The Magazine

The Zen of Sexual Harassment

Jerry Brown's guru has a zipper problem

Jan 29, 2001, Vol. 6, No. 19 • By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS
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This isn't the first time Barzaghi has shown a tendency to confuse liking women with liking to come on to women. His first marriage ended when he started sleeping with a woman who was living with the couple. He left his fifth wife, he told the Chronicle, because she wouldn't move with him from New York to Oakland to help Brown's mayoral bid. His antics aren't so charming to women not his betrothed. Today's young female workers don't appreciate questions about their undergarments. "The guy's a misogynist," the former city hall worker explained. A friend of Barzaghi's sheepishly confessed, "If I was a woman, I wouldn't want to be married to him."

Fortunately for women workers, Dao Mayor didn't have to decide what to do about Barzaghi. As prescribed by city policy, city attorney John Russo hired an outside attorney to investigate the claim, then recommended a remedy to city manager Robert Bobb. While neither Bobb nor Russo would reveal the outcome, the Chronicle learned that the city has suspended Barzaghi for an undisclosed length of time without pay and required him to undergo counseling and to limit his interactions with the employees who complained about his behavior.

Some insiders credit the mayor for not trying to interfere with Bobb, whom Brown has the authority to fire. Other observers doubt Barzaghi will reform. "The guy is going to do anything he wants," a source explained, "and he is still going to be living in the mayor's household."

Debra J. Saunders writes a nationally syndicated column for the San Francisco Chronicle.