as the one you find in an Easter basket. This is the governor's 'Smoking Tent.' So, I'm gay and I'm the one who's weird?"

A heavy percentage of the hundred-odd folks present at Ammiano's San Francisco farewell had been with him for decades, getting out the vote from threadbare offices in his campaigns both for supervisor and his Quixotic-but-somebody-hadda-do-it mayoral run vs. Willie Brown in 1999. And yes, they all had wonderfully filthy Ammiano stories, but most of them weren't thrilled about the idea of retelling them to a reporter.

And yet, others did. Criss Romero recalls the time that members of the gay and lesbian community were lobbying hotels to establish a fund for workers with HIV. When Romero shook the hand of a Marriott executive, he introduced himself as president of the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club.

When the executive said "That's a mouthful," Ammiano said "So's Criss."

Others recalled Ammiano's disappointment when Howard Dean dropped out of the 2004 presidential race: "I don't know - John Kerry just doesn't give me a hard-on." And, in June of last year when Chris Daly and Gavin Newsom were at each other's throats, Ammiano suggested they celebrate Gay Pride Day by "having make-up sex."

In short, is Sacramento ready for Tom Ammiano? How long before he observes that our governor enjoys shoving eight-inch-long, black cylinders into his mouth? Will Speaker Emeritus Fabian Núñez be regaled by stories of Ammiano being transfixed by singer Fabian during his New Jersey youth?

Only time will tell. But this much is certain: Sacramento is about to get a whole lot more fun.

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