When we make our endorsements here at the Guardian, we try to be honest with our readers about each candidates' strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to understand our thinking and to feel free to choose a different candidate if you disagree with our conclusions. After doing dozens of hours of endorsement interviews and research each election, we share as much as we can about what we know, warts and all.
Most San Franciscans understand this, knowing that we have a reputation for often giving even the candidates we endorse a black eye in the process (after all, we're journalists, not partisans or campaign boosters), but apparently this decades-long practice is news to Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius. He just wrote a blog post noting our “tepid” top endorsement of Julian Davis for District 5 supervisor.
As usual, this sports-turned-city columnist doesn't know what he's talking about – adding this to a whole heap of things that Nevius doesn't understand but writes about anyway. Perhaps that's to be expected from a political columnist who describes himself this way on his blog: “Movies, media, sports - and as little politics as possible. Light reading for those who follow the entertaining parts of life, but don't take them too seriously.”
Well, we at the Guardian do take our politics rather seriously. And as we wrote in our editorial, we care a great deal about who represents the city's most progressive district: “We hold this truth to be self-evident: District 5 is the heart of progressive San Francisco, the most left-leaning district in the city. The supervisor who represents the Haight, Western Addition, and Inner Sunset has to be a reliable part of the progressive community, someone who can be counted on to vote the right way pretty much 100 percent of the time. That's what we've had since the return of district elections in 2000. ”
Nevius finds fault with our values, quipping, “so much for independent thinking.” Again, he doesn't seem to understand the nature of representative democracy, particularly in our system of district elections. Voters cast their ballots for the people they think share their values and worldview, and who have the integrity to represent that perspective in the face of economic and political pressure. The “independent thinking” that Nevius values is necessarily unpredictable, unaccountable, and prone to pressure from powerful interests, something we've seen too much of in the last two years.
It was important to us that District 5 be represented by someone shares its values, which also happen to be the Guardian's values, and not the reactionary approach of people like Nevius. We never doubted that Davis shares our values and has the willingness and ability to fight for them.
That isn't a sign of being tepid, we were simply being honest, just as we were when we wrote that Davis has the “strongest progressive credentials” of any candidate in the race, and our belief that he has “tremendous political potential.” The Guardian and our endorsements can be called many things, but I really don't think “tepid” is on that list.