The politics of unity and division - Page 2

Why does Newsom keep stabbing the progressive Democrats whose support he needs?

Democratic County Central Committee chair Aaron Peskin

Sup. Chris Daly, the lone vote against the budget compromise with Newsom and the removal of revenue measures from the November ballot, noted at the July 27 board meeting how the business community has sabotaged city finances, citing its 2002 lawsuit challenging the gross receipt taxes, which the board settled on a controversial 8-3 vote. "This is a large part of our structural budget deficit," Daly said.

But antitax sentiment has only gotten worse with the current recession and political dysfunction, causing Democrats like Newsom to parrot Republicans' no-new-taxes mantra, much to the chagrin of progressives.

"A lot of this is being driven by statewide politics. [Newsom] needs to not have taxes go up but he also needs the support of the labor unions, so we get weird stuff happening in San Francisco," Mandelman said.

The situation has also fed Newsom's animus toward progressives, who have enjoyed more local electoral success than the mayor. Newsom responded in June to the progressive slate winning a majority on the DCCC by placing a measure on the November ballot that would ban local elected officeholders from serving on that body, which includes four progressive supervisors and three supervisorial candidates.

Nonetheless, Newsom then unexpectedly sought a seat on the DCCC, arguing that his lieutenant governor nomination entitled him to an ex officio seat (those held by state and federal elected Democrats) even though the DCCC's legal counsel disagreed. While noting the hypocrisy of the request, Party Chair Aaron Peskin took the high road and proposed to change the bylaws to seat Newsom.

Some progressives privately groused about giving a seat to someone who, as DCCC member Carole Migden said at the meeting, was "picking a fight" with progressives by pushing a measure she called "disrespectful and unconstitutional." But in practice, the episode seems to have hurt Newsom's relations with progressives without really strengthening his political hand.

Newsom ally Scott Wiener — a DCCC member and District 8 supervisorial candidate (who told us he opposes the mayor's DCCC ballot measure) — proposed to amend Peskin's motion to change the bylaws in order to seat Newsom with language that would allow Newsom to continue serving even if he loses his race in November.

That amendment was defeated on a 17-13 vote that illustrated a clear dividing line between the progressive majority and the minority faction of moderates and ex officio members. Even with Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris (who was seated as the Democratic nominee for attorney general) being seated — and counting the one absent vote, Sen. Leland Yee, who is expected to sometimes vote with progressives and sometimes with moderates — progressives still hold the majority going into the process of endorsing local candidates and allocating party resources for the fall campaign.

"Presuming that 17 people of that 33-member body all agree on something, then the presence of Mayor Newsom doesn't change anything," Peskin said. He also noted that even if Newsom's measure passed and the progressive supervisors were removed, "the irony is that the chair of the party [Peskin] would appoint their successors."

Also ironic is the political reality that it is Newsom who most needs his party's support right now, while it is progressives who are adopting the most conciliatory tone.

"We should all be working to turn out the vote and help Democrats win," Peskin told us. "I implore our mayor and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate to work with us and get that done."

Yet after Newsom gave a budget-signing speech that included the line, "At the end of the day, it comes down to leadership, stewardship, collaboration, partnership," he told the Guardian that he has no intention of removing or explaining his DCCC ballot measure, saying only, "If the voters support it, then it would be the right thing to do."


If you are a tenant in SF then the only reason you are still here is you got up off your belly and on your hind legs and fought off this criminal gangster landlord pawn of overseas banking traitors. Newsom will rip out your throat and drink your blood if you let him. He is a real estate vampire and all his kind understand and respect are wooden stakes and sunlight.

Giving him even an inch is a huge mistake and you will pay and pay and pay, mark my words. The DCCC probably seated him because they thought he could bring in the money but there isn't enough money to compensate what he will demand in return.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 04, 2010 @ 11:19 am

Good Article Steve. I am reluctant to add comments, yet this is a public forum and regardless of the admonitions of others, comment may add clarity to all. Many in power in the San Francisco Democratic Caucus of the California and National DNC are not real Democrats. Gavin for instance, claims Democratic Values, and acts Republican. No wonder he gets along with Arnold Schwarzenegger so well. Talk or Walk - which do you choose to ascertain the mans motives with? I will take actions over words anyday, especially after all the great "brand" hustle by Barack Obama, and the delivery of GOP mainline programs - anathema to real Democrats. We have a ton of these players locally.

Rafael Mandelman is correct to identify the various individuals & groups and their policy sets proffered, for our relevant determination, of whether we will support both the person's claim of worthiness of support, and the wisdom of their proposed policies in common legal agreement. When Mark Leno and Gavin Newsom pushed and achieved sale of our Commonweal's Public State Park Lands in San Francisco to their Lennar Corporation for private profits, both Leno and Newsom delivered extreme and dangerous precedent: Pubic Officials Sales of Public Property to their Private Corporate Campaign Contributors. I call this clear corruption and misuse of office for personal gain - at the expense of our whole San Francisco Community. So when Leno or Newsom both, speak of their concern for our community interests, how does that jibe with their actions for personal gain and support for Corporate appropriation of Public Property for Private Profits? The same concept applies to the Chamber and Republican Policies. Public Interests? Private Profits? We are all adults here. It's obvious that Newsom is not a real Democrat, regardless of what Willy Brown and John Burton argue. Both Emperor Brown and John Burton have to go. We need new local Democratic Party Leadership. I like Aaron Peskin's claim to be a Real Democrat. Is Aaron actually the eyes and ears as well as hands of Emperor Willy? Well, there is the question.

