Chiu's committee assignments keep the moderates in charge

Sup. Scott Wiener will chair Land Use and serve on Budget, the two most powerful committees, raising his already high stature.

A week after engineering his unanimous re-election to an unprecedented third consecutive term as president of the Board of Supervisors, David Chiu today announced his assignments to board committees, placing fiscal conservatives into two of the most powerful posts and making himself a key swing vote on the Land Use Committee.

“I believe these committee assignments reflect a balanced approach and the diverse interests and talent of the supervisors,” Chiu said just after 4pm during the Roll Call portion of today's meeting.

But some progressive activists were immediately grousing about some of the selections, which seem to reflect Chiu's neoliberal approach to governance, preventing progressives from doing much to challenge development interests or the appointment of Establishment insiders to city commissions.

The Land Use Committee is perhaps the most powerful and impactful, particularly as the Warriors arena and other controversial waterfront developments and the CPMC hospital deal come to the board. Scott Wiener – a moderate who is already perhaps the most prolific supervisor – gains far more power as he is named to chair that committee. It is balanced out by Chiu and Sup. Jane Kim, both of whom have some progressive impulses on land use issues but also personal ambitions and a penchant for cutting deals. Developers have to be happy about this lineup.

Sup. Mark Farrell was named chair of the Budget Committee, succeeding Sup. Carmen Chu – a pair that are indisputably the most conservative supervisors on the board. While progressive Sups. Eric Mar and John Avalos will help balance out the permanent committee, their influence will be offset by the temporary members added during budget season: Sups. London Breed and Wiener.

That roster essentially puts Breed in the swing vote role, which should immediately give her some clout. Chiu's defenders note that Budget's balance of power is essentially status quo (with Breed now in the same swing vote role that Sup. Malia Cohen played) – and that the committee's work last year was supported by labor and business interests alike.

Chiu is proposing to combine the Public Safety and City Operations & Neighborhood Services committees, naming Sup. David Campos as chair, Mar as vice-chair, and new Sup. Norman Yee as its third member. Yee, who nominated Chiu for president last week, was also rewarded with a chair on the Rules Committee – controlling appointments, it arguably the board's third most influential committee after Land Use and Budget – with that committee filled out by Breed and Sup. Malia Cohen.

Speculation that Cohen and Kim would be rewarded for withdrawing their nominations as president before the vote last week don't seem to have materialized in these appointments. Cohen was also named to the Government Operations Committee, along with Campos, which Sup. Carmen Chu will chair. That doesn't give Cohen, who told us that she wanted to be on Land Use, much power.

Similarly, Kim was named chair of the City & School District Committee – nice, but not exactly a political launching pad – and Kim's only real power on Land Use will come when Chiu is opposing some project, as he did with the controversial 8 Washington project that Kim and seven of her colleagues supported.

Aaron Peskin, Chiu's predecessor as board president, said that he vaguely saw some semblance of Chiu's claimed strategy of having conservative committee chairs balanced out by liberal majorities (although even that depends on how you define your terms). Yet Peskin questions that approach, and sees committees unlikely to really gel around good decisions or policies.

“It's a recipe for dysfunction,” Peskin told us. “But it certainly will be fun to watch.”


is like Pol Pot lecturing on human rights. The DCCC and the Board were both the epitome of dysfunction with Peskin in charge. Why do you go to him every single time you need a quote Steven? Is Carole Migden busy?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

No, Gabriel Haaland, Ted Gulickson and Chris Daly were busy.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

speaking of which - so is Peskin. Guess Campos and Avalos must have been busy...

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

I agree with the SFBG, Aaron Peskin should be listened to!

Why, just look at his brilliant selection of David Chiu to follow him. He had all the time in the world and he found someone who unfailingly does what is best for the Progressive movement, as this article itself illustrates!

And then there is his management of the DCCC...okay, maybe it did dive from power to irrelevancy before being taken over by moderates but at least he has a beard.

And then there is his signature Muni reform, which lasted about a year before 70% of the electorate overturned it thanks to an Elsbernd referendum.

