What the preservation vote says about the 2012 supervisors


UPDATE: Important update at the end of this story

What does it mean that a historic preservation law favored by developers and promoted by Sup. Scott Wiener passed the Board of Supervisors 8-3? Maybe nothing. Historic preservation is a strange poliltical issue, favored by some of the wealthy white homeowner types who love pretty buildings (and aren't so good on other issues), and this thing was sold as a way to help low-income people and affordable housing. But the reality is that the Wiener measure will make it harder to declare historic districts, and thus will take away a tool that the left can use to stop uncontrolled commercial development. And remember: The affordable housing community wasn't pushing this bill, and, for the most part, hasn't had problems with historic preservation. The most progressive political club in the city, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, came out strongly against the measure and urged Sup. Christina Olague, a co-sponsor, to oppose it:

We are extremely troubled that you appear to be buying into the flawed, bogus and self-serving arguments by SPUR and other supporters of this legislation that historic preservation is classist and leads to gentrification, interferes with the production of affordable housing and is a tool of San Francisco’s elite.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

There was a way to address the issues of low-income people in historic districts without making it harder to block inappropropriate development, but Wiener's bill went much further. And while I respect Scott Wiener and find him accessible and straightforward, and I agree with him on some issues, he isn't someone whose basic agenda promotes the interests of tenants or low-income people. His supporters are much more among the landlord class and the downtown folks. The San Francisco Chronicle, which is a conservative paper on economic and development issues, loved the legislation.

So what happened when this got to the Board? Only three people -- the ones the Chron calls "the stalwart left flank of the Board" -- voted no.

John Avalos, David Campos and Eric Mar. They are now the solid left flank, the ones who can be counted on to do the right thing on almost every issue. Once upon a time, there were six solid left votes. Now there are three.

What does this mean for the other key issues coming up, including CPMC, 8 Washington, and the city budget? Maybe nothing. As I say, this issue is complicated. Olague told me, for example, that she's really worried about working-class people who can't afford to comply with the increased regulations that come with historic districts. Her vote doesn't mean she's dropped out of the progressive camp, or that she (or Sups. Jane Kim and David Chiu) can't be counted on in the future. I really want to believe that this was just an aberration, a vote where I'll look back in the fall and say: Okay, we disagreed on that one, but nobody's perfect

Still, it's kind of depressing: The dependable progressive vote is down to three.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: I didn't know when I posted this that Olague had spoken to the Milk Club leadership after the club's statement went out and the club has since issued a correction:

Due to a misunderstanding, Supervisor Christine Olague's position on the Historic Preservation Commission's critical role in the life of San Franicsco was misrepresented in our weekly newsletter. Supervisor Olague is looking into ways to help continue Historic District status for the Queer community, the Filipino community in the South of Market area, and the Japantown area. She is specifically looking for wording that would help these plans remain viable and welcomes any questions on her position and on her plan. Our apologies to the Supervisor for this unfortunate mistake.


"And while I respect Scott Wiener...."

Why? What is there to "respect" about Scott Wiener? Mr Anti-Homeless. Mr Sit-lie. Mr Anti-Naked Guys. Mr SFPD/FBI spying on SF resident. (That's the short list). What has he done to EARN your respect or do you just respect someone because they have a title and hold a position? Or is this "respect" you talk about something you feel the need to say so he would agree to future interviews with you?

No one should be surprised by this vote, if one has been paying attention to see what is happening nationally and locally. I and others saw this coming and said so on this site previously. I'm surprised the vote wasn't 11-0. It seems that that Wiener guy gets whatever he wants. That people just bow down to him and eat ass while he's unofficially running for mayor.

You see what "pushing to the left" does? It goes in the *opposite* direction as it has done at the national level. I also said that Olague would ignore the "push to the left" letter from the Milk Club. Apparently she did.

A "progressive" camp? Dreaming. A thing of the past, unfortunately.

Due to gentrification, the city seem to be very quickly changing into a city for the wealthy.

The wealthy = conservative/right-wing (usually).

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

the blue states mostly affluent while the red states are mostly poor?

Seems things are the exact opposite of your claim.

But there is no particular reason why SF should be extremely left-wing either. Most SF'ers I've met are moderate politically, so a Mayor like Lee and a BofS with six moderates is well representative of the majority.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:09 am

Quote: If the "wealthy = conservative/right-wing" then why are the blue states mostly affluent while the red states are mostly poor? End Quote

Well that's not true. Texas, for example, is very wealthy and it's fire red. Your statement is a rather blanket ignorant statement, as per usual. It really depends upon where one lives. The few wealthy people I know are quite right-wing/conservative and some of them live right next to poor areas.

