Meet The Ex-Lovers
Harris met Brown in 1994 when he was speaker of
the state Assembly. She was 29, he was 60.
(From The San Francisco Weekly News in 2003) - Willie Brown, Harris' spurned ex-lover and unsolicited political backer.
Hallinan and Fazio aren't attacking Harris' platform (which they both profess to generally share) or professionalism (each admits that Harris is a competent prosecutor). Rather, they are knifing her with innuendo, saying her ties to the outgoing mayor would cause her, as district attorney, to look the other way should her former beau or his political minions ever be credibly accused of committing crimes in office.
The charge that she is Brown's puppet -- that she's guilty by association with a mayor who has not been found guilty of anything -- infuriates Harris. Though in third place in recent polls, she's a political comer. She's whip-smart, hard-working, and well-credentialed to be San Francisco's top criminal prosecutor. She's hauling in campaign cash like there's no tomorrow. And topping it all off, she's a beautiful blend of East Indian mother and African-American father who may draw votes particularly well among women and minorities.
If she manages to come in ahead of Fazio in the Nov. 4 election, and if Hallinan fails to win more than 50 percent of that vote, she'll face the district attorney in a December runoff. In a high-profile sprint against an aging incumbent, Harris -- with her brains, connections, and buppie glamour -- might just emerge victorious.
If she can just get out from under this damn Willie Brown thing.
Harris routinely tries to distance herself from her ex-squeeze, whom she hates even talking about. The mere mention of their former liaison makes her shoulders tense, her hands clench, and her eyes narrow.
"I refuse," she says vehemently, "to design my campaign around criticizing Willie Brown for the sake of appearing to be independent when I have no doubt that I am independent of him -- and that he would probablyright now express some fright about the fact that he cannot control me.
"His career is over; I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I do not owe him a thing."
She acknowledges that Brown is an "albatross hanging around my neck" and fears that voters who dislike him will ignore her candidacy -- even as she dismisses such an act as irrational. "Would it make sense if you are a Martian coming to Earth that the litmus test for public office is where a candidate is in their relationship to Willie Brown?" Harris asks. "Willie Brown is not going to be around. He's gone -- hello people, move on. If there is corruption, it will be prosecuted. It's a no-brainer, but let's please move on."
Would that politics were so simple.
San Francisco voters tend to have long memories, and Brown himself is complicating Harris' attempts to shed him politically. He personally gave $500 to her campaign, and a political consultant who worked on both of his mayoral runs is raising money for Harris -- without her consent -- using a pitch letter signed by Brown. Harris denies asking the mayor for fund-raising help and knows it gives her antagonists even more ammunition.
She also knows there's not much she can do about it, except to keep saying that the affair is ancient history and that she is a good candidate with good ideas. But as Harris well understands, the more she tries to explain away the Willie factor, the bigger a factor he becomes.Read More . . . .
D.A. Kamala Harris Wins Fewer Felony Trials Than Any Big-City Prosecutor in California
Recent weeks have brought plenty of headaches for San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, including a scandal at the SFPD crime lab and questions over her office's failure to disclose police officers' criminal pasts. In this week's cover story, SF Weekly reports on a longer-brewing problem: an alarming decline in felony trial convictions -- including homicide cases -- under the most recent two years on Harris' watch.
We report that Harris has won only 55 percent of murder trials since the beginning of 2009, and that in the first quarter of 2010 her office's conviction rate for all felony trials was only 53 percent. By contrast, the most recent statewide average for prosecutors was 83 percent.
Last year, Harris' felony trial conviction rate also fell below those of district attorneys handling criminal cases in California's 10 largest cities. (Data was not available for Sacramento, the state's seventh-largest city.) The story is based on statistics and trial records obtained from court officials and prosecutors in San Francisco and throughout the state. (San Francisco Weekly)