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1887 San Diego mayoral election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1887 San Diego mayoral election
Flag of San Diego, California.svg

November 8, 1887 (1887-11-08) 1889 →
William Hunsaker.jpg
D C Reed.jpg
Nominee William J. Hunsaker Daniel C. Reed
Party Workingmen's Republican
Popular vote 91,069 46,965
Percentage 61.7% 31.9%

Mayor before election


Elected Mayor

William J. Hunsaker

The 1887 San Diego mayoral election was held on November 8, 1887 to elect the mayor for San Diego. This was the first mayoral election since the position was abolished due to an 1852 city bankruptcy. William Jefferson Hunsaker was elected Mayor with a majority of the votes.

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  • ✪ The origins of the 'ndrangheta of Calabria: Italy's most powerful mafia (1 March 2011)
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>> The German steel town of Jewsburg, 15th of August, 2007, the early hours of the morning; 54 shots are fired by two killers at six victims. This is an execution, an underworld execution of great professionalism. The two killers even take the time to walk up to each of the six victims in turn and fire it through the grass into their heads. It was Europe's, well the worst ever mafia bloodbath outside of the United States and Italy. And it marks the date when Europe finally woke up to the existence and the importance of what the New York Times called, the unpronounceable mafia of Calabria Dragnet. The Ndrangheta comes from Calabria, and if you like the toe of the Italian boot, and its established preeminence, criminal preeminence in Italy, really since the 80s, 1990s when it started dealing direct with South American cocaine cartels, the producer cartels. It is the mafia with the most elaborate rituals on the body, in the pocket of one of the victims, a boy of eighteen who had just been celebrating his birthday was found this image-- partially burned image of the arch angel Michael, which shown investigators that he had not just been celebrating his birthday because the arch angel Michael is the image that is traditionally used in Ndrangheta initiation rituals. It's the mafia of all of Italy's mafias that has proved most difficult to penetrate for the authorities. And it is also the best at spreading it's metastases around Italy and around the world. There are many other countries apart from Germany that now have Ndrangheta colonies in them. We know much less both historically and in a contemporary sense about the Ndrangheta than we do about Italy's other major two mafias, the Sicilian mafia or Cosa Nostra and the Camorra of Naples. Recent operation, the summer of last year in fact, gives us our most up to date profile of the organizations structure. I don't want to dwell on this one for too long but it's just to give you an idea of the kind of organization we're looking for when as I set out to do, we try and go back into the historical record to find its origins. The Ndrangheta has a structure beginning at the bottom here with the Ndrina. Ndrina, is the basic cell of the organization and it's based around family ties. It has a patriarch that center a boss, often with a number of male children and relatives by blood and marriage. That's the basic cell of the organization and those family ties are what make it difficult to penetrate for the authorities. A number of ndrina, two or three ndrina are grouped into what's called a locale, a local, which is-- it self governs territory and is itself sub-divided into two compartments for reasons of security. The junior members with access to less money and less power are in the so called minor society or societa minori. The most senior members including the officers of the loacle, the capo, the contabile who's the bookkeeper essentially and the capo crimina who's like a sort of day to day manager of criminal activity go into the societa majore, the major society. Continuing upwards excuse me, above the level of the local, the locale, there are three mandemente [Assumed spelling] or precincts covering large sort of macro areas of southern Calabria. And other branches of the Ndrangheta in Italy and around the world also operate if you like at this level within the organization. And at the top as we know from what we know from this very recent investigation there is a body called the grand crimine, the great crime. Also known as la provincia, the province presided over by a figure known as the capo crimine, the head of crime, the boss of crime. I won't say much about this for now but I do want to emphasize that this is not with-- investigators are still working out what kind of power, what degree of power these titles carry with them. The man who was arrested in the summer and accused of being the head of the provincia, the head of the grand crimine, a man called Domenico Oppedisano is not a super boss. This is not an organization where