A new name in District 5

The senator has a candidate. You may not have heard of him.

There's a new name popping up in the cattle call that is the District Five supervisorial appointment. He's not terribly well known in city political circles (his chief claim to local fame is serving on the Library Commission), but he's got a powerful patron: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

His name is Michael Breyer. Yes, from that Breyer family.

In a Nov 30 letter to Mayor Ed Lee, Feinstein lauds Breyer and says he has her endorsement for the job. You can read the letter here (pdf).

Feinstein notes that Breyer's grandfather, Irving, was chief counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District and that his aunt was a president of SEIU. She doesn't mention his closer, and better-known, political connections. Nor does she mention that his uncle was a partner in a law firm that was once among the most politically connected in the city, run by William Coblentz, who when Feinstein was mayor was routinely considered one of the two or three most powerful people in San Francisco.

Among the great qualities the senator sees in Michael Breyer? He can raise money. "He can count on financial support from the high tech community and others," Feinstein notes.

Would Ed Lee seriously consider someone who has this little local political experience and no real history of activism in the district -- but really, really strong family political ties? I can't imagine it. But Senator Feinstein isn't doing this just for fun.


Please please please don't appoint that rich, white, politically-connected male to D5. I'm sure the most progressive district in the city will roll over and and elect him in November.

Posted by Proggy Boy on Dec. 06, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

I had no idea.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 6:01 am

New in town?

Posted by MatBastardson on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 8:14 am

the majority of D5 voters.


Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 9:54 am

Ross is Persian.

Posted by GrannyGear on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

Ross was widely perceived as white, which is what is more important. I live in D5 and would guess it is at least 80% white.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

From Wikipedia

More strange liberal race theory


Aryan /ˈɛərjən/ is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya ('Noble')[1][2][3] and denoting variously

* In scholarly usage:
o Indo-Iranian languages (Indo-Aryan and Iranian)[2][4][5]

* in dated usage:
o the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers
* in contemporary usage:
o Among Hindu nationalists, the Hindu/Indian people [6][7][8]
o in colloquial English the word has been adopted in accordance with Nazi racial theory's appropriation of the term to describe persons corresponding to the "Nordic", "blond-haired, blue-eyed" physical ideal of Nazi Germany (the "master race" ideology) [n 1]
o within the ideology of white supremacy, the "White race", i.e., Caucasians who are native Indo-Europeans of the Western or European branch of the Indo-European peoples, as opposed to the Eastern or Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European peoples.
o The "Aryan race" taken to correspond to the original speakers of Indo-European languages and their present day descendants.[1

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

... commentary. I love it how you guys don't give a damn about domestic violence but use the issue like a pawn to achieve your agenda, then bemown the "racism of others" in bringing up the issue yourselves, cutting and pasting long useless tracts from Wikipedia to "prove" your point.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:06 am

But the issue is not race, or ethnicity, or gender. It's about some tenuous connections to the diverse groups of the city that cross all cultural, racial and LGBT divisions, but most importantly the economic and social divide. That's the issue of the day. Does government care about the bottom 65% of society besides a few budget dollars and the repeated paternalistic soundbite, "We're here to help you."

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

But the new D5 supe is Lee's decision now that he has a clear and recent mandate to make such decisions.

Social engineering motives shouldn't be a factor.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

on the city though?

Who were some of the names tossed out by the progressives to jamb into the mayors office? Chris Daly, Erin Peskin... white.

Progressive race theory is so interesting.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 11:15 am

Chris Daly was never seriously considered for the mayor's seat, and it's Aaron Peskin.

The progressive side has a small handful of smart, talented politicans on its side that so far have the stamina and support to endure the consistent political losses on important issues, but why not use whatever chance we get to try to tear them down. Maybe we're seeing the way Mr. Breyer's supporters roll. More millions and influence for you, I suppose.

The D5 seat isn't a multi-cultural issue, or a race issue, or a gender issue. It's about believing that a city like San Francisco should have broad representation that connects to disparate groups that make San Francisco home. Mayor Lee has lots of ways to reward political supporters without resorting to giving Mr. Breyer the D5 seat.

Regardless, there will be a D5 election next year along with the high turnout presidential race. The economic tremors throughtout the country should still be occuring. If the local Occupiers are still around as a force, they should provide an interesting element to the electoral mix as well.

We'll have to wait and see if Mr. Lee's first year is more like the 1995-1999 Willie Brown reign or his later more reflective 2001-2003 period, the city's last golden age for political plurality and achievement.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

It's not Lee's job to establish "balance" or "diversity". It's his job to select somebody who he feels has the best interests of the city at heart and, specifically, is in tune with how the voters expressed their views last month.

Lee can clearly perceive that he has a mandate from the voters to act in a manner that he promised i.e. moderate and non-partisan.

