Arts and CultureSan Francisco

Election 2011: Emil Lawrence on Pulling Yourself Up From The Bottom, “Queers, Straights and Criminals”, and Swensen’s Ice Cream

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Well, it’s that time again.  Another election year is already coming to a close and so far it’s been a real corker.  With everyone that’s gonna be on the ballot, we thought it might help you get to know the contenders a little better.  So, here’s the BAS 20 Questions With The Candidates 2011!

Next up……


Name: Emil Lawrence

Age: 64

Occupation: Tax Preparer, Real Estate Agent, Taxi Medallion Owner

Running for: San Francisco Mayor

Where you are right now: City College (0f) San Francisco, Computer Lab Batemale Hall [sic]

Stephen Torres: Hey Emil! Welcome to BAS Meet the Candidates! So, how long have you lived in the city and where’s your hood?  Welcome to BAS Meet the Candidates! So, how long you lived in the city and where’s your hood?

Emil Lawrence: I have lived here 42 years!

ST: What are the best/ worst aspects about living there?


EL: Lots of Film Fests. Rent is too damn high.


ST: How do you get to work- Foot, bike, public transit or car?


EL: By car, gave up on Muni


ST: Muni. Is. Awful. Garage or salvage yard?


EL: As Mayor, will sell Muni to the bus drivers and use the same system used in taxi medallions


ST: If we elect you is there anything you can really do to help get a more dependable overnight transit, BART or otherwise?


EL: BART is not controlled by anyone in San Francisco.


ST: It’s pretty hard to make it as a “broke-ass” in this town, let alone find a place to live. Do you think insane rents, requirements like making several times your rent or having a certain credit score to qualify for an apartment make living here feasible?

EL: There is too much real estate speculation here. It comes from City Hall. City Employees are the only ones that can afford to live here.


ST: Let’s say the house part doesn’t quite work. When you’re homeless in this town, do you think you really ever can bounce back?


EL: Yes, I did. It takes will without drugs. You have to pull yourself up, slowly.


ST: A lot of the homeless are queer kids that come here with pretty much nothing. There isn’t even a hostel in the Castro. Groups like Dimensions, Lyric, etc. do what they can, but they are working on shoestrings. Is Castro Street or even the city itself capable of being not only a beacon, but also a sanctuary?


EL: Yes, San Francisco attracts queers, straights, criminals, and more.


ST: One group that hasn’t had any housing problems would be bedbugs. Does the city have a contingency plan on this one?


EL: Carry your spray with you.


ST: Like a lot of people in town, I have Healthy SF(SFPath). Mostly okay, but some people are waiting up to a year to get really important screenings, tests, etc. One nurse told me you can try to speed things up by going to the emergency room.

Universal healthcare is a critical asset in this town, no doubt, but should we be worried?


EL: Do not worry if you make money. Do not worry if you were in the armed forces, the VA will help you. If you missed either of those, worry, worry and have fear. There is no plan for you that will work.


ST: Speaking of healing- How long do you think before it’s possible to smoke a joint without having some kind of illness?


EL: Maybe five years.


ST: These 7×7 miles, seem to be getting a lot more square with every year that passes.

Other cities seem to have more of a handle on things like street fairs and nightlife. Is the fun in the city destined to go the way of, say, the Eagle?


EL: No, the way of the rat.


ST: Diversity seems important to San Franciscans, but is it also endangered? Folks seem both pissed and scared. Has this “Girl of the Golden West” forgotten who her people are?


EL: Diversity only helps you if you are looking for a job. If you are not diverse, say a straight white male, today, looking for work can be a problem.


ST: Who’s your local hero?


EL: I have none


ST: Every American city has deep-seeded, local subjects of debate, where one has to take a side. What is your stance on the following: What is the best a) coffee; b) ice cream; c) cioppino; d) burrito; e) dim sum?


EL: Peets, Swensen’s,


ST: What’s your favourite cheap bar? Your poison?


EL: (No comment.)


ST: What’s your favourite cheap grub spot?


EL: None left


ST: What’s important in San Francisco right now?


EL: Having money


ST: Why is San Francisco important right now?


EL: It is on a decline


ST: People like to sing about this place a lot. Perfect San Francisco song:


EL: Way past


Thanks for answering our answering our twenty questions! Good luck on Tuesday!


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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.