Rubin, Jon: Moscone's humanitarian tendencies


Jon Rubin


Jon Rubin: It’s true that George brought diversity to City Hall, and of course his administration was tragically cut short and all that which we know, but he brought a certain kind of humanity into City Hall that was desperately needed right then because the Alioto years. I was not here for the vast majority of the Alioto years, but Joe Alioto was a brilliant, brilliant charismatic man, but his mind was on economic development. His mind was on tax base and business, and a prosperous community to the extent that humanity sometimes – not that he wasn’t a humanitarian, he was. He was a poet, really a renaissance man but – the sense of the need to consider the least of us was lost in the interest of kind of the “rising tide lifts all boats” was the philosophy. George came in and he said, “Look, I understand that some people have a beef. Just because they don’t look like me or they don’t have anything or they’re complaining about something, it doesn’t mean that they’re less than I am or that they shouldn’t be listened to or something else or that whatever it is they’re complaining about isn’t real. That we have to think beyond just what’s good for business is good for everybody, and I think that he was really a trailblazer in bringing that spirit into the politics of San Francisco, and in many ways into the politics of the nation. Those of us who participated in the campaign, and people who participated in the thousand days of the Moscone administration remember not only the man and all that, but the way in which seeds were planted at that time that came up even though there was a ten year period where things kinda went backwards a little bit, but a lot of things that we now take for granted – and this is a cliché, we at least take for granted as things to strive for if we haven’t accomplished them – the notion of affordable housing, the notion of affordable rental stock, the notion of personal rights and all these things were essentially nascent at that time. And George gave all of these interests something around which to coalesce and to help humanize politics. He was an intensely human guy. I mean, if nothing else he was a human being.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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