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Friday Frame-up: The Hidden Lair Hanging Off the Back of Telegraph Hill

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Now, before you go and think that I am prone to conspiracy theories and looking through drawers for secrets, understand that I have been knocking around this town for most of my (allegedly) adult life. I have seen backroom deals, shady transactions, sneaky betrayals and sudden reversals. And that was just in the Grace Cathedral Choir!

And please remember that I did not go looking for the great conspiracy that runs this town in shadows and silence. OK, so maybe I went looking for it a wee bit. But I am convinced that deep in their black hearts they wanted me to. And as you faithful readers know, I have been let into their secret clubhouse twice, where after a long and exacting round of interviewing I came up with exactly nothing to report.

But the third time's the charm, right? Granted, I did seem to annoy the members of the clubhouse the last time I had arrived at their doorstep in the middle of the night, banging on their door and demanding entry. I chose to rectify that problem by stealing the key by the front door on my way out when the house goblin was not looking.

And so, for one last time, I stood outside the door of the secret cabal that runs this town, the hidden lair hanging off the back of Telegraph Hill. I would not be dissuaded, and in the name of all that is Willie and Rose, I was going to come home with the goods this time.

After several moments of jiggling the key in the lock, I had the sudden realization that apparently I had stolen the wrong key. However, this situation was solved when the door popped open a crack, and I saw the face of the house goblin glaring up at me. "Oh, it's you again. Come on in."

He threw the door open and stomped down the hallway. He was not his normally chipper evil self, so I knew immediately something was amiss. And there was also the fact that he was wearing a tie-dyed Grateful Dead tour shirt. I caught up with him because I had to know. "Hey, what is with the shirt?"

He just waved his hand listlessly at me as he muttered, "we are under new management. You'll see." I had no idea what he was talking about, but as I entered the main room, it became more obvious. Gone were all the trappings of the conservative establishment. Gone was Ed Jew's housekey, and Frank Jordan's shower. In its place was... well, I wasn't quite sure. It was a crumpled up piece of paper.

"You don't know what that is, do you?" said the familiar voice behind me. I turned around and almost jumped when I saw the figure. Instead of his usual menacing black cloth, his cloak now seemed to be made of hemp, and there was the faintest whiff of patchouli in the room. "What you are looking at is Leon Chow's change of residence form."

It took me a second to make the connection. "Oh, the guy who was going to run against John Avalos. That's right, there was an issue about whether he lived in the district or not. Wait, why are you protecting progressives? I thought you were taking down Ross and the whole lot of them?"

The figure shrugged. "Hey, you go where the work is, right? And frankly the progressives are just as good at this stuff as anyone else. Granted, they don't pay as well, but I basically don't have to ever buy a meal in the Mission again, and I have medicinal pot for life. And frankly that 8 Washington project was blocking our sightlines."

I wandered over to another table, where there was a voodoo doll that looked a lot like George Gascon. The figure sauntered over. "That one I am particularly proud of. Planted that on Benjamin Castaneda, and next thing you know, presto! No one dangerous running against David Campos either."

"My, you have been busy."

The figure crossed his arms. "Well, that Antonini chap did get re-elected to the planning commission, but you can't win them all, right?"

I thought about all this for a second. "So, you have three progressives running for re-election, and suddenly two of them have no serious competitors. I would say you're batting better than the Giants are right now. But what are you going to do about David Lee running against Eric Mar?"

"Oh, we got that handled, don't worry."

I could feel my story slipping away from me again. "So this whole time I thought the conspiracy was against Ross. You are telling me the conspiracy is for Ross?"

"Seriously kid, you think Eliana's plane ticket bought itself?" The figure chuckled. "And besides, we don't use the "C" word around here any more... that was the old administration. When they do something, it's a conspiracy. When we do it, it's a righteous struggle."

And with that the goblin threw a recycled grocery bag over my head and knocked me out with a Happy Meal action figure. See that's the problem with conspiracies; they are never where you think they are.