power as it were cascades down from the top. Oppedisano, the investigations-- the investigators claim was more of an arbitrator, an expert on procedure, such as initiation rituals and ranks and so on, a mediator. So, not a governing boss if you like. The Ndrangheta is also more complicated than the Sicilian mafia in the-- the positions the offices held within the organizations structure are not the only measure of status within the organization. Those offices are elected and temporary whereas these, the ranks that the individual Ndrangheta's hold are permanent. They call them doti gifts or flowers, fiore and they're an ascending scale of seniority. You start at the bottom as a giovani d'onore a sort of on the threshold of membership an honored youth if you like. If you're in the minor society you hold one of three ranks, Picciotto, which means lad, Camorrista, Comorrista di sgarro, which means something like Camorrista who's up for a fight; going further up the ranks, the major society ranks and so on and right up until the most senior rank, which is Padrino, which means godfather. Why should we study the history of this organization? Organized crime is normally the domain of sociology and criminology. Well, one reason is that this organization has been around for a long time. Not quite as long as the Camorra and the Sicilian mafia, but a long time, over a century nonetheless. And that's no coincidence. That's because these are organizations which plan for the long term. They think over the long term. So history is an important discipline for understanding them. And because of-- and the third reason we should understand their history is because they think it's important. They have an official founding myth. It's the story of three Spanish nights, Osso, Mastrosso and Carcagnosso, which translates to bone, master bone and heel bone. And there story that is of three knights in the middle ages some time in the past fled from Spain because their sister had been raped and murdered and they'd avenged the crime in blood. They took refuge on the Sicilian island of Favignana and there they invented the rules of the honored society. At that point Osso went to Sicily, found that the Sicilian mafia, the honored society of Sicily, Mastrosso went to Naples and formed the Camorra, the honored society of Naples and also went to Calabria to form the Ndrangheta, the honored society of Calabria. Before I start telling the story of their origins, just a word on the name; the word Dragnet takes hold in public discourse as a name for the Calabria mafia only in the mid 1950s. The word comes from a Greek dialect know as Germanic, which is spoken in some parts of southern Calabria. It all goes back to the time when this part of the world was part of the Byzantine Empire. The time we're talking about, the time of their origins, the 1880s and so on, the words used both by investigators and by the Ndrangheta themselves, and things like Mafiosi, Camorristi and so on, terms borrowed, not coincidentally from Sicily and Naples, but the name in this period that sticks most often is La picciotteria, which means something like lavishness or lads with attitude. One of things that I'm going to demonstrate I hope over the next few minutes is that they're the same thing. The La picciotteria and Ndrangheta are the same thing. What's the current state of research on the origins of-- very briefly we have a few sporadic reports of gang activity in the 1860s and 1870s and then in the mid 1880s the authorities such as the prefect of Reggio Calabria I've cited, here start to take notice, they start to worry, they start to notice much more consistent and numerically significant presence of gangsters in Calabrian territory. And from that moment on the evidence is overwhelming. Trial papers are particularly significant but there are also sources. So that's the bad chronology we have at the moment. And we don't have much in the way of an explanation of how and why the Ndregneta took hold. The consensus basically is that Calabrian society is to blame. Calabrian society characterized by violence, by families, in other words the priority given to family ties over the more impersonal relationships fostered by the modern state, patronage, politics. That mixture of the consensus goes somehow spontaneously generates the Ndrangheta. It's what they called in the language of the time the immorality of the Calabrian ruling class. That's a consensus I'm going to challenge and qualify over the next few minutes. This just briefly is a map of the area we're talking about; southern Calabria, the very tip of the toe of the boot, if you like. And I'm going to look particularly at two areas because there isn't that much evidence around about the origins of the Ndrangheta. Calabria has a particularly tragic history of earthquakes including the most lethal seismic event and the history of the western world the 1908 earthquake, which devastated, killed 80 