The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on February 3, 1998 · 3
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 3

San Francisco, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, February 3, 1998
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IE RO SMILES, TEARS FOR ALIOTO 1 1 ' f Is APBEN MARGOT l raise ana memories By Luce WUlitmi tnd Maii&nne GUntinou OF THE EXAMINER STAFF There was a final outpouring of affection and grief at the church he attended all his life, and a rain-splashed motorcade through the streets of The City. And then Mayor Joseph L. Alioto, native San Franciscan, The City's 35th mayor, and patriarch of one of its most colorful political families, was buried Monday at Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma. He died Thursday at age 81 after a long battle with prostate cancer. The interment came after Alioto, mayor from 1968 until 1976 and a renowned antitrust lawyer, was eulogized for more than two hours at SS Peter & Paul's Church on Washington Square, near his boyhood home in North Beach. Then, in a torrential downpour, the late mayor's funeral procession drove past the spots that were touchstones of his life and career in The City. The procession the hearse with police motorcycle escort, seven black limousines carrying the family and a line of private cars driven by family friends cruised past Fisherman's Wharf, where Alioto worked on his father's fishing boats while a schoolboy. It passed the Transamerica Pyramid, most distinctive of the skyscrapers built during the highrise building boom that marked Alioto's tenure, and Davies Hall, the grand civic building that also opened while he was in office. The motorcade drove through the intersection of Leavenworth and Lombard streets, the foot of the famed "crookedest street in the world" block of Lombard, and a spot that Alioto favored for its stunning view of North Beach. Earlier, more than 1,000 mourners at SS Peter and Paul's heard Alioto described as a loving father, a cultured man with a great love of literature and art, and a civic-minded politician. Alioto's coffin, draped in a white cloth, lay in the center aisle of the church. Two dozen framed photographs, representing Alioto's ;vi,iHVs aidaiiiliiinf!,,., mm 1.', , i ifti'lM'"' 'ff ' " i - s,;isS 5u, :. - Family members carry the coffin of Joseph Alioto out of SS Peter and Paul's in North Beach, above. At left, the cortege passes the crooked part of Lombard Street, one of Alioto's favorite San Francisco view spots. ExaminERmahk COSIainTiNI private and public life, stood in front of the coffin, surrounded by a score of flower baskets and wreaths of red roses, white lilies, carnations and snapdragons. Alioto's second wife, Kathleen, sat in the front row of the church, flanked by the couple's children, Domenica and Patrick. She smiled throughout the eulogies, appearing wistful only when former Alioto aide and City Librarian Kevin Starr, described how the couple spent Saturday mornings at North Beach cafes, drinking cappuccino and reading poetry together. Mayor Brown, a political opponent of Alioto for much of his career, described the former mayor as one of the chief architects of modern San Francisco and as an enduring presence in civic affairs. "You kept the title mayor," Brown said, delivering his eulogy as if speaking directly to Alioto himself. "It's never been passed on on a permanent basis. The City is indeed indebted to you." The former mayor's son and namesake, antitrust lawyer Joseph Alioto Jr., reminded mourners of his fathers love of literature, and of his renowned ability to recite a quotation from the classics on almost but not every occasion. When he won re-election in 1972 after a bruising campaign, his son said, Mayor Alioto strode into his campaign headquarters and declared: "Neither Shakespeare, Dante, Cervantes or Milton can say it quite as well as Jackie Gleason 'How sweet it is!' " Angela Alioto, lawyer and former president of the Board of Supervisors, recalled her father's restless energy with a story about how as a little girl she tried to accompany him when he strolled to the corner after work each day to buy an evening paper. Her father walked so briskly that she was simply unable to keep up with him, Angela Alioto said, and finally she complained and asked him to slow down. "And do you know, that energetic, exuberant man instead of slowing down, he bought me a bicycle," she said. Later, she bid her father an emotional farewell by evoking the English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whose works he especially loved. Paraphrasing Browning's "Sonnets from the Portuguese," she said: "I loved thee, Dad, with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life! And, if God choose, Dad, I shall but love thee better after death." Emily