Migden stood with the progressives in denouncing Newsom's budget and Leno stood with the mayor.
The district supervisorial battles this fall will be crucial to the city's future, and Migden has already endorsed Eric Mar, the best progressive candidate for District 1, and will almost certainly be with John Avalos, the leading progressive in District 11. Leno may well back a Newsom moderate. In fact, he's made himself a part of what labor activist Robert Haaland aptly calls the "squishy center" in San Francisco, the realm of the weak, the fearful, and the downtown sycophants who refuse to promote progressive taxes, regulations, and budgets at City Hall. His allegiance to Newsom is truly disturbing.
There's a war for the soul of San Francisco today, as there has been for many years, and Leno has often tried to straddle the battle lines, sometimes leaning a bit to the wrong camp and never showing the courage to fight at home for the issues he talks about in Sacramento. We'll stipulate to that and the only reason we can put it aside for the purposes of this endorsement is that Leno has never really had much in the way of coattails. He supports the wrong candidates, but he doesn't do much for them and we sincerely hope it stays that way.
While Leno is too close to Newsom, we will note that Migden is far too close to Gap founder and Republican leader Don Fisher, one of the most evil players in local politics. She proudly pushed to put Fisher who supports privatizing public schools on the state Board of Education.
A prominent local progressive, who we won't identify by name, called us several months ago to ask how were going to come down in this race, and when we confessed indecision, he said: "You know, I really want to support Carole. But she makes it so hard."
We find ourselves in a similar position. We really wanted to support Migden in this race. We'd prefer to see the state senator from San Francisco using her fundraising ability and influence to promote the candidates and causes we care about.
But Migden has serious political problems right now, baggage we can't ignore and it's all of her own making. Migden says her problems with the Fair Political Practices Commission are little more than technical mistakes but that's nonsense. She's played fast and loose with campaign money for years. When it comes to campaign finance laws, Migden has always acted as if she rules don't apply to her. She's treated FPPC fines as little more than a cost of doing business. This latest scandal isn't an exception; it's the rule.
Unfortunately, it's left her in a position where she's going to have a hard time winning. Today, the election looks like a two-person race between Leno and Nation. And the threat of Joe Nation winning this primary is too great for us to mess around.
Despite our criticism of both candidates, we would be happy with either in the state Senate. We're taking a chance with Leno; he's shown some movement toward the progressive camp, and he needs to continue that. If he wins, he will have a huge job to do bringing a fractured queer and progressive community back together and the way to do that is not by simply going along with everything Newsom wants. Leno has to show some of the same courage at home he's shown in Sacramento.
But right now, today, we've endorsing Mark Leno for state Senate.
State Senate, District 9
This is another of several tough calls, another creature of term limits that pit two accomplished and experienced termed-out progressive assembly members against each other for the senate seat of termed-out Don Perata. We've supported both Loni Hancock and Wilma Chan in the past, and we like both of them. In this one, on balance, we're going with Hancock.
Hancock has a lifetime of experience in progressive politics.