Election as prologue - Page 3

Leno victory and other ballot results shift San Francisco's political landscape

Leno ran a really good race," Latterman said, noting how Leno beat Migden by a large margin in San Francisco and came within a few thousand votes of beating Joe Nation on his home turf of Marin County.

"It was a big deal for Leno to get so close to Nation in Marin," Stearns said.

Leno told us the polling his campaign did late last year and early this year showed he had a strong advantage in San Francisco, "so with that, I invested a lot of time and energy in Marin County."

Stearns attributed the big Prop. G win to its large base of influential supporters: "The coalition-building was what put this over the top." Daly chalked it up to the $4 million that Lennar spent, saying it had bought the election. But Stearns, who was a consultant for the campaign, didn't agree: "I don't think money alone ever wins or loses campaigns."

Yet he said the lack of money and an organized No on G/Yes on F campaign did make it difficult to stop the Lennar juggernaut. "You need to have enough money to get your message out," Stearns said, noting that "Nobody knew that the Sierra Club opposed [Prop. G]."

In the one contested judge's race on the ballot, Gerardo Sandoval finished in a virtual dead heat with incumbent Judge Thomas Mellon. The two will face off again in a November runoff election because a third candidate, Mary Mallen, captured about 13 percent of the vote.

"How angry is Sandoval with Mallen now?" Latterman asked at the SPUR event. "If that 13 percent wasn't there, Sandoval wins."

Both Latterman and Stearns agreed that this election was Sandoval's best shot at unseating a sitting judge. "He's going to face a tougher test in November," Stearns said.

The other big news was the lopsided defeat of Prop. 98, which would have abolished rent control and limits on condo conversions in addition to its main stated aim of restricting the use of eminent domain by local governments.

"It just lost bad," Latterman said of Prop. 98, the second extreme property rights measure to go down in recent years. "It just needs to go away now.... This was a resounding, 'Just go away now, please.'<0x2009>"


Aside from the Leno victory, this election was most significant in setting up future political battles. And progressives won a big advantage for the battles to come by picking up seats on the city's two Democratic County Central Committees, a successful offensive engineered largely by Daly and Peskin, who were both elected to the eastside DCCC District 13.

"On the DCCC level, we took back the Democratic Party," said Robert Haaland, a progressive who was reelected to the DCCC District 13.

"The fight now is over the chair. The chair decides where the resources go and sets the priorities, so you can really do a lot," Haaland told us.

Many of the fall supervisorial contests feature races between two or three bona fide progressives, so those candidates are going to need to find issues or alliances that will broaden their bases.

In District 9, for example, the candidates include housing activist Eric Quezada (who lost his DCCC race), school board president Mark Sanchez, and Police Commission member David Campos — all solid progressives, all Latino, and all with good bases of support.

Campos finished first in his DCCC District 13 race just ahead of Peskin. Speaking on election night at the GAMH, Campos attributed his strong showing to walking lots of precincts and meeting voters, particularly in the Mission, an effort that will help him in the fall.

"A lot of Latino voters are really eager to be more involved [in politics]," Campos said.