Democrats divided

DCCC endorses progressive supervisorial candidates and rejects Newsom ballot measures

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Rafael Mandelman and Debra Walker got the DCCC's first place endorsements in their Board of Supervisors races

Update:This online article contains a correction concerning the DCCC's vote on Sup. Sean Elsbernd's Muni pay guarantees (Prop. G). In the print version of this article, the Guardian reported that the DCCC had voted "to recommend a no vote" on Prop. G. This is incorrect. The DCCC voted "not to endorse" Prop. G. As Elsbernd points out, "This is a key distinction."

Sarah@sfbg.com

With fewer than 10 weeks to go until a pivotal November election, the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) approved a package of endorsements at its Aug. 11 meeting, giving the nod to mostly progressive candidates and rejecting Mayor Gavin Newsom's most divisive ballot measures.

This crucial election could alter the balance of power on a Board of Supervisors that is currently dominated by progressives, and that new board would be seated just as it potentially gets the chance to appoint an interim mayor.

That's what will happen if Newsom wins his race for lieutenant governor. The latest campaign finance reports show that Newsom has raised twice as much money as the Republican incumbent, former state Sen. Abel Maldonado. But the two candidates are still neck-and-neck in the polls.

Although the DCCC supports Newsom in the race, it is resisting his agenda for San Francisco, voting to oppose his polarizing sit-lie legislation (Prop. L), a hotel tax loophole closure (Prop. K) that would invalidate the hotel tax increase that labor unions placed on the ballot, and his hypocritical ban on local elected officials serving on the DCCC (Prop. H).

Shortly after the vote, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Newsom called an emergency closed-door meeting with some of his downtown allies to discuss the upcoming election. "We just wanted to get on the same page on what's going on locally, what's going with the ballot initiatives, where people are on the candidates for supervisor," Newsom told the newspaper.

DCCC Chair Aaron Peskin, who regularly battled with Newsom during his tenure as president of the Board of Supervisors, voted with the progressive bloc against Newsom's three controversial measures. But he told us that he was glad to see the mayor finally engage in the local political process.

Sup. David Campos kicked off the DCCC meeting by rebuffing newly elected DCCC member Carole Migden's unsuccessful attempt to rescind the body's endorsement of Michael Nava for Superior Court Judge, part of a push by the legal community to rally behind Richard Ulmer and other sitting judges.

Things got even messier when the DCCC endorsed the candidates for supervisor. In District 2, the DCCC gave the nod to Janet Reilly, snubbing incumbent Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier, who is running now that Superior Court Judge Peter Busch has ruled that she is not termed out (a ruling on City Attorney Dennis Herrera's appeal of Busch's ruling is expected soon).

In District 6, where candidates include DCCC member Debra Walker, School Board President Jane Kim, Human Rights Commission Executive Director Theresa Sparks, neighborhood activist Jim Meko, and drag queen Glendon Hyde (a.k.a. Anna Conda), the club endorsed only Walker, denying Kim the second-place endorsement she was lobbying for.

But in District 8, where candidates include progressive DCCC member Rafael Mandelman, moderate DCCC member Scott Wiener, and moderate Rebecca Prozan, the politics got really squirrelly. As expected, Mandelman got the first-place nod with 18 votes: the progressive's bare 17-vote majority on the 33-member body plus Assembly Member Leland Yee.

Yet because Yee supports Prozan and David Chiu, the Board of Supervisors president who was also part of the DCCC progressive slate, had offered less than his full support for Mandelman, a deal was cut to give Prozan a second-place endorsement.

Comments

It's good to see that the people running for local office understand that Adachi's Prop B is not good for families and not good for the city. Trying to take kids health care away during an economic crisis just doesn't make sense, and Adachi's plan to mask it in false "pension reform" looks like it's starting to fail.

Posted by SFLocal on Aug. 18, 2010 @ 6:53 am

No one expected shills for organized labor from the Politburo to endorse Prop B. We already know the "progressives" on the BOS don't mind the general fund being gutted by employee pension costs. They are bought and sold by organized labor.

