A case for Avalos, Yee and Dufty

An SEIU 1021 political organizer explains his union's ranked choices


OPINION Like all of us, SEIU 1021 can take three dates to the prom when it comes to voting for mayor, but narrowing it down in a field of so many candidates was still challenging. After a month-long process, we arrived at a dual endorsement of Supervisor John Avalos and State Senator Leland Yee for first and second choice, and Supervisor Bevan Dufty for our third choice.

It's a diverse slate, and the choices are representative of the constituencies, perspectives and priorities in our membership.

Yee's record on labor issues in Sacramento has been impeccable, and he has long been a staunch supporter of our union, so endorsing him was a no-brainer. The Guardian asked me personally, as I am also a transgender activist, how I could support Leland after his vote against transgender health benefits. Frankly, I was disappointed in how my response was framed.

Leland approached transgender activists a number of years ago and apologized for his vote. Instead of denying or rationalizing like other politicians might do, he had the courage to come to a community meeting of transgender activists, stand in front of us, admit he was wrong, and apologize. For people to continue to attack an individual for having a true change of heart is very discouraging. We would never make any advancement of our rights if we continued to shun those who have come to understand and support the transgender fight for equality. In fact, Yee's support was critical to the collective effort to save Lyon-Martin, a clinic that is a key service provider for trans folks, after it almost closed earlier this year.

That's why so many in the transgender community now support Yee so strongly and why he has become an even closer, tested ally through this experience.

SEIU 1021 has always had a very close relationship with John Avalos. Avalos has been a steadfast supporter of crucial social and health- care services, and has been a leader in creating needed progressive revenue measures. But most importantly, John understands how essential jobs are for lifting people out of poverty and stimulating the local economy for everyone in San Francisco.

Last year, he introduced a Local Hire ordinance that is becoming a real jobs generator in our city and a national model. Like many of our members when they first started working for the city, workers hired under the Local Hire ordinance may for the first time have a living-wage job with benefits.

And while some in labor have been critical of this legislation — in fact, it cost him the endorsement of the San Francisco Labor Council — that's a short-sighted criticism.

As more people are employed in San Francisco with living wage jobs, they spend money in San Francisco, boosting tax revenues and in turn creating more jobs across the city. Moreover, this visionary legislation has other benefits — workers coming from low-income communities bring a new found pride in and community spirit to what could be otherwise economically depressed areas. That's why SEIU 1021 supports Avalos, and why I am proud to endorse him as well.

Rounding out SEIU's endorsements in this campaign is former Supervisor Bevan Dufty. Dufty has a history of supporting preserving city services. Some have argued that Dufty can't handle downtown pressure, and yet, Dufty has consistently supported public power, took a stance against Sit-Lie despite intense pressure, and several years ago, at a critical juncture for Tom Ammiano's signature health care legislation, Healthy San Francisco, he didn't blink when we called on him to be our 8th vote. In fact, he committed to the bill, unequivocally, and called on other supervisors, like Fiona Ma, to say it was time. She immediately co-sponsored and eventually it was a unanimous 11-0 vote.


I'm clear,

Adachi for Mayor!

Avalos for Mayor!

Baum for Mayor!

All of the other candidates are flawed. I do appreciate all of the interest in my drinking and smoking (yes, I do have a good time) ... bottom line is that we have an election before us in 16 days and I'm backing some candidates and others are backing other candidates.

My choices:

Adachi for Mayor!

Avalos for Mayor!

Baum for Mayor!

Miyamoto for Sheriff!

Gascon for DA!

Yes on D and H and no for everything else.

Go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 10:48 am

Today, State Senator Leland Yee has issued a statement, on his web site calling upon local and state officials to investigate allegations of overt an organized election fraud by an IE committee connected to people supporting Mayor Ed Lee. Friday, under white tents, volunteers using stencils filled in ballots for Chinatown residents and it was caught on video. When approached by ordinary citizens not connected to any specific campaigns, the stencils and the tents have disappeared. Witnesses noticed the ballots were placed after marking a single vote for mayor Lee into bags and then taken away. How long this has been going on no one knows. How many of these ballots have made their way into city hall is a question many people are beginning to ask.

