No on 85/Yes on F Election Party
by Ailsa Chang
The scene at Medjool Bar tonight is upbeat, confident and loud. This election party hosted by the San Francisco Labor Council and Medjool's owner, Gus Murad, is the party for everyone who didn't have a party: No on 85, Yes on F, supporters for Bob Twomey for School Board, State Assembly Candidate Fiona Ma.
Tim Paulson, Executive Director of the SF Labor Council, has been pacing up and down the mezzanine of Medjool all night, cell phone plugged in his ear, shaking hands, bellowing into the microphone to introduce the hodgepodge of campaign speakers. When asked what was the purpose of tonight's party, he remarked, "We're trying to take back our government! We asked all the candidates to come to our party tonight. So we have the Yes on F people here, the No on 85 people here."
Fiona Ma thought the eclectic guestlist was a great idea: "It's really nice that we have a big joint party tonight because normally, on Election Night, everyone has their own separate parties. It's just great that we're collaborating." When she rose to speak a little before 10 pm, the news that the Democrats had taken over the House flashed across the TV. The crowd went crazy. Ma shouted at the elated crush of supporters, "People have been trying to demonize Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco traditional values. Well, let's hear it for Nancy!" The noise of the crowd was deafening at this point. Everyone in the room began chanting in unison, "NAN-CY! NAN-CY! NAN-CY!"
Volunteers for the No on 85 Campaign have been excitedly watching the numbers lean closer and closer to a defeat for Prop 85. Amy Everitt, State Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, felt confident that their hard work would pay off. "We put together an incredible coalition for Prop 85. We brought in a lot of friends that were with us on Prop 73, which included the California Labor Federation, the California Teachers Association. For the second year in a row, we've had every major medical association in the state, the LGBT community, and the women's reproductive rights community. We've all been working to defeat it. We've been talking to parents and to teens. The polling going into it was neck and neck. We were all within a margin of error. We left no vote unturned. We've been walking precincts up until the last minute."
Liz Haas of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate was similarly optimistic. "We know through the polls that it's close. But we're pretty confident that it's going to be defeated. We've done a lot of outreach to our progressive voters – canvassing, calling. We've been trying to contact everyone we know who is a pro-choice voter and tell them that this is a thinly veiled attempt to limit choice in California."
The defeat of Prop 85, following the previous defeat of Prop 73, shows misuse of the elections process, according to Haas. "Prop 85 supporters have already proven that they are willing to abuse the initiative process in California. Voters said no to Prop 73 last year. This is the same thing all over again. [Prop 85 supporters] are extremists."
Numbers for Prop F are showing a decisive victory tonight. Sonia Metha of Young Workers United, one of the leading organizations in support of Prop F, yelled out to supporters, "We're challenging corporations like Macy's and Cheesecake Factory. Today, we're going to redistribute the wealth from the rich to the working class!"
Dante Grant, another member of Young Workers United, joined Metha in her exuberance. "I feel good. I haven't heard that much of an opposition, or a voice of an opposition. We've been hearing mostly positive feedback. I think it's important that all workers get sick days and have a chance to take care of themselves."
We'll take a look at the numbers for the remainder of the night, but the party-goers at Medjool are already prepared to celebrate.