Jim(?) Meko was applauded in the District 6 debate for supporting Adachi making him a dark horse candidate. There is a reason Prop B is polling in the 60s. Taxpayers are demanding employee benefit reform evidenced by the 49,000 plus validate sigs Adachi collected in only 10 weeks...

Some on the BOS and some candidates like Janet Reilly are out of touch with reality.

Posted by Seej on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

What a wonderful article. It is written quite well. It’s balanced and gives the readers the entire picture of what occurred. Bravo Sarah! Another win!

Posted by James Keys on Aug. 19, 2010 @ 6:23 am

Why, why why is there no mention of the District 6 frontrunner James Keys? He has earned the endorsement of Chris Daly. He has earned the support of people on the street including seniors, homeless, people with disabilities. James is a fighter for the poor and disadvantaged. Despite the endorsement of the current supervisor, he is not a political insider who is beholden to special interests. He lives right in the heart of the Tenderloin and is not part of any big political machine. I have faith that he will represent the most vulnerable San Franciscans and have the guts to stand up against the privileged classes with flair and style. I wish the Guardian would stop avoiding any mention of James Keys.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 19, 2010 @ 8:15 am

Why, why why is there no mention of the District 6 frontrunner James Keys? He has earned the endorsement of Chris Daly. He has earned the support of people on the street including seniors, homeless, people with disabilities. James is a fighter for the poor and disadvantaged. Despite the endorsement of the current supervisor, he is not a political insider who is beholden to special interests. He lives right in the heart of the Tenderloin and is not part of any big political machine. I have faith that he will represent the most vulnerable San Franciscans and have the guts to stand up against the privileged classes with flair and style. I wish the Guardian would stop avoiding any mention of James Keys.

Posted by James Armand Chionsini Jr on Aug. 19, 2010 @ 8:19 am

You'd have to ask the members of the DCCC why they didn't bring up Keys' name.

But I'm sure Keys will be included in our future coverage of the D. 6 race. And I'm looking forward to the inclusionary forum that is being planned in D. 6. so that all the candidates get a chance to present their platforms and answer questions

Posted by Guest on Aug. 19, 2010 @ 10:39 am

Is the Guardian endorsing specific candidates by not even acknowledging all the candidates running?

I don't understand why James Keys is being ignored. He has been involved in political issues for years in this city by fighting for low income housing, mental health services, safer streets for youth, pedestrians, bicyclists and seniors. He has assisted in writing proposals for legislators, organized information sessions for citizens to better help them understand what government can do for them, has worked with the California Universal Health Care Organizing Project since Fall 2007, taught seniors, people with disabilities, youth, homeless persons about pedestrian safety, Held hearings on the passage of Prop 63 money to build 10 units of studio at 990 Polk Street for formally homeless individuals and the list goes on....

Hoping to see more mention of him in the future as he is not going anywhere.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 19, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

Who's shilling for James Keys?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

..."With just about everybody opposed to Adachi's measure going after public employee unions, Walker observed that Adachi probably wishes he had done it differently now. But looking into the future, Walker sees opportunities for the party to come back together."

This Walker is another Labor hack. Why would Adachi care about what the hacks in bed with organized labor think about his proposal? I imagine he cares more about the reception from actual registered voters who live in SF and support Prop B overwhelmingly...There is a reason the unions filed a lawsuit to get Prop B off the ballot- it is widely popular with actual residents of San Francisco.

Posted by Seej on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

The mayor, the corporate plutocrats, the big real estate companies, and the developers have their own machine.

Aaron Peskin, the nonprofit political complex, the unions, and the cannabis capitalists have their own machine, too.

May the best machine win.

(But what does any of this have to do with progressive politics?)

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

Before she gets elected?

Yet another pompous politician who's convinced themselves (much like Aaron "Tiny" Peskin) that the world just can't get along with their meddling.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 20, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

City Hall has become a magnet for the mediocre and worse. The best people run the other way. This pattern holds across the political spectrum.

They all have their cliques, claques, and spinners. Few have brilliance - or even experience that is relevant to the jobs they seek.

Jeff Adachi, the Public Defender, and George Gascon, the Police Chief, are actually qualified to hold the jobs they have.