Gurnon and Ray Delgado of The Examiner staff contributed to this report. DA names new head of career crime unit SAN FRANCISCO District Attorney Terence Hallinan announced the appointment of Kamala Harris, a prosecutor in Alameda County, as head of the career criminal division. Harris will start Feb. 23, replacing Linda Klee, who will head the sexual assault unit. The career criminal unit handles some of the office's most serious crimes, including "three strikes" cases and the cases of other repeat offenders. Police seek trio who robbed Mission Bof A San Francisco Police are looking for three men in ski masks who pistol-whipped a guard and a customer at a Mission District Bank of America branch before making off with an unspecified amount of cash. The robbers entered the bank at 2850 24th St. shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday. One gunman hit a bank guard's forehead with his gun. He then hit an uncooperative bank customer who wandered in minutes later, police said. The robbers emptied cash from a vault drawer and left, Inspector Tom Horan said. They drove off in a brown Cadillac that had been parked nearby in a bus stop and two blocks later switched to a white van, Horan said. Horan asks anyone with information to phone him at 553-1201 or police dispatch at 553,1396. Poison gas leak keeps residents home PITTSBURG Thousands of residents were directed to stay indoors after Dow Chemical Co.'s plant released poisonous chlorine gas from a leaky pipe, injuring at least two workers. Dow notified Contra Costa County Monday shortly after 2:30 p.m. The county immediately activated a siren alarm and an automatic telephone system directing residents to remain indoors. By 3:03 p.m., the chemical company had found and stopped the leak, said Ken Tannenbaum, Dow's energy systems manager. The gas likely escaped the property, blowing away from Anti-och and toward the San Joaquin River, he said An "all-clear" announcement was made at 5:27 p.m., allowing residents to return to normal activities. Tracy Hein-Silva, a spokeswoman for the county's hazardous materials section, said the staff activated the emergency notification system because chlo rine gas can be deadly. Oakland cops seize cars of johns, dealers OAKLAND Police have seized dozens of cars in their first use of a new confiscation law. The ordinance allows authorities to confiscate and sell the automobiles of people caught buying drugs or hiring hookers within city limits. Police tried out the new crime-fighting tool Saturday. The American Civil Liberties Union has objected to such laws. The ACLU says the seizures take place before the car owners are convicted. But Oakland officials say their law was recently backed by a Supreme Court decision upholding a similar ordinance in Michigan. Compiled from Examiner ttaff and wire report Willi1 mmm m bran air S.F. contract with nonprofit hospital was canceled By Rachel Gordon OF THE EXAMINER STAFF San Francisco's powerful city employees union, together with staunch supporter Mayor Brown, scored a clear victory in a contract battle that may have far-reaching political reverberations at City Hall. After anguished debate, heavy lobbying and a last-minute, closed-door meeting in the mayor's office, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-3 Monday to sign off after the fact on Brown's decision to cancel three contracts with California Pacific Medical Center to provide home health care services to the poor and AIDS patients. The unionized Health Department has since taken over services at what critics say is a much higher cost. The fallout likely will play out in the upcoming supervisorial race, as unions decide which candidates to back with their substantial political clout. Downtown business interests, which have gone after city workers' unions in the past and have their own pot of campaign money to hand out, also were keeping a close eye on the proceedings. Add to the mix Brown squaring off with Board President Barbara Kaufman over the issue in one of their first public showdowns, and the political stew is stirred up even more. Kaufman vigorously fought the plan to the end, even interrupting Monday's board meeting for 65 minutes while she met with Brown in his office to try to hash out a compromise. At one point, Kaufman could be heard from the hallway shouting at the mayor behind his closed door. Predicting that the vote "is just the first salvo in the attacks on nonprofits in The City," Kaufman introduced an amendment to require the Health Department to gain approval by the Board of Supervisors before canceling city contracts and turning the work over to city workers. The amendment failed. Kaufman said she will resurrect her amendment later at the committee level. Brown and the unions targeted California Pacific Medical Center after the