thousand people, devastated the area. That combined with a history of maladministration in Calbria means the archives aren't in a particularly good state. But I've identified two areas where we found a sufficient concentration of evidence to really turn the chronology of the Ndrangheta emergence into something more like a narrative. And those two places are Palmi up there and Africo down here, up in the mountains. Let's begin in Palmi; a small town, 11 to 12 thousand inhabitants but most importantly it's the administrative capital for a large area. For the hole of this area, the plain of Gioia Tauro, the plain and Calabria is mostly mountainous, the Gioia Tauro is an area of relatively wealthy agriculture and Palmi is the capital of it. And for that reason it has all the-- it has outposts of the Italian state, like a sub prefecture, a core complex and of course importantly a prison as we'll see. The plain of Gioia Tauro as I said is an area of small holdings, not great estates as much of the rest of Calabria is, because a lot of church property is confiscated and privatized there after Italy is unified in 1860. It's an area in other words of cash crops, citrus fruit, the oranges of Ndrangheta if you like, olive oil, wine, there's even a wine boom in the 1870s; a lot of investment in vines in that period. What happens? The newspapers in the spring of 1888 start to report razor slashings; people having their faces slashed by razors, formal knife point duals in the center of the city. These are the telltale signs as we'll see of Camorra mafia activity. The criminals concentrated in the taverns and brothels where they extort money from gamblers and prostitutes and in classic mafia fashion the victims refuse to testify. Within weeks according to the press order is close to breaking down. It's remarkably rapid what happens. The citizens are afraid to leave their homes. Landowners are being intimidated, forced to take on members of the organization as gods on their land. This is the classic begins of the extortion racket regime, which is the basis of criminal territory or authority in southern Italy; extortion rackets on a tax base of organized crime. In June 1988 after one particularly nasty attack on a government official, the authorities finally act and 24 men are arraigned in 1889. Who were these men? Who were these first [Inaudible] They're entirely representative of many other trials that would come in the years to come. They're mostly young, in their late teens or early 20s. The bossman, Francesco Lisciotto at 60 was easily the oldest. And they're all laborers, almost all laborers or artisans apart from one or two small holders. They have very humble job titles, peasant, carter, waiter, shepherd, and so on. But most importantly all-- of all 21 of 24 of veterans of the prison system. So it's not that sociological brethren. It's their job that's important. It's the fact that they've been in prison. And the judges reached-- made historians job very easily and an 1890 trial, I'm going to quote from a series of trials I've been able to look at in Palmi. And the judges make the historian's job very easy; they tell us exactly where this association came from. The association originated in 1887 in the district prisons in Palmi under the name of "Sect of camorristi. From there as and when it's bosses and promoters were released, spread to other towns and villages where it found fertile soil among the callow youth, old jailbirds, and especially goatherds." A later trial, the trials mount up without being able to uproot the organization. They have tattoos demonstrating their rank. They have a particular distinctive dress code including tight trousers that flare over their shoes. They tie silk scarves in a special way. They comb their hair into what repeated testimonies refer to as a butterfly-shaped quiff. They have an initiation ritual and the lowest rank is that of honoured youth. [Speaking in foreign language] And the wording of their initiation [Speaking in a foreign language] which begins with the boss saying, "Are you comfortable?" and the initiate replying, "Very comfortable" and so it's a long ceremony. There's a very, very close resemblance to the Ndregenta's initiation ritual today. Another trial still in Parliament, 1897 shows us the organization and its divided into locally based cells or sections. Each cell is subdivided between a minor society and a major society. The minor society groups people with a lower rank of picciotto and the major society has the higher ranked camorristi. They each-- the major minor society have their own boss, their own bookkeeper and so on. We are dealing without doubt with the Ndregenta. There is even the first ever evidence under the person who unearthed this of the mafia-- the Calabrian mafia's initiation ritual. This is a testimony from 1897 from a former member of the gang called [Speaking in a foreign language] who says, tells the court that society