An open letter to Ed Lee

A proven supporter could be the best choice to replace the empty District 5 supervisoral seat


OPINION Dear Mr. Mayor,

During the next week you will be appointing the a supervisor for District 5, an area of the city that has been historically considered the most progressive part of one of the most progressive cities in the country. It will be a signature decision for you in the next year, and will reveal the tone of your administration. Will you be a consensus mayor — or will you carry on your predecessor's fight with progressives?

You have many qualified choices, but there is probably only one on your list that a majority of progressives would consider a clear progressive choice: Christina Olague, president of the Planning Commission. There are some who have hesitations about her, but ironically those hesitations are based on her relationship to you and her support for your candidacy for mayor. I have to admit, as a supporter of progressive Supervisor John Avalos for mayor, I shared some disappointment that she didn't support John.

I'm sure there's intense pressure on you to choose a more moderate choice, and I'm sure there are from your perspective some valid points to that argument. That said, District 5 deserves progressive representation.

I am a Haight resident, and I ran for Supervisor in District 5 in 2004. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi came in first, I came in second, and Lisa Feldstein came in third. Both Lisa and I have spoken repeatedly about whether we would run next year, and we have even discussed running as a slate. Most political analysts think one of us would have a decent shot at winning — but I think both of us would support Christina, assuming that her votes continue to reflect her commitment to the progressive values of the district.

Christina not only supported you, she also supported Mirkarimi in 2004, and Matt Gonzalez when he ran for supervisor in 2000. She was appointed to the Planning Commission by Gonzalez and has been reappointed repeatedly by progressive supervisors to that commission. While her votes have not been perfect, by and large, her record is excellent; she has never succumbed to pressure, has listened well to all sides, and has ultimately done what she thought was right.

For example, she stood up for tenants' rights when the landlord from Park Merced came to the Planning Commission to ask that 1,500 apartments be demolished, all of which were subject to the city's rent control ordinance. She recognized the flaws in the landlord's argument that a side agreement (negotiated without the local tenant groups involved) would prevent rent hikes and evictions. Olague was on the right side of history on the Park Merced deal, and has a long record of building tenant and senior tenant power. That's the kind of leadership we need for District 5, an area comprised of primarily renters. I believe Olague will be a supervisor tenants can trust.

I can't guarantee that all progressives will stand down if Olague gets the seat. The ego game is what it is. You have learned that from politics, I'm sure. But I think most progressive institutions and progressive activists will see her appointment as a victory and will support her candidacy for Supervisor next fall, as they should if she shows that her votes reflect the trends and values of District 5.

With Christina Olague, you have a win-win. You appoint a supervisor who reflects the progressive values of the district and who is also electable in November. 

Gabriel Haaland is an elected member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee and an LGBT labor and tenant activist.


It doesnt take guts in this town to oppose development. It doesnt take guts to point out that a planning commission meeting room of old entitled white people is full of old entitled white people.
It's sad that this is what passes for "chutzpah"

As Ive said before, the best part of Olague as a potential supe is that she would be off the planning commission.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 9:30 am

Not to whine about everything that is proposed. That's easy, but pointless.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 9:55 am

Progressive racism is so ugly.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:08 am

they figure they have to do is say it's populated with "white people". The anti-christs.

Whites are of course 70% of the population but, hey, why squander any opp to play the race card?

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:18 am

This was printed in 1954 or so, it describes the lefts uni-mind around race quite well.

It's a chapter written by Seymour Martin Lipset



Edited by

Daniel Bell


If sociologists require a new term for this change (as
if there were not enough jargon already), then at least
let it be a brief, unponderous term, I would suggest the
word "transtolerance" for this curious interplay between
the new tolerance and the new intolerance. Transtolerance
is ready to give all minorities their glorious democratic
freedomprovided they accept McCarthyism or some
other mob conformism of Right or Left. I add "or Left"
because liberals sometimes assume conformism is inevit
ably of the Right. Yet "Right" and "Left" are mere fluc
tuating pretexts, mere fluid surfaces for the deeper anti-
individualism (anti-aristocracy) of the mass man, who
ten years ago was trying to thought-control our premature
anti-Communists as "warmongers" and who today damns
them as "Reds" and who ten years from now, in a new
appeasement of Russia, may again be damning them as
"Wall Street warmongers" and "disloyal internationalist

Transtolerance is the form that xenophobia takes when
practiced by a "xeno" Transtolerant McCarthyism is
partly a movement of recent immigrants who present
themselves (not so much to the world as to themselves)
as a two hundred per cent hate-the-foreigner movement.
And by extension: Hate "alien" ideas. Transtolerance is
also a sublimated Jim Crow: against "wrong" thinkers,
not "wrong" races. As such, it is a Jim Crow that can be
participated in with a clear conscience by the new, non-
segregated flag-waving Negro, who will be increasingly
emerging from the increased egalitarian laws in housing
and education. In the same way it is the Irishman s
version of Mick-baiting and a strictly kosher anti-Semi
tism. It very sincerely champions against anti-Semites
"that American Dreyfus, Roy Cohn"; simultaneously it
glows with the same mob emotions that in all previous
or comparable movements have been anti-Semitic.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 11:02 am

Dear Progressives:

you got your asses kicked once again in the election citywide. All your talk and endless blog comments and that "momentum at the end" still resulted in a 3rd rate candidate LOSING to Ed Lee and his band of billionaires.