You're right that race isn't a factor in mostly white D5. But note that D5 is becoming much more affluent and moderate, as rent-controlled units become vacated and sold for an average of 750K to aspiring professionals..

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

Well the voters of D5 cast ballots for progressive John Avalos over moderate Ed Lee by a 2-1 margin, so the mandate from that is to appoint a progressive to the city's most progressive district, wouldn't you say? Or are you really advocating for him to support an inexperienced moderate who doesn't represent the voters of that district? Also, it is the mayor's job to promote balance and diversity in his appointments, something explicitly stated in the city charter. And your bullshit about someone who has the city's interests at heart could apply to thousands of people in that district, which is to say it's utterly meaningless rhetoric that you're spouting.

Posted by steven on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

what's important here isn't the incestuous and insular nature of a transient area like the Haight so much as the what the lesson is that Lee heard when the voters gave him a huge victory last month.

And that message was that the residents and voters of this city want a moderate government that is focused on jobs and investment, and not social engineering and class warfare.

As such, Lee's decisions should be simple and appropriate - give the city what the voters saif they wanted: an end to the divisive politics of envy..

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

The "politics of envy" meme is getting old and tiresome. That's the catch phrase/ talking point of extreme right wingers. When you think about it, It's nonsensical. Why would any progressive envy the people who crashed our economy through sheer greed, and are hell bent on destroying the planet? I just wonder how they can look themselves in the mirror. But go ahead...put fig leaf over the corruption and greed of the 1%. Just don't delude yourself that you're fooling anyone.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

Lee has an appointment to make and are you seriously suggesting that he ignores the 61% that gave him a clear mandate for moderation?

And instead appoint a representative of the beliefs of those that the voters just decisively rejected?

On what planet?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

in the 2007 mayoral election and yet when Newsom was elected as Lt. Gov in Nov 2010 the SFBG was screeching that "now is the time" to replace a moderate Democratic mayor with a radical progressive.

Don't use that argument Steven - it makes you and the other Guardian staff look like total hypocrites.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

Newsom was "re_elected" 4-1, but Barely squeaked out his initial election despite spending 4 or 5 to 1 against Matt Gonzales. Let's never forget what an empty suit our Gavin is. Even his gay marriage "cause" was purely political, handed to him when he was visiting pols in D.C. He botched the effort, handing W. a great issue in 2004. Gay marriage would have progressed much better without Gavin's grandstanding.

Posted by Guest music man on May. 07, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

Democratic ranks. Always has been, always will be.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2012 @ 5:56 am

"The D5 seat isn't a multi-cultural issue, or a race issue, or a gender issue. It's about believing that a city like San Francisco should have broad representation that connects to disparate groups that make San Francisco home. Mayor Lee has lots of ways to reward political supporters without resorting to giving Mr. Breyer the D5 seat."


AN infinite loop? It's not about race, because its about race?

Posted by matlock on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

That would be the same Michael Breyer who headed a Draft Ed Lee committee at the same time as Rose Pak’s Run Ed Run committee, and who was investigated but cleared by Ethics because,um, well, because Ethics clears anyone with any power base. They claimed in that instance that Ed Lee wasn’t a candidate, so it didn’t count. On the other hand, Breyer did file a form showing he was working to get Ed Lee elected, which is what Pak’s group refused to do.

So, how’s our scorecard so far? Gorden Chin of the Run Ed Run committee mentioned for CAO, Breyer for District 5 appointment. Oh yeah, and Wiener introducing a measure to allow unlimited contributions to as many candidates we one wishes, repealing the cap that currently exists on multiple candidate contributions, while also hosting a fundraise for Ed Lee. Just in time for labor unions that maxed out to other candidates to now pitch in for Ed Lee’s debt. Wait, isn’t he negotiating their contracts now?

And the guy hasn’t even been sworn into office yet.

Posted by CitiReport on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 5:04 am

It's refreshing to read a post with some real information about what's, what and who's, who in town, without the usual spin and low-brow snark.

The only things I remember from high school civics are the kitchen cabinet and appointment process. They make sense - use polticial power to further an agenda, maintain the status quo, and/or pay off or create a political favor. We can learn a lot about the integrity and goals of a politican based on who they choose to nurture and support with their powerful hiring and appointment perks.

There shouldn't be any surprise to anyone. The Bay Guardian Management and Mr. Mirkirimi knew that the heavy price for having a new sheriff in town was losing one of the core progressive seats. It will probably take at least 9 years when the seat is open again to figure out how that worked out for the "progressive coalition," whatever that means these days. The biggest fumble. Ever.

For those of us who subscribe to the theory that our politics and economic philosophy are based 90% on self-interest and 10% collective interest, it hurts to lose one of the key supervisor seats such as D2, D5, D6, D7 or D11 where progressives were able to elect politicans where the ratio was closer to a 50/50 split between self-interest and collective interest.

