Election 2011

Guardian forum: The candidates on the issues


Don't miss the final Guardian forum on the mayor's race -- featuring the candidates. It's going to be fun -- so far, eight candidates have confirmed, and we're going to ask them to talk about the progressive agenda that we've developed over the summer. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Dennis Herrera


Dennis Herrera has an interesting challenge: as city attorney, he's been barred by law, legal ethics and custom from taking stands on a lot of the legislative and political issues facing the city. He couldn't, for example, say he opposes a law that he might later have to defend in court. But now that he's running for mayor, he's liberated himself, and he's started to talk about specific challenges facing the city.

Herrera told us he thinks this is the most important mayor's race in the past 20 years and said that local government is going to have to play more of a role taking care of things that the federal and state governments will no longer do. He talked about the "culture of an organization" and his experience running a large office. He said that the city can't cut its way out of its budget problems and he supports "additional revenues," including a higher real-estate transfer tax, a more progressive payroll tax and (possibly) a commercial rent tax.

He supports an affordable housing bond -- but wouldn't call for a moratorium on market-rate housing and condo conversions.

Video and complete audio are after the jump.

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Endorsement interviews: David Onek


David Onek has been running for district attorney pretty much since former D.A. Kamala Harris announced she was seeking the office of attorney general. He's clearly, repeatedly and strongly said he opposes capital punishment and will never seek the death penalty. He told us he's running because "the criminal justice system is broken" -- and vowed, among other things, to start a restorative justice system for juvenile offenders.  And although he's never been a prosecutor, he told us that "we've been arresting and prosecuting people just fine -- now we need to reform the system."

You can see a video of his opening statement and listen to the full interview after the jump.

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Bike Coalition gives Avalos its top endorsement


Back in May, I noted how mayoral candidates John Avalos and David Chiu seemed to be the only candidates courting the votes of San Francisco bicyclists, noting that the 13,000-plus-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition was one of the city's largest grassroots political organizations. Since then, Ed Lee jumped into the race and also made a point of supporting and seeking support from the city's bicycling community.Read more »

Mayor Lee likes Question Time just the way it is: scripted and boring


Mayor Ed Lee appeared before the Board of Supervisors today for his fifth monthly Question Time session, where he was asked by Sup. John Avalos – and subsequently by reporters – whether he would be willing to “change the format to make it a truly interactive, substantive, and dynamic exchange?” Read more »

SF Labor Council makes surprising dual endorsements


The San Francisco Labor Council made a pair of dual endorsements last night that reflect the wide ideological range of local unions -- stretching from the progressive SEIU Local 1021 that represents city workers to the more conservative members of the trade unions -- as well as the power of behind-the-scenes politicking.Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Jeff Adachi


Jeff Adachi is running for mayor -- and running a campaign to change the city employee pension system. He told us he entered the race late because he was watching some of the debates, and "nobody was talking about the real reform issues."

He talked about his pension plan and argued that it's better for city workers than the plan the mayor (with the support of labor) has proposed. We asked him why he was so focused on one side of the equation -- cutting pensions -- and not on the other side -- raising taxes ont he rich -- and he said he wasn't opposed to new taxes. But he didn't offer any specifics.

He did, however, say he would set aside $40 million for micro loans to small local businesses, fully fund the Youth Works program and summer school and create partnerships with wealthy individuals to build affordable housing.

You can listen to the interview, and watch his opening statement, after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Phil Ting


We've started interviewing the candidates for mayor, sheriff and district attorney, and, as usual, we're taping the interviews and posting the audio feed unedited for your listening fun. We're also putting up videos of the candidates' opening statements.

mayoral candidate Phil Ting's basic pitch: "The most progressive thing we can do is make government more efficient." He talked a lot about his crowdsourcing website, Resetsf, which allows hundreds of San Franciscans to weigh in on the city's problems -- and offer solutions. Among his solutions: One minute of improved time on every Muni line would save $20 million a year. That means eliminating some bus stops to make the busses go faster.

He argued (with me) that San Francisco can eventually build its way out of the housing crisis by constructing more units on transit corridors. He vowed to reverse Gavin Newsom's policy on sanctuary and told us he supports the central subway. Listen and watch after the jump. Read more »

Team Avalos

As a mayoral candidate, Sup. John Avalos casts himself as a movement builder


When Supervisor John Avalos chaired the Budget & Finance Committee in 2009 and 2010, his office became a bustling place in the thick of the budget process. To gain insight on the real-life effects of the mayor's proposed spending cuts, Avalos and his City Hall staff played host to neighborhood service providers, youth workers, homeless advocates, labor leaders, and other San Franciscans who stood to be directly impacted by the axe that would fall when the final budget was approved. Read more »

The real Leland Yee

The one-time conservative supervisor is gaining broad progressive support. But who is Leland Yee, really?



It's early January 2011, and the Four Seas restaurant at Grant and Clay is packed. Everyone who is anyone in Chinatown is there — and for good reason. In a few days, the Board of Supervisors is expected to appoint the city's first Asian mayor.

The rally is billed as a statement of support for Ed Lee, the mild-mannered bureaucrat and reluctant mayoral hopeful. But that's not the entire — or even, perhaps, the central — agenda.Read more »