Avalos campaign revives the progressive movement


As I walked into the John Avalos campaign party in Roccapulco around 11 pm, Sup. David Campos told me, “It’s the best party in town!” And he was right. The speeches were just getting underway on the stage and there was a palpable energy in the large crowd even though many of them had been out campaigning since early in the morning.
Avalos’ wife, veteran progressive organizer Karen Zapata, set the tone. First, she recognized Eric Quezada, the longtime housing rights activist who died in August, and the rest of the progressive leaders, such as Tom Ammiano and Chris Daly, who laid the foundation for a campaign that finished the night strongly in second place, less than 13 percentage points behind with voters’ second and third choices still to be tallied.
If Ed Lee hangs on to win, she said, “We could be screwed unless we work together and organize.” It was a theme and a feeling that would permeate the event, this sense that Avalos and the progressives are enjoying a resurgence in the last month thanks to what’s happening in the streets, both with this campaign and the OccupySF movement that Avalos has taken a lead role at City Hall in supporting.
“We have to stick together and we have to push from outside the system. We have to push John and we have to push everyone in the system,” Zapata said, firing up the young crowd as she introduced her husband.
Avalos praised the campaign for having so much heart and with filling his. “This has been a campaign of the people,” Avalos said, seeming genuinely touched by the energy in the room.
The progressive movement has been fighting for the soul of this city for a long time, he said, citing the anti-displacement movement that became a political force in 2000-01, a struggle that continues today with the latest tech boom. “In a way, we’re embracing change that is accelerating our displacement here in San Francisco,” Avalos said.
But he said people are waking up to the idea that the people need to stand up to the super rich and their political enablers. “The Occupy Wall Street movement is changing the consciousness of this country,” Avalos said, noting how it is echoing themes that progressive San Franciscans have been sounding for years. “Everyone is talking the same language we’ve been talking, because we’ve been talking about the 99 percent for a long time.”
But between that movement and this campaign, he said the battle was just beginning, praising the “new generation of leadership, that’s what this campaign is about. We’re going to take back this city one way or another!”
And he closed with a chant from the streets: “Whose city?” Avalos shouted, and the crowd roared back, “Our city!”


You make it sound like Lee isn't way ahead.

Lee has 31% - exactly what the polls predicted. You know, those polls you siad were out-dated and not valid.


Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 4:58 am

This race will be very close, and Lee does not have a win wrapped by any stretch.

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 8:07 am

Unfortunately Lee will win. Chalk it up to ethnic identity, not enough anti-Lee hatred, and good old fashioned ballot stuffing.

The corruption charges broke too late. Avalos may have even won on election day, but the absentees broke so heavily for Lee that it didn't matter.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 8:38 am

Ranked choice is in play and we cannot suss this like a traditional election. Lee may squeak through, but not by much.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:17 am

supported each other. That's not the case here with many credible candidiates who mostly hate each other.

In fact, IRV has worked in Lee's favor this time. IRV doesn't always mean the leftie wins, you know?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:58 am

There is simply no way to call this race yet.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 10:22 am

Her stunning finish, with 1,000 votes, bodes well for the future of the SF Green Party.

Posted by guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 10:31 am

She was probably the only really bad candidiate in this race.

Anyway, apart from Eric, everyone now knows that Lee has walked it. Given that Eric is still probably whining about how Bush "stole" the 2000 election, I predice Eric will accept Lee's victory in around the year 2022.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 11:00 am

And I'm simply pragmatically pointing out that Ed Lee does not have this race yet. Last day absentees have not even been counted, and once they are, it is likely that Avalos will gain even more first round votes.

However I'm not even sure that Avalos will maintain his number 2 rank after the next rounds. Frankly I have no idea how the next ranks of Adachi, Chiu, and Yee voters will play out once they are eliminated - and it is even possible that Yee will gain a lot in next rounds.

One factor which is promising is that, except for Adachi's lame last-ditch video assault which few voters even saw, no one threw any mud at Avalos.

Since he remained clean and was a champion of the Occupy movement, he's got a lot of forward momentum, and it is possible that this will carry into later rounds. However it is equally possible that the Asian voters for Adachi and Chiu will transfer a lot to Yee and Lee (-if- Yee pulls up higher than one or both in the early rounds).

There are a lot of pretzeled permutations that this race could morph into. So, as I've stated previously, it is still too close to call.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 11:27 am

than Avalos, who was probably placed either first or not at all by most, since he is such a polorizing candidate.

