Arts and CultureSan Francisco

Election 2010 – Meet the Candidates: Daniel Dean: Superior Court Judge, Seat No.15

It’s hard enough keeping up with one’s day to day nonsense in the great city of San Francisco, so when it comes time to cast your vote, outside of the inane commercials produced for high-profile candidates, it can be hard to find out anything about anyone else.

By no means hard-hitting interviews, I thought I’d ask various candidates 20 questions to give you an idea of what makes them tick, or if they tick at all. Now you’ll have one less excuse for being a moron and not voting.

Next..

Name: Daniel Dean
Profession: Attorney; volunteer judge pro-tem
Office: Judge of the Superior Court, Seat No.15 (June 8 Election)
Age: 44
Hometown: San Francisco, California

I catch Dan at his office just as he has finished talking to his husband on the phone.  They’ve just got iPhones and not being technologically inclined, he’s had trouble trying to synch his up.

Stephen Torres: So, Dan, first question. Where do you live? (Superior Court Judges don’t have residency requirements.)
Daniel Dean: My husband and I, we rent a flat in Glen Park.

ST: What is your favourite neighbourhood hangout?
DD: You know the Glen Park Canyon is pretty amazing. The trails that lead back from actual Glen Park, back into the canyon; there’s a big dog run.  That’s one of my favourite places to hang out.

ST: Yeah, it’s beautiful.
DD: Yeah, you know Glen Park is still a little bit of a secret.  A lot of times I’ll get into cabs or a friend’s car and I tell '˜em where I live, and they’re like, 'œWhere’s that?'

ST: True. Number 3- Why are you running?
DD: I’m running mainly because, for the past two years, I’ve been a judge pro-tem.  So, once or twice a month, I, on a volunteer basis, go down to the Superior court and be a substitute traffic or small claims judge.  It’s, by far, been the best thing I’ve done in my seventeen years of being a lawyer, so I thought I’d really love to do it full time and I think I would be really great at it.

ST: What’s the biggest issue in the city to you?
DD: I think that would have to be the homeless issue.  You know it’s such a tough, tough issue.  We need to provide enough services for people in need and at the same time we have to kinda make our streets safe for people who are hanging out in the city or bringing their kids or their friends around the city.  It’s such a big, big issue, and I know there’s no easy solution, but it’s an issue that we’ve been trying to tackle for a long time and I think we need to keep putting a lot of resources into trying to do what’s best for everyone involved.

ST: What the hell should be done about Muni/ BART?
DD: (laughs) I totally love Muni and I totally love BART and I use them all the time, but I wish that Muni was a little bit more like BART.  I mean BART is pretty much on time and the people line up outside the doors, so there’s some order getting into the cars..And I think, 'œWhy can’t we do this on Muni?  Why can’t Muni be as on-time as BART is?'  I mean, not to throw Muni under the bus'but, Muni can I learn a little from BART.

ST: Ha! So, foot, bike, PT, or car?
DD: Well my partner and I share a car and he’s an actor.  So he has the car a lot when he has gigs down in LA.  So I am almost always on public transportation or if I’m feeling really lazy, I jump in a cab.

ST: What’s your favourite cheap restaurant in town?
DD: In my neighbourhood, we have La Corneta– you know, Mexican food.  It’s amazing food and an amazing price.

ST: Oh yeah, is it the same owners as the one on Mission?
DD: Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the same owners,..but, maybe I’m just a neighbourhood brat, but I like the one in Glen Park better and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s just the home court advantage, I guess.

ST: What’s your favourite cheap bar?
DD: Um, my new favourite cheap bar is the Irish Bank.  It used to be the London Wine Bar and then that closed down. So, now I’ve been hanging out at the Irish Bank.

ST: ..And, what’s your poison?
DD: My poison, I guess, would be sauvignon blanc.  That’s pretty much what I order every time I go out.

ST: Legalize pot?
DD: You know, as a judge, I would have to follow whatever the law is, which you know is that pot is illegal; but I do like that we have made a lot of progress with medical marijuana and the cannabis clubs and things like that.

ST: Legalize prostitution?
DD: That’s kinda the same answer where, all I can say is that I would follow the law and prostitution is illegal, but I think that’s another one of those complex issues that definitely needs some attention to see if there’s a better way of doing it than the way we’re doing it.

ST: Right. What’s the best/worst part about living in San Francisco?
DD: Hmm.  The best part definitely is just the' the freedom and the equality for all and the wonderful political climate that is in San Francisco.  That’s probably what I brag the most about San Francisco- what I enjoy the most.
You know I’m a total San Francisco brat- I’ve been born and raised here.  And I hate to say anything bad about San Francisco (laughing), but I guess I’d have to say I’m so frustrated by how expensive the parking meters are- and I don’t even have a car most of the time.  There are times when I drive, and it’s like a dime. What is it you get? Like two minutes?..You know, we want to encourage people to shop in our neighborhoods and to use our local businesses and then we charge them twenty dollars to park their cars- it’s crazy.

ST: How long do you think before only rich people can live in the city?
DD: You know San Francisco is very expensive and that’s a problem, but it will never be the case that only rich people can live here.  You know, I rent a flat and I wish it was more affordable for everyone, including me, to buy.  But I think there’s always ways to live in San Francisco regardless of what your income is.

ST: You jumped to this- Is the homeless situation in the city going to get better or worse?
DD: I’m a total optimist.  I’m hoping it’s going to get better, but it seems to be a problem that is getting a little more out of control.  I say that- and I don’t know all the services behind it all and all the political stuff.  I’m just saying from somebody from spends most of my time walking and running around the city- it just seems like it’s becoming a bigger issue.

ST: No. 15- Is our state/country doomed?
DD: (laughs)  No, not all!  It’s not doomed. I think we’re going through a rough time, but like always, we will rebound.  Again, I’m an optimist.

ST: Mexico- Important ally or scary neighbour?
DD: Oh, a very important ally.  An important ally we should be doing a lot more with and'especially with this week with the state dinner with the president and the first lady of Mexico'I like that that happened this week.

ST: President Obama- good job/ bad job?
DD: Well, that’s a great question.  I think he’s doing a good job in a lot of areas'I’m a little disappointed..well, not a little.  I’m disappointed in him with LGBT issues.  I feel like he hasn’t been as strong as I thought he would on the issues and, you know, his team at the Dept. of Justice have filed a few briefs regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that really slammed the LGBT community and kind of, I think, gone farther than they had to.  Even if the DOJ has to try and uphold the law until it’s changed, I understand that.  But I don’t understand'I read some of the briefs, and they were just kind vicious against LGBT people and the buck stops with President Obama.  That’s his team and his administration..and I think they need to do a lot better with LGBT issues.

ST: Yep. So, queer marriage- yay/ nay?
DD: (laughs) Definitely yay!  Especially since I have a husband. Yes.

ST: Tell me a secret.
DD: Okay, here’s my secret- I watch at least one episode of the Golden Girls everyday.

ST: Ha!
DD: I’m that proud of it, actually-very proud of it.  It’s a very well written show.  It’s very funny.

ST: It’s true. No. 20- What would you like our readers to know about you?
DD: You know really, just that I’m an all around good guy and I’m a hard working attorney. I’m a tireless volunteer.  I spend probably three or four nights a week doing volunteer work in different communities and, you know, adding that all together'especially with my volunteer judge pro-tem work- I will make great judge.

Thanks again, Dan and good luck.

For more info, you can check out his website here.


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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.