Jennings, Duffy: Recollection of Moscone and inauguration day


Duffy Jennings


Jennings: [I remember] the day the George Mosconi was inaugurated vividly and I'll tell you why for a number of reasons. One was my first day as the city hall reporter for The Chronicle and I had, you know, I had, I was very insistent doing a good job. I wanted to show that my boss that I could cover this and again, I was still under thirty, and I hadn't been in the business that long but I just wanted to make sure I did the job correctly. At the time there was an Examiner reporter covering city hall by the name of Russ Cohn and Russ Cohn was a real character. Here was a guy who wore a gray suit and tie and a coonskin cap to work every day. He was a just a marvelous fellow and was good kindness take me as sort of under the wing as the new guy at city hall even for the rival newspaper. And I'm just sitting there talking to him on the first day we’re waiting for the inauguration ceremonies to start, and in the door of the office walks a guy about my age and any came to introduce himself and he said hi. [He] said, “my name's Corey Bush and I am George Moscone’s press secretary. I just wanted to introduce myself.” Russ Cohn looked at Cory and he looked at me and he said something to the effect of “oh my god, the city's being taken over by kids!” A story that Corey and I laugh about to this day thirty five years later and I was immediately taken by this guy Bush. I thought he's really smart, he's really young, how did you get here like this? And I wanted to know everything I could find out about covering George Moscone. Corey and I became fast friends and I say that with a cautionary note that we were in an adversarial relationship and we both understood it professionally and I don't think ever once did it, did our friendship personally come in in the middle of him having to do his job or me having to do mine. But I felt immediately comfortable at city hall and he said, “come on over to meet George.” And so we did. And that was the first day I ever met George Moscone that I recall. And it started a very wonderful kind of two year period of time for me. The speech, which I covered, but there were, you know, I think George stood at the head of the rotunda and it was a dramatic event. You know, back then the mayor's inauguration was front page news, I don't know that it would be anymore. At least it may be below the fold now but, you know, my memory of George Moscone and I obviously knew, I knew his history and I knew, I had read obviously more about his background before I went up there. And so I knew he was a city kid like me and grew up in the neighborhood and on the playgrounds of San Francisco and I kind of understood that and I always felt that there was at least that kind of connection. You know, it always served me well to be a native San Franciscan and be reporting for my hometown newspaper because I understood those dynamics. But of course George Mosconi was [I think] was almost Kennedy-esque in that period at that time and on the day he was inaugurated. And I was tremendously impressed with him, I was not a big fan of Joe Alioto, I knew that much. I just remembered, I just, there were things to be said and did I thought were just a little bit too above the people kind of thing. And then George was just one of the, men of the people. He’d go down and shoot hoops with you on the court. And going back at the end of the day back in the room in the back and kind of debrief the day with him and Corey very often. And so I felt welcome, I felt warm, I felt he was open and honest for you know much of the time that we that we dealt with one another, you know, professionally.


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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

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