Keep following that guy, SFBG!!! He is taking you in the direction that you deserve.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 10:52 am

Kiss the east side buh bye, they're gonna pile the condos on us higher and deeper.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

We're going to build more housing? Preposterous!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

They're Craptacular and they're all the rage.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

want them to be high quality? When did cheap and high quality ever go hand in hand?

People will put up with average construction quality as long as they can afford a home. We need to build a lot of homes and the east side is the only area with enough under-used land.

The voters want this? Problem for you?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 7:38 am

Why don't you call Wiener a "progressive" or a "Lefty" or a "Liberal?" He's as much those as he is a "moderate" which is what you erroneously call him. The guy is a conservative and you serve no one's interest but Wiener's by calling him a "moderate."
Who exactly are you trying to fool by calling him that? But upon reflection, I would expect faux-progressives to call a conservative politician a "moderate."

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

Come on. Calling Scott Wiener a "conservative" is silly and misinformed.

Outside of San Francisco, he would be the most liberal politician on the Board. Imagine plunking him down in some random county in Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Florida, Vermont, New York, etc. He'd probably be the most progressive guy on the Board in those locales.

Even in some San Francisco neighborhoods (like Carmen Chu's district), he might be viewed as too liberal.

Posted by The Commish on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

"Outside of San Francisco..."

Why would you rattle on about "outside of San Francisco" when I am *inside* San Francisco? I don't give a damn what the rest of the country does. I don't give a damn what "outside of San Francisco" does. That's why I don't live "outside of San Francisco." That's why I live *inside* San Francisco, on this little island almost (surrounded by water on 3 sides).

The conservatives/right-wing nut-jobs who adore their "savior" Wiener love to rush to the defense of Wiener and minimize and sanitize Wiener, which is what you've tried to do (you've tried to make him appear "mainstream" and "harmless"). I've heard your conservative/right-wing tripe many times from other conservatives such as yourself. It's intended to justify what conservative Wiener is doing "inside San Francisco" to make San Francisco into a conservative city (that's the ultimate goal). And of course you would be for that, which is why you rush to his defense and try to minimize his actions. You're not fooling anyone.

I agree with you on one thing: Wiener belongs "outside of San Francisco" and there are plenty of conservative/right-wing hell hole places for him to go and he'll fit in beautifully. You could go along with him.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

San Francisco is changing and evolving - it always does. Simplistic categories of Progressive v. Moderate only stifle substantive debate and are becoming a thing of the past.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 8:34 am

You're undermining the Bay Guardian's whole raison d'etre with such talk.

Posted by Hortencia on Jan. 18, 2013 @ 8:54 am

ignoring an entire country (YOUR country) and hiding out in some fringe community because the rest of the country is just too harsh for you?

If you're that lame and hopeless, why would you think any of us regard your comments as being in any way perceptive? By your own admission, you're an outcast.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 8:47 am

FYI: When he ran for supervisor, Wiener was endorsed by the Young Republicans of San Francisco (their second endorsement).

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

To be fair, Steven quantifies his use of the conservative label by calling Wiener "fiscally conservative" and Mark Farrell and Carmen Chu "the most conservative supervisors on the board", so I think he means it in relativistic way. In the last paragraph, it's actually Peskin (and maybe Chiu as well, it's not clear) who uses the conservative tag to blanket all non-progressive Sups.

Posted by Snoozers on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 1:03 am

A "conservative" thinks power should be concentrated.

They are called that because they always tried to conserve -- or protect -- antiquated modalities of power; whether religious/paternalistic or economic.

Nowdays' "conservatives" are often actually reactionaries who want to overturn modern governmental improvements. They seek to realize the ranadian pulp distopia of their dreams.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 1:51 am

any and all for-profit development. Progressives want to freeze the city like it is now, so they are the real conservatives.

Supes like Wiener see the need to "progress" by backing growth and development.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 7:40 am

It has that connotation dating back at least 200 years.

Pointing out that progressives are the ones who often actually work to conserve valued things such as quality of life, accessible education and social mobility doesn't change the historical sense of the word.

As for the term "Progressive," that has an equally well-established meaning; and missing from your anaylisys is an acknowledgement that all change is not progress.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 8:31 am

that thing is obviously "valued"?

But if someone on the right wants to conserve something, then that thing cannot be valued?

How convenient for you.

