The San Francisco Examiner – a paper with a generally conservative editorial stance, and one that endorsed John McCain for president in 2008 – has endorsed a slate of Establishment candidates for citywide office: Ed Lee for mayor, George Gascon for DA, and Chris Cunnie for sheriff.
That’s not really surprising, but its second and third choices for mayor were: Dennis Herrera second and Bevan Dufty third. Herrera was also the Guardian’s second choice and Dufty was someone we considered for third, choosing instead to go with Leland Yee. As the Examiner wrote, there are lots of qualified candidates in this race, and there were a lot more worrisome ones the paper could have picked.
For a newspaper that often takes ridiculous right-wing stances, such as its editorial last year denying global warming, the mayoral endorsement actually reads fairly reasonably. I don’t agree with its conclusion that Lee’s aversion to politics and business-friendly focus are good things, but I was happy to see the Examiner call out Lee’s cronyism and uncritical praise for bad corporate actors like PG&E.
“We do have some concerns about his ties to former power-brokers and off-the-cuff comments that are now being blasted in negative campaign ads. We implore Lee to work harder to separate himself from those who claim responsibility for his success, for they are just as likely to be responsible for any downfall. We ask that Lee, as we would any mayor to be open and honest about his relationships,” the paper wrote.
And its comments about the other candidates it liked were also pretty much on target. The only real criticism I would offer – and it is a significant one – is that progressive favorite John Avalos didn’t even get mentioned among the eight it discussed. WTF?
Now I’m sure they wouldn’t have had great things to say, given their conservative leanings. But to simply leave Avalos out shows the paper has a disregard and disdain for the left that is a big part of what’s wrong in San Francisco. It’s why our mayor and police chief can make this the first city in the country to launch an aggressive midnight raid on the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s why the Chamber of Commerce can so shamelessly demand that businesses be allowed to drain the employee health funds that a hard-won city law requires them to provide.
San Francisco is not a progressive city, although a large number of San Franciscans are progressive and they have helped usher in a number of important progressive reforms, from worker and tenants protections to environmental initiatives, often through battles that Avalos helped wage on the people’s behalf.
So to ignore Avalos is to ignore progressives in this city. And they can steal our money or our tents, but we aren’t going away.