Del Carlo, Larry: Moscone championing communities


Larry Del Carlo: A lot of the neighborhoods in San Francisco who had made deals during the Alioto administration thought that Judge Ertola was gonna be too much of a conservative mayor, and it was because of the developments of the community. I think communities were becoming more sophisticated in terms of how the politics of the city worked. The folks in Haight-Ashbury were now starting programs like the Haight-Ashbury Clinic. Housing became a huge issue around displacement because of development being a threat and so on. Nobody knew at that point that when Alioto left that we might be successful as we were with Alioto with Ertola. Especially in this sort of new political environment when the 60s were ending and a lot of the craziness was going on in Haight-Ashbury and in other parts of the city, the Vietnam War and the protest at colleges and all of that. People were beginning to focus on community organizing, community development, housing issues. It was a time when we were helping organized tenant strikes and the Haight-Ashbury folks were doing the same, and the folks in Fillmore and other communities were taking a different kind of community action. It wasn’t the Abbie Hoffman yippee kind of stuff anymore. It was serious community organizing to do things not just for attention, but were really grassroots in nature, and that people were going to be involved so they were going to be empowered and so on. So we’re in a very different time at the end of the Alioto administration. And this was all happening at the same the Moscone campaign was beginning to heat up. So you would find groups from the Haight-Ashbury, from China Town, from Hunter’s Point, Viz (Visitation) Valley, and other neighborhoods that were now serious about community organizing and they saw the kind of power that was developed with the Mission Coalition and some other groups that were doing some good things, and they said we gotta keep this going? How are we not gonna let this die? We need a mayor that’s gonna support this kind of work. Well first off understands it, and understands it from our perspective not just from a governmental perspective of how do we deal with these people, and that’s kind of what we were used to. Downtown or City Hall were always figuring out how do we deal with these people? What kind of a deal can we make? Well Moscone was much different from that. His approach was itself more grassroots and a lot of people knew him because he had been a member of the Board of Supervisors. He had been State Senator. People were used to George Moscone as a friend of the community. They knew him as a friend of the community. Most times he would take the community position against the usual city hall position. He was seen by folks as a radical, that he was a left-winger, and the kinds of things he was supporting. He was very liberal. I remember in the early days even before George became mayor that he was supporting gay rights and all of these things that were not traditional yet in San Francisco. San Francisco was still a pretty conservative place. So a lot of us recognized that the communities and the kind of work we were doing was gonna benefit much more under George Moscone than Judge Ertola. We became very involved in George’s campaign. We had people that were on the street, unions that we had become very friendly with as part of our work with the Mission Coalition. We really turned out troops in big numbers to do a lot of the grassroots door-to-door campaigning. All the precinct work. It was a very, very grassroots campaign. It felt like one of our friends is now running for mayor and we gotta make sure he gets elected. We were very, very passionate about it. Fortunately we won that campaign and George became mayor.


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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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