We’ve lived through a lot of bad mayors. Nine years of Dianne Feinstein, who created a downtown-development gold rush that began the gentrification crisis we see today. Eight years of Willie Brown, who made insider-dealing an art form. Eight years of Gavin Newsom, who (while legalizing same-sex marriage) governed by press release and built a career on attacking homeless people. Seven years of Ed Lee, who encouraged a tech boom that has devastated vulnerable communities in San Francisco.
It’s time for a change in direction—and the June election will be a rare chance for voters to elect a candidate who is not already an incumbent (and thus a prohibitive favorite).
The Bay Guardian will be doing an endorsement issue in April. We will be conducting interviews with the major candidates, and will post the audio unedited here for you to review. We’ll also be printing copies of our endorsements and distributing them throughout the city for you to read and the to the polls.
We are looking for a candidate who is willing to admit that the policy direction of the city over the past seven years has been a failure, that the negative impacts of the City-Hall-driven tech boom (massive displacement, soaring housing costs, horrible traffic, and a culture that celebrates free-market, out-of-control capitalist disruption at the expense of the stability of vulnerable communities far outstrip the benefits (mostly jobs for new arrivals, not existing residents, and spin-off jobs that don’t pay enough to pay for housing).
We want to see a clear, effective agenda for rebuilding San Francisco values—starting with economic justice and equality.
We also recognize that, as Rebecca Solnit notes, a vote is a chess move, not a Valentine; none of the candidates in the race are perfect, and with ranked-choice voting, realistic political strategy comes into play.
We will also be endorsing in the race for governor, in the hotly-contested contest for D8 supervisor – and for everything else on the state and local ballot.
To the candidates, we say: Soaring rhetoric and promises aren’t enough. We want to see a record of accomplishment—and an agenda that we can believe in. To the voters, we say: The Guardian endorsements are entirely independent. We decide our recommendations based on what we think is best for the city that we have been a part of for more than 50 years.
Stay tuned—the ballot is confusing, the choices aren’t clear, but we are here to help.