Turning point - Page 3

Progressives prove that district elections and ranked-choice voting really work

That was an odd choice for Newsom, who claims to be a public power supporter: Chan's law firm has received more than $200,000 in legal fees from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in just the past two years, and like his alliance with Black in District 6, the Chan endorsement put him on the side of one of the least popular actors on the local political stage.
And in the end, the mayoral support meant little: Chan finished fourth, after Ron Dudum, Ed Jew, and Jaynry Mak.
There was a certain amount of nervousness on election night when Dudum emerged atop the candidate list at the prospect that for the first time in a generation, the board would be without Asian representation. Four Asian candidates appeared to have split the vote, allowing Dudum to win.
But when the ranked-choice voting program was run Nov. 10, that concern evaporated: the new system allowed Asian voters to divide their preferences without risking that sort of vote-split result. When it was all over, Ed Jew emerged the winner.
As Jew told us, "I think it showed that having so many Asians benefited the top Asian vote-getter."
The school board and community college board races get less press than the top of the ticket, but as citywide contests, they can be even tougher for progressives. And this year the Green Party had some surprising victories.
Jane Kim, a Green, finished top in the balloting — remarkable considering that she didn't have the endorsement of the Democratic Party. Mendoza came in second, followed by Kim-Shree Maufas. That puts three new members, all of them women of color, on the board and shows that activists frustrated by the votes of longtime incumbent Dan Kelly could defeat someone who until recently was considered a shoo-in for reelection.
Peter Lauterborn, a Kim supporter, was ecstatic about the win. "This is a massive triumph," he said. "We beat the money and we beat the establishment."
The same goes for the community college board, where John Rizzo, a Green, appears to have edged out Johnnie Carter, bringing new reform blood to an ossified and often corrupt agency.
Binder attributed the strong finishes by Kim and Maufas to their endorsements by the Guardian, the Democratic Party, and other lefty supporters. He was surprised by Rizzo's apparent victory (absentees could still change the outcome) but most on the left weren't. Rizzo had a lot of grassroots support and ran a strong campaign.
Similarly, Mirkarimi — who attended the postelection briefing along with fellow supervisor Daly — didn't agree with Binder's line on the school board, noting that the defeat of Kelly and the election of Kim and Maufas were strong endorsements for the stand that the current board lefties — Mark Sanchez, Sarah Lipson, and Eric Mar — have taken against positions by autocratic former superintendent Arlene Ackerman and her downtown backers.
"We got four votes on the school board," was how Delepine put it, adding, "President Sanchez, man." SFBG
Steven T. Jones and Alix Rosenthal are domestic partners. Tim Redmond wrote the analysis of the results in District 8. Amanda Witherell contributed to this story.

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