The simple fact is that the only way we know what is valued in America is by noticing what the voters vote for. And they always vote for a party that you would surely regard as conservative. and they want economic growth, jobs, development etc.

You're a dinosaur.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 8:45 am

Amusing indeed to see how your portrayal of what I wrote diverges from what I actually wrote. You really should reserve that ploy for spoken debate, since anybody can simply scroll up to see how your version is disjointed from reality.

Are you simply lying boldly? -- or does being confronted with ideas foreign to your ossified belief system actually induce a psychotic inability to comprehend English?

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 9:15 am

You claimed that elft-wing goals were "valued" but that right-wing goals are not. I simply pointed out that that was circular reasoning.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 10:08 am

plus I have better moral fiber than you as evidenced by my lack of need to make false allegations about what you said in order to shaw I'm better than you.

And when I say something to the effect that you are a fucking jackass for pretending to be able to correct me on the use of words, I mean what I say and can back it up with citations like this:

Posted by lillipublicans on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

actually a such a word, so you can now claim that's what you meant?

Too bad for you the word makes no sense in that context, my CCSF-educated jackass.

Posted by anon on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

All sane and rational lilliputians agree: Big Endians are far superior to Little Endians.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 9:13 am

Progressives are the ones who want to concentrate power into the hands of Government. Progressives = Socialists.

Posted by Richmondman on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

that moderates run the most important committees i.e. budget and land use.

I'm comfortable with these appointments and, again, Chui shows his fair-mindedness and responsiveness to the silent majority of moderate voters rather than the noisy minority on the left.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 7:42 am

I'm not sure how you conclude "moderates won the 2012 election." In the most hotly contested race, progressive Mar beat "moderate" Lee. In D7, the winner Yee was to the left of the rest of the field. And while the progressive candidates lost in D5, mostly because of their personal flaws, Breed has steadfastly claimed that she will support tenants and work to alleviate economic conditions that have been forcing African Americans from the city, stands that place her to the left of most of her colleagues on the board. But what I love most about your post and what it says about your perspective is you use of Nixonian term "silent majority." Actually, most San Franciscans are smarter and more compassionate than you seem to believe.

Posted by steven on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

ground in the elections of recent years.

Daly was replaced by a much more moderate, Kim, while your girl Debra Walker crashed and burned, and now resorts to lying about conversations she wasn't present for.

Mirk gave way to the more moderate Breed, and then self-destructed.

Mar saved himself only be voting to depose Mirk.

Avalos was crushed 40-60 by a resurgent and moderate Mayor Lee.

Not so much ot like there, huh, Steven.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

Steven, stumbling into what might be a draw at best after seeing progressive power decline steadily since 2006 is hardly the stuff of which confidence in the future of a political movement is rooted.

There is much more to a progressive agenda of government than just compassion notwithstanding the protestations of those paid to do "compassionate" work.

Didn't we just have two opposing editorials that exposed a fracture between the social justice and enviro tribes in the dominant nonprofit component of the progressive coalition? Half of that had little to do with compassion and a lot to do with "livability."

There is a silent majority out there. They did not vote for Ed Lie. They are the people for whom the conservatives and "compassionate" progressives have no place in their coalitions, who are viewed as infinite sources of revenue and infinite sinks of the downsides of corporate conservativism and progressive "compassion."

The alarm clock for that wakeup call began to ring in 2008. You all keep on hitting snooze like that's gonna work out in the long run.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

anywhere either you or Steven look for them. Most of the people I know are fairly apolitical and don't care for extremes. They are true "moderates" in that sense. And every single one of them voted for Lee. Avalos scares them.

Posted by anon on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

The only extreme politics operative in San Francisco is the Reaganesque trickle down economics of libertarian Republicans like Conway, Schwab and Moritz.

Support for Ed Lie was greater than for Avalos but not impressive based on historical averages. Most people don't care and the progressives have not done much to give most folks a reason to care, to feel welcome in a coalition.

This is not so much a story of Ed Lie's success, rather of structural progressive failure. Steven, for his part, doesn't want to hear anything that might offend his friends, so he's going to hit the snooze button again.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

truth troll

Posted by marcos on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 1:08 am


the Board will continue ignoring the $4.1 billion in unfunded health care obligations for retired "city family" workers...