On a more positive note, it appears there are many fluid political relationships swirling about the local political scene. Mr. Brown, Ms. Feinstein, Mr. Burton and Ms. Pelosi won't be around forever. Mr. Newsom and Ms. Harris, the heir-apparents, seem to have less local influence with well-established city groups than the old guard. Although,in reality, the money stream available from wealthy capital owners, landlords, bondholders and unions is probably worth much more than having deep personal connections to a local community. As long as political speech = big money, those with access to big money are likely to win most political battles.

There are still billions of dollars of "free profits" to be made in San Francisco. A zoning and variance change here. A redevelopment master plan there. Another 175,000 rental units to be converted to TICs and condos, giving the current owners a couple billion dollars for the conversion process and allowing the new owners to avoid rent-control restrictions forever.

Every year thousands of the smartest and ambitious new graduates from the top schools in the country - top schools in the world is more like it - show up on the doorstep to start a career in a wonderful place, maybe hoping to make a small or large fortune along the way. The top graduates make the top income, which means they can pay top rents. On top of that, with more multi-millionaires created evey day in China, Russia, India, Brazil and other countries who decide that having a 2nd, 3rd or 4th home in San Francisco isn't a bad place to park a couple million dollars, the rest of the wannabe homeowners can get in line behind them.

Whose city? As always, the real estate owners, developers, landlords, bondholders and the financiers, attorneys and lobbyists behind the scenes who make all the magic happen. The architects, construction industry and local unions all play along since that's where the money is. Most of the world has been this way for a long time, but of course the biggest profits are in the major cities. Maybe SPUR keeps a running tally of the hundreds of billions of real estate profits and assorted fees made in San Francisco over the past 50 years during its incredibly influential and successful existence.

Living in San Francisco provides the perfect vantage point to watch the billions of legal, financing, development and lobbying fees funneled to the 1%ers during the real estate development cycle. The next phase is fun too when the froth and party gets ahead of itself and the upside down real estate loans - about $10 trillion in the US from the latest meltdown - become the responsiblity of the 99%ers.

The final phase is even better: the bad loans stay with the public taxpayers, but the real estate is sold off at a fraction of its value to the 1%ers to start the process all over again. I've heard Greek real estate is being sold off by the government fairly cheap if anyone is in the market and has the right political connections.

The Graduate was totally wrong. It's not "plastic." It's real estate.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 10:06 am

I have personally known Michael for years and he is the most humble, down-to-earth, kind person you will ever meet. He has impeccable character and integrity and is in politics because he genuinely cares about people and improving their lives. District 5 would be lucky to have him - no doubt he would work extremely hard for them. Like Ed Lee, Michael would be a consensus-builder, which just might be why he gets appointed.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 7:37 am

An anonymous character witness.


Posted by Proggy Boy on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

I've known Michael for several years and he is the most humble, down-to-earth, kind person you will ever meet. He has impeccable character and integrity and is in politics because he genuinely cares about people and improving their lives. District 5 would be lucky to have him - no doubt he would work extremely hard for them. Like Ed Lee, he would be a consensus-builder and get things done.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 7:51 am

Add "help create jobs" and you'd have the new political buzzphase that actually means "maintain the staus quo."

Lots of people are making lots of money in San Francisco: real estate rents, tourism, hotels, technology companies. I suspect that's where the priorities of Mr. Breyer would lie, rather than with the more marginalized groups that had an important ally - at times the most important ally and leader - in the D5 seat over the past 11 years.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 10:21 am

the ones you prefer. Lee's clear and easy victory gives him a mandate to appoint a moderate.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 11:35 am

Pretty sure the status quo in SF, and definitely in D5 is fauxleteriate "progressive" do nothing anywhere ever other than make things illegal leadership.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

Then perhaps you can enlighten the rest of us on what qualifies Michael Breyer to represent D5. Being appointed by Newsom to the do-nothing Library Commission and playing a role in the ethically challenged Run Ed Run campaign doesn't exactly say "impeccable character and integrity" to me, nor does it seem like adequate experience to represent a politically engaged district like 5. Most of the longtime activists in that district have never heard of the guy.

Posted by steven on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

whomever he thinks best represents that mandate.

Not too likely that's a transgendered non-white union rep - you feel me?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

Mandate my ass, only a small percentage of registered voters in this low turnout election wanted Lee to be mayor. He was the first choice of just 30 percent of voters in an election with just 40 percent turnout. Lee has a long way to go before people are going to trust in his leadership, and appointing someone hostile to D5 values is not the best way to start that process. Keep dreaming, Breyer doesn't stand a chance of being appointing unless Lee is stupid and wants to further divide this already polarized city and have to fight for everything he wants in the coming years.

