About Peskin's "coup"


It's interesting that the Examiner and Chron both seem to be pushing the same slate of 24 candidates for the Democratic County Central Committee -- and most of the folks on the list are not incumbents. Electing the so-called "moderate" slates would, in fact, mark a dramatic change in the politics of the DCCC -- and yet, the Ex's Ken Garcia still talks about a "progressive coup." As if somehow the left is trying to take over a committee that hasn't really changed all that much in years.


A few years back, the local Democratic party organization was the object of a coup engineered by former Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the aforementioned Daly that rid the group of many of its moderate members and replaced them with like-minded ultra-liberals, several of which were elected to the Board of Supervisors in large part because of the support of the DCCC, which controls slate mailers, raises money and otherwise does everything in its power to increase its power.

In fact, in 2008 Peskin was elected to the DCCC and became chair. But it was hardly a dramatic change in the commitee's politics. Let's look at the numbers.

You can read the list of candidates who won slots on the committee in 2006, before the supposed "takeover," here. And you can see the list of candidates who won in 2008, the "coup" year, here. Guess what? They're remarkably similar. In the 12th Assembly District, only three of 12 seats changed hands. Susan Hall, a progressive, retired. Dan Dunnigan and Jason Wong, both part of the more moderate wing, lost. Jake McGoldrick, Eric Mar and Michael Bornstein, all progressives, were elected. Net political change: exactly two sets for the progressives.

In District 13, Sue Bierman, an incumbent in 2006, died and was replaced by David Chiu, who was re-elected in 2008. Gerry Crowley retired, and exactly two other incumbents -- Holli Thier and Bill Barnes -- were unseated, replaced by Peskin and Chris Daly.

"Many of the moderate members," Ken? Try four. Out of 24 elected seats. That's a turnover rate of about 16 percent. Some coup.

As it turns out, the balance of power in the committee shifted just enough for Peskin to get elected chair, in a very close vote. But most of the votes on the committee, on most of the key issues, are fairly lopsided; a motion to oppose the sit-lie law, for example, passed overwhelmingly.

So the real coup attempt here is a well-funded move by downtown to oust the current incumbents and move the Democratic Party to the right. That's what this election is about. 

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