SF's new political era - Page 5

What Mayor Lee and a new board mean for the city

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Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

Some progressives were not at all happy with that comment. "I thought that was a terrible thing to say," Avalos told the Guardian, arguing the positions that elected officials take shape the legislation that follows. As an example, he cited the positions that progressive members of Congress took in favor of the public option during the health care reform debate.

Talking about getting things done is "a sanctimonious talking point that fits well with what the Chronicle and big papers want to hear," Avalos said. He said the Chronicle and other downtown interests are more interested in preserving the status quo and blocking progressive reforms. "It's what they want to see not get done."

Campos even challenged the comment publicly during the Jan. 11 board meeting when he said, "It's important to get things done, but I don't think getting things done is enough. We have to ask ourselves: what is it that we're getting done? How is it that we're getting things done? And for whom is it that we're doing what we're doing? Is it for the people, or the downtown corporate interests? I hope it's not getting things done behind closed doors."

Chiu said that, for him, getting things done is about expanding the progressive movement and consolidating its recent gains. "I think we all share a political goal. As progressives, we all share a political goal of getting things done and growing mainstream support for our shared progressive principles so that they really become the values of our entire city."

To do that, he said, progressives are going to need to be more conciliatory and cooperative than they've been in the past. "I think it's easy to slip into a more oppositional way of discussing progressive values, but I'm really pushing to move beyond that."

The biggest single issue this spring will be the budget — and it's hard to know exactly where the board president will draw his lines. "I have spoken to Mayor Lee about the need for open, transparent, and community-based budget processes and he's open to that," Chiu told us — and that alone would be a huge change. But the key progressive priority for the spring will be finding ways to avoid brutal budget cuts — and that means looking for new revenue.

When asked whether new general revenue will be a part of the budget solution, instead of Newsom's Republican-style cuts-only approaches, Chiu was cautious. "I am open to considering revenues as part of the overall set of solutions to close the budget deficit," he said. "I am willing to be one elected here that will try to make that argument." But with his political clout and connections right now, he can do a lot more than be one person making an argument.

Chiu has always been open to new revenue solutions and even led the way in challenging the cuts-only approach to both the city budget and MTA budget two years in a row, only to back down in the end and cut a deal with Newsom. When asked whether things will be better this year given his closer relationship to Lee, Chiu replied, "I think things are going to be different in the coming months."

During the board's Jan. 7 deliberation on Lee, Sup. Eric Mar also said that based on his communications with Lee, Mar believed that the Mayor's Office is open to supporting new revenue measures. He echoed the point later to us.

In addition to supporting the open, inclusive budget process, Mar called for "a humane budget that protects the safety net and services to the most vulnerable people in San Francisco is kind of the critical, top priority.

"I think it's going to be difficult working with the different forces in the budget process," he added. "That's why I wish it could have been a progressive who was chairing the budget process."

Comments

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful article on the changes at the board of supes and in the mayor's office.

As your article demonstrates, things are in flux at City Hall. New personnel and new ideas are making themselves felt.

Is the same happening to our local progressive sect? I don't see any evidence of such change.

To the contrary, SF progressives appear to have dug in their heals and become recalcitrant and reactive.

This is the sort of behavior usually associated with conservatives and revanchists.

Let's hope that SF progressives can develop enough intellectual acumen, practical know-how, social skills, and spiritual depth to reinvent themselves.

The first step is to break with denial and acknowledge the need for change.

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Posted by marcos on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 10:30 am

Progressive activists in this city need to get real immediately, and need to get -active- in a big way to fight the onslaught we are about to face from the bought puppets who now run City Hall, and the puppet masters behind them in the shadows.

This article paints far to optimistic picture and gets the fundamentals wrong.

In real life, what has just happened is that Downtown has just, however tenuously, regained control of our city government after a decade of being held at bay.

Though he will throw up empty pretense, David Chiu has just nervously joined Downtown. He was already starting to vote with them before the coup, and he is not likely to turn back now unless we heap massive citywide constituent pressure on him to keep him in line, and make clear to him that he has no political future if he continues on this cynical path.

