Robert J. McCarthy, a lawyer, lobbyist and political fundraiser who counted scores of San Francisco city leaders as his friends and clients, died of cancer Sunday at his home in the city’s St. Francis Wood neighborhood. He was 61.
— Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle
Back when first started covering the San Francisco Planning Commission (in the days when Frank Jordan was mayor of San Francisco) as a reporter, I noticed a big, well-dressed guy who seemed to make all the commissioners sit up and pay attention whenever he spoke. That was Bob McCarthy, and I came to see him around quite a lot at City Hall.
I guess Bob eventually noticed me, too, because on occasion he would pull me aside in the hallway and complain — gently — about something I had written. I know that later on, when I became neighborhood editor and then managing editor of the San Francisco Independent, he also noticed those rare occasions when one of my reporters misunderstood a story or just wrote it in a way that required him to speak up in defense of one of his clients.
I’m not one to hang around politicians and lobbyists except as professionally required, and of course I frequently disagreed with Bob and was annoyed at the way he tried to spin the stories, but I always found Bob McCarthy to be an exceptionally effective advocate for his clients and an interesting guy. San Francisco will be a less interesting without him.