Market Street Carnival: Politics Panel



The "Civic Center" panel opposite the vaudevillians depicts heroism and hijinks in City Hall and the political culture, including the eras of the Workingman's Party and the Union Labor Party. The newspaper-stuffed ruins of the earthquake-destroyed City Hall smolder and the bronze figure of Liberty no longer surmounts its dome. Michael Casey serves admirably as President of the Board of Public Works, drawn from a contemporary cartoon. Mayor Patrick H. McCarthy watches with concern as tumbling cronies and money surrounds fixer Abe Reuf, who winkingly steadies his violin-playing ally Mayor Eugene Schmitz as he serenades female staff of the "French restaurants" paying Reuf bribes.

In the top corner before the domed Hall of Records is the 1877 sandlot rally from whence the Workingman's Party sprang. Demagogue Dennis Kearny parades in a horsecart on his release from jail in 1880; the prominent horse's rump reflects the artist's low esteem of this grandiose racist. Beginning an era when too few spoke out against social evils, citizens wear masks during the influenza epidemic of 1918, then "Sunny Jim" Rolph and an actress friend ride a parade car decked out as a Southern Pacific--long an engine of California politics--locomotive.

San Francisco women first voted in the 1912 mayoral election. The observant delivery boy grew into Mayor Jack J. Shelley. The first Union Labor Party Mayor of San Francisco, Reverend Isaac J. Kalloch, ponders processes he began. Behind them are some of the players in the trials that brought down Mayor Schmitz in 1907: prosecutors Burns and Heaney, sugar magnate Rudolf Spreckels, reformist and motorist Mayor James J. Phelan, crusading Chronicle editor Fremont Older and his wife Cora. Following the years of labor electoral power, earthquake-era scandal, reform in the century's teens and complacency in the 1920s, in the panel's vital center key figures of the next generation arrive by streetcar--longshoreman Harry Bridges and civil liberties lawyer Vince Hallinan.