But if Lee at this stage has three times the number of votes of his nearest rival, it's really hard to see that get overturned.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:03 pm
Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

is that Lee has been over 30% start to finish, well ahead of the others who keep chopping and changing.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

that was a pathetic packpedal troll...

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

Save us from the Eye of Sauron!

Posted by guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

I doubt anyone else will.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

Really not even close here. I appreciate you holding at hope, but I feel like you consistently do this at the expense of recognizing reality.

Link to D10 Race here. Notice the first round showed a .02% split between Tony Kelly and Malia Cohen - the eventual finalists.

A little different than the 12.71% separating Lee and Avalos now.

Link: http://sfelections.org/results/20101102/data/d10.html

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

that was a very small field. Here the problem is that the anti-Lee votes were split and spread too widely to be effective at catching him.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

The point is that ranked choice is highly unpredictable.

And I'm standing for realism, not hope.

For example, I see nothing to justify Tim's claim that Mirkarimi has wrapped the Sheriff's race either.

That simply does not jive with reality, and I freely admit it because I am a realist.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

You may be a real nice guy, and you're certainly passionate. Perhaps you're good at ceramic or something. But what you are *not* is a realist.

You pointed out a specific example (Cohen in D10) and got owned. Based on percentages - not total votes - Lee's lead over Avalos is about 900 times Kelly's lead over Cohen. 900 times. Try to grasp that here.

RCV is unpredictable... to a point. We are way, way past that point.

PS - You think Terry Baum would've done better if the last line in her SF Voter Pamphlet bio wasn't "TAX THE RICH - duh"? Hell of a candidate there, dude.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

while even the Tenant's Union didn't endorse her. It takes a special kind of left-wing stupid to alienate such partisan groups.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

Here are the voting day totals based on the DOE numbers reported at the end of the night, after subtracting the mail-in ballot results first reported at 8:45.

Avalos got the most votes yesterday - almost 1,500 more - but since Ed Lee had 19,000 more votes than Avalos from the mail-in ballots, the election was already over.

Election day votes reported by DOE, excluding mail-in ballots:

JOHN AVALOS 19,367 25.9%
ED LEE 17,830 23.8%
DENNIS HERRERA 9,125 12.2%
DAVID CHIU 7,070 9.4%
LELAND YEE 5,081 6.8%
JEFF ADACHI 4,849 6.5%
BEVAN DUFTY 3,860 5.2%
TONY HALL 2,617 3.5%
JOANNA REES 1,215 1.6%
PHIL TING 364 0.5%
WILMA PANG 202 0.3%

74,851 100%

A little bit of irony is that the Enrique Pearce was heavily criticized for the lack of a mail-in ballot focus during the 2003 Gonzalez campaign, but this year Enrique and David Ho and all of the others who worked on Ed Lee's mail-in ballot strategy obviously won this election before yesterday's voting even began.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:20 am

look for Avalos/Campos to propose that mail in votes only count for a half a vote from now on. RCV apparently hasn't obscured the will of the voter enough.

Posted by District 3 Vet on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:53 am

"Chalk it up to ethnic identity,"

Voting on race lines is now bad?

Posted by guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:20 am

I never said "bad" or "good." I just stated what is. But now that you mention it, I've never been a fan of identity politics. You should vote for who you think will do the best job, not based on ethnic identity.

And btw, thanks, other Guest, for providing those numbers. I figured that was the case, but I was too lazy to look it up.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:33 am

Public support for OWS drops every day as people grow tired of the whining and lack of proposed solutions. Despite their good intentions the main impact of OWS is a negative one on small downtown businesses and a drain on city resources. Even if you agree with their basic premise you wish that they were more effective and less expensive.

Likewise for the city's progressives. They focus so hard on redistributing wealth but their overall effect is to drive overall wealth away from the city, while those who stick it out are faced with new taxes and fees every day to pay for their feel-good programs.

Posted by District 3 Vet on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 7:13 am

Not only is there no evidence to support anything you just said, D3V, but there is ample evidence that you're just plain wrong. Support for OWS is growing by any real measure (bodies in the street, material support coming in, polling data of public sympathies) and both anecdotal evidence and census data shows wealth isn't leaving the city, because of progressives or anything else. And the strong finish by Avalos shows that all of his conservative critics who sought to marginalize him were also... say it with me .... JUST    PLAIN     WRONG. 

