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. 


Aaron Peskin started out well when he came to the board of supes. He was an intelligent, affable advocate for good government. He showed that the new system of district elections could bring quality people to the fore of government service.

But in recent years, Peskin got carried away with himself, as often happens with politicians. In his last years at the board, he turned into a nasty schemer. He coined, and lived by, the Peskin Principle - "Payback is a bitch," which is the motto of every political machine.

After Peskin left the board, he carried out a coup at the Democratic County Central Committee, pushing out the good-natured and capable Scott Wiener as chair.

Peskin is now busily consolidating a machine that is run by himself and pushed by doctrinaire ideologues. Their immediate scheme is to foist one of their own onto the voters as mayor through a coup at the supes. The occasion will be the appointment process for mayor, after Gavin Newsom goes off to Sacramento as Lt. Governor.

Not that Peskin's opponents from downtown businesses are any better. Their only concern is their own profits and clout. They have positioned candidates to run in political races who are not rooted in neighborhoods and who serve as stalking horses for greedy developers and large corporations.

The ordinary voters of the city deserve better than either Peskin or the corporate grabbers. Let's hope that new, machine-free, corporate-free faces emerge soon onto the city's political scene.

Wouldn't that be a refreshing change?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 04, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

wasn't Bill Barnes, the moderate that apparently Garcia loves, Daly's aide? Wasn't he the guy who thought up the idea of appointing Werbach to the PUC?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 04, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

What a couple of pitiful toadies Ken Garcia and Nevius who every day lick the buttholes of right wing rich Republicans and Chamber of Commerce Democrats they service. Nobody takes them seriously since they are so obviously just paid mouthpieces. How pitiful when lackeys like that will stoop so low just to get along

Posted by Guest Paul Hl. Melbostad on Jun. 05, 2010 @ 11:11 am

In a post above, Paul Melbostad says:

“a couple of pitiful toadies”

“lick the buttholes of right wing rich Republicans”

“paid mouthpieces”


Thank you, Paul, for this display of intelligent reasoning on your part.

I take it that you are an admirer of the reasoning style of Chris Daly and Aaron Peskin, right?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 05, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

I remember a time, in the 70s, when progressivism in SF was a popular movement that attracted the best minds in the city. They were articulate, inspiring, witty, and informed. I felt proud to be part of such a movement.

Today, however, many SF progressives are commonly incapable of presenting sustained rational arguments on their own behalf. When their dogmas are challenged, they resort to a litany of crude name-calling, as we have seen in this post.

(By the way, what kind of mind would ever come up with something like “lick the buttholes of right wing rich Republicans”? Think about it.)

Angry, foul-mouthed retorts are now common among them. Chris Daly, for example, is famous for his "Fuck you, bitch!" Aaron Peskin is famous for "Payback is a bitch." Tom Ammiano is famous for "You fuckin' piece of shit."

Is this what George Moscone and Harvey Milk died for?

What happened?

Is it all the drug use, or what?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 05, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

Peskin a lackey for the Downtown business interests?? What are you smokin? I want some of it.

Posted by Homeless in SF on Jun. 05, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

Says Homeless in SF:

"Peskin a lackey for the Downtown business interests?? "

Where are on earth did you read that? Yikes!

Peskin is the opponent of downtown business interests.

The problem is that the machine that Peskin has created has just as much tunnel vision as the downtown corporate interests. Each faction is self-absorbed, overlooking the common good.

We need new people to enter politics who are not beholden either to the Peskin machine or the corporate grabbers.

Progressives should encourage this development. But they seek to smother it because they have become part of the status quo.

The time has come to rattle everyone's cage.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 05, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

I'm still waiting to see how Time Redmond can justify (in the name of progressive politics!) a machine whose motto is "Payback is a bitch."

Also, speaking of justification, how can Tim Redmond justify supporting Carole Migden for the Democratic County Central Committee? Is there any local politician who is more cheesy, and more dishonest when confronted with her shortcomings, than Carole Migden? Okay, maybe Ed Jew. But what consolation is that?

Finally, how can Tim Redmond justify making excuses for Chris Daly, who is the living embodiment of the abusive patriarchal male? Whatever happened to the feminist critique of male-chauvinist behavior? Has Tim Redmond ever heard of it?