Posted by steven on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:12 am

your values and convictions to fit the circumstances everyday.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:31 am

He can run the city while totally ignoring you.

And most likely will.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:46 am

Because Lee is the puppet of a corrupt Downtown machine which has no intention whatsoever of honoring true democracy.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

With him in the role of making decisions for everyone else. A real "people's democracy."

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

revolution. Socialism is inconsistent with democracy because nobody would ever freely choose to live in a socialist regime.

Too bad for Eric.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

You must really hate democracy

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

I first met Michael about a year ago and was immediately impressed with him. He is a doer who is passionate about this city and in improving the lives of the people in it.

I hope that when Mayor Ed Lee makes his decision on Supervisor for District 5, he bases it on the individual's character, not on the voices of people who have based theirs on the color of his skin and his family and friends.

Posted by hparkny on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 10:27 am

There are a lot of nice people in the world. I'm a nice person but the people of D2 wouldn't want me to represent them, just as D5 wouldn't want this guy. That's just politics. Sorry.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 10:35 am

The family already has one member who is a lifetime Supreme Court judge - the most powerful and often conservative political position in the country. Another family member is an untouchable US District Court judge presiding over San Francisco where the property owners are favored time and again over human and social rights. And now their influence should extend to one of San Francisco's most important supervisor districts? Isn't that a bit much?

The mayor has numerous appointment powers where Mr. Breyer can work in a high-level city position, build some local relationships, and earn a political seat through the election process. Or maybe Mr. Farrell would be open to a transfer to a powerful city department and Mr. Brewer can move to D2 and take that seat, which seems a more appropriate supervisor district given Mr. Breyer's family rank and status.

This isn't about someone being nice. Or smart. Or well-connected. This is about having city leadership with multiple roots connected to diverse communities that the city is supposed to represent. It takes an entire village, or so we were told.

I'll continue to believe that Mayor Lee is a supporter of the general tenor of the Occupy Movement and realizes it's going to take a lot of buy-in from all sides to move the city and country to a more sustainable footing. It seems the appointment of Mr. Breyer to the key D5 seat would be a step in a much more polorizing direction.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 11:32 am

Dear Guest,
If what you say about Breyer is true, then stand up and show yourself. Stop posting anonymously like a troll. Reveal yourself - show your real name. Otherwise, I will discount your comments and consider you part of the same electoral fraud that got Lee elected.
David Elliott Lewis

Posted by David Elliott Lewis on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 11:23 am

Have you contacted the cops or the DA with your evidence?

Lee won with over 60% in the final poll. A landslide, and not a result that could have been changed with any amount of fraud.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 11:37 am

Getting 60 percent in a two-person race isn't a landslide. Lee was the first choice of just 30 percent of voters, and that's hardly a mandate to appoint some privileged moderate to the most progressive seat on the board. As for the fraud and corruption that got Lee into office, we've documented that thoroughly here in the Guardian, as have others. The DA is still investigating it and hasn't announced his conclusions, although we're not holding our breath given his connections to the same political and economic power structure that put Lee in office.

Posted by steven on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

which you refuse to address is that you - and your publication - were pushing for the EXACT SAME THING not more than a year ago. In fact, you were arguing for this on a much larger scale.

Mandate, economic power structure, connections, transgender representation, white people, Diane, etc... None of it really matters. Lee is going to appoint who he wants.

I think what's more interesting here is that you really have no standards. No idea how you reconcile this. Weird.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

the IRV "runoff" gave us. More than three out of five voters preferred Lee to any other candidate. That's a clear mandate to appoint a "60%" man to D5, and not the kind of lefty you'd like to see but which the voters decisively rejected.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 6:42 am

Your math is wrong, my friend. Actually, three in 10 voters preferred Lee to any other candidates, and three more said Lee was an acceptable second or third choice but they preferred someone else. And that's of the 40 percent of registered voters who cast ballots, with much of the rest obviously feeling that either none of the choices were good or that the electoral system itself is unresponsive to their needs, which is a legitimate point of view. Meanwhile, 40 percent of voters chose John Avalos, the most progressive candidate in the race. San Francisco remains a deeply divided city, and a mayor who would claim mandate to lead it would be wise to avoid sticking silver-spoon unknowns into progressive seats. But whatever, y'all do what you want, this guy wouldn't stand a chance in the election anyway. 

Posted by steven on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:26 am

In the final "runoff", Lee got 50% more votes than Avalos. If that's not a landslide, I don't know what is.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:45 am

You are using final RCV spreadsheet voting tallies to claim a 'landslide' for the candidate who got the vote of 43% of the total voters who actually turned out for the election. You are not just funny, you are funny in the head...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 11:57 am

And of those who cared enough to be counted, Lee supporters were more than 50% greater than Avalos supporters.

That's massive.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2011 @ 12:43 pm