You and others like to constantly hide behind the word "moderate" because it sounds tamer, less offensive, but these politicians are not "moderates." The word "moderate" is newspeak. Intended to deceive and hide the real agenda of the politician. Make the politician appear less rabid. There's nothing "moderate" about hating the homeless and allowing the SFPD/FBI to spy on SF residents, as examples. That's draconian. During the sit-lie campaign, the right-wing/conservatives were foaming at the mouth with their necks red writing the most hateful posts about the homeless on message forums. The same for the topics of bicycles/cyclists and immigration. Comments full of right-wing hate written by people charading as "moderates."

Most SF'ers I've met are liberal politically and can't stand the "moderate" lie/deception that you and others continually promote for your right-wing agenda. I guess you think if you speak the lie enough times, people will believe it.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

Well, most SF'ers voted for lee over Avalos, and reduced the liberal flank on the BofS from six to three. So I suppose it depends on what you mean by "liberal".

The evidence shows that most SF'ers are moderate. Your circle of acquantances may well not be representative of the majority.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

"Well, most SF'ers voted for lee over Avalos"


You thrive on being ignorant and putting out disinformation, don't you?

The fact is most SF'ers did not vote at all for anyone because nearly 60% of the registered voters (i.e. most SF'ers) did not vote for Lee, Avalos or anyone.

The turnout for that election was 42.47%, meaning most SF'ers did not vote so "we" don't know what they are...liberal or conservative. You just like to assume they are one of you: right-wing/conservative hiding behind the little passive, mealy-mouthed, wet-doily word "moderate." Why are you and other right-wing nut jobs/conservatives so afraid to come out of the closet and be (and say) who you really are?

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

If you don't vote, you aren't counted.

But there is no evidence the non-voters would have voted differently anyway.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

Your too lazy to vote you have no right to bitch because the mess is your problem for not voting...

Posted by Joe Smuchatelli on May. 20, 2012 @ 10:16 am

I am so sick of this BS. Sure the turn out was in the 40's same as the last few mayoral elections. Lee pretty handily won the election. Get over it.

Posted by Dnative on May. 11, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

I'm also tired of that sophmoric stupidity. A voter is defined as someone who votes and, as Dnative just said, Lee's turnout numbers were basically in line with other Mayoral elections.

It doesn't mean that the guy is going to stop, he obviously isn't very bright. We're just going to have to ignore him.

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on May. 11, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

"Get over it."

How mature. Coming from the resident immature troll that tells the BG to mature while the childish troll whines and whines about them and others (while accusing others of whining). Trolls never look inward at themselves.

The only people I've ever heard use that childish "get over it" by-line is the right-wing. Not surprising. It was used on some of us when we protested the stolen 2000 election. At the time, we responded: Adults do not "get over" the stealing of "democracy"/elections regardless of which candidate "wins." "Get over it" has been used ever since by the right-wing when the left challenges their sloppy language and half-truths and distortions of the truth to promote their right-wing agenda of deception. To the right-wing mierda, the ends justify the means. They have no ethics or character whatsoever. Do whatever you have to do to be "victorious." Put out as many lies as necessary. The facts don't matter to them. It's all about their right-wing agenda. Who else uses "get over it?" Right-wing Scalia:

Read: Scalia Lies About Bush V. Gore – Tells Crowd To ‘Get Over It’

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

Even after all the practice you've had.

Learn how to lose with dignity.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

Still think you need to get over it.

Trying to draw a comparison between lee's election and Bush's first is just futile.

Posted by D. native on May. 11, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

I love how the left pulls this argument out when their guy (and it's always a boy) loses, but when their guy wins (and come on, it's always a boy) they put a blanket on ranked choice and turnout.

any way you cut it, Avalos got his ass seriously kicked. The fact that so many people were not motivated to vote means they either don't care or approve of the status "City Family" quo. Whether that's a good thing or not is a different subject. The numbers do not lie - Avalos lost, the progressives have lost power at the Board, and the Guardian endorsed candidates lost big time in 2010. Who's out of touch NOW?

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 7:56 am

you are happy with the status quo and, since that was Lee, indicates that if anything the non-voters liked Lee even more than the actual voters.

And since Avalos clearly had no chance anyway, many Lee supporters knew they could safely stay at home.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 8:47 am

you obviously don't have the homeless pissing in your doorway everyday or you would feel different about them too, even on any mildly warm day and all you smell downtown is piss..

Posted by Joe Smuchatelli on May. 20, 2012 @ 10:12 am

To Red State Guest,
If what you say is true, then why are all the red state Republicans among the richest in the country with absolutely no pulse of their own red states, ie, Mitt Romney?