This is no longer about just picking 3 candidates for mayor. It is no longer about electing a mayor. It is about the integrity of our voting system which to me has been tainted by the "Win Ed Win" IE . It is time for every candidate for mayor to ask for an investigation, if not at the local level then at the state and beyond. It doesn't matter how many precincts we walk, how much money we raise, how well a candidate does in the latest poll or how, even how clever we are at picking 1 2 or 3. With this type of behavior, Lee wins no matter what we do.

Where is the outrage?

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

If these were voters who trusted a source to guide their voting decisions then it is no different than, say, reading the SFBG slate and voting that.

These guys merely automated that process and enabled it. But that's no different from anyone else who ever voted a "slate".

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

It was a single line vote only for Lee for mayor leaving the rest of the ballot blank.

And an eye witness saw some organizers taking the pens themselves and filling out other people's ballots.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

Most voters follow the guidance of others.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

He consorts with prostitutes, he's lied to the police, he bought an extremely expensive house while making no money and he was arrested for theft while on vacation in Hawaii. Yee should stop clutching his pearls and admit the hypocrisy of him calling for a federal investigation of anything. Yee is the one who should be investigated - for everything I just mentioned and more.

And I'm not even a supporter of Ed Lee. Most San Franciscans know that Yee is as corrupt as they come and in a town as corrupt as this that's really saying something.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

As Marcos would ask - 'And name me a candidate who is -not- a hypocrite???'

The difference, is that Lee, Herrera, and Adachi are far more dangerously hypocritical on key issues of corporate power...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

#1 is "jobs and the economy".

Not everyone is motivated by envy and class warfare.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 6:20 pm
Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

Warfare against the lower and middle classes. Just look at the damage done to the lower and middle classes during Bush's 8-years in office.

it's absurd to say that even discussing the shockingly skewed levels of the ownership of capital in this country is "class warfare."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

Even worse class warfare is happening under Obama.

Among other unconscionable abuses, he has deported a -record- number of undocumented citizens; the very -core- maneuver of the upper classes against the rest of us during times of economic depression.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

Financial inequality exists in every nation, including communist ones. The issue is whether those who gain wealth enrich all of us in the process, such as Steve Jobs.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 11:21 am

There's a Yee poll,

Has Ed Lee at 18% and Leland at 11. Source (from Yee crew) wouldn't release strengths of other candidates but swears that Lee's 18 is not top number.

Can only be Adachi or Herrera.

Adachi for Mayor!

Avalos for Mayor!

Baum for Mayor!

Hall for Mayor!

Going to Daly's Dive in hour to watch World Series with Vu Trinh and outta towner guest.

Eric, check with your Yee campaign people. They gotta release this.

Go Cardinals!

Daly's Dive for game?


Posted by h. brown on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

I wouldn't count Avalos out of that possible number one spot. The Occupy protests have shifted what voters feel is their foundation of possibilities dramatically, and they could be responding by shifting left.

And, I am not involved in the Yee campaign at all. I'm just trying to get people to see the obvious reality that everyone who wants to ensure progressive change should rank him as 2nd or 3rd choice in case we don't get Avalos.

That's as far as my support goes.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

are better choices than Yee. And are more likely to win.

There's no conspiracy here. The only alternatives to Lee are Adachi, Chui, Herrera, Avalos and Yee. You get to pick your top three. But that split is working against us, and helping Lee.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

and we should guide them to Yee as their fallback.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

Lee's transgressions, already listed and including lying about his address for his kid's school, make him unacceptable as mayor.

It's Adachi or Herrera as the alternative.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

Nor trust him. My thinking right now:

1. Avalos
2. Herrera
3. Adachi

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

Whew! You are SO right!

This business of fucking over 1500 tenants to benefit a major Wall Street investment firm (which Herrera and Chiu took part in) is NOTHING compared to gaming the school placement system and taking a bottle of suntan lotion outside of a store before buying it, to ask your wife if it is the right one...

Thank god we have astute geniuses like you to guide us on standards of morality and ethics so we are setting our priorities straight...!