Mar and Kim are in serious danger of completely jumping ship on the progressive wing, the former because being a progressive representing the Richmond is tricky (even with -five- allies) making caving to developer deals when he now has only four highly alluring, and the latter because she flat out made deals with Willie Brown and Rose Pak to get elected, and that kind of deal comes with a price.

For the next few years, the job of what David Campos now rightly calls the progressive minority, will be to keep Rose Pak, Willie Brown and Steve Kawa from wreaking total havoc on the City; and most importantly, to make sure that a mayor who is progressive, or will at least ally with progressives more often than not, gets elected in November.

This will mean working some some kick ass utilization of the Ranked Choice Voting system, running -more- than one very strong progressive in the election, and having the wisdom to rank Leland Yee in those ranked choices in case our chosen champions don't win.

Downtown has already started attacking Yee, and this shows that he is our best bet as the most electable fallback to keep a turncoat Downtown debutant like Chiu out of the room 200 where he would do San Francisco very serious damage.

And we will not be able to accomplish these crucial tasks by simply walking the aisles of City Hall and activating emails and phone calls. Staring -immediately- and for the next several years, progressive organizers need to put our outdoor walking shoes back on (as we did during the Daly re-election campaign) hit the streets, get the people out in those streets to hit the Supervisors and Mayor Lee like a tsunami with some hard ass demands, and make clear that we are not going to take any crap or compromise that puts anyone out of a working class job, their health care, food or a home.

And if the new Downtown clique try to lay any such bs on us, the whole damned city needs to go on strike the way it had to during the Great Depression.

We need to prepare for that kind of real war, because this economy is far from finished getting worse.

The next decade ain't for sissies, or fools. It's time to get real and active and get our hands in the dirt to protect the City from those who are about to double their efforts in attacking it for their own selfish financial benefit.

So build strong coalitions and hit the sidewalks and doors, and together we will keep San Francisco great.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 4:01 am

So Eric Brooks, Arthur Evans and Marc Solomon are up in arms over the new direction of the Board of Supervisors. That’s the best endorsement yet that the new Board is moving in the right direction!

Leland Yee is going to carry the water for the most odious members of the “progressive movement?” A man who has such a high level of self-importance that he feels entitled to steal sun tan lotion? Rich. Really rich.

In the meantime one of their favorite progressive leaders – Ross Mirkirimi – helped lead the charge to transfer public land to private control with 66 year leases to the swells who get a woody from playing with million dollar toy boats.

Every police officer, assistant sheriff and firehouse employee who retirees in their 50’s has a $2-3 million retirement annuity sticking out of their pockets. I wonder what the annuity is up to for Leland Yee and Ross Mirkirimi so far. Yeah, they’re going to save us from the evil conservative Board of Supervisors.

This town is so funny. If your economy and social structure is falling apart, perhaps it’s best to look at the leaders who have been in charge who led you to here. Just a thought.

In the meantime, I’ve got to go check my mail to see how many rent checks and government bond interest payments are waiting for me. God, I love Democrats!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 7:20 am

He sounds like a charicature of some Marxist ideolog. I didn't think there were any left in modern America.

Posted by Tom on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

Flat Earthers, biblical literalists, college communists...

Some ideas no matter how far fetched never seem to go away.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 10:18 am

David Chiu said he thought that we do not have a small group of progressive leaders who are dictating to the rest of the progressive community what is progressive.

But small groups of progressive leaders DON'T dictate what is progressive.

External circumstances dictate what is progressive.

Tenants Rights is the single largest issue whether progressives like it or not. It is simply not a matter of choice.

If you are concerned about immigrants rights, but you find yourself evicted and moving to Sunnydale, or LA, or back to China, you will find yourself worrying about the rights of immigrants over there.

If you are concerned about the state of SF schools, but are driven out of town, you can worry about the state of schools somewhere else. I know lots of activist SF "progressives" who became activist Oakland "progressives" after they were evicted.

The progressive movement in SF coalesced around the issue of tenants rights, and anyone who does not strongly support tenants rights as their primary issue is either not really progressive, or is simply too stupid to remain in the city.

