Simi, Larry: Reactions to changes


Larry Simi: George Moscone was the one man who could cross the borders between old and new San Francisco. Here’s this kid who goes to Saint Brigid Grammar School, Saint Ignatius, All-City basketball player, yet the product of a single mother, Hasting Law School. He just has all the credentials of the classic San Francisco leader, yet he’s born with this compassion – or he grew up with or because of his circumstances growing up – had this unbelievable sensitivity and compassion to the oppressed and underserved. So what was amazing was we had this man who could really bridge the gap, who could have one leg in east of Twin Peaks and one foot left of Twin Peaks. There was really nobody that could pull that off. And he was equally comfortable in either place. But that was kind of dangerous because in the end it ultimately cost him his life because of the just vitriol that you would hear. “He’s giving the city away to the Ns. He’s giving the city away to the…” use your favorite pejorative for Gays. “He’s giving the city away to…” whomever. And they would use the n-word, and they would use whatever the pejorative for gays and lesbians was at the time, and none of that stuff would be sanitized the way it is today in those conversations. At the time that I worked for George Moscone, I lived on [Ulloa] Street – right down the street from Saint Brendan’s Church – I remember some of the people in the neighborhood knew what I did for a living, others didn’t, and this woman came up in 1977; there was this thinly disguised recall called Proposition A and Proposition B. It didn’t formally recall the Mayor and the District Attorney and the Sheriff, but it essentially shortened George Moscone and District Attorney Freitas and Sheriff Hongisto’s term, and basically stopped the term and then scheduled a new election the following November two years into their term. And I remember this woman – a neighbor – coming to my door saying “Would you sign this petition”, and I said “No, I really can’t.” I got an earful from that lady, and it’s the kinds of things I alluded to before of just the pejoratives she used for African Americans and Gays/Lesbians, and any other. Pick your minority group.


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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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