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KEANE CONSIDERS THE SEDUCTION OF MAYORAL RUN After being approached from the left and the right, Golden Gate University School of Law Dean Peter Keane is considering running for mayor of San Francisco. He hasn’t thrown his hat into the ring yet, but neither has he slammed the door on a mayoral candidacy. “It’s tempting,” Keane said in an interview. “It’s very seductive.” He said it was surprising to him that both progressive San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp, a voice on the right, approached him independently to consider mounting a campaign. “It was an interesting spectrum from the Greens to the conservatives,” Keane said. His entry into the mayoral sweepstakes would add another face to the already crowded 10-candidate field that has filed declarations of intent to seek the office. Keane said he has also met with “some money people” and City Hall department heads, who have encouraged him to become a candidate. But he is also wrestling with his desire to step down as dean, return to teaching law, and work on two novels. Those tasks would have to be shelved. “Yet you never say never in this life,” Keane said. Showing he has scoped out the field, he called declared candidate Supervisor Gavin Newsom “a flash in the pan.” “He is totally scripted and doesn’t have a counterpunch when he’s asked a question,” Keane said. “He’s great looking as a matinee idol.” Keane also said he believes Supervisor Tom Ammiano, another declared candidate, cannot win a majority of votes. “I think Tom can put together something in the early 40s [percent,]” Keane said. — Dennis J. Opatrny FIGHTING PREJUDICE Attorney Asma Gull Hasan has developed a career of sorts as an unofficial spokeswoman for American Muslims. A first-year associate in Clifford Chance’s San Francisco office, Hasan has appeared on CNN, Fox News, National Public Radio and “Politically Incorrect,” written op-ed pieces for The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, and has her own monthly column in The Denver Post. The author of “American Muslims: The New Generation,” Hasan has been sought out by the media since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to talk about Islam and the experiences of American Muslims. The State Department also has recruited her to help boost the image of the United States in the Middle East. She is scheduled to go on a speaking tour next month to talk to groups in Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan and Malaysia about how well American Muslims are treated in the United States. Many Muslims believe America is “a horrible place and people are treated badly here,” Hassan said. “In this case, I think people have the wrong idea about America.” While Hasan acknowledged that some American Muslims face prejudice, she said that’s not the norm. “Everyone has heard about a cousin picked up by the FBI and no one has heard of him [since],” Hasan said. “More of us have experienced positive discrimination — someone reaching out to you.” Growing up, she said, “Everyone was shocked I was Muslim. They would say ‘how can you be Muslim? I like you.’” After graduating from Wellesley College, where she majored in religion and American studies, she spent a year writing “American Muslims.” It wasn’t until she graduated from New York University School of Law that a publisher accepted her manuscript. Continuum International Publishing Group published the book in November 2000. The daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Hasan got her most recent gig with the State Department through her father. He founded the Council of American Muslims for Understanding last year with backing from the State Department. Together the State Department and the council produced a series of mini documentaries highlighting the successes of Muslim Americans. Hasan’s father told Charlotte Beers — the former advertising executive who was appointed undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs last year to burnish the image of the United States abroad — about his daughter’s book. Last month Beers invited Hasan to join the department’s public relations tour. Hasan, who received the invitation the day she started working at Clifford Chance, is now fitting such speaking engagements around her legal career. “If I never do anything again in my life I’ll be happy,” Hasan said. “I have enough experiences for a lifetime.” – Brenda Sandburg HOUSING FOR ALL The AIDS Legal Referral Panel, a San Francisco organization providing low-cost legal services to people in the Bay Area with HIV/AIDS, has received a federal grant for its efforts to eliminate housing discrimination. “We know that housing is a critical issue for people with HIV/AIDS,” said Bill Hirsh, ALRP’s executive director. ” People have been able to manage this illness because of new medications, but they require a strict treatment program. It is impossible to maintain that without affordable housing.” The grants have been awarded to 99 groups throughout the country by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is the second time ALRP has received this grant. ALRP will use the money to continue its educational programs. Beyond reaching individual landlords, ALRP targets organizations like Catholic Charities and the Mission Housing Development Corp., which operate large housing facilities for the disabled. “A landlord might have to change their policies and procedures to accommodate people with disabilities — like [not having] a no-pets policy so that someone can have a companion animal,” said Hirsh. ALRP wants to provide developers, landlords, rental managers, real estate agencies and property owners with the information they need to help create better access to affordable housing in the future. “We’ve seen a lot of progress . . . but there’s a long way to go,” said Hirsh. “I still run into constant ignorance — there is common knowledge of the law when it comes to race discrimination, but not as much awareness of [the law for] people with disabilities.” — Jason Dearen

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