Editor's notes

One last look before the election hits



At a certain point, you have to stop trying to project what's going to happen and just wait for the election results. Because what matters now isn't the $140 million Meg Whitman has spent or Carly Fiorina's record at Hewlett-Packard or which aide to Jerry Brown called Whitman a whore. It's who shows up to vote.

If I were Meg Whitman's campaign manager, I'd stop spending money. Go into hiding. Pretend there's nothing going on here, no big deal next Tuesday morning — and then pray for rain. Because the way Whitman wins — possibly the only way she wins — is if huge numbers of Californians don't bother to vote.

If the turnout is reasonable — that is, if enough Democrats realize the danger posed by of the GOP candidate and go to the polls — then Jerry Brown is in. And if that happens, chances are good that the rest of the Democratic ticket — including Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris — squeaks in, too. And then we can all start to have fun figuring out the future of San Francisco politics.

That, of course, depends on the same factor: Who's going to show up to vote? Will all the tenants in District 8 — many of them unexcited about Jerry Brown — take the time to vote for Rafael Mandelman for supervisor? Will the progressive voters who have lived in District 6 for a while get to the polls in greater numbers than the conservative newcomers in the pricey condos? Will the next Board of Supervisors — which could be choosing the next mayor — be as progressive as the current board (which also might wind up choosing the next mayor?)

And who's even on the mayoral short list?

At the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council forum Oct. 14, former Supervisor (and potential mayoral contender) Aaron Peskin noted that the person in Room 200 year "is going to have to take out the garbage." The city's going to face another awful budget deficit and a progressive interim mayor will have to make a lot of enemies. Who wants to face the voters in November 2011 after making more cuts and raising taxes?

Well, somebody needs to — because the "caretaker" mayor some people are pushing for won't have the clout to make tough decisions. And frankly, a progressive with the power of incumbency might actually be able to win a full term, even up against a huge downtown war chest.

Fun stuff. Go out and vote.


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