Avalos emerges as the board's main progressive champion


Sup. John Avalos seems to be the only consistent champion of progressive values at the Board of Supervisors these days, as he demonstrated once again yesterday as he tried to present some alternatives to the neoliberal corporatism that has seized City Hall over the last couple years.

Last week, Avalos was the only vote against a pandering proposal by Sup. Mark Farrell to exempt more small businesses from the city's payroll tax, which is projected to cost the city $1.5 million next fiscal year and $2.5 million the following one, blowing a $4 million hole in the two-year budget that supervisors are now finalizing for approval in two weeks.

Yesterday, as the measure was about to receive final approval on its second reading, Avalos made a motion to delay it until after the fall election when voters may consider a pair of measures to transition from a payroll to gross receipts tax as the means of assessing local businesses. Mayor Ed Lee and Board President David Chiu introduced one measure that is revenue neutral, while an alternative by Avalos would bring in about $40 million per year.

Avalos didn't have the votes for the long delay, so he got behind a compromise motion by Sup. Jane Kim to delay the measure until July 10 so the Budget Committee can at least factor it into its deliberations. Farrell opposed the move, insisting that “this is about creating jobs now,” despite the fact that businesses couldn't apply for the exemption until next February.

A spirited debate followed, in which Avalos criticized City Hall's current penchant for business tax cuts and questioned whether it really creates the jobs its boosters claim. He also noted that it is the multitude fee increases that local politicians have approved in recent years to balance the budget without raising taxes that have become most onerous for small businesses.

“When we were raising fees over the last five years, we were raising taxes on small businesses,” Avalos said, suggesting that rolling back those fees and taxing larger corporations that can afford it is a better strategy for helping small businesses and encouraging them to create jobs.

Eventually, Avalos won the short delay on a 7-4 vote, with Sups. Farrell, Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd, and Scott Wiener opposed.

Meanwhile, Avalos managed to place on the fall ballot an increase in the real estate transfer taxes paid on properties worth $2.5 million or more, convincing Sups. Kim, David Campos, and Eric Mar to support the proposal as the 5 pm deadline for at least four supervisors to place measures on the ballot neared. It would raise $16 million and compete with a similar measure by Lee that would raise $13 million through a smaller increase on properties worth more than $1 million.

Avalos also joined Campos and Chiu in opposing final approval for the 8 Washington housing project for the uber-wealthy. On the same 8-3 vote, the board also rejected Chiu's efforts to allow opponents of the project to circulate referendum petitions without having to lug around a thick stack of all the studies referenced in the project approval.

Chiu appealed to his colleagues to support “citizens of San Francisco exercising the constitutional right to referendum,” but he won few sympathies on a board that these days seems most concerned with the interests of this city's wealthiest individuals and corporations.


Useless. Glad to see that we are down to three know nothings on the board. Grey skies are going to clear up!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

Let's see: Farrell, Elsbernd, Chu, Weiner are four of them

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for coffee

Posted by Go Here|This Blog on Jul. 02, 2012 @ 4:38 am
Posted by Troll on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

that Lee got, he's obviously the chief liberal. The rest wouldn't even have gotten half the votes that Lee got.

The left is in disarray.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

You ignore the incredible power of incumbency. Though I'm against term limits - because they make the politician unaccountable for that portion of his or her time in office that voters can't defeat him or her in the next election (50% of a supe's max time in office) - there's no denying that being the incumbent is a huge advantage.

Your comment would only have credibility if both ran and neither was the incumbent. As it is, it's just wishful thinking of your part, producing a rather naive comment.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

>"Don't be dumb - Avalos would've won if he was the incumbent"

Yes. And if Avalos was a cow he could produce milk. Exactly how is Avalos supposed to become an incumbent?

BTW, the UCSF study showed how Avalos was a strictly Progressive candidate, getting very few crossover votes from the 80% of the voters that don't classify themselves as Progressives. Chiu and Hererra did much better with the non-Progressives (both of them were on more ranked choice ballots than Avalos).

And if you are thinking that Avalos could have somehow been appointed (like Lee), then I think that you are overstating the value of appointed incumbency (See Ford, Gerald). People just liked Lee.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

Not a circular argument. The discussion wasn't about how Lee became the incumbent - you brought that up. He was appointed - he didn't win an election to get the job. But however he got the job - in the last election, he was the incumbent so no matter what his political viewpt, he will automatically have a big advantg which the OP neglects. The same advantg would go to a liberal like Avalos.

To take one election that was an EXTREMELY SPECIAL CASE - the only time in history a US president was impeached - and declare that to represent the typical case is, you realize I hope, absurd.

Whether appointed or elected, incumbency is ALWAYS a huge advantage which is why something like 98% of congressional elections are won by the incumbent - no matter how incompetent the person is. Sen. Feinstein can run and will win until the day before she has to be in an old folks' care center which is why the Repugnant Party is barely running anyone this yr against her.

Your citing of the UCSF study has the same problem as the OP - you're neglecting the power of incumbency. Don't fool yourself - if Avalos was the incumbent, he would be top choice among a good % of those who didn't put him in their top three choices when he was just a non-incumbent supe running for mayor.