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

is the problem. As it concerns himself and those who he views as his friends. Personal malfeasance is as wrong as corporate malfeasance and Lee has a long history of an attitude that the law applies to everyone else but him. It's not just stealing products from a store - it's his frequenting of prostitutes (something which contributes to the decay of neighborhoods and to the trafficking of women) and the very strange manner in which he has purchased property - something the SFBG has amply documented.

Politicians like that are the most dangerous because they contribute to the fraying of the social fabric, which has already been damaged by years of a cavalier attitude towards the law on behalf of Republicans and Democrats.

Shame on you Eric - for your breezy attitude towards Yee.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

Well said 'Guest'! Ken Starr couldn't have said it better. What a man does with his dick is far more important than throwing hundreds of people out of their homes for Wall Street corporations eh?

You're a joke.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

You're so pathetic that you can't even offer a defense of Yee's indefensible actions. Even you know it's hopeless. Yee's campaign is doomed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 9:13 pm


Is there nothing that Yee does that you cannot excuse? He tells the cops he's their Chief of Police (he told them he was 'Fred Lau') when he got busted for cruising crack whores. Brooks' reply was that he thought it was OK. He steals from a drug store and Brooks says that's cool. He even friggin' lies about where his children live and that's cool with Brooks too.

He votes in favor of putting a dump in a suburban San Diego neighborhood when the voe in the State Sentate is 37-3 against. Brooks says the fact that Yee took 8 grand from the company wanting to dump the garbage is not relevant.

Yee alters documents to defraud the federal government and it's cool with Brooks.

Anyone other than me wondering if perhaps Eric Brooks is on Leland Yee's payroll?

Go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

Which is what makes his slavish defense of and devotion to Yee all the more surprising.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

Great. What's your alternative to Yee genius.

Are you really fool enough, like H, to buy Adachi's bullshit.

Give me a break.

Even in ranked choice, there is such a thing as the lesser of evils.

We dare not throw that out, just because we can vote our conscience on the first two ranks.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

I didn't say anything was cool, or uncool. I said that the crimes of Chiu and Herrera are simply far worse, and more dangerous to our community.

I don't know of any spotless politicians H.

That means, we need to make choices.

(Instead of attacking allies, as you are attacking me.)

You know, when it really boils to it man..

you are a loser..

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

I agree with Eric here. I'm voting for Terry #1, Avalos #2, and am undecided #3. Jeff Adachi has been a great Public Defender, and in part because of that he will NOT be receiving my #3 vote. In addition, he has questioned public financing of campaigns and has come out in support of Proposition H -- not to mention Prop. D. Public employee pensions? Easy targets compared to the real enemy: a system rigged by the wealthiest and most powerful among us against the common good and general fairness. Gosh, Jeff could have chosen to go after the wealth of George Hume and Michael Moritz instead of using their wealth to attack civil servants.

So who for #3? Leland Yee? A strong maybe. Dennis Herrera? A not so strong maybe. Phil Ting? He's a good assessor, so I think I will not vote for him for mayor #3. Joanna Rees? Who IS she? David Chiu? The Bill Buckner of SF politics? Not in a million years. Gosh, maybe Cesar, maybe Emil, maybe Paul Currier.

Posted by Sue on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

Remember, that Herrera completely trashed voting rights and totally betrayed the Bayview Hunters Point community by throwing out on a technicality, their 33,000 signatures to take Lennar's toxic gentrification in their neighborhood to the ballot for a vote. And his attorneys defended the betrayal of Parkmerced and rent control. Herrera is -owned- by corporate real estate (covered in the same slime as the old boss). Very bad for San Francisco.

And Ting has extensively helped Newsom and PG&E to undermine the community clean power movement in San Francisco.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

We know about long-term stalkers,

Eric is a bird of a different feather. Or, is he?

Adachi for Mayor!

Avalos for Mayor!

Baum for Mayor!

Hall for Mayor!

Miyamoto for Sheriff!

Gascon for DA!

Go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 10:08 pm
Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

Everyone "votes their conscience" and "participates in democracy" including Tea Partiers.

There are real questions to address here, e.g. how do we create the jobs and attract the businesses that will increase the local economy and tax base sufficiently to prevent large-scale public-sector cuts.

