Guardian forum: Everybody loves public power

Leland Yee and Bevan Dufty share a laugh at the Guardian candidates forum. Photo by Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal.

The Guardian candidates' forum was a blast -- standing room only at the LGBT Center, a great, lively crowd, and most of the candidates for mayor showed up. Not Ed Lee, though -- we invited him, but he was a no-show. That's typical -- he's skipped the vast majority of the mayoral debates and events, and when he does show up, he leaves early.

We set out to pin the candidates down on five key issues that came out of the Guardian's summer issues forums. Shaw San Liu, our moderator, forced the mayoral contenders to give us yes-or-no answers, and our all-star celebrity panel of answer analyzers (Sue Hestor, Corey Cook and Fernando Marti) weighed in and raised signs to tell us whether the candidate had said Yes, No, or Waffled.

The questions:

1. Will you support the creation of a municipal bank to offer access to credit to small business instead of relying on tax breaks for economic development?

 2. Will you support a freeze on condo conversions and the development of new market-rate condos until the city has a plan and the financing in place to meet the General Plan goal of 60 percent of all new units available at below market rate -- and then index new market-rate housing to the creation of affordable units?

3. Do you have a viable plan to bring $250,000 a year in new revenue into the city to address the structural budget deficit?

4. Will you agree to opt out of the federal secure communities program and will you reverse Mayor Newsom’s policy and direct all local law-enforcement agencies not to cooperate with immigration authorities?

 5. Will you support a proposal to either buy out PG&E’s San Francisco facilities or build a new city grid through a bond act so that San Francisco will control its own energy distibution system?

Only John Avalos answered Yes to all five. But it was remarkable how many of the candidates supported most or all of the progressive agenda we've developed. Every single candidate voiced support for a municipal bank. And every one of them said Yes to buying out PG&E's distribution system so the city could run it's own electric utility.

They had a lot more trouble with the notion of a freeze on new market-rate housing and condo conversions, and not all of them could explain how they would bring in $250,000 in new revenue. But I give them all credit for showing up and facing the tough questions and saying that, for the most part, they wanted to promote a progressive agenda.

Here are the scores:

John Avalos: Y, Y, Y, Y, Y

David Chiu: Y, W, Y, Y, Y

Bevan Dufty: Y, N, Y, Y,Y

Dennis Herrera: Y, W, Y, Y, Y

Phil Ting: NA. NA, Y, Y, Y (He came late and missed the first two)

Joanna Rees: Y, N, N, Y, Y

Leland Yee: Y, W, W, Y, Y

Jeff Adachi: Y, W, Y, Y, Y

Terry Baum: Y, Y, N, Y, Y

So five waffles on housing policy; nobody wants to stand up and say that we're building too much housing for the rich and that it has to stop until we catch up with affordable housing. (At least Dufty was honest and told us he doesn't want to cut off TIC and condo conversions).

I'm waiting for the video and I'll post it when I get it.


approve something Greg liked, he'd be saying the exact opposite.

Principles, consistency, logic and balance are always the first things to be sacrificed for tactical victories.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 8:57 am

You people are truly laughable. Arguing that it is 'democracy' for a small minority to be able to block the will of a near super majority.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 9:07 am

You're arguing they would be "wrong" by some other standard.

And the CA Constitution would prevent any race-based policies like you're suggesting. So get the CA Constitution changed to prevent any 2/3 rules.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 8:33 am

No, Paul, it's not democractic to get rid of majority rule. Even if the process of tearing down democracy is accomplished by a vote, the result is still undemocratic.

And meatlick, I have no idea what you're talking about. Your kitchen sink argument is a mishmash of positions that I never took, combined with outright factual falsehoods.

Just by way of response to one of those:
There are actually a significantly greater number of Democrats in California than Republicans. The irony is that Republicans shot themselves in the foot with redistricting. I predicted right from the beginning that mathematically, their initiative would almost certainly result in more Democrats, probably a 2/3 majority in both houses in perpetuity. According to an district analysis I saw on Calitics, I appear to be right. I still opposed it because the process of how it got on the ballot was terrible, and it's patently unfair to have equal numbers of Dems and Republicans on the commission when that's totally unrepresentative of California. But they're going to reap what they sowed in 2012, and I'm going to laugh.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 8:54 am

Put an initiative on the ballot, and see if you can convince the electorate that you're right. That would be democractic, right?

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 9:12 am

"I still opposed it because the process of how it got on the ballot was terrible, and it's patently unfair to have equal numbers of Dems and Republicans on the commission when that's totally unrepresentative of California. "

I was in a rush this morning and it didn't come out right, but thats exactly my point, it's unfair because you didn't get your way. Calitics are idiots. it may turn out that way, that doesn't make them any less idiots. I'm at a loss as to why it included the two parties at all as they are constructs that may change, but it was voted on and the progressives began to howl about how democracy sucks.

