"The attacks against the board didn't work," Peskin said, noting that in election after election the supervisors have shown that they "have much longer coattails than the chief executive of San Francisco."
"I think it's a pretty thorough rejection of Don Fisher's agenda. He was not able to fool the voters," said Tom Radulovich, director of Livable City and a BART director, who was active in the campaign. "This was about transit and what's best for downtown. We should be very proud as a city."
The day after the El Rio party, at the monthly Car Free Happy Hour — a gathering of alternative-transportation activists and planners — there was excited talk of the previous night's electoral triumph, but it quickly turned to the question of what's next.
After all, progressives proved they could win in a low-turnout election against a poll-tested, attractive-sounding, and well-funded campaign. And given that the number of signatures needed to qualify an initiative for the ballot is a percentage of the voters in the last mayor's race, it suddenly seems easy to meet that standard.
Some of the ideas floated by the group include banning cars on a portion of Market Street, having voters endorse bus rapid-transit plans and other mechanisms for moving transit quicker, levying taxes on parking and other auto-related activities to better fund Muni, and exempting bike, transit, and pedestrian projects from detailed and costly environmental studies (known as level of service, or LOS, reform to transportation planners).
"There's a lot of potential to move this forward," Haaland said later. "We can talk about creating a real transit-justice coalition."
There's also a downside to the low turnout: downtown can more easily place measures on the ballot or launch recall drives against sitting supervisors, which would force progressives to spend time and money playing defense.
But overall, for an election that could have been a total train wreck for progressives, the high-profile victory and the new coalitions suggest that the movement is alive and well, despite Newsom's reelection.