Editor's notes

Assessing the mayoral candidates -- the squishy center and all 

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tredmond@sfbg.com

The candidates for mayor of San Francisco are already lining up endorsements — the Sierra Club held its interviews April 23, which seems awfully early to me, since some of the most interesting contenders in this town (Tom Ammiano, Matt Gonzalez) have a tendency to jump in at the last minute. And the filing deadline isn't until August.

But the sooner the big names and organizations are lined up and the money is locked in, the harder it will be for anyone to pull off an August surprise. So unless the redistricting commission seriously messes with Mark Leno's state Senate seat or Ed Lee bows to the pressure from Willie Brown, Rose Pak, and their allies and decides to go back on his promise and seek a full term, we're probably looking at a rough approximation of what the voters will face in November.

With John Avalos in the race, the ballot's become a lot more attractive to progressives. It's not as if the other major candidates don't have a lot to offer, and in some cases, they have a lot to offer to the left. There are smart, experienced, qualified people running.

But let's be honest here: David Chiu, Dennis Herrera, Phil Ting, Leland Yee, and Bevan Dufty all operate somewhere in the squishy political center, a place where tax breaks for corporations are okay, where "homeownership opportunities" tend to trump the needs of tenants, where deals with big private developers are sculpted around the edges but never rejected outright, and where cuts in services are a larger part of the budget solution than taxes on the rich.

Michela Alioto-Pier is off on the far right of the San Francisco political world, and if she looks at all credible and gets any significant traction (and that's a big if) she'll be downtown's favorite candidate. But until now, there was nobody holding the solid progressive banner.

I don't think that means Avalos' appeal is limited to the left; he's in a swing district, and he's very popular there, and he can talk about small business and community development and open, honest government. He doesn't sound like a crazy radical; he's polite and respectful and listens to people.

But I'm glad we have a candidate who won't try to argue that 25 percent affordable housing at Treasure Island is something to be proud of, or that the Twitter tax break will create jobs, or that social inequality can't be addressed through local policy. I'm glad there's someone who can push the discussion and debate out of the middle, can force some of the others who want progressive support to take strong stands, and can liven things up a bit. Because without him, all of the candidates were sounding a lot alike — and I really don't want to be bored this fall.

Comments

I'd vote for Adachi over any other candidate presently in the race (and I know many people who feel the same way). Adachi would also make the race a lot more interesting.

I would also favor Matt Gonzalez over any of the candidates in the race.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 26, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

I would vote for Adachi in a heartbeat over these middling candidates.

I never imagined that an open race for SF mayor could be this dull. Agree that Avalos livens things up...a bit.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2011 @ 11:55 pm

So we are on for an excellent and democratic election.

Or Not.

Posted by lan Waters on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 12:10 am

"But let's be honest here: David Chiu, Dennis Herrera, Phil Ting, Leland Yee, and Bevan Dufty all operate somewhere in the squishy political center, a place where tax breaks for corporations are okay, where "homeownership opportunities" tend to trump the needs of tenants, where deals with big private developers are sculpted around the edges but never rejected outright, and where cuts in services are a larger part of the budget solution than taxes on the rich."

As much as you his this, you know this is the real field.

Write about what you know.

Posted by Lei Fang on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 12:18 am

I am running for Mayor and will file later than the others because politically and financially it makes sense for an independent outsider to do so.

Tim Redmond has aligned himself with the Democratic Party for some time now and defended mistakes by Nancy Pelosi and many members of the "new" Board.

His quick and scaredy-cat endorsement of John Avalos is in keeping with what has happened to him and the Guardian to some degree for the last seven years under Gavin - a limping, old-man's, foot-dragging, fear-filled, doom-and-gloom mentality, lamenting the loss of a bygone age.

Vote Karthik Rajan and all of this goes away: The Guardian, the Chronicle, the Board of Supes, the Democrats and Republicans and Greens and Peace and Freedom and all the Unions and Parties, too.

An intelligent outsider who accepts only individual contributions, who will serve for only one term and will return $100,000 of the Mayor's salary (so if you vote for me the City gets back $400,000 plus interest at the end of my term), who has the political courage and the intellectual skill to evaluate and cut waste and to stand up to corporates and the rich on taxation.

Karthik Rajan for Mayor of SF 2011

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 8:35 am

Adachi,

And, Gonzalez. Avalos is a short step above Quentin Mecke. He needs to invite Jeff and Matt into the race and take the long shot that he could win in their afterglow. The Left can win this but only if we get at least 3 candidates to counter the Conservative herd gathering around Rose Pak's house.

That said, I donated $10 from my RBT to the Avalos campaign yesterday. Even as a senior on social security I start my election season budgets with a $20 donation to a favored candidate or cause. Started it in 2008 and it feels good.

Avalos is my choice in the race. He's a good guy. He's not viable.

Show me the polls!

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 2:30 am