SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- At this writing, they're still counting votes to declare San Francisco's next Mayor. Quite a task with the convoluted rank choice system in place for the first time in a SF mayor's race.
But it's clear where it's heading.
On Election Night I was admitted into Willie Brown's big bash at the Palace Hotel along with several hundred others.
At the door leading to the hotel's Palace Court, on the left, greeting every guest even the ones who came just for the fabulous food platters, was Willie Brown -- still the city's most imposing political figure, among the nameless, nerdy new generation of city politicos.
Joining former SF Mayor (and former California House Speaker) Willie Brown at the door, sitting in a chair on the right, was Rose Pak - the powerful Chinatown business and political leader. Very appropriate.
They greeted the guests. More like the guests were entering the inner core reactor of San Francisco politics ruled by the two people at the entrance, on the left and right.
Willie and I have had our run ins, when I was chair of the San Francisco Republican Party. But I later did a fascinating 30 minute TV interview with him. He's referred to me as "esoteric". He was being polite.
So I asked Willie, "What should be the first priority of the new mayor?"
"Thank his supporters," former Mayor Brown replied, predictably.
"Ok, how 'bout the next day?"
"The new mayor should spend time thanking the voters and his supporters."
I pressed him, as I did in our on air conversation. "Ok, Mr. Mayor, how about in the new mayor's second week.. what should be his first priority?"
Willie Brown knew I wasn't giving up. So he blurted out one word: "JOBS!" And repeated it.
At that moment he wasn't just advising the next mayor of San Francisco. That was for the Governor, and for the incumbent president.
Because when it's all said and done, the issues of the 2011 San Francisco mayor's race, the tax measures winning around the San Francisco Bay Area, even the protests in Oakland, will not create one single job.
The protesters may punish the banks, the new taxes may shore up fiscally dysfunctional Bay Area governments. But the urgent concern of almost all of the early Occupy protestors, and the chief concern of families across the state and country, is summarized in that one short word.
The word that came barreling from the mouth of the once most powerful politician in California, who is still sought after by Democratic leaders around the country, will in the end be the decisive issue of the 2012 race: "Jobs!"