Everything else is secondary to that goal but we tend to spend all our time debating peripheral and ideological issues.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 7:37 am

San Francisco has plenty to attract businesses, or rather people who own businesses (because "businesses" don't decide anything) -nice climate, educated workforce, infrastructure, beautiful surroundings, nightlife, restaurants, etc. There are plenty of businesses here as a result, and they don't come here for the low taxes.

I'm a perfect example. I was making a lot of money in another state, but it didn't have what I was looking for in my life. So I moved to where I wanted to live. Taxes were actually the last thing on my mind -in my field, I knew I'd make less money here simply because of the competition. But I'd make plenty and I wanted to live where I wanted to live, and I came here to live in San Francisco. Not Brisbane. Not Orinda. I'd never heard of those places. San Francisco is where I wanted to be, and San Francisco is where I located.

And a lot of business owners are making the same calculation. Who gives a crap about taxes -the loft in SOMA alone will eat up more of the CEO's cost than any tax differential between here and Castro Valley. But he doesn't really care about that. He wants to bike to his office like a hipster and then go out to all the cool restaurants after work. And besides, the engineers he'll need to run his tech company live here and not in San Pablo. Low taxes and city incentives? Oh sure -who doesn't want that? Publicly, he'll talk your ear off about the need for a better "business climate." But privately he's saying, "Who cares. I can afford to live where I want to live, and I'd rather bike to my work than sit in traffic for 40 minutes going down to Redwood City."

Obviously not everyone makes the same calculation, because otherwise those other places wouldn't have any population. But enough people do, so we don't have to play this game of lowest common denominator to "attract" businesses. We're in a position where we can ASK businesses, "What will YOU do for US if you want to locate in our beautiful city?"

Posted by Greg on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:23 am

But rather down in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. And Twitter almost moved to brisbane even thought it's not "cool".

So those "hipsters" may live in SF but increasingly they find they have to commute out of town to those high-paid jobs. And that is (partly) a factor of how friendly to business a location appears to be, in terms of taxes and also a lack of regulations and red tape.

Having Googlers and Applers living here is fine, but it would be better if their jobs were here too.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 9:25 am

That has to be one of the most ironic comments of the above exchange, because the charge was leveled at Yee, and in defense of Herrera.

Cavalier attitude towards the law is exactly why Herrera can't be anywhere near my ballot.

One really has to wonder about people who sit here and make comparisons between suntan lotion and what comment was or was not made to some cop, on the one hand, and gang injunctions and overturning petitions on legal technicalities, on the other. I can respect that people have different opinions, but if it's your sincere opinion that these things are remotely equivalent, then you and I have very different values indeed.

In one case, you have baseless, unproven allegations, or at *worst*, minor missteps in a person's private life. In the other case, you have a demonstrated, serious disregard for the basic tenets of liberty and democracy, manifested in a way that affects ALL of us.

Like Lisa and Sue, my only agenda is voting my conscience and participating in democracy. At the moment, with the choices that we have, my conscience leads me to the following:
1. Avalos
2. Yee
3. as much as I loathe to do it... hold my nose, try not to vomit, hope it never comes to pass, and put Adachi down for third.

And I'm glad that Eric agrees with the whole "vote your conscience" thing. Maybe he'll follow his own advice this time and not attack me, because Terry Baum doesn't make my cut. We only get three votes, and I don't feel like wasting one in this contest.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

I got on your case for unnecessarily attacking an ally with a -very- over the top diatribe, not for choosing to vote a certain way.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

I can vote my conscience; I'm just not allowed to give my reasons for it.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

What is unacceptable is stating bogus reasons for it that have no basis in reality just because you like to dish about and provoke people, thereby demonizing a key ally on the left who needs to be strengthened; for absolutely no good reason whatsoever.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 9:22 am

Avalos has an outside chance, but Baum will almost definitely finish last. Why waste a crucial IRV pick? It literally could help Lee elected.