Doesn't this whole scene remind you of the People's Front of Judea in the Monty Python flick "The Life of Brian"?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 05, 2010 @ 11:24 pm


here is a website called www.blogspot.com . At this location you can easily create space for your rants and repetitious comments that exceed the length of most posts.

Posted by guest on Jun. 06, 2010 @ 11:10 am

Yep, it's true. This is a faith-based enterprise.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 06, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

I've always liked the People's Front of Judea, but the Constitutional Peasant is really more my style.


Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Help, help, I'm being repressed. It's the violence inherent in the system.


Posted by tim on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

Great quote from Monty Python:

"Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

Even so, though, the Six Guys Club at the supes will appoint the next mayor in a farcical machine ceremony.

So we've made some progress since the Middle Ages, right?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 2:19 pm


For those who haven't already figured it out, Arthur Evans (who also goes by the alias Ruth R. Snave over on Fog City Journal) has a few screws loose, or is "off the latch." However you want to put it. He has completely snapped...probably around 1987. Not only is migratory sit-lie addict Arthur Evans/Ruth R. Snave trying to control people with oppressive sit-lie but he's also trying to be parental and controlling the language people use online. He can't stand (what he calls) "foul-mouthed" language. (Translation: Adult sex language.) I thought we were all adults here. I suspect we are, except for Arthur/Ruth (and whatever alias he's using today). And he is happiest when he's involved in drama, continually baiting people on line (this thread is an example) and dysfunction. He fits the definition of an Internet Troll. Why does Arthur/Ruth act so oppressive, repressive and depressive? Might it be because of this stuff he has written on the Internet:


In January 1987, I decided to phase sex out of my life. Not out of any sense of duty or fear or piety or anything like that, but because my interests were changing. Since then, I've had sex with another person on two occasions. Both experiences felt like a waste of time. My heart wasn't in it.

As my sex drive has decreased in recent years, I've noticed an increase in another passion that I've always had, but which now is stronger than ever. It's something that's hard to describe to people who've never experienced it. For lack of better words, I call it the intellectual love of the universe.

End Quote

Migratory sit-lie addict Arthur Evans/Ruth R. Snave is now into "the intellectual love of the universe." Oooooooooooooookay.

He doesn't write like he's full of love or "intellectual love." He writes like he's full of bile, venom and hate towards people of a lower class than himself, using his trademark buzz/code words (ex. "Civil Sidewalks Law," migratory packs, testosterone, "Let's all support..." and so forth) in his writing.

Just so you know who you're dealing with...if you didn't already know. He's so wrapped up in Chris Daly's testosterone. I think Arthur/Ruth needs to have his own testosterone level checked.

The guy is not "all there." When will he seek psychotherapy, that I've suggested in all seriousness in past comments? Well he has to admit he has a problem first. I don't see that happening....not from what I've seen from him. From the pedestal he's put himself on, he thinks he's above that.

Posted by Sam on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

Arthur, I've said many times that I'm in favor of a special election for mayor -- as long as there are also special elections for supervisor when there's a vacancy. Newsom opposes that, saying there should be a special for mayor, but the mayor should still make appointments when there's a vacancy on the board. I know of few Democratic institutions that allow the executive branch to appoint members of his/her Legislature. The prez of the U.S. can't fill vacancies in Congress; the guv can't appoint state Assembly members. (Yes, governors can appoint U.S. senators, but not their own state senators). So let's be consistent here.

BTW, in other CA counties, the supes fill their own vacancies. Not suggesting that, either, but it's a better model than ours, which gives the mayor way too much power. At one point, Willie Brown had hand-picked a majority of the sitting supes.

Posted by tim on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 3:19 pm


Thanks for your thoughtful post above.

I agree that there should be a special and timely election for supes if a vacancy occurs. The present arrangement, which allows the mayor to fill a vacancy, skews the eventual election dynamic in favor of the appointee.

Also, you're right about Willie Brown. The supes became his rubber stamps. I doubt that any rational person would want to return to such a lopsided system.

However, the problem today is the arrogance of the Peskin machine. His motto is "Payback is a bitch." His people - the Six Guys Club - control the board of supes.

