“I Heard That” — Obama Takes Race to South Carolina

by Rochelle Metcalfe on January 23, 2008

Good God! Touched da phenomenal Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama’s hand when he was in town last Thursday to pick up ‘mo campaign bucks at the noon fundraiser luncheon held at the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. Not only did I press his hand but startled him with a big hug around his neck, expressed how proud I was of him, encouraged the Senator to keep on travelin’ the road to the White House!

My actions were spontaneous, Obama never missed a beat, flashed that wide warm boyish grin, dark eyes sparkled as we posed for professional photographer Mona Brooks’ camera. A service provided through the campaign for those who desired a photo op.

For me a great moment to meet this audacious Brother who dare to run for President – has sparked the imagination of this lady who well remember the Civil rights Movement – the harshness of racism; the tragedy of Martin Luther King, Jr. whose birthday we celebrated January 15, and the National Holiday weekend in tribute to the slain Civil Rights leader.

Yes Obama, all things are possible; you can become the next president!!! In the coming weeks, Black voters in particular need to stand up, be counted – stand for something or fall for the same old game! The Clintons – former President Bill Clinton and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are playing hardball as we’ve seen in the past week against Obama! Fierce Monday night between the two contenders during the Democratic Debate in South Carolina sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and CNN.

The South Carolina Primary take place this Saturday, and one Obama must win! The state has a heavy Black population – said to be 50%!; the outcome will prove to be a bellwether on the Black vote! The Clintons have had their chance; this country need fresh leadership! Why not try Obama?

Stood on my feet , in heels, for 3-hours in the Pre-Reception line with others waiting for the Senator who was running late. Bearable because I met handsome Oakland Attorney Gordon D. Greenwood, a Morehouse man, and former Attorney in the San Francisco Defenders office. Greenwood sweated the wait for he was due in court that afternoon; luckily for him Obama arrived before he had to depart without lunch!

Observed after a long wait, and restless souls, prior to Obama’s appearance, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, Obama America Bay Area Chair, greeted many of us, accompanied by former State Controller Steve Westly, and dynamic Tony West, Harris’ brother-in-law who hooked me up reference the luncheon. Mr. West is well-known in Oakland politics. Individuals in the line included: Laurence G. Sterling, owner/operation manager Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards, LLC, located in Sebastopol, joined by his wife Terry Sterling. What a pleasure it was when they instructed the wait service to serve several of us in their immediate surroundings a glass of white or red wine – wonderful tasting experience – thank you!;…

Several Attorneys – Michael Von Loewenfeldt , Michael Markman (kind to let me sit at his table), and Attorney Jon and Dorine Streeter; Sylvia S. Wilkerson, an Event Planner; the San Francisco Hat Lady – Mrs. Dewson (Ruth) listed among the host committee names – shared she invited 40 guests who brought their checkbooks.

Celebrating a living legend – the fabulous Queen Leola King! Last Sunday evening joined others for the surprise birthday celebration of Leola’s 80-plus Birthday thrown by her son Tony Taylor King, assisted by her secretary Susan Bryan, at fabulous Pres a Vi global fusion/wine Bar Restaurant, obscurely located in George Lucas Campus, Letterman Digital Arts Center (former Letterman Hospital site), in Presidio National Park. Indeed a surprise for the lady was unaware, overwhelmed when greeted by family members and friends.

Leola, called Goldie by Tony and friends, reside in the Fillmore Western Addition around the corner from 1300 on Fillmore. Many of you would remember her fabulous club Goldie’s when on Post street near Polk, which closed in 1994. San Francisco Board Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, (Dist. 5) presented her with a Certificate of Honor that recognized her as a Living Legend, her entrepreneurial spirit, life and contributions.

The fabulous Sepia Queen, as I lovingly call her, has always been a smart business woman, and continues. During the lively heyday of Fillmore Street, co-owned the legendary Blue Mirror Nightclub and Bar (Fillmore between McAllister and Fulton) with her handsome husband, shrewd Dewey Wilson, who looked like a White man (he passed years after the club closed).

The club was the spot for celebrities like the Brown Bomber -Boxing Champion Joe Louis who was quite enamored by her beauty and charm. Also worth noting, Jazz pianist/vocalist Earl Grant would drive or fly up from L.A. to perform on Monday nights. And the lady drove a pink cadillac! Ah, she was something else! A movie is being filmed of her life!

Leola, like others forced to relocate, received a voucher – a promise of a return to the area to rebuild, many could not afford to wait 10 years or more. A survivor, Leola King could. She had the fighting spirit and the money to hang on, but still did not get a piece of the action in the new Fillmore. She dreamed of reopening the Blue Mirror. She may have lost the most due to redevelopment in the Western Addition – The Blue Mirror gone, property, and a barbecue business on Geary torn down to make way for Cathedral Hill apartments. She’s still fighting to get her share – now bidding on the Muni Substation there on Fillmore and Eddy.

Among guests who gathered in Pres a Vi Reception Room to show their love, sip champagne, and partake of tantalizing hors d’oeuvre, included: Son Tony, his son (her grandson) Anthony Taylor, sister Loren Taylor holding sweet year old Logan; Leola’s longtime friend and renown San Francisco nightclub owner Joseph “Bunny” Simon and his wife Ann Simon; The Godfather – Commissioner LeRoy King, member San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Board, and companion Miss Judy;…

Bishop Fanzo King, Minister The Apostle John Coltrane Church, San Francisco, for years on Divisadero Street until they had to move, now temporarily located in The Westbay Conference Center Retail space on Fillmore. Leola announced she and Bishop King are hooking up in a joint venture to bid on the development of the Muni Substation – DA Bishop has been searching to find a new church home!;…

Leola’s Attorney Allison Davis; make-up artist David and Patricia Clark; Judi Freeman (worked on 49er staff when Ed Debartolo campaigned to build a new 49er stadium); community worker Shanell Williams, young lady who shared with me her great admiration for Leola; Susan Bryan baked the delicious Red Velvet birthday cake.; Fillmore community activist Ace Washington photographed the affair, giving up instant pictures; musician Bobby “Spider” Webb who performed in many of the clubs in da ‘mo, shared he would be booked into Yoshi’s March 24; celebrated pianist and vocalist Frank Jackson and his First Lady Kathy Jackson.

Back to the SUPE – Almost didn’t recognize Mirkarimi since he’s left the mousse out of his hair – he definitely looks younger without the pomp! He’s running for reelection and will be looking for campaign donations…pointed this out when I introduced the astute Mr. Simon…Supe was impressed when he learn CPUC Commissioner Timothy A. Simon was his son – my man offered another handshake!

E-mail Rochelle at heard@earthlink.net

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