The dumb "progressives" have already been evicted out of town. Maybe there is a new group coming in, but they will be going to the same place as all the other dumb "progressives" very soon...somewhere besides here.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 8:10 am

Once the earth was divided up among those who own land and those who rent land, everything else falls into place.

Neither you nor I have any right to live in San Francisco if we can't afford the rent. Pretty simple, really. And if we can't afford the rent here, then we won't be able to afford the rent in London or Paris or Moscow or Beijing or New York City or any place where wealthy people congregate and where there is an abundance of economic activity and wealth creation.

Once we accept the rules we were born into, life becomes much easier to understand.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 8:23 am

Perhaps progressive effort should also be applied in helping tenants become owners.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:48 am

I don't know where you are from but I am from America and I have the right to live anywhere I want.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 8:41 am

"Once we accept the rules we were born into, life becomes much easier to understand."

HA HA HA so true. I notice that when people who think they have a lot are faced with people who have a LOT more, they cry the fastest how unfair life is.

I know big time rich people who could make you feel like an ant. I love when that happens....

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 8:49 am

I'm at the bottom 1% of all income earners, so 99% of the rest of you look pretty good to me! I think I'm at the larva level - ants at least have central nervous systems.

I'll add satire writer to the long list of jobs for which I have absolutely no talent. Thanks for pointing this to me.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 9:48 am

"I have the right to live anywhere I want".

Yes, you do, but you have no right to force me or anyone else to pay for it.

Posted by Scott on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 9:12 am

Nor do -you- have the moral right to use your wealth to buy a piece of land and make us pay you to live on it.

Property is theft.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

Tell it to the Supreme Court.

If the government can force us to pay for Fannie Mae to support the entire scam housing industry they can force us to pay for anything.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 9:36 am

The 2011 elections were first and foremost about the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates than about any sort of ideological shift amongst the electorate.

Scott Weiner was a definitive candidate and Theresa Sparks was his opposite.

The outcomes in D10 and D2 were dictated largely by the drain on resources that Jeff Adachi forced on progressives who had to defend against Prop B instead of working proactively to elect candidates.

Of course, these elections portend political consequences outside of City Hall, and that might very well result in a political realignment. But such an outcome is hardly certain.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 10:33 am

Agreed. I hate to be optimistic, but I believe this Downtown coup is built on very thin ice, and if we work hard enough, we can sink it in pretty short order.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

Dude, you have no other outlook *but* optimism. The week following the Progressive/SFBG took an awesome asswhooping, you were all over here talking about "it's alright, guys! We'll be back! Can't wait until we select our interim Mayor...".

Just keep knocking on those doors dude, your ideas still suck.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

Lets not forget all that money Weiner was taking from republicans.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:55 am

In a post above, Eric Brooks says:

"So build strong coalitions and hit the sidewalks and doors, and together we will keep San Francisco great."

SF progressives will never build strong coalitions as long as they hatchet anyone who doesn't agree 100% with all their dogmas.

A welcoming attitude toward diversity of thinking and good social skills are needed to build coalitions. But axe-wielding ideologues like Marc Salomon have been setting the tone for SF progressives for a long time.

The natural result is a self-isolating sect that is easily outmaneuvered. And that's what SF progressivism is today.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 11:15 am

Arthur, you're smart enough to know that there is no difference between you and Marc Solomon and Eric Brooks – all of you are self-absorbed, self-important, seemingly very lonely boys hoping someone would come over and play with you since you’re so damn bored in life all you can think to do with your time is troll progressive chat boards.

The bet among people I know is whether you, Marc Solomon and Eric Brooks are actually being paid by downtown and big time real estate interests to spam these progressive chat boards with your monotonous drivel in order to make the progressive camp look like charlatans and fools, or if you actually really believe that you’re relevant to how progressives should think about political, economic and social issues. We should probably add self-delusionment to the list to the list of adjectives in the first paragraph.

The vast majority of voters are far more educated than us, make a lot more money and have a lot more responsibility in life for getting things done than us, and are far more socially and politically aware than we pretend to be.