was born from three knights: one from Spain, one from Naples; all three were camorristi. Metophorically speaking these three camorristi were a tree, the boss, the Spanish knight was the trunk of tree, the Palermo who was the oldest was the masterbone, Mastrosso and the third knight, the one from Naples was the bone, Osso. The other members were the branches and the leaves. The honoured youths who aspire to become picciotti or the flowers. All of this including the metaphor of the tree, which is another very powerful organizational matter the Ndrangheta uses today about itself, the tree of knowledge bears a very, very close family resemblance to the Ndrangheta's mythology today, okay. So we've found Ndrangheta at its beginnings. Switching to Africo a very different reality socially; this is not a rich economy of cash crops. It's a mounting woodland economy forestry, charcoal, livestock. This is a place of poverty and isolation. It's the area where the last redoubt if you like of this grecanico, this greek dialect. I want to go into details about events in Africo. They center around-- the documentation I've looked at is a huge trial, 150 or so accused. It centers around the murder of a goatherd and picciotto [Inaudible] who is lured out into the countryside during a bagpipe bouncing party, has his throat cut and has salt poured on the wound, as well as multiple stab wounds. It's a very public murder. It's an intimadatory murder. His body is left where it is by way of intimidating a few other local people. Now despite the isolation of Africo, the [Inaudible] in Africo has the same structure, the same dresscode, the same morays as in Palmi. One interesting difference is they are much more expert in cattle wrestling. They steal the cattle locally and put it on the market where the brands can't be identified, through their friends in places like Palmi. We're dealing with a network already that is much more than local; they're part of the same organization. And once again in Africo we find that the ex cons are the people in control okay. The Ndrangheta, it seems the members of this organization emerged from prison straight into senior roles in the organization on the outside world. Men like Domenico Callea, age 34 serves 10 years for the violent-- for a violent rape. Upon his release he immediately becomes the bookkeeper for the Africo section and its dueling in structure, ritual duels are part of the promotion ritual for the Ndrangheta in this period. There's also a charismatic volatile president as the members call him, they call Filippo Velona. He too is released after a long prison sentence and assumes a very senior role of a wide area of Calabrian territory. The story so far then, yes 1860s and 1870s sporadic instances, because you've got groups of criminals from within the prison system who are getting together to commit crimes, but have not yet established any kind of what we would call territorial control. The mid 1880s there begins a crime wave that rapidly leads to the establishment of that territorial control. There are a number of trials according to one magistrate. The time, 1854 picciotto are convicted between 1885 and 1902. Southern Calibria never recovers from this crime wave. It's from this moment on that the Ndrangheta establishes territorial control. Now that picture obviously banks a number of questions. The first one is of course, about prison. What is going on in prison if it can generate this organization? Well we know from a number of sources that the prison system of southern Italy was in the hands of gangs of Camorra, that bore a very, very close resemblance to the [Inaudible] and it was in the hands of the minor society and major society, the code of honor, practice of scarring people's faces with razors as a punishment, duels and so on and so forth. Right from the early 19th century, it's a very, very similar organization. One of the pieces of evidence is the autobiography of this man. He was a Calabrian prison crime boss before the Ndrangheta emerged into the outside world. There are plenty of other cases of prison criminal organizations establishing their authority on the outside world. The Russian mafia is a case in point. For a long time the Vory were a prison gang and with the fall of the Soviet Union they managed to establish their authority on the outside. Similarly the South African number gangs, the 26s, 27s and 28s that emerged in the 90s with the establishment of democracy for reasons I don't have time to go into. But the same transformation happens also in Naples, a generation earlier and this is almost instructive example. Well let's look very briefly at the honoured society of Naples, which has a history we know much better. The honoured society of Naples takes shape when political prisoners during the resergment or during the union for Italian unification. Many of whom were free masons are in prisoned and the criminals learn the business of organizing