Posted by steven on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 11:11 am

That means 90% didn't want him. And since he was the only left-wing candidate that means that 90% don't think his way or your way either.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

So, you are posting here making comments about the election without actually consulting... the... vote count...

You have to be the most moronic addicted troll in history. You can't even take 60 seconds from typing bullshit, to leave this site and go to the SF Elections Department site to see what is actually happening in real life.


You need to see a therapist.

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

Plus, Guest, by your logic then 69 percent of San Franciscans don't want Ed Lee to the be mayor. And that's of the 31 percent of registered voters whose ballots have been tallied (a number expected to climb to a still-dismal 40 percent). Now, I don't agree with your flawed logic, but it does get at an interesting point: people are losing faith in electoral politics and elected leaders. While Avalos did a good job at turning out his base (David Latterman and other political consultants say about 20 percent of San Franciscans identify as progressive), there is widespread discontent with the political system, particularly on the left, as we see in the Occupy movement. And Avalos supporters will help to confront the system and force a moment of reckoning that could be closer than most people realize.

Posted by steven on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

the Lee/Yee/Herrera/Adachi/Chui/Dufty/Hall moderate axis totally trumped the Avalos left-wing minority vote.

Yeah, maybe 20% "identify" as "progressive". But 80% do not. That's your problem.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

Progressives had working control of the BOS before last year. That's history.

This election there were 2 progressive candidates (Avalos and Baum) running against 6 centrists (Lee, Herrera, Dufty, Alioto-Pier, Ting and Rees) 2 progressive turncoats (Adachi and Chiu), 1 conservative (Hall) and 1 ideological shape-shifter (Yee). In other words, the progressives won a total of 27,661 votes.

I suppose that's better than Quintin Mecke's 9,076 in 2007, but it's significantly less than Matt Gonzalez's 40,714 in 2003 (95,612 if you throw in Alioto and Ammiano's votes) and just about half what Tom Ammiano won in 1999 (49,384) as a write in.

Think about it. Tom Ammiano had a few weeks to campaign, and his name wasn't even on the ballot, and he got 22,000 more votes than Avalos and Baum combined. And that was with months of campaigning and the endorsement of the DCCC, SFBG, Harvey Milk Club, etc.

If that's the best progressives can do in America's most liberal city, they are truly a spent force.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 8:29 am

while the Moderate vote was split between many candidates. Given that maybe 10% of SF'ers are left-wing, the Avalos figures are about what you'd expect.

What's surprising is that that's enough to get 2nd place, but that's down to the size of the field. I suspect Avalos won't be 2nd after a few IRV rounds.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 9:57 am

I continue to see references to "who won on election day" as if the ballots cast as perm absentee are meaningless.

The spin coming out on this is ridiculous.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 10:00 am

"Lee...likes to call it 'the city family'. Others call it the 'permanent government' of city department heads, union leaders, nonprofit chiefs and city commissioners who manage to survive every change in mayoral administrations"
It ain't easy going up against "La Familia".
Congratulations and thanks to John Avalos for continuing to struggle for the rights of all people, not just 'the criminal enterprise that controls San Francisco'.
Si se puede.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 11:17 am

Of these two portrayals of Ed Lee which would be from the least conflicted source?

Randy Shaw in Beyond Corn:

"Chinatown took a young Ed Lee fresh from Bowdoin College in Maine and Boalt Law School and turned him into a community street fighter for justice. "

Larry Bush as Citireport:

"* Interim Mayor Ed Lee was plucked from serving as the city’s Chief Administrative Officer and a 20-year history as a city manager. Yet not one story has delved into what the Chief Administrative Officer’s duties are (the title is bigger than the job – and that in itself is relevant to Lee’s qualifications. Bill Lee, the last Chief Administrative Officer, wasn’t flexible enough for incoming mayor Willie Brown so Brown re-arranged city departments away from that office and into others. When Bill Lee left, Brown tapped Ed Lee (no relation) as someone who could meet Brown’s standards."

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 11:27 am

gotten high approval ratings and the voters evidently like him three times as much as they like anyone else for Mayor.

So all we can do is support him. The city faces many challenges and petty infighting won't solve them.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

I thought Newsom appointed Lee. Pretty much the same, though.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

Obviously Larry Bush. Ed Lee has already shown that his standards are about as low as Slick Willie's.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 11:56 am

Phil Ting $308 per - yikes!

Can we revise public financing?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

Adachi didn't even try. Pathetic.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 09, 2011 @ 1:08 pm