Chris Daly was correct on the corruption and questionably illegal procedure of our Supervisors in their recent City and County Budget agreements with our young Republican Mayor. Scandalous? Yes. Normal? Sadly, yes again. For Chris Daly to criticize was correct, but the criticism is polluted by residences in Fairfield, and Elected Service in San Francisco. Ed Jew was sentenced for more than 5 years in prison for the same offense. Common knowledge? Yes. Legal action? No. Local corruption? Yes. So how do we ever remove the Corporate claws from our City and County when our champions act illegally in office and the ones who see that illegal conduct, themselves can't even keep it clear whether they live in the City or not. Come on Chris. Give it up. This is not about a legal residence address, but about where your wife, kids, and you keep your home and schools, shopping for food and normal residential stuff we all have. If your in Fairfield, as your family is, you used to live in San Francisco. If your supporting the Chamber Gavin, you are Republican and should join Michael Steel as your colleague, along with Meg Whitman and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mark Leno? Does the term "Mugwump" ring a bell in your consciousness?

We have to organize a whole new grassroots base of real Democrats to take over the California Democratic Party. I am at work on that effort now. For many, the work will begin November 3rd, 2010. Our Local Leadership and State Leadership have failed, and our National Leadership needs no comment. OFA #2, and the DNC have failed at every single race they have competed in support of since November 4th, 2008. That is a 100% losing streak. What does anyone see for November 2nd, in 2010? It's a joke, and the rank and file are the brunt of Fake Democrats who sold out to the Corporate Money Trusts. I see that the CFR and the Money Trusts bounce real political power back and forth between sell out Democrats and sell out Republicans, to keep any serious leadership and power out of the hands of the real owners of our Governments, Local, State, and Federal.

Politics is often considered the venue of compromise. Really? Why sell out all that is good - to a team who simply needs to be voted out of power? I see a California Republican Party sweep this year, not as inevitable - but in response to corruption in the California Democratic Party. The Republicans don't try to hide it. The voters are sick of it. I am also. The only silver lining in the politics of 2010 will be the ability to organize against clear opposition from November 3rd forward - the Republican State Constitutional Officers and their GOP teams. To be effective, we need to clean up - purge and clear out the Old Guard from the California Democratic Party, and start over from the bottom up. I am game for that. Locally, dirty back room deals must end - or the elected officials need to face the Federal and State Charges for illegal graft and corruption.

Posted by Paul Currier on Aug. 04, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

Why can't the Sups ever come up with a jobs bill that would lower the work week in SF
for all city employees,
to a 30 hour work week
so as to create 1 million new jobs.
That would make a positive effort
offering leadership to cities in the
rest of the nation.
Youtube: paul8kangas

Posted by Dr 8 Kangas on Aug. 06, 2010 @ 7:24 pm


They tried a 35 hour maximum working week in France thinking it would create new jobs and the effect was the exact opposite. So they reversed that move.

Since there are fixed costs in hiring each employee, it is considerably more expensive to have the same number of hours performed by more workers. So hiring 1,000 20-hour part-timers is costlier than hiring 500 40-hour workers.

And since the big problem now is the City workers' generous pension and health benefits, adding more employees would compound the unaffordibility of that problem.

So, sorry, won't work.

Posted by Folly on Aug. 08, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

The merits of various proposals get lost at City Hall because of the immature behavior of the leading actors, especially Aaron Peskin, Chris Daly, and Gavin Newsom.

They love shafting their opponents, grabbing territory for themselves, and posturing for attention. It's the sort of scene you find in kindergarten.

Each is also beholden to special interests. With Newsom, it's the corporate plutocrats. With Peskin and Daly, it's the nonprofit political complex, the unions, and the cannabis capitalists.

There are no heroes here, but a diversity of banalities, all covered with self-righteous veneers, and each highly polished by spinners and surrogates.

In other words, politics as usual.

It's not good enough anymore.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 06, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

Newsom keeps stabbing "us" because "we" keep on giving him knives and presenting our bared backs to him.

Evans is correct. Progressivism in San Francisco has devolved from any semblance of a popular movement into a racket that delivers security to a few activists and precious little to San Franciscans.

Without access to resources to challenge corporate power, and without delivering results to the broader constituency of progressive voters, we'll continue to see the abandonment of progressive values and policies in exchange for a meal ticket and tepid compromise.

Others are better suited for the politics of pushing the merry-go-round than I.


Posted by marcos on Aug. 07, 2010 @ 9:39 am

What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation.


Posted by marcos on Aug. 07, 2010 @ 9:45 am

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