The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking. Asked offstage if the proposal was serious, Perkins said: "I intended to be outrageous, and it was."Perkins, the great wit, is author of the phrase "the war on the 1%," as well as his nervous twitch of an exposition thereupon in the WSJ on 24 January 2014:
Giving you a moment to recover from the shock of the abject cruelty of the SF Chronicle besmirching San Francisco's "number-one celebrity" as a snob... I hope that knowing Steel's net worth of $375 million will bring her enough electoral clout to somehow right that wrong may be of some comfort to you.
Clearly, though, Perkins doesn't read enough of the Chronicle, as SFGate (the e-version) covered Steel's altruism in sympathetic depth quite a few years ago. An excerpt on how her efforts to help battle homelessness began tells part of the tale:
But almost no one, except for the crew she worked with, her children and two close friends, had any idea that for 11 years, beginning in 1998, Danielle Steel would slip away from her Pacific Heights home under midnight shadows into a van filled with supplies to assist homeless people she sought out in the dark, dingy corners of San Francisco.
Last month, the prolific author released three books: A novel, "The Sins of the Mother"; the paperback of a previous novel, "Hotel Vendome"; and a nonfiction title, "A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless" (Delacorte Press; 144 pages; $20), about her work with the homeless and her outreach foundation, Yo! Angel!
"I started this during a very lonely, desperately unhappy time in my life," says Steel, in a drawing room of her home. "After Nicky (her son who committed suicide in 1997) died, I went to church and prayed for a way to help. Nicky was always very kind to homeless people, buying them a sandwich or a pack of smokes. And 'helping the homeless' is what kept returning to my mind."
As a child, Steel's first vocational dream was to become a nun.
Hell's Bells! Perkins should have some provision in his voting scheme for doubling, nay, TRIPLING, the number of votes that a 1%-er philanthropist / artist like Steel ought to receive. Not everyone can see past the need for mental health reform, substance abuse rehab centers, and affordable housing to the overwhelming essentials of sandwiches, smokes, and thousands of small teddy bears ["The bears were magic. Somehow, with that single gesture, we had restored not only a memory of their childhood, but a tender part of their humanity that had been missing."]
When her love affair with the city on the bay ended, due to her discovery of embezzlement by a longtime associate, and the failure of her art gallery, Steel did what all dedicated philanthropists do -- she started several foundations and moved to Paris.
To be fair, and I rarely strive for that attribution, she did discover that there was a mental health problem among San Francisco's homeless people -- mostly, in her opinion, that they "are off their meds."
Ah, I seem to be wandering again. That's what happens when those of us who pay no taxes -- because we live on private disability (and not that nasty, besmirchable public dole!) that keeps us below the poverty line -- are allowed a computer and free access to Google's Blogger. We just jabber on and on, wasting everyone's time. There's no rancor in me, nary a subatomic bit, because I started work on a novel based on life at a shelter for homeless men -- a project that, clearly, I now have to call off, both because I'm worthless as a citizen and even less effective as a writer. I am, in every way that matters, no Danielle Steel; I am bereft of apologists with Tom Perkins' incisive ardor and bucks.
So, Dear Beloved Readers, I shall endeavor to leave you today with a trail of gratitude bread crumbs, the last being to thank Crooks and Liars for the video...