yourself like a free masonry. That's what mafias are; they are free masonry's of crime. And from these patriotic prisons-- and the patriotic prisoners also give them their invitation card into history because they recruit them as revolutionary muscle, just as the [Inaudible] authorities that the patriots wanted to overthrow recruit them as police spies. And that as I said is how [Inaudible] got into history. From that point on they can start to establish their authority in the outside world. So, in this case, it's that combination of politics and violence that is the passage for criminal power from the prisons into the outside world. So why does the Ndrangheta emerge in the 1880s? What's he reason? The courts are very good at telling us what happened. They don't often ask themselves why? Well the economy is undoubtedly part of it. There was an agricultural crisis, protectionism. These cash cops were reported in some areas. You got a lot of debt ridden small holders and hungry labor. So there were plenty of recruits, but I don't think the economy is the real secret. I think politics is to blame. Once again it's that combination of politics and violence that's the secret. Now the authorities aren't very keen to talk about this thing for reasons that will become obvious. But we do get fragmentary reports that talk about the police closing up or cozying up to Bianchi at election time. We learned that Domenico Callea, I also mentioned in Africo was the son of a former mayor. And we learned the defendants in the Africo trial, for all that poverty, for all the isolation of that, their village had expensive lawyers and included people who, because of their prosperous financial state, I'm quoting from a judge, could only have been driven to crime because they are innately wicked. So, what is going on? Well, the 1880s are the years of Italy's entry into the era of mass politics. Elective reforms in 1882 and 1888 mean a quarter of adult males are now entitled to vote. Local government gets more power and more resources. Resources that family groups and criminal groups want to get their hands on. There is an increase in the demand for violence in the political domain with the arrival of mass politics, both from the center, from the ministry of the interior who wants to use the police to make sure that the right candidates win elections and locally from local candidates who want to impose themselves on others. That's is the reason I think and the reason of course the authorities want to talk about this very much is that that complacent in it. That I think unfortunately democratization seems to be a sort of perverse democratization is one of the reasons, the main reason the Ndrangheta emerged when it did. Now the Ndrangheta through its history goes through many, many more important changes. One of the superficial symptoms of those changes is the change in the dress code. Some time in the early 20th century the black trousers and the strange haircuts disappeared. Another thing that's very important is the Ndrangheta learns to make crime into a family business. I can't go into this now, but the Ndrangheta begins as a society of ex cons. And through the 20th century learns the business of transmitting criminal patrimonies down through the generations, recruiting sons, using women properly in its organization. It becomes more family centered. That's a long story of development that I don't have time to tell here, which I do tell. Here's the plug, in my book which is due out in June, which is a parallel history of the Sicilian mafia, The Neapolitan Camorra and of course the Ndrangheta of Calabria. Thank you. [ Sound effects ] >> Wonderful. Any questions. I have a question here. Would you like to take my mic? >> Thank you the approach different the [Inaudible] the origins of Sicilian mafia? >> Diego Gambetta's [Assumed spelling] isn't about the origins of the Sicilian mafia. It's a very important sociology of the Sicilian mafia, an account of its economics if you like of the mafia as a kind of criminal brand, a brand of protection. So, Gambetta's book is extremely important, but it's not a history. >> Okay one here. >> Excuse me. Why do you think this phenomenon was just in the South of Italy and not-- it didn't happen in the North? >> It's-- the question was, I don't know if people heard it is why does this happen in the South and not in the North? That's a long story. It's in the South really that we get an attempt in the early 19th century, which is really when this takes hold. By the [Inaudible] to modernize itself and yet deep down it remains an [Inaudible] regime society where power is parceled out to local groups who were able to assert themselves local, pre-mafias if you like of whether they're members of the ruling class of the poor and that's really the problem. The problem goes back to the [Inaudible] state, the failings of the [Inaudible] state. And then Italy, northern Italy as well as after