You can forget about the rest.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 11:08 am

Arthur -

Could not agree more. "Mediocre" is being generous; Adachi- the only elected official who seems to care that City employee benefits are burying the general fund and Gascon who also does not accept business as usual for San Francisco.

Unfortunately, they are the exceptions...

Posted by Seej on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 11:32 am

If you read it you wouldn't connect his experience with being part of the SF in-group to such a dogmatic level.

Posted by matlock on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

Quoting from the article...

"Wiener told the group he would not seek its endorsement for anything below the top slot. "I'm running for first place and I intend to win," Wiener said, shortly before Prozan secured the club's second-choice endorsement."

I find what Wiener said to be quite arrogant. Arrogance turns me off and unfortunately so many politicians thrive on arrogance. Wiener says, "I intend to win," as opposed to "I hope to win." Intend? What exactly does he plan to do if he doesn't have the necessary votes? Not another Bush/Cheney 2000, I hope.

I'm wondering how many people who are supporting Wiener actually know what he stands for in detail? Do they know that he's for Prop L (sit-lie)? I know what he stands for and he turned me off sometime ago. He does take a "personal" approach (goes door to door) which I don't see the other candidates doing at all.

I have to wonder what has happened to Harvey Milk's district. Nearly all of the signs I see up in the Castro and Upper Market area are those of Wiener and Prozan. There's even a huge Wiener banner on the corner of the building (both sides top level) that Harvey's Bar and Restaurant is in at Castro and 18th. I'm unclear on whether Harvey's is endorsing Wiener (I would hope not since Harvey Milk wouldn't be!) or if it's one of the tenants on the second floor who is endorsing Wiener. Or did Wiener pay the owner of the building for the advertisement space?

I don't have the time to look this up but I think it was one of the writers at the Guardian who previously referred to Wiener as a Republican by San Francisco's standards, yet this article refers to him as a "moderate." What is the definition being used for a "moderate?" Sit-lie is not "moderate." It is Draconian.

Mandelman needs to turn on his pilot light. He needs to put some heat under it if he has any intention or interest in winning. He is running a rather lame campaign. I say that because I've only seen a 2 Mandelman signs, by comparison which leads me to ask again: what has happened to Harvey Milk's district? From what I know about Harvey Milk, he would be endorsing Mandelman without question, not Wiener or Prozan.

Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

Why don't you whip out your crystal ball or your ouija board and and ask Harvey who he'd endorse?

Arguing over who Harvey would endorse is meaningless. The gay community is not the same beleaguered, powerless minority it was back in the 70s. There's a reason Bevan Dufty represents Milk's old district - because on par The Gays are more bourgeois and more realistic than they were back in the heady days of Harvey Milk. Arguing "who'd Harvey endorse?" games is as anachronistic as arguing "which Republican would Teddy Roosevelt endorse?" today.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

I'm quite surprised by the self-defeating tactics of Rafael Mandelman in the district-eight supe race. Mandelman is intelligent and informed. However, he is repeating all of Eileen Hansen's mistakes when she lost to Bevan Dufty.

Hansen's strategy was to unite the progressive faction behind herself with gusto and then to ignore or scorn everybody else. She was especially weak on the issues of public safety and public sanitation.

Yet these concerns were widely shared in district eight (and still are) by important constituencies: older gay men who have lived in the neighborhood a long time; and mothers (including lesbian mothers) who have young children.

Hansen looked down her nose at such concerns and kept preaching to the progressive choir. Her campaign proved that no one can be elected supe from district eight by the progressive faction alone. Some support is also needed from middle voters.

Today, Mandelman is following in Hansen's footsteps. He has packaged himself as "the progressive alternative in this race" and directed his pitch almost entirely to progressives.

He has hemmed and hawed when older gay men and mothers with young children bring up the issues of public safety and public sanitation. If he continues along this line, he will go down to defeat, just as Eileen Hansen did, and just as Alix Rosenthal also did.

My guess is that Mandelman is afraid of alienating the Pharisaic Milk Clubbers. They regard themselves as having the One True Politics. They will quickly turn on anyone, including their own members, who deviates in any regard from the faith. They are among the most doctrinaire and vicious people in SF politics.