...this will eventually lead to bankruptcy, but the current generation of pols will be long gone by then, so why should they care?

Posted by Troll the XIV on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

government: federal, state and city. But it's worse at the city level because of the city's limited means of raising taxes, even assuming that the voters would allow that, which they will not.

Oh, and dumb healthcare obligations too. We'll see many more city bankruptices like san bernadino, vallejo, stockton etc. Oakland will be the first major city to default, but LA, SF and San Diego are all in trouble too.

And that shakeout will lead to a BK judge tearing up thos epensions contracts.

Posted by anon on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

The Stockton case is interesting.

The courts have ruled that Stockton can give priority to paying its retirees over the money owed to its bondholders.

What this means: The return (%) demanded by municipal bondholders will be rising sharply in the future...and hence much higher costs for paying debt and much fewer government services for citizens.

Really, the situation is dire. But pols refuse to address it.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

Some contracts are more equal than others.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

DailyKos' kurykh has a really good entry re current SF politics in which he describes a third group of SF supervisors:

"The moderate progressives (confused yet?) are the newest kids on the block. This group emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the moderates began to wane and the progressives began to gain power. The faces of this group tend to be heavily Asian due to it coinciding with rising Asian American political power in the city, though this faction also includes people of other groups, most notably supervisor Malia Cohen, who is African-American. Like other progressives, they are pro-tenant and advocate for more social services to the poor. However, they have pro-business and pro-development tendencies and tend to focus on streamlining bureaucracy and effective government.

"They currently form the swing bloc in San Francisco politics, having sided with the progressives in 2008 and the moderates in 2010, eventually taking control of the mayor's office in 2011 with the help of moderates. Prominent members of this group include current mayor Ed Lee, consultant and community activist Rose Pak, and supervisors David Chiu, Jane Kim, and Eric Mar. The base of this group include the heavily Asian neighborhoods in the city's northeastern corner and the western and southern peripheries."


Posted by Judy Berkowitz on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

I can't believe the above tripe is being exhumed from the wastebasket of blog history, where it belongs. Since it is, however, then I'll repost the comment I made when the SFBG first drew attention to it:

I caught that article on DK too, and I was thinking... "meh." Big shoulder shrug. Some dude writes his perspective on SF politics. Didn't imagine for a minute that there'd be a column about it in the SFBG.

But since there is... for what it's worth, on one level I think it's amateurish, in that it tries to stuff the square pegs of facts into round holes of opinion into which they simply will not fit.

Eric Mar a "moderate progressive?" Please. I have my differences with Mar, but a couple bad votes aside, Mar is squarely in the progressive camp.

And then putting Ed Lee in the same camp as Eric Mar? Talk about trying to stuff a square peg into a round hole!

And the part about turnout I found a little bizarre. The author claims that progressives do better when the turnout is lower in SF. I simply don't think that's true. There's a reason why the mod/right always likes to put their initiatives on the low-turnout ballots.

But before dismissing the article as merely "amateurish" or "naive," one has to make the observation that in places where the author is wrong, the errors are not random, but in fact all point to one particular bias. It would seem that the author isn't just trying to make a neutral "lay of the land" type assessment (however ineptly), but to subtly drive a wedge in the progressive movement. If the SFBG is going to take note of this and amplify it, then I think you need to put a little more analysis into it.

That said, I still can't understand why you chose to amplify it at all. I think the proper response to a diary on DK written by "some dude" and chock full of inaccuracies, would have been... nothing at all.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 17, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

Very nice good spots oncie great!

Posted by on Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

It must suck to be a progressive - the Guardian keeps saying after every election that "everything's ok" - and yet progressives have been relegated to the back of the bus, politically. They have no more power, the moderates have won (often thanks to fake progressives) and powerful interests roll the progressives. All they have left are empty non binding resolutions and nonsense about renaming an airport after someone who would look at today's "progressives" and be disgusted by their narrow, "me first" attitudes and their ineffective bullsh!t.

Posted by Not Marcos on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

They became too self-absorbed, too insular, too angry and too hopeless to ever succeed.

They should talk less and listen more.

Posted by anon on Jan. 23, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

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