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Willie Talk

Updated: Jul 20, 2023


“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”

— Aesop



At age 88, Willie Brown has seen his protégés climb to the top of California’s political ladder and become national figures. Willie Brown. He of the fedora hats, $5,000 bespoke European suits and the Ferraris. Oh, and the girlfriends. Yes, he is the most powerful man in America.


Now, how his lifestyle has been financed hasn’t ever really been explained, and it probably never will be. Slick Willie served 30 years in the California State Assembly-- 15 for which he was the Speaker-- and he inarguably had more clout and influence than anyone, including the Governor. Without Brown’s support, nothing could get done; that’s just the way it was.


And that was in spite of the fact that he had obviously tapped into some unusual sources of income during that time…


He once owned a fleet of nine cars, including Porsches and Ferraris, before paring it down to just a Mercedes, a Jaguar and a Lamborghini. …You know, for the sake of appearances.

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In 1990, California voters had had enough and passed a referendum — Proposition 140 — limiting Members of the California State Assembly to three two-year terms. This was specifically launched to remove Willie Brown, who had finally exceeded the populace’s patience due to his excessive power and flamboyantly indulgent lifestyle.


Willie Brown had a plan for addressing Prop 140, though. Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco’s popular Mayor from 1978 to 1988, left office to run for Governor and was replaced by a series of two weak mayors-- one-termer bureaucrat Art Agnos and then the unpopular former Chief of Police, Frank Jordan. Brown ran against Jordan for mayor in 1995 and won by a 55.4% to 42.4% landslide margin, and he served for two terms. (Only a couple of homeless baseheads on Geary Street doubt that he would have run for a third term if not restricted by the term limits.)

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Brown met California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the current chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, not long before she ran for the Assembly in 1976. In the 1993 documentary “Willie Brown,” Waters said, “When I decided to run … he was one of the first persons I went to Sacramento to try to get his support … Willie Brown and I became very close friends.”


At the time, Brown was quietly consolidating his position as the most powerful black politician in California. One of his vehicles was the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC), and Brown named a former legislative aide of Maxine Waters, Alice Huffman, to run BAPAC. Huffman was also the chief lobbyist for the California Teachers Association (CTA), which was one of Brown's most crucial campaign contributors. This clearly created conflicts of interest for Huffman, but it suited Brown's purposes perfectly to tie the two organizations together.


Brown got the CTA's money, and he used BAPAC to enhance his clout and promote a new crop of political leaders throughout the 1980s. Maxine Waters benefitted enormously; after her election, Waters ascended to the position of Democratic Caucus chair and became one of Speaker Brown's closest lieutenants in the Assembly.

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Willie Brown had many girlfriends. As Sacramento Bee reporter James Richardson wrote of Willie Brown in his biography, “He has had a succession of girlfriends. The measure of his flamboyance is he’ll go to a party with his wife on one arm and his girlfriend on the other.


He had a child with his campaign fundraiser, Carolyn Carpeneti, in 2001. His current girlfriend is “fashion icon” Sonya Molodetskaya. And, between 1993 and 1995, he dated a young prosecutor in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office named Kamala Harris. She was 29, and he was 60.


Towards the end of his speakership and while still dating her, he named Harris to the California Medical Assistance Commission, which paid $72,000 a year, and to the state's Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, which paid another $97,088 per year. She took a leave of absence from her prosecutor duties to serve in those positions.


Brown ended his romantic relationship with Kamala shortly before his inauguration as Mayor by giving her a $110,000 7-Series BMW. Wait. Whaaat? …I thought he only made $40k a year. Or less. For 30 years.




Kamala then ran for the Office of San Francisco District Attorney. Only seven percent of San Franciscans register as Republicans, so the DA is basically hand-picked by the Democratic party. Kamala Harris was put forth by Willie Brown, who was both her ex-boyfriend and the mayor, thereby setting her up to win an essentially uncontested election, which she did.


According to Slick Willie: “Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker. And I certainly helped with her first race for district attorney in San Francisco. I have also helped the careers of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a host of other politicians.”

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Shortly after becoming mayor in 1996, Willie Brown appointed Gavin Newsom, then a young businessman whose father and grandfather had well known connections among San Francisco’s insular political community, to the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission.

A year later, Brown placed Newsom on the city’s Board of Supervisors, its equivalent of a city council. That put him in a position to succeed Brown as mayor seven years later, run for lieutenant governor in 2010 and then capture the governorship in 2019.


In a 2017 interview above his San Francisco wine shop, Newsom conceded he wouldn’t be in politics without Brown and former California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton, telling the Sacramento Bee, “I hopefully would be with the Wine Spectator today; not you … I would never be in politics. But they took a risk on me. And I know Willie wouldn’t have done it unless John encouraged him.”


Now, Newsom is the governor of California and is poised to be a future Democratic presidential nominee.

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When Brown was first elected mayor, the woman who previously babysat his children and the current mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, was given an internship in the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services. In 2004, Breed was named to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission, and in 2012 won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors where she was sworn in by then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris.


Willie Brown helped Ed Lee succeed Gavin Newsom as mayor and, after Lee’s death in 2017, saw to it that Breed continued his string of mayoral winners.

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Willie Brown has personally groomed the governor of the most powerful state in the union, the mayor of one of its most powerful cities, the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee and the Vice President of the nation, all while enjoying Hunter Biden-ish wealth. This is Willie’s world, and we’re just living in it.

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After last week’s passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, which has laughably been called a climate, health and tax package, the IRS will now have more staff than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined.


The IRS has just 93,654 employees, according to the Office of Personnel Management. In other words, Congress just increased the IRS workforce by something like 92%. Now, why would we do that, add 86,852 new IRS employees? It must be to catch the 50 billionaires using cryptos, right? Right???

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After the release of the Fed meeting minutes last week, futures jumped on the comment that "with its forceful policy actions and communications, it (the Fed) had already contributed to a notable tightening of financial conditions." Well, if that’s not Slick Willie talk, I don’t know what is— we know that’s a lie because financial conditions just experienced a near-record easing over the end of July and beginning of August.


The problem in which the Fed finds itself is that it will have to crush the economy in order to get inflation down to its 2% target. At some point or another, the Fed will indeed have to accept some inflation in order to bolster growth. As we have witnessed in the oil market recently, the Fed has no control over supply, and it will ultimately have to raise its inflation target to 3%.


That’s when everything goes limit up.



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