As other posters have noted above, there are now many signs for Scott Wiener around district eight, and very few for his opponents.

Perhaps it's time for Mandelman to reinvent himself. Then again, he would have to fend off attacks from the Milk Clubbers if he did so, which wouldn't be a pretty sight.

It's a bit like watching a Greek tragedy, isn't it?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

I asked earlier.... "what is happening to Harvey Milk’s district?" It was a rhetorical question. I know what is happening to it and anyone who has lived here any length of time and is in the Castro regularly knows what’s happening to it. It’s slowly becoming like any other place. As this continues, at some point, why would anyone want to come to the Castro when it will no longer be the unique and special place it once was? Why would tourists want to come here at that point?

Some time ago, I talked with a barber who works in the Castro and he said at that time that from what he could tell that half of the “gay community” had moved away because they could not afford to live here any longer. I have seen more and more “straight” couples and babies in the Castro in the last year. There is no shortage of babies and baby strollers in the Castro.

Like every community, there are some rich people living in the Castro, but there aren’t a lot of them especially after what has come down from politicians in DC in recent years and outsourcing/off-shoring of jobs now at a record level. I've talked with a lot of people and all have been concerned about their job security in this economy. Some of the (gay) homeowners in the Castro would be quite happy to have the neighborhood become more like a retirement suburban community environment rather than that of an active, unique city neighborhood.

With continued gentrification, the Castro will turn more and more into a “straight” community and call itself, “moderate” (which really can mean anything).

Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

As a gay man who values the Castro, I was shocked and offended by some of the comments you made above, Bárbara Chelsai.

You say:

“It’s [the Castro] slowly becoming like any other place.”

It’s changing, but that doesn’t mean its becoming like any other place. It reminds me of the way it was in the early seventies, when there was a visible gay presence, but also a diversity of other people as well.

Guess what? - Diversity and change are good things!

You say:

“why would anyone want to come to the Castro when it will no longer be the unique and special place it once was?”

It was unique and wonderful in the 70s, with a terrific diversity, as noted above. Many people still love to come to such an environment. Doubt it? Walk down the street sometime and talk to people.

You say:

“half of the ‘gay community’ had moved away because they could not afford to live here any longer.”

Aren’t you forgetting something? Nearly an entire generation of gay men in the Castro was wiped out by AIDS. I myself lost about 100 friends, acquaintances, and lovers.

Despite this terrible loss, the Castro still has a strong gay presence. Compare it to the Haight.

In the 70s and 80s, the Haight had a very large gay population, too. I called it the Outer Castro. Then AIDS came along and wiped most of us out.

Gay people did not come back to the Haight as they did to the Castro. The Haight became a different kind of neighborhood. At the same time, housing prices were less expensive for the most part in the Haight than in the Castro.

So rising housing costs did not decimate the gay population of the Castro. AIDS did. How could you not know this? How could you not even mention it? What kind of ideological blinders are you wearing?

You say:

“I have seen more and more ‘straight’ couples and babies in the Castro in the last year.”

Shocking! Let’s keep them out! And the gay parents, too! And in the name of progressive politics!

You say:

“Some of the (gay) homeowners in the Castro would be quite happy to have the neighborhood become more like a retirement suburban community environment rather than that of an active, unique city neighborhood.”

This comment is an outrageous homophobic slur masquerading as political correctness.

Most gay people living in the Castro love it and have a strong sense of neighborhood pride.

You say:

“With continued gentrification, the Castro will turn more and more into a ‘straight’ community and call itself, ‘moderate’ (which really can mean anything).”

Your claims about the history and present state of the Castro are all screwed up, and there is an ugly undertone of homophobia in your comments.

Is this what progressive politics has come to in SF?

If so, you can have it.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 21, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

I'd like to follow-up on what the barber told me that I wrote about in an earlier post.

I wrote this paragraph about the barber:

"Some time ago, I talked with a barber who works in the Castro and he said at that time that from what he could tell that half of the “gay community” had moved away because they could not afford to live here any longer."

