More Matt Gonzalez, Paid Sick Leave …

by on February 29, 2008

To the Editor:

Shame on Matt Gonzalez for not disclosing his intent to run as Ralph Nader’s running mate. His “The Obama Craze — Count Me Out” op-ed gives the impression of a neutral observer presenting a skeptical point of view. Instead, we see his true colors: a self-interested politician whose reasons for not supporting Obama boil down to “I’m running against him.”

Steve Simitzis
San Francisco

To the Editor:

I thought about the article Matt Gonzalez wrote about Obama and figured it was because Ralph Nader was now in the race. I didn’t realize Matt would be his running mate.

It makes sense now. If Matt is correct about Obama’s voting record, though, it’s scary. I’ve always had my doubts about Obama. I just started liking him but now I’m wondering if I should vote for Nader, since I only registered Democrat to vote for John Edwards in the primary. At least I got to vote for my candidate (absentee).

I voted for Nader last time around, but I’m also very afraid of John McCain and his 100 year war.

Maggie Carmody


So Matt Gonzalez USED your publication yesterday to trounce Barack Obama, and today he announces his run for VP with Ralph Nader? Perhaps the two big egos belong together.

And why did he trounce only Obama? Has Hillary Clinton, or any other candidate, done nothing to deserve his poison pen, or is he only trying to steal votes from Obama? Can you say President McCain?


Terrrie Frye

To the Editor:

It’s wrong to suggest that Matt Gonzalez “used” your publication to get his name out there. Matt cares more about the well-being of people — more than any reader will ever know.

We are friends and Green party members, and no he isn’t playing the spoiler here. In an open race for the top job in the land, the word spoiler shouldn’t be used hear! To one Terrrie Frye you need to stop with your “BS.” I will support Matt and still be his friend throughout it “all.”

One Transgender female,

Jazzie L. Collins

To The Editor:

What has been so extraordinary about this year’s presidential nomination season has been the willingness of so many to look beyond race and vote for or consider voting Obama. And what has been so disturbing about it has been the inability of the Liberal-Left to think in any other terms than race.

Matt Gonzalez’ remarks seem little different than the Racist Right of yesteryear. Progressives should not dismiss Obama merely as an ‘African-America running for President’. Matt should follow the rest of America who do not care about these old out dated categories.

Matt’s editorial with its racist sentiments should mean his ugly ideas never ever appear again on these pages.


Mark Gomez

Dear Editors,

While Mr. Gonzales’ criticisms show some contradiction or indecision on Obama’s part, I was left befuddled by the article’s not stating which candidate Mr. Gonzales DOES prefer. Hillary and McCain both hold positions far worse for Progressives, leaving only the protest vote, or not voting at all.

Can Mr. Gonzales please offer to those of us that patiently read through his distorted reasoning whether he will be writing in a sure loser or nihilistically not participating this year? Even if you think he needs improvement, a smart Progressive must at least use Obama to block the other two anti-populist corporate stooges.

Gustav Wynn
Nyack, NY

Dear Editor,

I find Matt Gonzalez’s indictment of Barack Obama’s voting record to be thorough, cogent, and right on the mark. We can only hope Obama will tack left when he’s elected.

Instead of signing up with Nader as running mate, I wish Matt had chosen to funnel his energies into challenging Nancy Pelosi this fall, a race he might have won. The people of San Francisco are enormously frustrated that Pelosi hasn’t done more to end the war in Iraq, and Gonzalez could have mounted a serious campaign against her.

By the way, what is the Green Party doing these days to move Instant Runoff Voting onto the agenda, so we can better empower third parties? I look forward to the day when third parties can run for President without being accused of “spoiling” elections. Perhaps progressives of all stripes should lobby Obama to endorse IRV and introduce legislation to institute it nationwide.

Matthew Taylor
Berkeley, Calif.

Dear Editor:

The worst that can be said about Matt Gonzalez is that he is the Bob Dylan of local politics: Dylan turned off some of his fans by going electric in 1965, while Gonzalez alienated some of his by going into private practice in 2004. This didn’t turn out badly for Dylan’s musical career, and I doubt Gonzalez’s political career will suffer much either.

Lost in the Barack Obama/American Idol-like euphoria evident on this website and elsewhere is the fact that Matt Gonzalez is sui generis among local and national politicians (Ralph Nader is a notable exception) in that he focuses on the issues at hand and votes and/or acts accordingly. As the collective haze surrounding Obama’s run for office inevitably subsides, it will be Obama’s positions on the issues that remain. We owe it to ourselves to closely examine those positions and work to bring them more in line with the ‘hopes’ many are currently projecting onto his candidacy.

Gonzalez has done his part. Now it’s up to the rest of us to do ours.

Doug Loranger

Mr. Gonzalez,

I’ll keep this brief. I came of political age with your run for mayor, and I’ve never stopped telling people that you’d be mayor one day.

I just can’t believe you’d throw away your political career in the city for something so quixotic as this. I’m just really bummed out. Obama has to defeat McCain, and with a lot of work, he probably will. But in the meantime, Nader (and now you) will be alternately ignored and derided in the media, mocked and ridiculed… but certainly, you know this.

I’m just so so bummed out. This is just a really really bad choice. Hoping you’ll reconsider, but wishing you luck regardless (but not so much luck that you two will actually effect the outcome),

David Manchester

Dear Matt Gonzalez‚

We will gladly count you out – America is about to do something special and this childish article will be your contribution.

What’s truly unfortunate is that in 10 years you’ll be lying to folks about how you supported the first bi-racial president of the USA.