1. Avalos
2. Herrera
3. Adachi

is the best combo to beat Lee. We can't allow our vote to be split.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 6:43 am

Like I said above, this is someone who has no respect for liberty, democracy, or the rule of law. He operates on an "ends justifies the means" basis, in ways that affect all of us. He's kissing up to a lot of progressive groups now, but his very recent past (like just before this election, not "last century" past like in Leland Yee's case) shows a very different kind of Herrera. And we're talking big things -policy things- not stupid stuff in his personal life. I'm not convinced he'd be much better than Lee, if at all.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 7:28 am

like me, you find Yee too sleazy to consider.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 11:21 am

I guess it all depends on what you consider sleaze. Most of the charges against Yee are personal in nature and unproven to begin with. Herrera's misdeeds -invalidating election petitions and trampling on people's rights to assemble are much more serious.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

Wonderful having a couple of days up at the river and just watching it flow.
Top #1: no contest > AVALOS.
Bottom 4: Lee, Herrera, Chiu, "Ramp Girl".
That leaves...options for #2 & 3.
Best choices: Adahi, Yee.
Except as a vote of conscience, a vote for Terry is self defeating, the number of votes she will receive will make no difference in the final tally. I suggest a far more effective, and pragmatic, approach would be to chose Avalos as #1 and Terry as #2, then in the second round all her votes would transfer to Avalos.
Preferred over the Bottom 4; Dufty, Hall.
Just my 2c.
Have a fun week.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:50 am

Pat, there would be no reason at all for progressives to feel like a vote for Baum is wasted if we would all just get our heads out of the sand and -all- choose together to vote for -one- third rank candidate between Yee and Adachi.

Since there is no way in hell that labor will join us to support Adachi that only leaves Yee.

If we lose this election, it will because of our brainless dysfunction to not all meet together and come to consensus on a single fall back candidate.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 9:29 am

1. Baum
2. Currier
3. Avalos

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 9:39 am

If I read you right (?) I think we may not be so far apart. #1) AVALOS.
Then it's a question of 2&3. While agree much of 'labor', especially local city employees may not pick Adachi, I think more 'progressives' might. Both C & D are equally horrendous, attack the wrong problems in searching for solutions, and should be voted down. I still fail to see why anyone concerned with workers rights would not vote for Adachi because of Prop D, and yet would vote for anyone who supports Prop C. (Except for Avalos of course !!). Don't want to get into the 'local union' support here, I'm not impressed by the backers of either measure. (Firefighters, Police, Chamber of Commerce, SFLC, SPUR ).
So we have a clear first choice AVALOS. The best of the rest >. Yee, Adachi, Baum. I won't repeat my reasoning on Terry, it's purely pragmatic, I love what she stands for.
Until convinced otherwise I think supporters of Yee and Adachi would give John more 2nd or 3rd place votes.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 10:29 am

This makes the choice obvious. The idea that Adachi can garner more left support than Yee simply doesn't hold water.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 10:52 am

the latest poll? So we need to keep an eye on that. If Avalos, Herrera and Adachi have the best chance of beating Lee, then we must drop Yee, and pick those three.

That's a decision we can't make yet.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 11:23 am

Yee was most *definitely* ahead of Adachi in the latest poll, if you're referring to Bay Citizen. Look it up. In fact I have yet to see a SINGLE poll that shows Adachi ahead of Yee. If you can find one, please link to it.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

Ever heard of a margin of error? These folks are statistically tied even if you believe the BC poll which I don't. The machinations of 2nd and 3rd place votes are too tricky to poll accurately.

IMO Adachi has a broader base of support from left and right and will pick up more 2nd and 3rd place votes though he is hurt by not taking public money. Adachi is likely to finish 2nd or 3rd overall.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

moderate votes, while many liberals are willing to overlook that and support him too. Yee doesn't have that breadth of appeal, while the Left is split over him.

I'd guess that Yee will finish 4th, after Lee, Herrera and Adachi. Avalos and Chui to be 5th and 6th - nobody else anywhere.

Posted by Anonymous on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

Also from this author

  • The right to transgender health care

    Labor takes the lead

  • A new feminism for San Francisco

    How to create a world of compassion, redemption, and accountability

  • GUEST OPINION: The Mirkarimi case -- is this justice?