Elections

Legal Brahmins organize against Nava

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Some of the most prominent lawyers in San Francisco, including two high-ranking judges, have launched a full-scale political campaign to protect Judge Richard Ulmer, a straight white former Republican and Schwarzenegger appointee, against a challenge by a gay Latino Democrat.

Among the Ulmer supporters, who have vowed to raise a substantial amount of money for the fall judicial election, are J. Anthony Kline, presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco and James McBride, presiding judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. They’re joined by a surprising number of leading liberal lawyers, including James Brosnahan, senior partner at Morrison and Foerster, Joe Cotchett, the widely known trial lawyer, and Sid Wolinsky, a founder of Disability Rights Advocates and a lifelong public interest attorney.

And John Burton, the chair of the California Democratic Party, is contacting members of the San Francisco County Central Committee to try to get that panel to rescind its endorsement of Ulmer’s opponent, Michael Nava.

It is, by any standard, an astonishing amount of political firepower for a local judicial race – and it’s all being done in the name of avoiding politicizing the judiciary. Read more »

Herrera's right to appeal the Alioto-Pier decision

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I'm not exactly sure what Ken Garcia was trying to say here -- his argument is rambling and makes no sense -- but Dennis Herrera really had no choice: He had to appeal the Alioto-Pier decision.Read more »

Is there still a political machine in San Francisco?

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There's some interesting discussion going on about Jane Kim, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom, and political machines here. Check it out if you haven't read it already.

Reading the June election tea leaves

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Everyone’s reading the tea leaves after the local election. The November supes races will be a huge deal, and it’s really tempting to try to figure out what the DCCC results mean for the fall. Paul Hogarth at BeyondChron takes it on here. Chris Daly (no surprise) disagrees.

Let me see if I can sort some of this out.Read more »

The Chronicle's dishonest hit on district elections

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The move to get rid of district elections – which is based entirely on the fact that big business and more conservative voices (including the Chron) don’t like the progressive policy positions of the current board – is now well under way. The Chron devoted its Insight section to the issue Feb. Read more »

Clean money campaign launches in SF

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The campaign for Prop. 15, the California Fair Elections Act, kicks off in San Francisco this Sunday afternoon. It’s an appropriate city to launch this effort, given San Francisco’s leadership on electoral reform, from our pioneering ranked choice voting system to our low political contribution limits to the public financing available in the races for mayor and the Board of Supervisors.Read more »

Gavin for Lite Guv?

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Willie Brown thinks it's a good idea. And you can tell Newsom wants to consider it, since he knows there's nothing else obvious for him to do once his term as mayor is up -- and there are going to be a lot of options not too far down the road. Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn't getting any younger, and at some point she'll retire. If Jerry Brown doesn't get elected governor, the Democrats will be looking for someone very different in four years. But once a politician like Newsom is out of office and out of the spotlight, he'll have a hard time coming back.

So he could sit up there in the Lite Gov's office, doing what John Garamendi did -- taking on issues like cuts to the University of California (the Lt. Gov. sits on the Board of Regents) and making speeches about reform, and maybe he could get out in front of this constitutional convention stuff, and keep his name in the news, without having to make a single difficult or unpleasant decision that he can be blamed for later.

You know he wants to do it ....

But there's this problem, and for Newsom, it's very real.

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The attack on district elections begins

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I knew it was coming. After ten years of district-elected supervisors promoting progressive policies (minimum wage and sick day laws, universal health care, tenant protections, public power, development limits, affordable housing etc.) downtown has finally figured out how to launch a counter-attack. It was announced this morning in the pages of the Chronicle

I knew it was coming. After ten years of district-elected supervisors promoting progressive policies (minimum wage and sick day laws, universal health care, tenant protections, public power, development limits, affordable housing etc.) downtown has finally figured out how to launch a counter-attack. It was announced this morning in the pages of the Chronicle

The idea is to replace some of the district supes with at-large representatives – say, four of the 11. That Chamber of Commerce is doing a poll on the issue. Expect a November ballot initiative.

C.W. Nevius chimed in, too, arguing in favor of the “hybrid” (sounds so much like an eco-friendly car) system.

The line is going to be this: District supervisors don’t pay attention to citywide issues.

"People like the idea of being able to talk to a district supervisor about neighborhood problems, but also feel that they want someone they can go to with broader, citywide concerns," said Steve Falk, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Or as Nevius puts it:

The truth is that San Francisco has more supervisors than any county in California. Is it too much to ask that a few of them have the entire city's best interest in mind?

Let’s consider for a moment what this is really about.

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