In the last election for board prez, the Six Guys made it clear that the only one they would support for the job was "one of our own" (in the words of David Campos). That was when Sophie Maxwell, who was not one their own, sought the job.

They were terrified that Sophie Maxwell might win. Eventually, after working out their own internal disagreements, they settled on David Chiu, who had never before held elective office.

Today the Six Guys are busily trying to agree on whom they should appoint as mayor, should Gavin Newsom be elected Lt. Governor, as expected. Once again, they want to make sure that the choice is "one of our own." Some possible names which they have hoisted up the flagpole are those of Tom Ammiano and Matt Gonzalez.

Both Ammiano and Gonzalez were rejected by the voters when they ran for mayor in the past. The last time that Ammiano ran for mayor, he got 11% of the vote. A large chunk of the electorate today doesn't know who Gonzalez is.

The Six Guys will eventually settle their differences, as they did before, and impose a mayor on the voters. He (they don't consider women as possibilities) will be part of the Peskin machine.

The Six Guys will rejoice and consider this coup a victory. However, power is not legitimacy. It will be harder and harder for the machine to pretend to be "progressive."

They've turned into another version of Willie Brown.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

I understand your concern, Arthur, but I don't think that's exactly true. Peskin can't control six votes on the board. Ross Mirkarimi is by no stretch a Peskin ally -- in fact, Peskin and Daly didn't want him as board president. David Campos is a progressive but much closer to Tom Ammiano than to Peskin -- and Ammiano and Peskin agree on a lot of political issues, but are by no means part of a "machine." In fact, when they were both on the board, they clashed a lot, particularly over Home Depot on Bayshore. Daly and Peskin are close right now -- but haven't always been, and may not always be. You get the point -- nobody in this town right now controls six votes on the board. Not Peskin, not Ammiano, not Leno, not Newsom, not Willie Brown ... nobody.

That's not to say that there aren't a bunch of political folks who would love to build a machine and have that sort of power, but right now, it isn't there.

Yes, the progressives on the board tend to work together on issues they agree on. But when it comes to appointing a mayor -- if it comes to that -- it won't be a simple deal.



Posted by tim on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

Well, Sam, I can see that you're back to the old ad-hominem-attack track again.

There's a more grown-up approach you can use when debating. Here are its principles:

*Stay focused on the topic at hand.

*Don't try to turn other debaters into the topic.

*Present arguments that rely on consistent logic and sound evidence.

Good luck!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

They are principles that you yourself pay no attention to whatsoever. And you rarely answer questions asked of you or let facts get in your way.

Here are my suggestions for you:

1. Piss off.

2. Get help.

Posted by Sam on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 5:17 pm


You're absolutely right that there are conflicts among the Six Guys Club at the supes. We all saw that clearly at the last election by the supes of their board prez.

Ross Mirkarimi was all set (in his mind, at least) to win. However, Chris Daly vetoed Mirkarimi because Mirkarimi had gone to the SF Bay Guardian and called Daly a bully (which he is).

There was quite a bit of anguish among the Six Guys over whether they would all be able to hang together, and keep Sophie Maxwell, whom they demonized, from winning. A fascinating, blow-by-blow account of the whole process appeared in Fog City Journal, written by Savannah Blackwell.

In the end, the Six Guys pulled it off. They submerged their egos and conflicts and settled on David Chiu. It was after they pulled off this feat that David Campos boasted that they had saved the position of board prez "for one of our own."

They might not be able to hang together again. You're right about that. However, they are doing their darndest to do so.

My guess is that Aaron Peskin is warning them all that if any one of them sinks the boat, his future career in SF politics will be garbage. That's what Peskin means when he says "Payback is a bitch."

So it will be an interesting spectacle to watch, with lots of self-serving posturing by all parties. But whatever the outcome may be, the winner cannot claim the title of "the voters' choice."

And that's a glaring contradiction for any movement that claims to be an alternative to politics as usual and the vanguard of democracy in SF.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

This is an example of the half-truths that migratory sit-lie addict Arthur Evans/Ruth R Snave tell. He wrote this shit:

"Both Ammiano and Gonzalez were rejected by the voters when they ran for mayor in the past. The last time that Ammiano ran for mayor, he got 11% of the vote. A large chunk of the electorate today doesn't know who Gonzalez is."

