Haight Street reveals a wide spectrum of opinions on Romney, Obama, and politics as usual


Jacob Winick

Haight Street’s November rains mark the end of 2012’s election season.

By the Legend staff, Staff Writer

While the rest of America was gripped by a decision between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, interviews on Election Day with people on Haight Street — a butcher, a garbage man, and an unemployed chef — revealed a range of beliefs, hopes and frustrations.

“I’m probably voting,” said Sandy Refvem, head butcher at the Haight Street Market, who was still unsure of which presidential candidate had his vote as of approximately 9 a.m. PST on Nov. 6.

Refvem was mulling a vote for Roseanne Barr, the Peace and Freedom Party nominee, or for Tom Hoefling, the Independent nominee. More interested in the local propositions than the presidential election, Sandy Refvem, expressed frustration with Proposition 37, a proposal to require food manufacturers to inform customers of genetically modified food (the proposition did not pass).

Proposition 37 is “not a bad idea, but the way they’re going about it is bad,” said Refvem, as he piled meat into the glass cabinet. “It will jack up food costs and make people crazier about food than they already are.”

Michael Maruci, a 51-year-old California native and sanitation worker who was collecting garbage on Haight Street early Tuesday morning, said he would support GOP nominee Romney in the presidential election.

“(Romney) just reflects my core values of conservativeness,” said Maruci. “Everyone says what a good job (Obama) is doing, but eventually people will realize what really happened.”

Maruci’s view on foreign policy also influenced his decision for president. “There is a certain sense of pride and courage and being able to do what we want that America stands for and I think Romney is a better representative of these values,” said Maruci, adding, “I could care less about everybody else. This is the United States. This is where we live and I think (Romney) is going to get us on track.”

In addition to the economy and foreign policy, “civic duty” is what brought Dan Weiss, 39, a San Francisco Libertarian, out to vote. Sitting on a couch with his computer in the Coffee to the People coffeeshop at Haight and Masonic streets, Weiss said that he is “socially liberal” and “fiscally conservative,” while adding that “both (Republicans and Democrats) have it wrong.”

Frustration with the current system seemed to be a negative factor for many voters.

San Francisco native Ray Gin, 37, said he prefers not to follow politics at all. “I choose to stay ignorant and not influence those who vote,” said Gin. “I know I’m not informed enough to make a proper choice.”

“I was in the army,” said Gin, “so I fought for (the) people’s right to vote. So I can choose not to vote.”

Bryan Kings, 28, who lives in San Francisco, said he had not voted because he is not registered but added that if he could vote, he would not.

Rolling a joint while balancing bottles in a paper bag, Kings said the political process doesn’t solve his personal problems.

Asked if he thought either candidate would benefit his life, Kings expressed doubt that either Romney or Obama would. “I haven’t gotten any help from anybody in my life,” Kings said.

 This story was written by Aideen Murphy and reported by Murphy, Hannah Berk, Mara Pleasure and Jacob Winick.