That's the result of the election of a few progressive reformers — Milton Marks, Chris Jackson, and John Rizzo, who now have enough clout on the seven-member board to drag along a fourth vote when they need it.
But the litany of disasters they've had to clean up is almost endless. A chancellor (who other incumbent board members supported until the end) is now under indictment. Public money that was supposed to go to the district wound up in a political campaign. An out-of-control semiprivate college foundation has been hiding its finances from the public. The college shifted bond money earmarked for an arts center into a gigantic, expensive gym with a pool that the college can't even pay to operate, so it's leased out to a private high school across the street.
And the tragedy is that all three incumbents — two of whom should have stepped down years ago — are running unopposed.
With all the attention on the School Board and district elections, not one progressive — in fact, not one candidate of any sort — has stepped forward to challenge Anita Grier and Lawrence Wong. So they'll get another term, and the reformers will have to continue to struggle.
We're endorsing only Rizzo, a Sierra Club staffer who has been in the lead in the reform bloc. He needs to end up as the top vote-getter, which would put him in position to be the board president. Rizzo has worked to get the district's finances and foundation under control and he richly deserves reelection.
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS, DISTRICT 8
It's about time somebody mounted a serious challenge to James Fang, the only elected Republican in San Francisco and a member of one of the most dysfunctional public agencies in California. The BART Board is a mess, spending a fortune on lines that are hardly ever used and unable to work effectively with other transit agencies or control a police force that has a history of brutality and senseless killing.
Fang supports the suburban extensions and Oakland Airport connector, which make no fiscal or transportation sense. He's ignored problems with the BART Police for 20 years. It's time for him to leave office.
Bert Hill is a strong challenger. A professional cost-management executive, he understands that BART is operating on an old paradigm of carrying people from the suburbs into the city. "Before we go on building any more extensions," he told us, "we should take care of San Francisco." He wants the agency to work closely with Muni and agrees there's a need for a BART sunshine policy to make the notoriously secretive agency more open to public scrutiny. We strongly endorse him.
San Francisco needs an aggressive assessor who looks for every last penny that big corporations are trying to duck paying — but this is also a job that presents an opportunity for challenging the current property tax laws. Phil Ting's doing pretty well with the first part — and unlike past assessors, is actually stepping up to the plate on the second. He's been pushing a statewide coalition to reform Prop. 13 — and while it's an uphill battle, it's good to see a tax assessor taking it on. Ting has little opposition and will be reelected easily.
Adachi's done a great job of running the office that represents indigent criminal defendants. He's been outspoken on criminal justice issues. Until this year, he was often mentioned as a potential progressive candidate for mayor.
That's over now. Because Adachi decided (for reasons we still can't comprehend) to join the national attack on public employees and put Prop. B on the ballot, he's lost any hope of getting support for higher office from the left.