Did you notice that Arthur Evans/Ruth R. Snave did NOT give the percentage for Matt? He conveniently left that part out. That's what I mean by his half-truths that he spews.

Matt González was hardly "rejected by the voters" when he ran for mayor.

From Wikipedia:


Newsom outspent Gonzales $4.4–4.9 million to $800,000–900,000.[40] Gonzalez sought to tighten spending caps and expand public financing, and accused Newsom of campaign improprieties and spending limit violations.[41][42][43][44][45][46][47] Newsom won the election by 133,546 to 119,329 votes.

End Quote

133,546 (New$om) versus 119,329 (González) is hardly being rejected by the voters. But then consider the source: Arthur Evans/Ruth R. Snave!

A large chunk of the electorate today doesn't know Matt? I don't think The City has changed THAT much since then. We do have continuing gentrification unfortunately going on (which Mr corporate Sit-Lie Scott Weiner supports...ugh), and gentrification will likely continue. (If San Francisco and/or The Castro looks like any other city/neighborhood due to gentrification why would anyone want to come here? It will look just like the homogeneous place where they left!) And if some of the voters don't know of Matt, they can be educated about him. You know, intellect. "Intellectual." I'd like to see Matt mayor, which is why I voted for him when he ran. I've never voted for New$om and won't be in the future. New$om was a corporate hack job.

Posted by Sam on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

It's ludicrous of "Sam" to accuse any other commenter here of bile when his own comments reek of bile. Here's a sampling of how he's referred to other commenters:

"rabid regressive useless trash"
"A typical smug response from yet another hater"
"smug, bourgeois elite, pretentious, nose-in-the-trash trash"
"disgusting troll"
"regressive nuts"
"it's good to know that there are some people who don't agree with the regressive, rabid trash in our society"
"fascist right-wing trash"

You know who else referred to people as "trash" and actually ordered a removal of the poor and homeless from the streets of his country called "Operation Clean Out the Trash?"

Robert Mugabe. Clearly a hero to Sam.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 5:08 pm


You can drag out your "Ad-Hominem-Attack" code/buzzwords allegation all you want. When one writes the truth about someone, Arthur/Ruth....it's NOT an Ad-Hominem-Attack. That's something you seem to be quite dense on. I've spoken the truth (even publishing your own words), which you don't want to hear. That's called Denial. You need help. Period.

And frankly, I don't know why anyone in their right mind would put the personal stuff on the Internet that you've written. I can see that stuff being put in a book that's for sale, but on the Internet? One has to be very careful as to what one puts on the Internet, especially these days, but Arthur/Ruth seems obvious to it. He's too busy dragging out buzzwords and codewords like "Ad-Hominem-Attack." Pathetic.

Posted by Sam on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

Sorry to give you the bad news, Sam, but Matt Gonzalez did not win the mayor's race in 2003.

After losing, Gonzalez retired from politics, going into private law practice. His name mostly disappeared from the news.

The Green Party that Gonzalez championed has collapsed in SF. Even Ross Mirkarimi and marc salomon have abandoned it.

SF voters have short memories and a rapid turnover. Gonzalez himself no longer has an institutional platform.

Matt Gonzalez is finished as a politician. However, he could still become a poet or an academician, callings that are better suited to his nature.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

Just curious...Are these all the same people?:

1. Arthur Evans/Ruth R. Snave (any other aliases?)
2. Lucretia Trollop who's new alias is Lucretia Snapples
3. "Guest" (the most rabid one. His/her troll thing is "Cuba.")
4. Glenn Matlock who's new alias is Mr Matlock (who consistently writes about how terrible progressives are...that's his troll bait along with "nobody reads the Guardian" yet he's a regular. Very troll-like.).

The reason I ask is because paid trolls will change their aliases rather frequently. Also one troll shows up here to support another troll around the same time the first troll put out their bait. Anyone notice that? And do you notice how every one of these paid political trolls deliberately and consistently miss the point, even when it's right there in front of them or quoted to them from Wikipedia, for example. They fail to "get it" because they're paid to not get it.

