Endorsement Interviews

Endorsement interviews: Bevan Dufty

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Bevan Dufty's been running for mayor for about two years now. He's often the star of the debates -- if only because he has an engaging personality and is willing to laugh at himself, a rare trait in a politicians. And although he way typcially aligned with the fiscal conservatives on the Board of Supervisors, he has the support of the progressive SEIU Local 1021 -- in large part because he's talking about working with city employees instead of demonizing them. He also told us that the next mayor of San Franciisco needs to have a black agenda -- to address the alarming outmigration of African Americans and the economic damage that's been done to that community. You can listen to the full interview and watch video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Terry Baum

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Terry Joan Baum is the Green Party candidate for mayor. She told us she got in the race to get progressive issues out and on the agenda; she was a candidate before Sup. John Avalos announced, and she says she'd be supporting him if she weren't a candidate. She told us she's the only candidate calling for criminal charges against PG&E in the San Bruno explosion. "I understand that I'm a longshot," she said, "but I've already influenced the debates." Listen to the interview and watch the video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Sharmin Bock

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Sharmin Bock is one of just two candidates for district attorney ever to try a criminal case in court. In fact, she's tried plenty of them in a 23-year career as an Alameda County prosecutor. She's lived in San Francisco all that time, commuting across the Bay because, she told us, Alameda County had one of the two best D.A.'s offices in the country. (Not a nice assessment of the office she's seeking; her implication is that she didn't want to work at home because the office was never up to her standards).

Bock really pushed the experience line, saying that a candidate who hadn't been in the trenches couldn't lead a team of lawyers on the path toward reform. She told us she doesn't think low (or maybe even mid-level) drug dealers should be in jail, and is big on changing the was cases are charged. She told us she opposes the death penalty, would never charge a non-violent felony as a third strike, and would focus on fixing the crime lab problems. She also vowed to be aggressive about municipal corruption.

Check out the audio and video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Paul Miyamoto

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Paul Miyamoto is a captain in the Sheriff's Office and is running for the top job. He told us that at a time when significant change is coming -- from the retirement of longtime Sheriff Mike Hennessey to state realignment on prison policy -- it's important to have "someone from within, someone who's been doing the job." He vowed (as did all the candidates) to continue Hennessey's progressive policies, but was a little fuzzy in some areas. He said, for example, that he's against privatizing jail health services -- but would be willing to examine the issue if there were a viable alternative. Audio and video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement Interviews: Leland Yee

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State Sen. Leland Yee, who is running for mayor, has been involved in local politics since the 1980s, when he joined the School Board. He's been a supervisor elected at-large, a district supervisor, a state Assembly member and now a senator. And he stirs up strong passions in the city -- supporters of Mayor Ed Lee say they urged him to get into the mayor's race in part to stop Yee from winning. Yee was a fiscal conservative on the Board of Supervisors, but in Sacramento, he's been a foe of budget cuts. And he told us he wants to see new revenue -- including a city income tax -- to make sure that "the people who need services get them."

You can listen to our interview with Yee and see the video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement Interviews: George Gascon

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George Gascon is, as far as we can determine, the only police chief in the country ever to become a district attorney. It's put him in an odd position, particularly given the recent problems in the SFPD: He has to monitor and possibly prosecute people who used to work for him. That conflict has been a big part of the campaigns against him.

Gascon discussed the situation at length, telling us that he's proud to be "a progressive chief of police who became district attorney." He said that he was the one who brought some of the department's problems (the crime lab, the lack of a Brady policy) to light. "I have taken on police corruption aggressively," he said.

You can listen to the full interview (and see the video) after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement Interviews: David Chiu

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Board President and mayoral candidate David Chiu could well be the person most directly hurt by Mayor Ed Lee's decision to run for a full term. It's ironic, since Chiu supported Lee -- on the basis that the former city administrator would not be a candidate in November. And he has the inside story on why Lee is in the race: According to Chiu, Lee told him that he didn't really want to run, but "was having trouble saying no to Willie Brown and Rose Pak."

Chiu has been in the center of the current board, moving away from progressives on some key issues -- but he's talking very much a progressive line in his campaign. He's promising business tax reforms, transit justice, affordable housing and new revenue. Audio and video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: John Avalos

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Sup. John Avalos is running a grassroots progressive campaign for mayor. He is, he says, the only candidate talking about working-class people, and he wans to "create an administration that puts neighborhoods and people first." He wants to create a municipal bank to use money the city now dumps into Wells Fargo and Bank of America for loans to small businesses and economic development. He told us that by the end of his eight years in office, he'd like to see the city bringing in $500 million a year in new revenue -- for education, child care, Muni, parks, public health and other services. Check out the interview (audio and video) after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Bill Fazio

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Bill Fazio has been both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer -- most recently working on the defense side -- and his views on criminal justice have changed a bit since he first ran for District Attorney's office in 1999. Back then, he was a supporter of the death penalty; today, he says it's an expensive failure. He's not a big fan of "buy busts," and said he supports restorative justice (but in a limited way). He vowed to us that he'd appoint a team of investigators and prosecutors to go after municipal corruption. You can listen to the interview and watch the video after the jump. Read more »

Endorsement interviews: Dennis Herrera

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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.

Read more »