Do you honestly think Ed Lee, barely-known City Administrator and non-incumbent, would've beaten Supervisor Avalos in a face-to-face for mayor? I don't but even if he did, it would probably be a very slim win and his ethnicity would've played an important role in the results.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

>"Do you honestly think Ed Lee, barely-known City Administrator and non-incumbent, would've beaten Supervisor Avalos in a face-to-face for mayor?"

Yes! Absolutely and by a similar margin.

The electorate is 80% moderate, 20% progressive. Do the math.

Unlike Hererra and Chiu, Avalos couldn't get any of the 80% to vote for him.

Lee comes across as very re-assuring and his pro-business policies are much better received than Avalos's progressive politics. City Administrator Lee would have beaten him almost as easily as the real life short term appointed Mayor who changed his mind did.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

>"To take one election that was an EXTREMELY SPECIAL CASE - the only time in history a US president was impeached - and declare that to represent the typical case is, you realize I hope, absurd. "

And by the way, you might want to read a book on presidential history. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached. Nixon was not (he resigned).

Also, you might want to read about the election of 1992. Bill Clinton against an incumbent named George H. W. Bush. I'll let you find out for yourself how who won. Also, try Googling "Dewey vs Truman" if you think that the non-elected incumbent is an automatic win.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

could have won an election.

He could have been appointed, I suppose, as Lee was. But then the BofS would never have appointed such a divisive ideolog anyway, so your entire speculation is moot.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:38 am

Avalos: of the "city family", by the "city family", and for the "city family."

We'll never get any pension reform from him.

His $40m in new tax revenue would merely dent the growing pension hikes being paid out from the General Fund to the "city family."

Real progressives understand the upcoming disaster being caused by the "city family" and its apetite for stealing funds that should be directed to the poor and needy.

Posted by Gregorio on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

Wasn't it Gavin Newsom, when he was running for his second mayoral term, that was handing out the gifts to the cops and firefighters so they'd support him???

That wasn't Avalos that did that. And what supes are connected to Gavin? Let's see: Chu (appointed by Newsom), Elsbernd (wasn't he appointed by Gavin?) - and they are considered the "conservatives."

It's the pensions of the cops and firefighters that are the real problem, as well as City execs that get these ridiculous 200K plus contracts like it was nickels in one's pocket (Bevan Dufty being the latest prominent example but only one of hundreds - heck, Newsom used to hand out these contracts all the time to his friends by making new (unneeded) City positions in his administration when he was mayor for total joke jobs - pr people for example).

Take away the pension abuses by the above people, and City pensions are much less of a problem.

But to repeat, that problem is caused by Gavin Newsom to a large extent, not John Avalos or the other liberals on the board.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

Yes, police and fire are the most severe but the issue is pervasive with almost all employees...

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

deal. It's the rest of the city's staff that are hopelessly overpaid and underemployed.

If we can't get those employees onto a DC scheme quickly, I'd like to see significant numbers of them laid off, with their work either outsourced or simply not done any more, to save taxpayers the cost.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:40 am

Guest is correct in that it is the conservatives who whine the loudest about fiscal responsibility and then throw boatloads of cash at their political allies.

The contradiction here is why any progressive would give these conservatives one more red cent in tax increases just so that they can throw more boatloads of that cash at their political allies other than the occasional dinghy that gets sent the way of progressive political allies?

There is no guarantee that the conservatives will spend this money on augmented services and no political power to force the issue. Progressives had their moment to call the question on this issue in 2007 and it was only Chris Daly who stepped up.

It was the C3 meeting in late 2005 and the SFPD/Fire contract in 2007 that marked the death knell of electoral progressivism in San Francisco. All that is left is the brain stem detached from the cerebrum that only sees most San Franciscans as a source of fleece to service the unions and nonprofits.

Just like Obama has to lose this year in order to enforce a moral hazard on Democrats, the likes of which they refused to force on Wall Street, the progressive labor/nonprofit structure has to fall as well if it refuses to stand and fight by marshaling a broad enough coalition of San Franciscans to do something different.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:16 am

Good thing the state has such a low unemployment rate...

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2012 @ 10:38 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:39 am

Avalos is a joke. Progressives would have had a better chance with the Mayor spot if Mirkarimi had ran instead of Avalos.

That way, he wouldn't have suspended himself for his Domestic Violence scandal.

Posted by GuestOfNoOne on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:06 am

The sheriffs race was eaiser because the other candidiates were unknown and Ross had name recognition. In the mayoral race, most of the others were well known, and Ross knew he couldn't win.

If Avalos had won, we'd be recalling him by now, just like Oakland is doing with Quan. But Avalos lost by a landslide anyway, so it's moot.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:55 am

Kim, Campos and Marr, are extremely clueless! The only decision they'll make is choosing to do whatever Avalos decides.

Avalos has them wrapped around his finger, and they look to him for leadership.
If Ross ran for mayor, he would have blown Avalos out of the water, but he wouldn't have made a dent with Ed Lee.

Ross should have never gave up his Supe seat, he was a much better Supe than a Sheriff.

Posted by GuestOfNoOne on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

Twitter Tax, for instance.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:11 am

Now that the Mirk is on the way out, I can't wait until November to vote this commie bastard progressive out of office.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 4:19 pm