Opinion: For Democratic unity

Photo of Aaron Peskin by Luke Thomas

We ran out of space in today's print edition and couldn't publish either of the two opeds I wanted to run, so I'm posting them here. The first one is by the chairman of the SF Democratic Party.

By  Aaron Peskin

As one of the most Democratic cities in California, San Francisco has a special responsibility to make sure we help elect a Democratic ticket on November 2nd.  We always take that responsibility seriously – but this year we will have the pleasure of helping elect our own to statewide office: Gavin Newsom as Lt. Governor, Kamala Harris as Attorney General and even native son Jerry Brown as California’s next Governor.

Because so many of our nominees are from San Francisco – and because San Francisco is so Democratic – and because so many of the statewide elections are so, so close – what we do to turn out the vote here in San Francisco could very well be the difference between victory and defeat for many statewide candidates. 

A quick look at the numbers shows just how important San Francisco could be in this year’s statewide races. In November of 2008, a total of 388,112 San Franciscans cast ballots. In November of 2006, the last gubernatorial contest, just 253,719 San Franciscans voted. That is a difference of 134,393 votes.

Local Democratic Party leaders agree a coordinated campaign could turn out at least 20% of these “occasional” voters and probably many more.  That means we could add a minimum of more than 25,000 votes from this Democratic base to the statewide total.

In a year in which the polls show razor-thin margins separating the winners from the losers, a 25,000 vote margin could make the difference between Democratic policies like support for schools, investing in green jobs and protecting a woman’s right to choose and the Republican reaction supported by Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Steve Cooley and Able Maldonado.
Considering how important Democratic unity is to our city and our state – we need to pay it more than lip service. And that’s what our local party is trying to do.

It is certainly true that there are important local issues upon which we disagree. For example, I certainly take issue with some of Mayor Newsom’s positions – such as his so-called Sit/Lie ordinance. I know that he takes issue with many of my positions.

There are many in our party unhappy with Newsom for putting an attack on the ballot on the elected members of the local party in this crucial election.  Again, I know Mayor Newsom has expressed his displeasure with the local party for not supporting some of his candidates and positions.

But these local disagreements are small in comparison to what is at stake for Californians. They are actually small compared to what is at stake for San Franciscans – a city that relies on state aid to support our schools and colleges, much of our local health services and many other important programs.

That’s why unity is the only sensible policy in this crucial 4-weeks of voting until the November 2nd election. And that’s why I have a simple and genuine invitation to Mayor Newsom and the other statewide candidates.

Come help us help you.

We are gathering every day at our headquarters at 1261 Howard Street to knock on doors, register voters and make phone calls to get out the vote.  Come show with your presence that turning out the vote is so important that we will turn aside both petty differences and legitimate policy disagreements on local concerns.

Across California our opponents are attacking “San Francisco” Values. Come show that a core value of San Francisco Democrats is uniting to support the greater good.

Also from this author


    Anyone but Ed Lee. Peskin for Supervisor. Yes on F and I. Complete endorsements for the Nov. 3 election

  • David Chiu's flextime

  • The Mission 'douchebags'