Now, he can do what he want and he DOESN'T need to listen to you regarding D5. He will appoint some loyal apparatchnik and that person will get all the downtown money to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, you'll find some annoying "pwogwessive" who will run an ineffective campaign and they will lose. A bunch of other loser candidates will run and they will lose because they're middling and full of crap.

In the end, YOU LOSE AGAIN. And after the election the Guardian will blabber about how the "movement" is still strong. The only movement strong with pwogwessives is bowel movements that come out the mouth.


The Reality Based Community.

Posted by Progs are Losers on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 9:50 am

If their guys ever actually won (and of course they never do and never will) then they'd actually have to do something rather than whine and kvetch.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:20 am

“I guess I’m fatigued,” commission President Christina Olague said.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 10:23 am


Posted by Bobby on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

and he's a quitter

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

And he still polled 10% behind a moderate

Time to give up..

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

FYI, he ushered in an era of progressive political power that lasted a good ten years. By comparison, what did Matt accomplish but to throw in the towel? With the advent of the Occupy movement, progressives will mount a major comeback within the next few years. I'm predicting that right now.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

On the basis of people not washing for a few weeks?

I can't wait.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 4:50 am

Ed Lee may have won citywide, but he didn't win D5. He needs to understand that.

Posted by tim on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

Guess what? Obama didn't win Lubbock, Texas, but he's still their President.

Oh wait, let me guess, Obama doesn't have a "mandate" there?

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

Not if he was appointing a Governor, no.

Posted by Jimmy Crack Corn on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

Lubbock is a State?

Put that crack pipe down, Crack.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 4:49 am

Newsom's scheming beat your scheming just one short year ago, now that things are somewhat reversed, voter intention is important?

Posted by matlock on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

El Lee did not win with 60 percent of the vote. One hundred and ninety-two thousand votes were cast, and he got 89,000 of them or so -- that is less than half the votes cast. He got 60 percent of the CONTINUING votes. But there were enough exhausted votes such that he ended up with a plurality of votes cast, not a majority.

If Olague gets appointed, watch David Chiu appoint someone to Planning who shares what seems to be his dream of the techification of San Francisco. That's a euphemism for what we used to call gentrification. Chiu seems to want to ride the resurgent tech industry tide (since the bubble burst in about 2000) to the highest point that that tide will take him. He seems indifferent to making San Francisco work for the people who already live here.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 04, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

That's massive. By comparison, Newson got only 10% more votes than Matt.

Lee has a mandate to appoint moderates city-wide. Just like Avalos would have done had he won a landslide.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 4:48 am

Talk about a backhanded anti-endorsement. Haaland barely conceals his own ambition, threatening to let his ego dominate any deal(s) he might cut and sandbagging Olague's chances by publishing the missive in the last place Ed Lee would look for guidance, the SFBG, and by raising the issue of Ed Lee's flip flop.

Any appeal from the SFBG would probably elicit Ed Lee to take the opposite course of action. Gabriel is a talented operator and knows exactly what he's doing and writing.

Progressives Quentin Meicke and Christina Olague are infinitely preferable to the failed plantation politics of Gabriel Haaland or the most patronizing and condescending individual in San Francisco politics, Lisa Feldstein.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 7:51 am

He'll never win an open election to anything so he's taking this angle instead. He's canny but ultimately he'll be unsuccessful.

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

-- or anyone appointed by the mayor -- is this: Will she be able to stand up to the person who gave her the job? And what will he demand she agree to before he makes the appointment?

Please remember: District elections is about giving different constituencies in the city a voice. There are some conservative San Franciscans, and they deserve a voice at City Hall; that's why the D7 and D2 supervisors will be, and should be, more conservative.

But D5 is the most progressive district in the city, and it deserves a supervisor who will be a progressive leader. And since Ed Lee is very much in the centrist camp, it means someone who will vote against Lee a fair amount of the time.

That's just the reality. The same way a progressive mayor making an appointment in D7 would, appropriately, appoint someone who didn't agree with him or her on a lot of key issues.

Posted by tim on Jan. 05, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

I've know Christina for 20 years. Why, Debra, why, are you giving Olague a pass on her god-awful support for David Chiu and then (OMG) Ed Lee?

Avalos should have had it, if not John, then surely your guy Dennis (Herrera) or perhaps Leland. But Ed Lee? no way.

Expalin that Debra, please. (hard to do, as it made no sense other than her capitulation to the power brokers and downtown)

Posted by Rick H on Jan. 06, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

then that's a reasonable argument for her - it shwos at least some independence of mind.

Obviously Lee is only going to appoint someone who supported him so your other point is moot. Ambitious politicians back winners not no-hopers and fringe candidates.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2012 @ 1:10 am

Ambitious candidates back winners? Well there goes Olague's alleged commitment to progressive values and the people....

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

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