Getlin, Josh: Political climate during Moscone's mayoral race


Josh Getlin


Getlin: I think there were two things. I think I remember very much that George was leading a coalition of people who were clamoring, if that's the best word, for a seat at the table, in terms of the power in San Francisco and how the city was going to be governed. And by that I meant the gay community, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, certainly lots of people in the neighborhoods who felt that in the planning process of San Francisco, they'd been utterly excluded by the people who've been running City Hall. Before, under the previous mayor Joseph Alioto, strong, you know, alliance backing him of the labor and the downtown business interests. And on one sense, George's whole campaign was predicated on the idea that that insiders group was no longer going to continue running the city. The whole process was going to be opened up. A whole bunch of new people we're gonna be given truly important positions of responsibility and that's one of his more enduring campaign themes wherever he went and it applied to many different groups and neighborhoods. It's quite effective. So I remember that as being a real strong imperative in his campaign, but at the same time political events were buffeting the city. And if you remember what was going on at that time in the year leading up to the mayoral race there was this unbelievable police and fire strike in San Francisco. An unheard of thing, great labor unrest. And beyond that, the experience of New York City flirting with bankruptcy and the idea of the nation's largest city spending and living well beyond its means and corruption on urban level, this had an unusually strong repercussion in San Francisco. And a lot of people who might not have been normally energized to get involved in politics from a concern over that were involved, and they became involved and on behalf of candidates like John Barbagelata and others in the race. There were a great many conflicting concerns and suddenly what might have just seemed like a campaign to you know fill the shoes of Joseph Alioto had become something far, far different much more complicated, There was a lot riding on that election for a number of people and they have become increasingly polarized as the election wore on.


Media is loading



Date Original



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

Contributing Institution

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

Rights Information

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them,