S.F. bigwigs to party for Pelosi 

San Francisco’s most influential figures are expected to storm the U.S. Capitol this week trumpeting The City’s core liberal values as they celebrate the swearing in of Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House.

The 66-year-old San Francisco Democrat will become the first female speaker of the House today, and will provide San Francisco and the rest of the state with considerable influence over federal affairs.

San Francisco’s power elite has made no secret that they are attending swearing-in events to not only celebrate with Pelosi,but also push for all things important to the Bay Area.

"This is one of the most exciting moments in electoral history," said Alex Clemens, a consultant with top San Francisco lobbying firm Barbary Coast Consulting. "I believe many San Franciscans are jumping at the chance to go bask in the reflective glory that Speaker Pelosi is bringing to San Francisco. It’s a moment in history I wouldn’t want to miss."

Among those who do not want to miss out is Mayor Gavin Newsom, who traveled to the nation’s capital on Wednesday to attend a dinner with Pelosi.

"It’s hard to describe how incredible the opportunity is in front of us, really for San Francisco and the region," Newsom said on Tuesday. "We have a two-year window where the speaker of the House is one who understands compassionate urban leadership. We’ve got to take advantage of that."

The Capitol will receive a full dose of San Francisco’s core values with the expected attendance of a number of powerful leaders who represent The City’s liberal leanings.

Stem cell research advocate Bob Klein, who serves as chairman of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is expected to visit the Capitol, as is James Hormel, a San Francisco businessman who in 1999 became the first openly gay ambassador in U.S. history.

Major Democratic donors are also on the list of attendees, including Mark Buell, a San Francisco businessman, and his wife, Esprit de Corps founder Susie Buell.

University of San Francisco President the Rev. Stephen Privett was invited by Pelosi to deliver the invocation before she is sworn in as speaker of the House today, and the prayer’s theme will focus on Americans in the most need.


Business, labor leaders travel to D.C.

San Francisco business and labor leaders sent a special delegation to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to celebrate the swearing in of the new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

The trip was organized and led by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Labor Council and the Bay Area Council, a business-focused public-policy organization. Other attendees included representatives from labor and community groups and businesses large and small, including Scoma’s restaurant, Comcast, Stanford University, United Airlines, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, SEIU Local 790, the Villas Parkmerced and CMK Consulting.

The trip was not a formal lobbying exercise, though many of the delegates are deeply concerned about 2007 legislative issues. Tim Paulson, executive director of the labor council, said his group hopes to see an increased minimum wage tied to cost-of-living increases, better funding for the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. The latter would allow employees to sign cards to form a union, rather than vote in an election.

L. Wade Rose, VP of Catholic Healthcare West, said his company is particularly focused on health care and medical funding issues, including the financial stability of the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs and Pelosi’s promises to make it easier to buy prescription drugs from other countries and expand the stem-cell research eligible for federal funding.

The chamber and the Bay Area Council were more general in their goals, with representatives saying they were there to celebrate Pelosi’s victory and advance the Bay Area’s interests in Washington. Infrastructure, health care and education are all important to the chamber, VP Carol Piasente said. George Broder of the Bay Area Council said port dredging and shipping issues are among his group’s concerns.

— Kate Williamson

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