"Democracy" is you getting your way and if you don't, you create some goofy argument as to why it's not. In the end means "democracy" needs to work to your advantage.

Thats the entirety of your RCV position, you had little chance under the way democracy was set up, so you rooted for changing the rules because it might work out for you the new way.

Don't couch your trying to get over in your high minded rhetoric and complaining, be honest for once.

You want to change the rule's to your advantage and democracy is just a buzz word that you use to do it. Try being honest for once.

Posted by Meatlock on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 9:24 am


You might be surprised by this, but I welcome Adachi's entry in the mayor's race. In fact, I'm not nearly as concerned about Adachi as his backers. Just personally, I don't think Adachi stands a chance, but this will give me, Eric, Greg, Marc and others an opportunity chance to talk about what's really behind these pension reform measures. All these measures, from the state and federal level down to the cities, are being pushed by right-wing groups and billionaires like the Koch brothers. George Hume heads the Hume Foundation which funds the Pacific Research Institute, along with the Koch Foundation. PRI's is issuing a stream of articles and 'research' calling for a defined-contribution 401(k) style system and an end to collective bargaining for public workers. Now, Adachi wouldn't dare utter those words out loud in a solid union town like SF. But that's where we're headed. That's the push.

PaulT. got one thing right. This attack on workers will not stop if Adachi's measure passes or if he is elected mayor. He will be demanding more from workers~ much more, because that's what his backers will demand.

Last spring, Marcia Fritz of Californians for Pension Reform appeared on stage with Jeff Adachi at the Bay Area Council. As Calitics described her, "CPR’s president is Marcia Fritz and according to a recent California Watch article is a Democratic consultant. Although Fritz contributed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Gavin Newsom in 2010, on she equates engaging unions to, 'toppling a communist government,' a hyperbolic quote more akin to Glenn Beck than a so-called Democratic consultant." Watch this video very carefully to see how she alludes to a wealthy funder in another state who is demanding "solutions" that can be taken nationally. And how she talks about changing the system of benefits for public workers, without saying directly what she has in mind (is there any doubt?)~

Posted by Lisa on Sep. 27, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

@Eric/h, refuse to respond directly to douchebags or hagfish.
Your feedback appreciated.
My simplistic premise. Bottom line. Until the systemic corruption and criminality perpetrated by "Wall Street" and the Multi-Nationals is ended and the guilty prosecuted and jailed, isn't anything proposed, by anyone, on a local, state or federal level, just more pissing in the wind.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

The Wall Street occupation is now passing its 10th day. Noam Chomsky just endorsed the ongoing action.


Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

@Eric. No argument. My basic point, expressed here, elsewhere and often, is that until the root causes are dug up and sent to the dump, any 'solution' proposed by any 'politician' is doomed to failure. I still maintain that despite some 'errors', Jeff is infinitely preferable to any of the 'usual suspects', excluding Terry, John & Tony.
Just my 2c.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 8:40 pm


The idea that Adachi wouldn't work with the unions or BOS or Mayor is a crock y'all keep repeating as though that will make it true. He went to all of them last year and none of them would work with him. They even blacklisted him with local consultants and he had to hire people from the East coast.

This year was worse. Your buddies Joe Mazzola Sr. and Gary Delagnes announced they wouldn't sit in meetings if Jeff were invited. Mazzola went so far as to withdraw his union from a new Downtown/Labor Boss organization when they invited Adachi to a forum.

In short, it's the Mazzola/Brooks/Delagnes/Salomon side that refuses to be inclusive.

Keep on repeating the lies. Nothing will stop you anyway. The voters will sort this one out in November which ain't that far off.

Polls at City Hall open in just a few short days.

Go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

Are you talking about that guy who's polling 5% in the latest poll?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 28, 2011 @ 8:56 am

@h. "THE VOTERS" - what a quaint, anitiquated notion - do we still have a voice!!
I think we probably agree on the sell out and co-option of the majority of Unions and Labor 'leaders', so I won't say more. It is my understanding that during the recent Nurse's action there was a sea of red shirts, CNU &NNU, on one side of the street; and the few purple shirts, SEIU, were across the street with the bosses, haven't yet seen a pic of the SFLC honcho with them, maybe he was inside eating a doughnut.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

... and oh yeah, they even 86'd from the Firefighter's Memorial at St P&P's. Buncha jerk-offs.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Sep. 26, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

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