Furthermore, again, if what you say is true, then why are none of their budget policies aimed at these low-income communities? Instead it's saving Big Bank, Big Oil, Big Alcohol, Big Pharma, Big Military, Big (you name it).

Then, there is the Civil War and classism.

Your arguments are typical shallow Republican double-speak.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 8:07 am

I notice that George Soros is super right wing and I don't see him wanting a higher inheritance tax...

Posted by Joe Smuchatelli on May. 20, 2012 @ 10:14 am

To SF Liberals Guest,
If you believe that then you are just a naive armchair gadfly.

Lee won because he had unlimited funds through independent expenditure (IE) groups and other moneys backed by cronies like Olague who ran the Run-Ed-Run IE plus a whole mono-culture community most of which don't represent more than 30% of the city.

Get over it, already.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

nearest rival, then you cannot simply write that off as a mere fiscal advantage. It's a landslide that isn't possible without very broad support.

30% of the city doesn't explain 60% of the final vote tally. Not even close.

And calling Asians a "monoculture" is racist.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

maispisowligo xaikalitag deeriacenny http://usillumaror.com - iziananatt Wriftirljar http://gussannghor.com RetSninditatt

Posted by Demaemiainkfxln on Jun. 01, 2013 @ 5:30 am

Getting any kind of development thru the city's processes is nightmareishly complicated, requiring reams of analysis and study, and invariably requiring specialized expediters.

Most people would argue there is already too much "control" without making things any worse.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 5:51 am

Otherwise the city's permitting process will wipe the floor with you. Since SF demands a permit for any repair on your home exceeding $500 in value (permit required for new windows, permit required for new cabinets etc...) or for new construction you can count on paying an expediter in addition to the 10% of total construction value which the city demands as its due.

The end result of this is corruption. Everyone lies about the real cost of their new construction/remodel so they don't have to pay, the city's inspectors know and understand this and they in turn cruise neighborhoods looking for people doing non-permitted new carpet installs so they can nab them and fill the city's coffers.

Posted by Troll II on May. 11, 2012 @ 9:40 am

who are already on a fat pension, happily splitting their expedition fees with their buddies at DBI.

If it's any consolation, building inspector corruption is even worse in Oakland.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 9:57 am

You dont need a permit to install a carpet. What an idiot.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

mandates a permit. Read the city code.

Posted by Troll II on May. 11, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

No permit needed for carpets, or cabinets, or other non-structural, non-mechanical, non-electrical, and non-plumbing projects in the interior of a home. There are limits to what and how much can be gutted, but carpet and cabinets do not require permits.

Posted by worldbfree on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

Trolls suck the life out of intellectual discourse by disgorging voluminous quantities of filth to obscure truth wherever they find it.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 12, 2012 @ 6:28 am

on anyone who tries to improve their home. DBI runs as a revenue operation - it's a disgrace.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 6:30 am

"They are now the solid left flank, the ones who can be counted on to do the right thing on almost every issue."

Interpretation: they are the three who will read my editorials and vote consistent with my wishes.

Posted by The Commish on May. 11, 2012 @ 6:44 am

David Chiu has played a key role in saving the city from the dogma driven, bloc voting 'Gang of Six' that Redmond obviously misses so much. Of course, the voters helped also by rejecting the SFBG's endorsements in favor of Jane Kim and Scott Weiner (along with Farell and Cohen).

But remember when Chiu broke with the pack to vote for Lee for Interim Mayor, and how Daly was incredulous? I think that was a key moment when someone stood up to the bullies and came away stronger for doing so. Now we still have 3 anachronisms who vote the way that they are told but we also have a moderate block who looks at each issue on its merits and vote more or less independently.

Also mentioned in the SFGate article is the fact that Peskin was lobbying for the legislation, most likely to support his own litigiousness hobbies. One thing that really needs historic preservation is Peskin's influence.

The Board is becoming more pragmatic and independent, Peskin has been rendered harmless, the SFBG's endorsements are a kiss of death and most of the people who read Redmond's articles have to try and hold back the laughter.

Better days are ahead!

Posted by Troll on May. 11, 2012 @ 7:41 am

It's like a breath of frsh air.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 7:58 am

by writing comments they think will be disturbing to others; it is their concept to attain a sense of power for themselves. But once understood for what it is, such behavior actually elicits feelings of pity towards them.

I feel sorry for you trolls.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:15 am
Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:24 am


Posted by lillicrats on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:58 am

The common definition of 'Troll' is indeed someone who posts on an internet board just to cause a stir. But Tim Redmond has used it repeatedly to disparage people who disagree with him, so here on SFBG it has a different meaning.

And it really does. Look at my earlier post which was filled with facts. And to @lillipublican that is something that just evokes pity. The Progressives really do have a hard time when someone disagrees with them and usually resort to tantrums.

