Editor's Notes

I have something to say to Mark Leno, and I hope he's paying attention


I have something to say to Mark Leno, and I hope he's paying attention.


Our endorsement in the state Senate race, which you can read on page 13, was painful. We made the right call, and I stand behind it — but it wasn't easy.

I still remember the year 2000, when San Francisco politics changed forever, when district elections turned the Board of Supervisors from a collection of political hacks — wholly owned by downtown and utterly loyal to a corrupt mayor — into one of the most progressive policy-making bodies in any city in America. That was the year Aaron Peskin, Chris Daly, Matt Gonzales, Jake McGoldrick, and Gerardo Sandoval joined Tom Ammiano and, in one great political day, doomed the Willie Brown machine to political obscurity and paved the way for a living wage law, universal health care, community choice aggregation, real budget oversight, and a city where the grassroots actually mattered.

And you, Mark, were on the wrong side of history. You went along with Willie Brown. You endorsed Lawrence Wong against Peskin. You endorsed Michael Yaki against McGoldrick. You were behind not only the sleazy Brown machine but a couple of truly lame candidates; those endorsements should embarrass you until the end of time. (Be serious — looking back at all that Peskin has done for San Francisco, can you actually say Lawrence Wong, who couldn't even handle a job overseeing the Community College District, was the better choice? Mark, you are many things, but you are not a fool.)

If you win this election — and I think you will — you have some serious work to do bringing the queer community and the left back together. A lot of people are mad at their friends, and a lot of good allies are fighting. We're losing sight of the prize, here. And while you had every right to challenge Carole Migden, and I'm glad you did, you also created this situation and you need to help fix it.

How do you do that? For starters, don't attack Migden. She's done enough damage to herself. And she's done a lot for this community. Your campaign consultants will want to send out nasty hit pieces (they're probably already printed), but you have to stop them. And if you don't get that, if you think winning is more important than anything, then you're as bad as Bill and Hillary Clinton, who seem to believe it would be better to elect a Republican than concede defeat to another Democrat. Don't go there. The collateral damage would be immense. It's not worth it.

And show a little independence. This November don't let yourself side with another group of worthless supervisorial candidates who are simply Gavin Newsom clones.

When you refused to criticize Mayor Newsom's bloody budget, you blamed the governor and told us you didn't want to see "the good guys fighting." I have news for you: When it comes to the city budget, Gavin Newsom is not one of the good guys. He is our own Arnold Schwarzenegger, refusing to raise taxes and instead cutting programs.

And his allies, the downtown forces furious about the progressive board, will want to put another group of regressive sycophants in office this fall. You have no business being a part of that.

Mark, I like you, but this endorsement was a great leap of faith for me. Show me I wasn't wrong.

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