private, nonprofit health care provider tried to block efforts by home health care workers to unionize. Brown ordered the Health Department to cancel the contracts with the organization wid shift the workers to The City's payroll. As a result, the same workers, now unionized, essentially are providing the same services to the same patients. The Health Department made the switch, starting last spring, but only recently came to the board to make the plan permanent Proponents of the change say that the union issue is but one component They argue that patients are getting better care under direct city jurisdiction a contention that critics, including representatives from California Pacific Medical Center, say hasn't been proven. The board was set to vote on the matter two weeks ago, but backers requested a delay after it became evident that there were not enough votes for passage, with a 5-5 stalemate. But this time around, Supervisors Leland Yee and Michael Yaki, who had indicated earlier they would oppose the plan, made an about-face. Although Yee made an impassioned speech outlining what he sees as flaws in the proposal, he said "the train has already left the station," and he didn't want to risk interrupting services to patients. Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst Harvey Rose said the switch cost taxpayers an estimated 38 percent more. The program now costs $1.5 million, covering pay for 28 nurses and other operating expenses. But Dr. Michael Katz, director of the Health Department, countered that much of the extra expense would have been spent anyway, as the department was moving toward setting up its own home health care agency as part of a more ambitious plan to provide universal health care for San Francisco residents. He said more than three-quarters of the home health patients already see physicians and nurses in The City's public health care system and that they benefit by the in-house care the new system provides. The contract agency, he added, could not provide the same breadth of services. Joining Yee and Yaki in support of the plan were Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Sue Bierman, Amos Brown, Leslie Katz and Jose Medina. Kaufman and Supervisors Mabel Teng and Gavin Newsom opposed it. In other business Monday, the Board of SURPLUS GOODS: Approved legislation that makes it policy to donate surplus city goods, when feasible, to schools, nonprofits and other organizations that help people in need. For example, the Health Department has some medical supplies and equipment that no longer meet federal Food and Drug Administration standards but could be used to serve the poor in other countries. METHADONE: Passed a resolution urging the federal government to grant The City a waiver so that private-sector physicians in San Francisco could prescribe methadone for patients who are hooked on heroin. Now, only the Health Department can administer methadone. BED & BREAKFAST: Sided with the Planning Commission in denying a conditional use permit to allow a bed and breakfast at 377-379 Collingwood St. to operate legally. Neighbors in the residential area, who have been fighting for years to have The Villa closed, applauded the board's decision. RUTH BRINKER: Approved legislation to honor Project Open Hand founder Ruth Brinker with a commemorative plaque on Willow Street near Polk Street, where the food-distribution organization's new building is located. MUNI RELATIONS: Heard Supervisor Amos Brown call for a public hear- Compiled by Rachel Gordon ol The Examiner stall Supervisors: ing on the problems of "conflicts and confrontations" between Muni drivers and passengers. REC AND PARK: Heard Supervisor Barbara Kaufman introduce a proposal to create a new Recreation & Park Committee of the Board of Supervisors. Kaufman wants Supervisor Brown to chair the panel. Brown has said one of his first orders of business would be to hold public hearings on the status of parks and recreation services in the Bayview-Hunters Point and Potrero Hill neighborhoods. REC AND PARK: Heard Supervisor Gavin Newsom request a hearing on substance abuse services available in S.F. jails. SEAT BELTS: Heard Supervisor Tom Ammiano ask for the San Francisco Unified School District to provide information to the board on its policy regarding the use of seat belts on school buses. REC AND PARK: Heard Supervisor Sue Bierman call for a hearing on potential ramifications over a change of ownership of the power plants in Bayview-Hunters Point and on Potrero Hill, IN MEMORIAM: The board adiourn-ed the meeting in honor of late San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto and late Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson, both of whom died late last month. EXAMINER QHAPHC3

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