Should tell them something, but it won't.


Posted by Troll on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:44 am

So why would it object when others do the same?

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:54 am

So, Tim, how did we get from 6 to three?

Posted by marcos on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:46 am

Mostly it is just the inevitable evolution of demographics, which leads to a more moderate constituency.

That is part of why Tim objects to every new business and housing development - each in its own way slightly tilts the electoral demographic more to the center.

But Tim doesn't want moderation and balance. He wants a left-wing nirvana here. But that is an increasingly out of touch ambition and, deep down inside, I think he knows that with each lost battle, the war has been lost.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 8:57 am

Development for itinerant tech workers and the elites is part of it.

The bulk is the nonprofit and labor core that see the world in the mirror image of Willie Brown, in that anyone who makes more than $50K has no business living in San Francisco because they are conservative.

Writing off 2/3 of the electorate is a very good way to lose elections.

Posted by marcos on May. 11, 2012 @ 9:28 am

"Decades of the same policies promoted by the left and all they've succeeded in doing is turning San Francisco into a bedroom community. No one has strong ties here anymore." And he's right - the policies imposed on the city by the progressive left have denuded the city of affordable housing and ensured that only the wealthy can afford to live here. And despite the stark evidence showing this impact Tim, the SFBG, the Harvey Milk Club, the DCCC and Non Profit Inc demand these same policies actually be strengthened rather than admit they've had the exact opposite effect of which they were intended!

Posted by Troll II on May. 11, 2012 @ 9:34 am

end up helping the affluent and harming the poor. It's almost as if liberals don't think about unintended consequences when they pass all this "command and control" stuff. never realising it will simply stifle or redirect supply, increasing price.

Rent control, zoning controls, spurious fees and taxes and so on drive up costs and punish the poor. 'Twas ever so.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 9:47 am

No, it was the clinging of the progressive apparatchiks to old policies and the ability of corporate power to adapt and run circles around them which led to progressive demise.

The progressive policies worked until they stopped working but the professional progressives were unable to adapt and retool their policy portfolio to confront changing challenges.

When confronted with "adapt or die," progressive elites fell on their swords but continue to get paid--neat trick.

Posted by marcos on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:28 am

The left was united behind Avalos but Lee prevailed with over 60% of the vote. The electorate also rejected old-school lefties like Walker in favor of newer, brighter and more moderate Supes.

The wind has changed direction and the Progs never saw it coming.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:39 am

Brave too. The answer is - how do progressives break out of this deadly cycle?

Posted by Troll II on May. 11, 2012 @ 10:43 am

I'm someone who feels that the Progressive movement, while founded on good intentions, was hijacked over by dogmatic bullies and then did a great deal to damage the city.

To answer:

>how do progressives break out of this deadly cycle?

My biggest concern is that Peskin will drop all pretenses of being a public servant and just go totally self serving. And that his replacement will be someone competent. If we had 5 more Peskins we would never have to worry about Progressive power again. I'm concerned that we don't.

Posted by Troll on May. 11, 2012 @ 11:03 am

endlessly debating whether they are Leninist, or Marxist, or Maoist, or Stalinist, or Trotskyist, and so on. You can be certain that they are not cohesive enough to ever be effective.

They punch below their weight because of their inherent divisiveness. Just as they stereotype those they oppose in order to justify class war on them, they then inevitably turn on themselves.

The SF voters have finally seen through this, and punish accordingly.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 11:11 am

Mr. Redmond -- thanks for a great article. Boy that was a bad vote -- I sure hope that things do move back to the progressive camp soon. If anyone understands the issues it is quite clear that it was a situation of developers against the will of the people. If you don't understand the issues -- then it's the crazy left against the sane center. Oh well -- I guess for some people ignorance is bliss. Thanks again for expressing your frustration with our current Board of Supervisors.

Posted by Malana on May. 11, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

development? Most SF'ers I know do not want the city to remain like some olde worlde theme park frozen in time. They want more housing and more places of work.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

I too am disappointed by Olague and her vote to support the House of Lee. The last election had a very small turnout and unfortunately Lee and his cronies took advantage of that and stuffed the ballot boxes. However, I am not concerned for the future on these matters. As people become more familiar with Lee they will be more inclined to vote him out of office the next time around and when was the last time you met someone who admitted liking Weiner? Sure there are those misinformed, undereducated folks that will post on a blog that they might like Weiner. But other than for the self serving fat cats, he is universally loathed. I live in his district and I am constantly surprised at how often I hear his name brought up in conversation and when it is, it's always negative, extremely negative. He won't hold office long...

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 10:14 am

Your guy lost by a country mile. Get over it.

Posted by Guest on May. 12, 2012 @ 11:40 am

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