In time, perhaps San Francisco’s next mayor will be able to demonstrate better leadership around AIDS issues.  If that happens, new pages will be added to this site in order to contrast the new mayor’s track record to our last mayor, who had eight years in office to have demonstrated better leadership around AIDS issues, which he failed (miserably) to do.

All that can be said of outgoing San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is that his record on AIDS issues was spotty, at best.

For instance, while Willie sponsored the Mayor's Summit on AIDS in 1998 before then AIDS-Czar-to-the-Mayor Dick Pabich died, follow up activities from that conference is all but non-existent, despite Brown's half-baked attempt at a report titled “Promises Kept,” which document was to begin follow up to ensure that promises made during the AIDS Summit were actually achieved.  Since that report was issued, TheLastWatch has attempted for over two years to obtain follow-up reports that were to have been authored by the most recent “AIDS Czar,” one Mike Shriver, who has not been at his post for fully two years. TheLastWatch has met stonewalling at every turn in attempting to locate the additional follow-on reports (which now appear never to have been authored).

[Aside:  By way of contrast, Mayor Brown has held five separate summits on the Status of Women since he took office, but as revealed in an expose appearing in the July 13, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle, the Women’s Summits appear to have been patronage events to direct production fees to Brown’s girlfriend Carolyn Carpeneti (the mother of his two-year old daughter), whose company has been paid $987,052 in fees to produce those summits.  In total, Carpeneti has reportedly earned $2.37 million in fees from PAC’s and non-profits just in the past five years, according to the Chronicle.  Brown’s spokesperson — P.J. Johnston — was quoted in the Chronicle that he dismissed the story as “character assassination,” possibly because the Chronicle mentioned Brown has been separated for 25 years from his wife.]

That’s right:  Five summits examining the status of women — which status has not changed appreciably to have merited five separate annual summits — and only one summit on AIDS, despite the constant ebb and flow of evolving AIDS issues whose status changes monthly.

Then there’s the issue of the most recent AIDS Czar, who has been on leave for fully two years, and whose contract was not extended beyond June 2003.  Willie Brown couldn’t bring himself to replace Mr. Shriver, despite the fact that Shriver’s employer of record was UCSF, not the City and County of San Francisco.  Shriver had been a contractor with the City through UCSF, not a City employee as AIDS Czar.

And Brown shoulders responsibility for the failed 2001 HIV Consensus Meeting — initially billed by Shriver as sponsored by the Office of the Mayor — that resulted in a pathetic 14-page abridged PowerPoint presentation as the only consensus that could be reached among San Francisco’s AIDS establishment.  An unabridged report failed to materialize from the 2001 Consensus Meeting, and indeed, the last time a significant unabridged HIV consensus report was issued was way back in 1997, fully six years ago.  That the Mayor was unable to have DPH complete an unabridged consensus report during six of Brown’s eight years in office speaks volumes about his commitment to AIDS issues.

And finally, in a fit of pique, in September 2003 (about 90 days from leaving office as Mayor) Brown failed to re-appoint a sitting member to the San Francisco EMA’s (Eligible Metropolitan Area) HIV Health Services Planning Council (a.k.a., the local Ryan White CARE Council), which is a community advisory body mandated by Congress for receipt of federal CARE Act funds.  Having had a nasty spat with Council Member Mark Dunlop over an affordable housing project, Mayor Brown played his “let’s-get-even-before-leaving-office” card, refusing to appoint Dunlop to a third term on the CARE Council for political and personal reasons as reported in the Bay Area Reporter, not because Dunlop was unqualified for the job.

So there you have a synopsis of but some of the Mayor’s failures around AIDS issues, and these failures outweigh any other success the mayor may like to adorn himself with.