Why are the rich people in District 2 so scared of Chris Daly, Aaron Peskin, and other progressives? Just the hint that a supervisorial candidate like Janet Reilly might have some vague, tangential connection to a (gasp!) progressive is enough send trembles of fear through their delicate nervous systems, and to fill mailboxes with alarmist warnings of dark progressive plots.
“I eat small children,” Daly deadpanned when I asked him about the campaign by candidate Mark Farrell and some of his wealthy venture capitalist buddies – along with moneyed socialite Dede Wilsey, the yacht-loving, renter-hating Thomas Coates, and their Common Sense Voters SF front group – to hurt frontrunner Reilly's chances by inaccurately claiming she's somehow Daly's puppet.
Nevermind the fact that Daly doesn't support Reilly, and that he wouldn't even endorse Reilly a few year ago during her Assembly campaign against Fiona Ma when the Guardian and many progressives were supporting Reilly. “Fiona was a better supervisor than Reilly is going to be,” Daly told us, a prediction that I don't agree with, but one that shows how ridiculous the website, mailers, and doorhangers that claim Daly is “behind Janet Reilly's agenda” are.
Nonetheless, Mayor Gavin Newsom, who supports Reilly, has sent out two press releases in the last two days claiming that “Janet Reilly opposes Chris Daly's agenda as much as I do. She has the full support of our city's greatest moderate leaders and she will be a strong moderate voice on the board.”
Daly, who is amused by this fearful battle of the rich people, couldn't agree more. “There is no bigger opponent of Daly's agenda to build more affordable housing in San Francisco than Gavin Newsom and Janet Reilly. Because that's my biggest issue,” Daly told us. “Apparently they are afraid of affordable housing in D2.”
But Daly isn't the only boogeyman who strikes terror into the hearts of the residents of Sea Cliff, Pacific Heights, and other wealthy D2 enclaves. Farrell and his ilk also made such a big deal of Reilly's association with Peskin, who actually is supporting Reilly, that she announced that if Newsom leaves for Sacramento in January, her vote for interim mayor would only go to a moderate who had never served on the Board of Supervisors with any current members, thus eliminating the chance of supporting Peskin.
Although we at the Guardian held our noses and endorsed Reilly as the best of a bunch of bad choices in San Francisco's most conservative district, we were appalled during her endorsement interview at just how myopically conservative she had become since her Assembly run, when universal health care was her big issue. Listen for yourself here and decide whether she's planning to be Daly's minion.
Geez, what exactly are these people so scared of? Perhaps it's as simple as Lewis Lapham put it a couple weeks ago, when we discussed the political dynamics of big cities: “The rich are afraid of the poor.”