Maybe I should make up a few screen names and support myself as well in comments, but, I don't have that much time and the non-trolls do have a brain to understand what I'm saying. That's why the average person who comments on here rarely responds to me and never seem to miss my point. But the trolls consistently and always miss the point and then start their baiting to get a reaction (so they can get paid from the reaction). Do you also notice how they never let facts get in their way? Now, all these trolls will likely come back with more bait on this particular comment/thread. Let's see who comes on, whether they change their aliases to "Guest" (possibly) or maybe they will show up as "crapples" or "Slaplock." The trolls are very easy to spot, aren't they? They're not doing too well on this forum are they? These corporate parties better send out a new batch of paid trolls because the current group is as transparent as clear glass.

Posted by Sam on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

Once again, Sam has launched a personal tirade instead of presenting a rational argument.

For the record, I use only one handle on any one chatboard.

Also, for the record, I am not a troll. I'm an equal-opportunity skeptic, independent in my judgments, calling things as I see them. Nobody pays me anything.

Also, if you want to test Sam's claim that I'm crazy, then read my books and decide for yourself.

But none of this makes any difference to Sam. He keeps cranking out his ad hominem slanders, one after the other, against anyone who questions his dogmas, hoping to divert attention away from logic and evidence.

You commonly see this sort of behavior on the part of people in sects. They believe they have the One Truth. So anybody who challenges their dogmas must be corrupt or in the service of malignant forces. Why else would anyone challenge the One Truth?

Sam is not alone. In recent years, SF progressivism has increasingly shown signs of sect-like behavior. Many SF prorgressives have developed a bunker mentality, becoming anti-intellectual, anti-cultural, doctrinaire, and deficient in basic social skills.

It's too bad because SF progressivism was once an engaging, popular movement that valued both intellectual diversity and people who thought for themselves.

But it's now a sect-like phenomenon. At the same time, its political leadership is deteriorating into an old-style political machine, led by a politician whose motto is "Payback is a bitch."

It's time to re-open the gates of intelligence and integrity in the political life of the city.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

It's not at all unusual, Arthur, for people who share a political philosphy -- as, for the most part, the progressives on the board do -- to try to work together on leadership issues. The progressives control the board, fair and square; they won the elections in enough districts to have a majority. And it's entirely appropriate for the "majority party," as it were, to decide that the board leadership is going to be a member of that party. Same thing happens in Congress, the state legislature, etc.

Yeah, we're all Democrats here, but the progressives might as well be a party, since they share a basic vision of governing (not 100 percent, but at least 75 percent, which is more than you can day about the Dems nationally.) So the progressives decided that "one of them" would be board prez; so what? You think the Democrats in Congress would allow a Republican to be speaker? Not.

Sophie Maxwell has shown by her votes that she disagrees with the progressives on a lot of issues. That doesn't make her bad or evil, but it means that her allies don't hold a majority of seats and she wasn't going to get the presidency. Again: The majority party in any legislature decides on leadership. This was no different.

To run a political machine, you need a lot more political control than anyone in SF holds right now.

Posted by Tim Redmond on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

Tim Redmond wrote:

"You think the Democrats in Congress would allow a Republican to be speaker? Not."


Will you please stop this "my team is better than your team" cheer-leading shit?... when these two parties (teams) are the same on most issues and work for their corporate owners. I know that most people have been brainwashed into thinking there's something majorly different between the two parties (it's really a corporate one party system), but their voting records and actions say otherwise.

There's a Republican in the speaker's chair now. Her name is Pelosi. She's a Bush-enabling Republican with a D behind her name. In fact, most of the Dems in congress are Bush-accomplice Republicans with a D behind their name. The Bush regime could not have accomplished their goals without the yes votes, complicity and silence from the so-called Dems (Republicans). And who took impeachment "off the table?" Republican Pelosi charading as a Dem. And now it turns out that Bush experimented on prisoners and do you hear any whimper from the Ds or Rs? Ds = Rs. When will people understand that and come out of their Denial? Bush experimented on prisoners and there is silence about that. Have people forgotten WWII and what that was about? "Oh Sam, that was THEM doing it, this is US, Sam. We're the good guys, Sam. It's okay, Sam."

And I see that migratory sit-lie addict Arthur Evans (alias Ruth R. Snave) and paid political troll was the troll to respond to my question about trolls. He was the troll who fell into my trap immediately. Nothing else needs to be said. The true intellectuals understand.