unification learns to manage the south in this way and perpetuates the problem. >> Good. I have a couple of questions in the back? Yes. >> How many members does the [Inaudible] have nowadays and furthermore, is there a wider circle of supporters. >> The numbers are bound to be approximate, but its though to be the most numerous. I think it's something like 7 thousand, is the number that's most frequently sited. But of course, the people have actually been through a ritual and become members are only a tiny part of the problem. You're talking about a huge area of support in society. And that's the most worrying thing about [Inaudible] is that it seems to draw on the most consent in part of collaborating society. >> Okay, I think we have another question in the back there. Did we have a gentleman in the back or the lady there, yes? >> Thank you. Because of the geographical closeness of this area to Sicily and also Naples what relationships or relationship if any do they have with the other mafia bodies and particularly in terms of this sort of legend that they have about the three knights? >> Well, the main relationship between them historically and on a day-to-day basis is within the prison system and it still is. You know, that's the sort of university of crime, the way they communicate with one another. They learn from each other and that pattern of communications has gone on right from the beginning. They don't enter very often into conflict except within the prisons. Because mafia power is all about territory and the Ndrangheta is no one missions to take over territory in Sicily. The interesting area for this is eastern Sicily around Messina, which is a city I know well where they basically have a kind of diplomatic relationship. They leave territorial control to local offices and then when there's anything important going on the guys in suits from Palermo and [Inaudible] meet, to thrash out a deal and it's the very peaceable nature of the business relationship between the mafia and Ndrangheta in eastern Sicily around Messina and the province of Messina gives-- is frightening instance-- that play on their ability to collaborate. >> Okay, just one more question over here. >> Fascinating talk. What happened when Italy was under the control of the fascists in Ndrangheta? >> It's a complicated story the story of fascism. It's been trumpeted at least by the fascists themselves as a great wave of repression that did away with the Sicilian mafia and the Camorra in the Neapolitan [Inaudible] The truth we now know, and there are some remarkable documentations that's just emerged is-- it simply didn't. You know the most convincing we have evidence already by 1932 in Sicily when the mafia basically tender our messages saying okay the trials are now finished from the fascist repression, we can start up again. In Calabria there were also waves of repression, but Calabria never, ever attracts the kind of publicity and interest that Sicily does. Calabria is systematically very simply not as powerful or as important economically as Palermo and Naples. You can govern Italy by ignoring Palerma and Naples. So, the story under fascism as under the sense of the Calabria mafia is a mafia that has basically been ignored, during the land it's been ignored. >> Good I'd like to say thanks very much to John for an absolutely wonderful talk. [ Sound effects ] >> And are you feeling comfortable? Are you feeling comfortable? Then buy the book. Thank you very much.




In 1887, the City of San Diego adopted a new charter reestablishing the office of mayor for the first time in 35 years since an 1852 city bankruptcy. In the interim, the City had been run by a board of trustees appointed by the State.[1]

On October 4, 1887, trade unions of San Diego met to nominate a slate of candidates to run for office on the platform of the Workingmen's Party of California. On the fourth ballot, William J. Hunsaker was selected as the Workingmen's candidate for mayor.[2] His opponent, Daniel C. Reed ran as a Republican on the Citizen's ticket.[3]

On November 8, 1887, Hunsaker was elected mayor with 53.8 percent of the vote to Reed's 46.2 percent.[4]

Election results

San Diego mayoral election, 1887[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Workingmen's William Jefferson Hunsaker 1,328 53.8
Republican Daniel C. Reed 1,141 46.2
Total votes 2,469 100


  1. ^ a b c Larson, Thomas (October 28, 2004). "Elections San Diego Style". San Diego Reader. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Labor Ticket". The San Diego Union. October 4, 1887. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  3. ^ "Our Candidates". The San Diego Union. October 19, 1887. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "The Election". The San Diego Union. November 10, 1887. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
This page was last edited on 14 May 2019, at 20:58
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