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Nancy Pelosi: A San Francisco 'conservative'

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By Bill Steigerwald
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006
 

San Francisco is a great place to visit but you wouldn't want to vote there.

Since 1987, the City by the Bay has been the home turf of Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the incoming speaker of the House and Red State America's worst left-liberal nightmare.

If you're among the millions who've climbed Coit Tower, dined at Fisherman's Wharf or been shocked by the permanent homeless encampment near Mission and Market, you've seen San Fran Nan's stunningly scenic 8th Congressional District.

On Election Day morning, as voters across the land were delivering a spanking to deserving Republican war-makers and big-spenders in Congress, I happened to be a tourist in Pelosi Land, which is as famed for its human diversity, wealth and dot.com know-how as it is for its laissez-faire social values, hatred of the American military and fondness for neo-Soviet politics and economics.

I was in Precinct 3209, to be exact, which is in the Marina neighborhood near San Francisco Bay. A highly polished, youthful and trendy residential area built on landfill that "liquifies" during earthquakes, the precinct is a 15-minute bike ride from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Like many of consolidated San Francisco City/County's 739,425 souls, the citizens of Precinct 3209 regularly vote in a homeowner's garage.

On Nov. 7, their polling place was at 3445 Fillmore St., the multimillion-dollar address of lovable retired city asbestos inspector Ray Pons. You could tell it was a voting location because the sidewalk-touching garage door was open wide all day and a port-a-potty was parked in front.

Inside the narrow garage, where tools, ropes and bike parts hung neatly on pegboards, were six optical-scan voting machines and a table manned by an elections department inspector and several college interns.

The inspector was a helpful, nice guy named Kenne, 43, who lived in Murrysville as a child. Disabled by a back problem, married and living in a cheap condo-by-the-freeway now worth $500,000, Kenne (who didn't want me to use his last name) looked like he might still live in a Pittsburgh suburb -- except for those dozen or so piercings in his ears and face.

Precinct 3209, said Kenne, is a conservative oasis in Pelosi's Liberal Land -- relatively speaking. It usually votes down tax increases and is pro-business and anti-tenants' rights.

Of course, as he said, "a San Francisco conservative is a middle-of-the-road centrist Democrat."

Pelosi, who consistently votes in Congress for things like partial-birth abortion and tax increases and against the death penalty, tax cuts, drilling for oil in the Arctic and increased defense spending, couldn't get elected dogcatcher in most of America. But on Nov. 7 she was re-elected with her usual 80 percent slice of the vote. Her sacrificial/masochistic Republican foe got 10 percent. Even Gov. Arnold managed only 29.5 percent in San Francisco, which also passed a referendum 59 percent to 41 percent calling for the impeachment of Messrs. Bush and Cheney.

Elections inspector Kenne is no fan of Ms. Pelosi. He identified himself as a socialist and a nationalist who favors price controls, rent control and believes government should seize 30 percent of the stock of all corporations.

Not surprisingly, like many of Pelosi's constituents, Kenne thinks the new speaker -- who is ranked more liberal on economic and social issues than 90 percent of her Housemates -- is way too conservative.

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