About Paul Hogarth
I’m a 30-year-old activist-writer-blogger-lawyer-organizer-politician-pianist-singer who likes to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Recently on Facebook, I created a “25 Random Facts About Me” because everyone else is doing it:
#1: I have three citizenships — British, French and American. My Dad’s British and my Mom’s French, I was born in England, had a French passport as a kid and became a naturalized US citizen when I was 18. I have voted in both French and American elections.
#2: My Dad now lives in Barcelona, and my Mom basically lives in Paris (it’s complicated.)
#3: Despite being obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, the Sound of Music and being a choir boy, I didn’t acknowledge to myself that I was gay until my 4th year at UC Berkeley.
#4: I learned to play the piano when I was 8, the French Horn when I was 10 and the guitar when I was 17. I’ve known how to sing for as long as I can remember.
#5: When I was in 1st Grade, I learned at school that George Washington was the first President — so I wanted to know who was the 2nd, 3rd, etc. Within a few weeks, I had memorized all the Presidents in chronological order. It was 1984, and I wanted Walter Mondale to win — so I could memorize another name. I’ve hated Reagan ever since.
#6: From 4th to 8th Grade, I went to the French School of Chicago — under protest.
#7: I grew up in Hyde Park, on Chicago’s South Side. Barack Obama lived three doors down from me, and I went to high school with William Ayers’ son.
#8: In 1996, I was so angry at Bill Clinton for signing Welfare Repeal — that I started a “Paul Wellstone for President in 2000” website. I then spent the following two years cultivating an online grassroots campaign operation for Wellstone’s candidacy. Paul ended up not running, but he did write me a letter of recommendation to thank me for all the work I did.
#9: I’ve never owned a car … and even sneer at city dwellers who do because they’re burning fossil fuels. And yet, I have a romantic fascination with driving on two-lane cross-country road trips with the freedom and power of an automobile. I did a 28-state road trip after graduating from college, and am about to embark on another two-week road trip.
#10: I finally came out of the closet … because I volunteered on Tom Ammiano’s campaign for San Francisco Mayor in 1999. If you don’t know Ammiano, he’s the most flamboyant and flaming gay politician you will ever meet.
#11: When I was 22, I made my first run for public office … to the Berkeley Rent Board.
#12: While on the Berkeley Rent Board, I had a fight with my landlord — who threatened to kill me with his great-grandfather’s Civil War sword. He then jumped in front of a train.
#13: While on the Rent Board, I got evicted … the most humiliating experience of my life.
#14: In 2003, I became the first elected official in Berkeley to endorse Howard Dean.
#15: I went to law school — because I learned the hard way that elected officials have no power, unless they’re able to talk back to staff attorneys.
#16: I didn’t run for re-election to the Berkeley Rent Board … because I wanted to move to San Francisco, and start a new life over there.
#17: When George Bush was re-elected in 2004, I half-seriously thought about dropping out of law school — because I figured by the time I graduate, there wouldn’t be a Constitution left to defend. My oldest sister convinced me to hang in there.
#18: I’ve only had three boyfriends … and no relationship lasted longer than 2-3 months.
#19: The hardest I ever worked was when I studied for the California Bar Exam. I passed on the first try, but ironically have never practiced law.
#20: I’ve somehow managed to get paid to write for a political blog, and have stayed at the job for the past two years.
#21: My 15 minutes of fame (or maybe it was just 5?) came at a blogger convention, where I got to ask Hillary Clinton a four-part question about her husband’s legacy.
#22: On my 30th Birthday, I became a homeowner by closing escrow on a brand new condo in downtown San Francisco. I have a gorgeous view of the City Hall dome from my window.
#23: My five-year-old nephew put into perspective how small my apartment is when he asked: “Uncle Paul, why is your bed in the kitchen?”
#24: I have a 1928 Baldwin baby-grand piano, which I bought/inherited from my crazy old landlord (see #12.) It’s in my condo, which means I don’t have space for a couch.
#25: I love San Francisco and the neighborhood I live in, and plan to live here for some time.