San Francisco Values

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By Steven T. Jones

Our colleagues at the San Francisco Chronicle flogged the phrase “San Francisco values” in the runup to this election, exploring its meaning in two front page stories and an editorial. But when you compare the paper’s endorsements to how San Franciscans actually voted on Tuesday, it becomes clear that the Chronicle doesn’t subscribe to San Francisco values. Actually, they’ve adopted something closer to Walnut Creek values as they strive to be a paper of and for the suburbs of our great city.

Starting at the top, the Chron endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor, while San Franciscans preferred Phil Angelides by more than a 2-1 margin (Arnold got less than 30 percent here). For insurance commissioner, the Chron preferred Republican Steve Poizner, who won the race but was preferred by less than 28 percent of San Franciscans. On the other constitutional offices, they, we, and just about everyone else preferred the Democrats.
The school board race was also telling. The Chron endorsed Hydra Mendoza, Dan Kelly and Omar Khalif, but not first place finisher Jane Kim, a bright Green who was endorsed by most San Francisco groups, including the Guardian. Another Guardian endorsee, Kim-Shree Maufas, also was elected while our third choice, Bob Twomey, came in just out of the money in fourth. Incumbent Kelly came in fifth and Khalif came in 11th. For the community college board, the Chron also failed to back another winning Green: John Rizzo.
In the supervisorial races, the Chron went with losers Rob Black and Doug Chan, while the Guardian endorsed the unsuccessful candidates Alix Rosenthal and Jaynry Mak, so we’ll call this one even (despite the fact that we couldn’t bring ourselves to support the virtually unopposed Michela Alioto-Pier).
But the local measures are the most telling. The Chron recommended against six progressive measures – D, F, G, H, J and K – all of which passed. And there were telling differences between the Chron and San Franciscans on two of the most significant state measures on the ballot: Prop. 87, which would have taxed oil companies to pay for alternative energy development, and Prop. 89, the clean campaign money measure. Statewide voters agreed with the Chron in rejecting them, but 73 percent of San Franciscans voted for Prop. 87 and 52.3 percent wanted Prop. 89. And both seem to involve quintessential “San Francisco values”: alternative energy and democracy reform. Almost seven in 10 San Franciscans also wanted a big tax increase on cigarettes (Prop. 87), but the Chron didn’t.

P.S. The Examiner was even worse. They shared most of the Chronicle’s bad positions, but actually urged San Franciscans to endorse conservative neanderthal Tom McClintock for lieutenant governor. Only 17.4 percent of San Franciscans followed that advice.