From talking with the barber at the time, I was left with the impression that he based his statement on his loss of his customer base and that his customers told him they were leaving the City, or it was a general observation that he was making. I didn't ask him how he was making his determination. I have noticed that his business is way down in the last couple of years especially. I have known many gay people who have left San Francisco in the last couple of years, which again, is what the barber I talked with was talking about. Last year, it was fairly common to see moving vans or U-hauls around my neighborhood and on my street. I think there are 2-3 homes for sale now on this street. There are at least 2 more homes for sale on the street a block away. All have been on the market for awhile so they are now considered "stale." I was talking with a friend of mine about people leaving and she says that in the past couple years she's heard gay people at her gym talking about leaving the City but no one is going to any one place. People are going or have gone to many destinations: Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, Palm Spring, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Cleveland (Cleveland?!?), Europe, Manhattan and other locations. They are some of the places I've heard (in the last couple years) and she's also heard people mention that they're moving to. Most of the people leaving talk about how expensive it is to live here as one of the main reasons they're leaving or have left and some have lost their job here or are being transferred to another city. Another neighbor moved to Portland about 2 years ago and told me how much better deal (much bigger for him) he could get on an apartment there as opposed to what he was paying here.

With gentrification, the City becomes less diverse and that's one of my concerns that we will lose our ethnic diversity which I value very much here, as well as corporate stores being allowed to come in and replacing small, local independent businesses.

Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 2:54 am

I could move to Spokane too and get A LOT more for my money. But neither Portland or Spokane are San Francisco nor is either even close to being Seattle. I'll take my bets living here in SF.

It's funny though - housing costs in San Francisco are now lower than they have been for a decade. Yet people are still complaining that they can't afford to live here. If rent control and a near-depression aren't going to make this city "affordable" then maybe those same people SHOULD be thinking about moving someplace else. San Francisco is unique - unique places usually aren't cheap for that very reason. Because they're not Portland.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 11:35 am

We should all feel grateful to progressive Bárbara Chelsai for frankly putting out on the table her derogatory attitudes about gay men and the Castro.

I have heard similar views expressed in the past from other SF progressives (including some Milk Clubbers) but rarely with such candor. Thank you, Bárbara Chelsai, for cutting through all pretense and bravely flashing your core attitudes, with no thought for the consequences.

These comments naturally lead to three questions for Rafael Mandelman, who is packaging himself as the voice of progressivism in district eight.

Dear Rafael,

(1) Do you share the derogatory views expressed above by progressive Bárbara Chelsai about gay men and the Castro?

(2) Or do you have a sense of neighborhood pride in the Castro?

(3) If so, what is your program for making the Castro safer?

Thank you for reflecting on these questions.

Yours for Gay Pride,

- Arthur Evans

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 22, 2010 @ 10:39 am

I, too, am wondering about the SFBG's news black-out re James Keys and the District 6 election. Not just talking about this particular article.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 23, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

I am, too, puzzled about the wall of silence in the "progressive" SFBG about James Keys candidacy for D6.
Stating that it is deliberate would be a naive understatement.
Let's see...
Keys ranked #1 choice with The African American Democratic Club,
with the Central City Democratic Club,
with the SF Green Party,
and is endorsed by incumbent D6 Supe Chris Daly,
by Cynthia McKinney and The SF Bay View paper, just to cite a few.

What is it that I fail to understand around exclusionary journalism in the "alternative" media?
But the wall of silence is doomed to implode, Keys got the ground !

Posted by mesha Monge-Irizarry on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

Today, Supervisor John Avalos added his name to a growing list of supporters for James Keys' campaign for District 6 Supervisor. James Keys is running for a vacant seat now held by Supervisor Chris Daly. Daly, termed out after holding the seat for 10 years, has also endorsed Keys in the race.

"I know James Keys as both a friend and former co-worker in the District 6 Supervisor's office. During that time, James showed a deep understanding of the needs of D6 constituents and how to navigate city hall on their behalf. Nobody worked harder for the constituents of District 6 than James Keys. He's earned my endorsement, and he's earned their support as well."

Supervisor John Avalos has also endorsed Jane Kim and Debra Walker in the race which will use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) to select the winner-- hinting at an effective RCV strategy for progressives in the district.



Posted by mesha Monge-Irizarry on Sep. 11, 2010 @ 12:47 am