Welch, Calvin: Moscone's mayoral campaign


Calvin Welch: George had the uncommon good sense to realize – I came to understand – that the city of his birth had profoundly changed by the time he was running. Because he was a smart guy and because he was well connected with his local Democratic Party knew that Gina and Sue more than Dave Jenkins or Hadley Roth had stayed in touch with neighborhoods and community people. And so he went to them. The reason I know this is because Sue turned around to me and said “George wants to go on a tour. Not a merchant tour or walking down the street. He wants to see everyone I’ve been working with he said in just the last five years. That’s mainly been you, Calvin and the folks in the 409 house. Could you put together a tour for George?” The only dealings I had ever had with George Moscone was the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) kidnapping of Miss Hearst in a bizarre turn of events. Folks that I worked with in the Western Addition had become WAPAC, the Western Addition Project Area Committee namely Arnold Townsend, became delegated by [Cinque] the kidnapper in a communique to take over the food distribution. That’s when I met George. When Sue asked me to put something together for George I was more than happy to, and I went to many of the people in the food distribution and other people that I had become involved with around district elections of supervisors. Sue Hestor who was very much involved in the [duskan] growth control measures and the folks around a newly formed urban environmental group then called San Francisco Tomorrow and tenants groups in China Town in the Mission and the south of Market. I organized for Sue a set of meetings and kind of visitations that one of Sue’s great roles in the Democratic Party was that she was the driver. She put George in a car and she drove him around to this little list that we put together and worked out. It wasn’t that I would tag along with them, but I would be at one or two of the venues. Two things became abundantly apparent. One that Sue Bierman loved George Moscone. It was such a pleasure seeing such a good woman so happy in a political candidate. Sue lived politics and had to live through some pretty lean years with some pretty lean candidates, and she was delighted. She loved George. She just simply loved George. And the neat thing I first recognized about George was that he liked Sue, and that spoke, for me, volumes. Most of George’s contemporaries treated Sue with insufferable disdain. Sue Bierman was a very intelligent woman. Sue Bierman was a very perceptive woman. I thought that the way Phil Burton would treat her, the way Agar Jaicks would treat her I thought was… They were guys of their generation, okay? So they treated women that way. I’m a guy of my generation and I try to treat women differently and because mainly I would get smacked in the face if I didn’t, but not from Sue. Sue was a very capable, intelligent, smart, savvy political player, and George recognized that. There was no condescension at all. He understood and he respected Sue. I came to understand that about him, and that was the first thing that commended him to me was that he saw the value of a Gina [Pinestry] and a Sue Bierman. Not simply that they were awestruck kind of groupies, but that they were smart, connected and capable, and he respected that in them.


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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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