I think we need a special law to ban paid political trolls on the Internet and "bring civility and decency" back to the Internet. Let's take the Internet back from the migratory packs of Internet paid political trolls.

Vote yes on the "Internet Civility Law."

Posted by Sam on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

Sam: you need to learn how to use something called a "search" function. I've used "Lucretia Snapples" and "Lucretia the Trollop" interchangeably for over three years now.

Everything you write here you do so as if you're exposing a great secret when in reality its all of the most mundane and pedantic nature. Newsflash "Sam," you're no great genius and if you're considering becoming a private investigator you may want to keep consider keeping your day job (which seems to consist of you spending all of your time on various SF news sites while reposting your RSS newsfeed in between inane comments.)

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

Thank you, Tim Redmond, for your post above. It’s always refreshing to have a discussion with someone who knows how to present a rational argument.

Some responses follow.

You say:

“The progressives control the board, fair and square; they won the elections in enough districts to have a majority. And it's entirely appropriate for the ‘majority party,’ as it were, to decide that the board leadership is going to be a member of that party.”

You’re saying the board’s progressive Democrats regard the board’s liberal Democrats and moderate Democrats as a separate party from themselves, to the same degree that Democrats in Congress view Republicans.

You wouldn’t call this a bunker mentality?

You say:

“Yeah, we're all Democrats here, but the progressives might as well be a party, since they share a basic vision of governing (not 100 percent, but at least 75 percent, which is more than you can day about the Dems nationally.)”

Are the progressive Democrats at the board are so much a party unto themselves that they view someone like Sophie Maxwell as a political enemy?

Is this a rational attitude?

You say:

“You think the Democrats in Congress would allow a Republican to be speaker?”

You’re saying that Sophie Maxwell is to the board of supes as John Boehner, the Republican minority leader, is to the U.S. House of Representatives.

You don’t regard this comparison as a slander of Sophie Maxwell?

You say:

“Sophie Maxwell has shown by her votes that she disagrees with the progressives on a lot of issues.”

She agrees with them on a clear majority of votes. The Six Guys, however, want much more than that.

You say:

“That doesn't make her bad or evil, but it means that her allies don't hold a majority of seats and she wasn't going to get the presidency.”

Her allies? You mean, for example, Michela-Alioto Pier? Sophie Maxwell disagrees more with Michela-Alioto Pier than she does with Ross Mirkarimi.

You say:

“To run a political machine, you need a lot more political control than anyone in SF holds right now.”

Peskin’s takeover of the Democratic County Central Committee, with its power to endorse in the name of the Democratic Party, gives him that power. And his slogan – “Payback is a bitch” – reveals his intention.

Add the power and the intention, and you get the machine.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 07, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

much to The Guardian's chagrin. Why look! He even took 72% in San Francisco!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 08, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

It would appear that over 75% of the registered voters in San Francisco did NOT vote since---according to the Department of Elections---the turnout was 23.35%. That's not even 25%. If that's the case, the overwhelming majority of the registered voters in San Francisco didn't vote. Therefore, the things that did win, won from only approximately a quarter of the registered voters in San Francisco voting for them. No mandate or "landslide" there for anyone, at least from the registered voters of San Francisco. It takes 2 weeks or more to process the ballots---according to the Department of Elections---so the voter turnout might/could go up a little higher, but that's what they show at this time:

590 out of 590 precincts (100.00%)
Last Updated: June 08 2010 23:17:59

Total Registration and Turnout
Registration 447985
Total Ballots Cast 104616
Turnout 23.35%

Link to the Department of Elections Results Summary:


Posted by Sam on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 12:07 am

Who is this one man band named Eaves, sounding his one note drizzle from the eavestrough of the Chamber of Commerce. Why don't you just come out and say "I need therapy".
Colin Campbell

Posted by Guest colin campbell on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 8:29 am

In a post above, Tim Redmond has frankly pointed out an important fact about Aaron Peskin and the Six Guys Club at the supes -

They regard other Democrats who are not part of their own circle as members of an opposing political party. Yes, it's true.

What they look for in filling positions is "one of our own." Tim Redmond has compared this sectarian process to the one by which Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives reject Republicans in choosing officials in the House.

