Bill Barnes leaps into the District 10 race

Bill Barnes tosses his hat into District 10 race

The already crowded field of candidates battling to become the next D 10 supervisor just got even more crowded.

Bill Barnes, who is currently working as Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier's legislative aide, and has previously served as researcher for SF Firefighters Local 798, legislative aide for Sup. Fiona Ma, and legislative aide and campaign manager for Sup. Chris Daly, has entered the race.

Barnes, who turns 33 on April 3, says he is working between now and his birthday, on qualifying for public financing--a vital step for anyone who wants to compete against the handful of candidates that are backed by big private money in this race.

Barnes says he decided to throw his hat into the ring because there has not been enough talk about neighborhood issues, social inequity and displacement.

"The talk is always about creating jobs, but jobs for who?" Barnes said. "Will it be for folks who have lived in the community for their entire lives, or folks from out of town?"

In the next decade or two, it's likely that the majority of subcontracts in the city will be centered in District 10, but there are no guarantees of who will get that work.

Barnes identified UC Regent Ward Connerly's Prop. 209, which amended the state constitution to prohibit public institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, as being a big part of the problem.

Noting that he worked to address the issue of local minority hiring while working for Ma, Barnes says race continues to play a major role when it comes to who gets the work in District 10.

"I plan to work to repeal Prop. 209, or figure out a better way to go,"Barnes said. "All too often contracts are issued that are way too big. That makes it impossible for a smaller locally-owned business to be competitive."


Ah yes, the consummate political chameleon and the very definition of an opportunist.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

By the way, when he was running in District 5, he opted to go to Burning Man instead of participating in a debate. I know, I know: debates are plentiful, feature the same people talking about the same issues and have the same audience. But still ...

Posted by Matt Stewart on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

Hmm, how does a Supervisor for a City get a State law repealed?

Even a State Assemblyman cannot get tat done. it would take another Proposition.

Why do these people even say such stupid things?

And in fact it is not illegal currently to favor local firms for contracts. Both Oakland and LA do it - not sure about SF.

You just can't use race as a factor.

BB could not have gotten this more wrong.

Posted by Tom Foolery on Mar. 12, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

Obviously, fixing a busted proposition requires another voter measure, or a successful court challenge. The ballot is a strategy the far right has used to great success--putting a young woman's right to choose on the ballot multiple times; taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry. In Arkansas, they even banned gay adoption. Why not fight for progressive values that will turn people of color out to vote?

California's changed a lot since Prop 209. We know that health disparities, educational attainment--and yes--contracting often lock people of color and women out of the mix. It's time to talk about it, and review government's work to demonstrate just how much race remains a factor in everyday decisions.

Finally, saying a local government favors local firms (by adding a percentage to a score, which is what that means) doesn't eliminate the structural barriers to participation. No small, local firm can compete for a contract that's too large, or bid that lays out onerous eligibility requirements.

Posted by Bill Barnes on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 10:05 am

Re-introducing race as a factor in awarding contracts, at a time where generally affirmative actions are being wound down, for both legal and political reasons, would be a step back. It would be divisive and counter-productive to minority groups.

And in any event, we should be awarded contracts on the basis of the best quality-for-money. I'm sure minority firms want to win on merit and not based on some quota system.

A small firm can still bid as a sub-contractor on a larger project - the LA subway has been built very much like that, with preferences for each locality the subway expands into.

What plays well in District 10 won't necessarily play well in Stockton, Modesto or Bakersfield. Better to retain an open mind.

Posted by Tom Foolery on Mar. 13, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

What a step forward this would be for District 10. Bill Barnes, from my experience with City Hall, is brilliant. For years, as Chris Daly's right hand, Bill was the go-to guy at City Hall when anything needed to be done. He not only understands the mechanical apparatus, more importantly, he knows who can work with who and who hates who--which is the way things work.

District 10 could not find a better advocate. I'm not sure who else is running in this race, but this is a candidate that I am finally be excited about.

Doug Comstock

Posted by Doug Comstock on Mar. 14, 2010 @ 7:28 am

Hmm, let's get this straight... Bill Barnes USED to PLAY Progressive. Apparently that got boring and/or didn't bode the kind of success his massive ego desired. Or, real progressives finally started to sniff him for the shameless politico with no real principles he really was. So he bailed lefty SF for more mainstream State politics where finally his razor-sharp political cunning could really get him somewhere. Guess that didn't work out too well. After a failed run in State politics fizzles, Barnes returns to SF politics, tail between legs, to work for... wait for it... Alito-Pier! Gone is any pretense of progressive purpose, and Barnes' willingness to politically shape-shift to get ahead is confirmed. Shortly thereafter, with a reestablished presence in City politics, and an impending departure of former ally Chris Daly at hand (whom he conveniently won't have to debate in City Hall if victorious), he makes himself available for supervisor. Classic!
I find it deliciously ironic and fitting that he is choosing to work the minority angle for his campaign. As a hack for Alioto-Pier, he should know all about what it means to be a minority voice of shameless self-aggrandizement in a populist, primarily progressive political climate.
Then again, he does know quite a bit about Race - to the top that is. Don't be fooled by this fraud. Shame on you Guardian for failing to call out this carpetbagging charlatan, despite his obviously dubious attempt to re-root himself in the last issue he could remember where he actually pretended to be progressive, tired old Prop 209. You just gave the critics who clown your paper as conveniently amnesiac when even quasi-politically opportune another spray bottle of seltzer water.

Posted by Ill-ish on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 12:49 am

Ironically enough, Barnes' boss, Michela Alioto-Pier, was working for Al Gore around the time she launched her first statewide political campaign. Al Gore-- along with Bill Clinton-- sat on his hands during the Prop. 209 race and refused to lift a finger to fundraise or vigorously campaign against it.

Now, Barnes' main progressive issue is repealing Prop 209 (which, conveniently enough as a city supervisor, he would not have to actually take any concrete, binding action against)? That's kind of sad.

Unless, he's actively fundraising and helping to organize petition drives to qualify a state ballot initiative to repeal it, Barnes' opposition to Prop 209-- given his current boss' political background-- rings very, very hollow.

It would be better to elect a progressive who actually walks the progressive walk.

Posted by Guest on May. 21, 2010 @ 8:33 pm