John Barbagelata

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John Barbagelata (March 29, 1919 – March 19, 1994) was a San Francisco City Supervisor and 1975 mayoral candidate, when he narrowly lost to George Moscone. He was also the owner of a local real estate firm. As of 2020, he was the last Republican to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in 1973.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Barbagelata was a realtor and the founder of Barbagelata Realty Company, still operating in San Francisco's West Portal neighborhood. He had eight children and was a devout Catholic.[1]

Political career[edit]

A conservative Catholic businessman, Barbagelata was strongly opposed to the leftist counterculture that had begun to take hold of San Francisco in the late 1960s.[1] Barbagelata advocated for pro-business policies such as lower taxes and minimal government regulation of business, and opposed labor unions, hippies, and leftist radicals, which made him a target for various leftist militants. He received numerous death threats, a bomb was exploded outside his house, a gun was fired through the windows of his West Portal real estate office, and two mail bombs were sent to his house, eventually requiring 24-hour police and FBI protection for his family.[1]

Barbagelata was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1970 on a campaign of fiscal responsibility and lower taxes.[2]

Barbagelata ran for mayor in 1975 against progressive candidate George Moscone, promising low taxes, a crackdown on crime, and a fight against corruption and "irresponsible City spending".[3] He lost by fewer than 5,000 votes.[1] For the rest of his life, Barbagelata maintained that the Peoples Temple far-left religious cult, led by Jim Jones, committed election fraud in the 1975 election by busing in out-of-town church members to double- and triple-vote for Moscone under the names of dead voters.[1]

He retired from politics in 1978, returning briefly in the late 1980s to promote a successful referendum creating term limits for City Supervisors.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Cothran, George. Barbagelata's Return?, San Francisco Weekly, November 18, 1998.
  2. ^ "City and County of San Francisco Candidates, Propositions, together with Arguments and Statements of Controller Relating to Costs to be voted on at General Municipal Election, November 6, 1973" (PDF).
  3. ^ "San Francisco Voter Information Handbook, Election November 4, 1975" (PDF). Retrieved October 2, 2012.