Joell Jones

To the Editor:

I just finished reading Matt Gonzalez’s article “The Obama Craze: Count Me Out” and it is by far the best written, most truthful honest article on Barack Obama that I have found anywhere.

I would like to request and suggest to you to get this article posted on a more mainstream news outlet if at all possible. The American People NEED to read this article.


Deborah Johnson

Matt Gonzalez:

Thanks for a very enlightening piece on Mr. Obama. I have had the same concerns about his rather weak performance-lack of spine. I keep wondering if unscented vapors are being pumped into the Obama-rama pep rallies, because people appear to emerge from them giddy, stumbling, crying, converted. Hope they don’t start rolling on the floor.

Devin Farrell
Los Angeles, Ca

To the Editor:

Matt [Gonzalez] is as smart as ever, and seemingly makes some good points, as always. Still, though, I’m disappointed that he doesn’t seem interested in highlighting any of the potentially positive things about Obama and his ideas other than the fact that he’s African-American. In addition to writing pieces like this, I’m sad that he won’t use his intellect and power to at least acknowledge that Obama is, by any measure, the most progressive candidate with any chance of being elected in our two-party system.

Is Matt making the same mistake that many so-called progressives did in assuming that Bush and Gore would be the same, that Bush and Kerry would be the same? Those arguments seem pretty silly in hindsight, no? More on this later, but this sort of inablility to work on a more multi-tiered (local vs. national), broad, patient level towards change on our country has only served to fracture the Left and embolden the Right.

Also, that someone of Matt’s intelligence just sees Obama as a sell-out as opposed to someone trying to navigate unfathomably complex territory to try to make some progress is a bummer. It smacks of the same polarizing fundamentalism that exists in the religious right when they crush people for not living up to their biblical standards.

We have not had a leader with the potential to inspire people young and old, of all races, genders, orientations, etc. to re-invigorate this process in our lifetime. Obama is young, doesn’t come from money, understands discrimination in a very visceral way (that many privileged would-be Libertarian or Progressive folks NEVER will), he’s grown up in very varied and diverse environments, he GETS IT. He is living his life fully. He is stirrin some shit up in a great, broad, very real way.

Listen to him discuss change coming from the bottom up, understand that he seems to have a track record of actually believing that (community organizer, civil rights lawyer) — and if you don’t like his ideas on specifics, you can still use that energy to work on your own. If you want to stand back and be all cool and cynical rather than dare to feel passionately about your potential as a citizen of our scarred, gorgeous mess of a world, it’s your loss — and our loss, too.

I don’t see any of Obama’s ideas as being so mind-blowing or anything, and that’s part of his appeal for me. He seems to balance his idealism with a pragmatism of what might get accomplished when, and in what manner. For all the talk of him being all talk with these grand ideas, his ideas are simple and clear, and his policies make sense to me, as far as I can tell.

In purely superficial terms, someone as young as him, with his melanin count, expressing a desire to unify the nation and work with our enemies will make my trips around the world a whole let less argumentative. Really, though, I think he would help out to shift the horrible perception that the US has around the world, and that could affect things in dramatic ways that we might not foresee.

I think that idealism can end up being a good excuse for apathy, and for not taking responsibility for one’s small part in this large, crazy, beautiful system that we have. Work locally, great. Get on the school board or whatever, vote Green there (I have). If you’re that fired up about smashing the state, get to it and do something real.

Don’t just not vote, or waste your vote. That is not activism, that is vanity and ignorance. Please don’t hide your head in the sand of ‘the two parties are the same, the system is rigged, I’ve gotta be ME’ crap. That is so high school rebellion, and not helping anyone. If the last two terms weren’t proof enough for you, the Democratic and Republican parties are VERY different when it comes to war, money distribution, education, community, on and on, regardless of ‘single-source funding’ or all the other neat conspiracy theories people love to trot out.

I get that the system is a mess in certain ways, but it’s no excuse to check out, as you enjoy the fruits of your privilege in said system. We’re a huge, diverse country, and democracy has to do with consensus, which has to do with compromise, which has to do with humility. You’re succumbing to the dangers of fundamentalism when you fall for the ‘one-party’ lie. After the last 8 years, we’ve seen how bad it can get. Let’s get better, even if it’s not our little individual utopian vision immediately.

In the national elections, try to remember that we’re a 300-million person nation, with one of the lowest voter turnouts per capita in the world (THE lowest? I dunno). Instead of using that as proof of why your pet theory about our country is True, maybe consider that your spoiled, entitled, child-of-a-baby-boomer idealism/apathy is part of the problem.

Be honest with yourself. Please just vote for the viable candidate closest to yourr ideals. If you’re still frustrated and want to tell me what a sell-out I am, there are so many ways that you can use that energy AFTER we get past this election.

Jonah Matranga

To the Editor:

Paid sick days? I wish that legislation would include S.F. cab drivers — but not to pay us when we are sick — instead so we would not have to pay the company for a cab we don’t drive when sick.

I drove cabs in NYC, Chicago and S.F. over almost 30 years (currently out on disability — probably never go back to cabbing) and drove everything from Bronx car services and gypsies to Chicago limos, but nowhere but in S.F. was I expected to pay the cab company for the cab I was scheduled for whether or not I took it out.

Some S.F. companies may claim that a driver can get out of paying the lease when sick with a doctor’s note — but it costs almost as much or more to see a doctor as it does to pay the lease so you might as well stay at home and suffer in bed.

S.F. cab drivers and other employees who may face the same upside down practice (I don’t know who they might be) should at least be relieved by legislation of paying for cabs they don’t drive — preferably for any reason for any number of days — but at the very least for as many of days a year as everyone else when sick.

Denis Drew

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