So an obvious contradiction comes to the fore -

The role of the chair of the Democratic County Central Committee is to unite Democrats in SF, as much as possible, for common goals. He or she is the chair of the whole party.

However, Aaron Peskin (as Tim Redmond points out) views Democrats who are not part of his machine in the same way that Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives view Republicans.

We Democrats should have a chair who regards us all as part of the same big family. We do not need a chair who favors only those who are part of his own machine and who marginalizes other Democrats as if they were members of an opposing political party.

Thank you, Tim Redmond, for highlighting this contradiction about Aaron Peskin.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 9:53 am

If by "a different political party" you mean Republican I agree. Many times "moderates" have been called out for donating time and money to that other political party.

If you refuse to take part in the criminal, musical chairs casino called residential real estate in San Francisco, the so called "moderates" in the Democratic Party want you gone.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 10:19 am

Both the moderates and the progressives suffer from tunnel-vision and arrogance. I remember how arrogant and narrow the moderates were, when they were in power under then-mayor Dianne Feinstein in the late 70s.

Today you see the same arrogance and narrowness on the part of the progressive nasties, Aaron Peskin and the Six Guys Club, which runs the supes.

May all their cages continue to be rattled!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 09, 2010 @ 10:52 am

What Arthur seems to forget here is that this is not just a personality thing, not just about who's on what side. It's about issues. The progressives have a basic vision for the city, which is different from the vision the moderates have. It's no suprise that people who share a political vision, no matter what party they're in, would work together.

Posted by tim on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

In a post above, Tim says:

"The progressives have a basic vision for the city, which is different from the vision the moderates have. "

Both the progressives and the moderates emphasize certain favored segments of the policy spectrum. For example, the progressives emphasize social justice and environmental protection. The moderates emphasize public safety and sound finances.

All these concerns - justice, environment, safety, finances - are valid. Most voters would like to see some progress in each area.

By wisely supporting either the progressives or the moderates at opportune times, the voters can achieve progress, in the long run, across the policy spectrum.

But a problem emerges when any one faction maintains too much power for too long. That's true regardless of the particular faction and its policy preferences. Such was the case with the moderates in the 1970s and 1980s.

Such is also the case with progressivism in SF today. It is no longer a fresh challenger to the system.

To the contrary, it has ossified into a front for the nonprofit political complex, unions, and the cannabis capitalists. Its principle leaders - the Six Guys Club at the supes - are men who drip with male-chauvinist behavior. Chris Daly, in particular, is the Godzilla of SF politics.

SF progressivism needs a vigorous challenge from other parts of the political spectrum, to counter its current arrogance and turf-building.

Challenging the arrogance of the particular clique that happens to be at the top of the political pyramid is a civic duty.

And questioning the dogmatic presuppositions of all sects is the duty of every thinking person.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

You certainly seem to have the time on your hands and the necessary rhetorical skillset. At least if you ran you'd be putting your money where your mouth is and would get a great soapbox for your opinions.

Posted by Luke on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

Thanks for your comments above, Luke.

I'm the first to admit that I'm not qualified to hold public office. I just wish that certain folks who already hold public office would also admit the same about themselves. Wouldn't that be refreshing?

The problem is that there are no real qualifications specified in the law in order to be supe or mayor, other than being an adult San Franciscan.

Imagine if some folks wanted to do root canal work on your teeth. When you asked them about their qualifications for doing this work, they said they were adult San Franciscans. Would you chose one from this group?

Yet the people who enact the laws by which we all must live, need not have any professional qualifications to that end.

Yet such qualifications are required for judges, who interpret the law.

Why not for those who make the law? Isn't making the law as important as interpreting the law?

With the present system, we end up with supes who are stand-up comics, bartenders, electricians, and English teachers. Each is a good profession. But what qualifies any of these professions to validate its occupant as a legislator?

Elected officials are pretty much held in scorn by intelligent people across the nation. SF is no exception, with its board of supes. Its meetings often look like Monty Python skits.

Let's think about requiring some relevant qualifications for those who create and impose the public law.

Imagine that.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

Arthur, I admire your humility but I think you have what it takes, but could you get the votes?

They are, in point of fact, the only relevant qualification in this democracy.

