Arts and Entertainment
Britt's uphill climb A poll conducted Jan. 20 through 22 by David Binder Research suggests that the negative press about former Board of Supervisors member Harry Britt has had an effect. Overall, the poll shows Sup. Mark Leno leading Britt by a 16 percent margin in the race for the 13th District state assembly seat. Of registered voters likely to cast ballots on March 5, 31 percent favored Leno, while 15 percent will likely choose Britt. Six percent of those polled said they would vote for former school board member Steve Phillips, and six percent said they would support former League of Women Voters president Holli Thier. Forty-two percent were undecided. Because Britt has been out of politics for about a decade, voters have no preconceived notions of his candidacy, David Binder said. And when there's any negative publicity about a candidate starting out with a "clean slate," it's going to make a dent in the candidate's numbers.
Binder said that the candidate with the strongest support right now appears to be Leno, whose backing in the gay community is solid (and who paid for the poll). But he said the progressive voting block, which took Dennis Herrera to victory in the city attorney's race, is expected to galvanize around Britt. "He's got to bring resources to the table," Binder said. "Either with money for a media campaign or massive person power.'' Britt's camp said he's up to the task. One interesting twist: both Leno and Phillips owe at least some of their political careers to Mayor Willie Brown, yet the poll showed voters were more likely to hold that against Phillips than Leno. (Savannah Blackwell)
Labor goes for D The San Francisco Labor Council's move away from machine-oriented politics continues. Last November the organization supported both public power measures and pushed hard for them at the ballot. On Jan. 28 the council resoundingly endorsed Proposition D, the measure that would reduce the mayor's control over the Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals. In addition, on Jan. 14 the council gave the nod to Proposition A, which would implement instant-runoff voting. IRV is recognized as helpful to third political parties. In contrast, the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Democratic Club which is moving away from its historically pro-Mayor Willie Brown camp by supporting Leno over Brown-backed Phillips still voted no on D and no endorsement on A. (Blackwell)
Early voting Sup. Matt Gonzalez has introduced legislation that would allow voters to cast their ballot at one of three locations in their district starting 10 days before the official date of the election. If the legislation, which was introduced at the Board of Supervisors' Jan. 22 meeting, is approved, you won't have to trek down to City Hall if you can't make it to the polls on Election Day. (Blackwell)
Corporate correction Political consultant Robert Barnes, who is spearheading Leno's campaign, called the Bay Guardian last week to complain that we implied that Britt had never taken a single cent from huge corporations. What we meant to say is that during more than 13 years in elected office, there were minimal contributions from big corporations to Britt. Yes, Robert, there were several from the now defunct Viacom Cablevision in the early to mid 1980s and one $250 contribution from Atlantic Richfield Co. But that pales in comparison to the loads of dough more than 100 contributions from large corporations and downtown interests in his 1998 and 2000 bids for supervisor that have gone to Leno. The bottom line is whether those donations influence the kind of policy the official makes. Case in point: on Feb. 4, Britt announced his plan to work for the repeal of the Ellis Act and the Costa-Hawkins anti-rent control law and to force developers to pay for the cost of suburban sprawl. Doesn't sound very pro-corporate to us. (Blackwell)