Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius made an excellent argument for supporting the Guardian’s slate of progressive candidates for the Democratic County Central Committee in Saturday’s paper, even though he was trying to do just the opposite. But I suppose that perspective is everything.
Our perspective at the Guardian is one of great pride in San Francisco and its left-of-center values. Nevius looks at San Francisco from his home in Walnut Creek and sees a scary place where people question authority figures and don’t simply trust developers, big corporations, and the Chamber of Commerce to act in the public interest.
“The next two months will see a battle for the political soul of the city. It will pit the progressives against the moderates in a face-off that will have huge implications in the November elections and, perhaps, the election of the next mayor. The key is control of an obscure but incredibly influential organization called the Democratic County Central Committee,” Nevius writes, and he’s right about that.
But he’s wrong when he assumes most San Franciscans agree with him and others who want to make the city more like the sterile suburbs that they prefer. Nevius values “safe streets,” which is his code for giving police more power through the proposed sit-lie ordinance and other unpopular crackdowns, despite the fact that he sat in the back row and watched the DCCC voted overwhelmingly against sit-lie after nobody presented a credible case for it.
Nevius is so utterly blind to the fact that most San Franciscans want adequate mitigation and community benefits from development projects that he recently ranted and raved about the defeat of the 555 Washington project, even though it was unanimously rejected by the Board of Supervisors for inadequately addressing these requirements.
The “moderate values” that Nevius champions are actually quite extreme: give downtown and developers everything they want, never question the behavior of cops or the Fire Department’s budget, keep cutting taxes until city government becomes incapable of providing services or regulating the private sector, ignore the cultural value of nightclubs and artists, and deport all the undocumented immigrants.
This is the Democratic Party that Nevius and his allies like Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier and supervisorial candidate Scott Wiener (a conservative attorney who would be the best friend that the suburban cowboy cops could ever have on the board) want to promote, and it looks more like the Republican Party than a political party with San Francisco values.
But they aren’t honest about that intention, instead trying to fool people into believing that progressives are the extremists. "But when Mrs. Jones receives her Democratic voter guide in the mail…she's thinking of the party of Barack Obama, not the party of Aaron Peskin and (Supervisor) Chris Daly,” Wiener said.
But in the Democratic presidential primary election, it was Daly and Peskin who were the strongest early supporters of Barack Obama, while Wiener backed John Edwards and Alioto-Pier, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the rest of the “moderate” party stalwarts supported Hillary Clinton. That’s not a huge deal, but it’s a sign of how the so-called moderates are willing to distort political reality.
So Nevius is right. This is an important election and it is about the soul of the city. Do you support scared suburban twits who disingenuously try to hide behind the “moderate” label in order to seem more reasonable, or do you support progressive candidates who have integrity and won’t moderate their values in order to appease the cops or the capitalists?
If it’s the latter, support the Guardian’s slate (which is substantially similar to the slates approved by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, the San Francisco Tenants Union, the Sierra Club’s SF Bay Chapter, and other progressive groups).
And if you want that slate to have some money to mail out a Guardian slate card, come to a fundraiser this Thursday evening at CELLspace, 2050 Bryant, featuring the candidates and some great exemplars of the culture they support, including amazing singer/songwriter Valerie Orth, the zany dance troupe Fou Fou Ha, and DJs Smoove and Kramer, who regularly rock the best clubs and community-based parties in town.
And by “town,” I mean San Francisco, not Walnut Creek.