You certainly have strong opinions and a masterful command of rhetoric, which undoubtedly helped our president with his election bid. I think it would go a long way towards securing you a seat. Stranger things have happened.

In the world I'd like to live it, we would have a complete redistricting of San Francisco, Proportional Representation, no Corporate Welfare, No Corporate funding of elections and $500 limits on campaign contributions from individuals with mandated free public airtime & debates for every candidate.

I can and do imagine that.

Posted by Luke on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

Arthur, an afterthought really, but if you look back at the history of San Francisco, its Mayors and Supervisors, they really all did come from "unqualified" common walks of life. From E.E. Schmitz to Newsom to Harvey Milk.

I totally understand your frustration with the current board, but thats always going to be the way of politics in this democracy. The way to change is through yourself. Again running for office, if nothing else, gives one a deeper appreciation for what the machine really is and how great the voters really are.

I do honestly believe that a dedicated, passionate individual - no matter what background, if they manage to rally the people and persuade them to vote for them deserves the position.

It is a fundamental tenet of our society & democracy.

Posted by Luke on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

In a post above, Luke says:

"could you get the votes? They are, in point of fact, the only relevant qualification in this democracy."

False. We live in a democracy that is subject to the rule of law.

The courts commonly overturn popular laws and even popular initiatives because they violate the basic law of the land. Moreover, many judges across the U.S. are appointed, not elected.

If votes were the only qualification for the exercise of power, we would have an ochlocracy, not a democracy under the rule of law.

The problem with SF is that it is governed by a dunce-ocracy. The entire political spectrum is dunce-oid: left, middle, and right.

The difference with the progressive bloc is that it claims to be the vanguard of progress. Yet many of its leaders and followers are anti-intellectual, anti-cultural, and lacking in spiritual depth and social skills. This is not a happy combination of traits for a vanguard.

The brightest and best people in SF avoid City Hall. The city's governing class is a magnet for the rest.

Let's face up to this sodden fact and start talking about solutions. One is to start a public dialogue about the appropriate professional qualifications that should be in place for supes and mayor.

Of course, the dunce-ocracy will oppose such a development. They have every reason to feel threatened by it. But too much is at stake to let the institutionalized cluelessness continue as it is.

As Gore Vidal once said:

No talent is not enough.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 10, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

Arthur, votes are still, in fact, the only qualification for election in this democracy.

Is that qualified enough for you?

Posted by Luke on Jun. 11, 2010 @ 1:34 am

Thank you for your comment above, Luke,

Politics is failing in SF, as it is around the globe. It will no longer do to make excuses for failed institutions and practices, and certainly not in the name of progressive politics. Too much is at stake - perhaps human survival, in the end - to block the road that leads to better human governance.

The human race has made incredible strides in the arts and sciences since our cave-dwelling days. But politics has not kept up.

Admittedly, present forms of democracy are better than having a man with a club bludgeon everyone else into submission because he's the most violent alpha male in the pack. So the human race has, in fact, made some political progress since the Stone Age.

But look around, for Heaven's sake, at both SF and the world. The board of supes, the state legislature, the Congress, and the U.N. all fair poorly in polls and are held in widespread contempt. And for good reason.

They are all grossly inadequate to handle the flow of challenges and threats that now confront humanity. The human race will be very lucky if it gets through the 21st century without multiple episodes of nuclear war and global ecological catastrophe. And SF will be lucky if it doesn't end up as a drug-sick wasteland of super-expensive homes and burned-out ghettos.

The first step is to acknowledge the problem - the massive failure of human political institutions. The second step is to open the door to new ideas and rational inquiry.

It's no step at all, however, to cling to existing dogmas, shut down reason, make excuses for failed politicians and institutions, and launch ad hominem slanders against independent thinkers.

Unfortunately, this last response has become typical of many SF progressives. They remind me of a religious sect that keeps mumbling slogans and mantras to itself, in the hope of saving the world and finding personal salvation.

Bumper stickers aren't enough anymore.

Contrary to the dogmatic rigidity of all sects, both political and religious, there remains the liberating spirit of Horace and the Enlightment. It cries out to us:

Sapere aude! ("Dare to know!")

Let's start by making SF politics safe (as it once was) for independent thinking and critical inquiry.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 11, 2010 @ 8:48 am