What do you get when you add together Chris Daly, Arthur Evans, Marc Solomon and Eric Brooks? Successful politicians like David Chiu, Jane Kim and Carman Chu who seem downright normal and intelligent comparatively.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 11:53 am

"The vast majority of voters are far more educated than us, make a lot more money and have a lot more responsibility in life for getting things done than us, and are far more socially and politically aware than we pretend to be."

Scratch the word voters and replace it with overlords.

Posted by Sean on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

The undecided are won over by intelligent programs and affable advocates.

Chris Daly never learned this lesson. Likewise for those who continue in his mold.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 19, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

Seriously! Daly is gone, give up your weird obsession with him already and contribute something meaningful.

As for "the undecided" - sadly they rarely vote.

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

In a post above, Eric Brooks, quoting Proudhon, says:

"Property is theft."

Does this characterization apply to your property, Eric?

If so, why don't you give back your property to those from whom you stole it?

If not, how is that you get a special exemption?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

There are rules for trolls too y'know.

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

I don't own any property genius. Nor would I ever own housing property, because I refuse to be in business of stealing rent from others, while doing absolutely nothing to earn that wealth.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

Arthur the bank owns most people's property these days.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:58 am

"There are rules for trolls too y'know." - Ian Waters

Right you are. Eric Brooks should save us his grand theories about property, derived from Proudhon, and focus instead on this thread's topic - SF's New Political Era.

Bottom line:

Our local progressive sect doesn't know how to deal with the big change at City Hall. They make excuses for why it happened. They have no new leaders to replace the ones who have gone into exile.

They are incapable of conducting sustained rational arguments on behalf of their dogmas and behavior. They lack the social skills needed to build coalitions with other groups. They have offended the city's Asian-American communities.

In short, they're a mess.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

Thanks Arthur, but I think you missed the point and broke the threading rule again.

Eric was responding to Scott's comment about property and as such used the quote correctly in thread. Scott was out of thread himself.

You however have again broken the thread by not replying to my comment, but by creating a new thread in response to the article(s). FYI there is a small "reply" link at the bottom of each link. Please use it.

Now given the decision by the admin of sfbg.com to implement software that breaks articles with multiple authors over several pages the threading mechanism is possibly moot in this case. If you want to read all pages at once you can, of course, select the print option.

Now I'm not certain what you extracted from the multiple articles to make your assertions that progressives have "offended the city's Asian-American communities" or "They have no new leaders to replace the ones who have gone into exile" those seem to be thoughts entirely of your own construction and opinion and as such should be indicated thusly - a simple IMO (in my opinion) or the more acceptable IMHO (in my humble opinion) usually goes a long way towards reducing mis-understanding of dogmatic leads like "Bottom line:"

As for your opinions - the articles would seem to suggest the contrary on several points e.g. "They are incapable of conducting sustained rational arguments on behalf of their dogmas and behavior" whereas the quote provided from Chiu was "I think that while the progressive left and the progressive community leaders have had very significant accomplishments over the past 10 years, I do think that there are many times when our oppositional tactics have set us back." Now I'm assuming there were many more quotes from Chiu that were not included, and that is of course the very nature of editorial and reporting. An un-edited piece would be unreadable.

Everyone enjoys lively debate and comment, but please try to stay on topic, indicate opinion vs. fact or speculation, try not to repeat yourself, limit rhetoric and contradiction or knee-jerk responses.

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 20, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

Sadly Arthur given your inability to respond to any criticism, you're earned the title of Troll under the bridge in GG Park.

"They are incapable of conducting sustained rational arguments on behalf of their dogmas and behavior. They lack the social skills needed to build coalitions with other groups. They have offended the city's Asian-American communities."

So Arthur - with a week in the offing, you still have zero evidence to substantiate any of your so-called "claims"

You still refuse to preface "your opinions" as such, rendering them worthless.

We'll see you in the park with your narco-nomads, playing the skin flute, wishing the days away.

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 28, 2011 @ 2:37 am

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