I'm not going to tell Ed Lee he can't run for mayor. I know he promised he wasn't going to. I know that if he hadn't made that promise, he wouldn't have had the six votes to win the office. I think Lee believed at the time that he didn't want to run in November, and he may believe it now.
But this is still a democracy, and if Lee thinks the situation has changed and he's the only person who can properly lead the city over the next four years, he ought to put his name forward.Read more »
Three weeks before the June 25-26 Pride Weekend — which is the unofficial opening of the official fall mayoral race — there are two front-runners: state Sen. Leland Yee and Sup. John Avalos.
I'm not saying either is going to win. Things change quickly in this town. We don't even know for sure if the incumbent, Ed Lee, is going to be in the final scrum.
But here's what we do know: Yee and Avalos — right now, today — are doing the things they need to do to emerge from a crowded pack. And the others are either hanging back or flailing around.Read more »
When Cornel West blasted President Obama May 16 in an interview with the website Truthdig, it set off a pretty wild debate on the left. For the most part, it's been more heat than light (imagine that happening on the left!), but it raises a crucial question about the role progressives play in the Democratic Party — particularly in the 2012 election season.Read more »
When California Senate President Darrel Steinberg introduced a bill this spring that would allow local government agencies to impose a wide range of new taxes, I didn't think anyone would take it seriously (including the author). It seemed, unfortunately, to be a piece of political theater and possibly some high-stakes poker. With a simple majority vote, the Democrats could infuriate Republicans by finding a back-door way to raise taxes. Maybe that would bring the recalcitrant, obstructionist GOP to the budget table.Read more »
I'm tired of stories about poor San Francisco landlords. Because residential landlords in San Francisco have a great gig — and almost none have any right to complain about it.
The latest tale appeared in The New York Times May 1, with a longer version in the Bay Citizen the same day. It involves Wayne Koniuk, who owns a building on Divisadero Street. He has a shop where he makes prosthetic devices and two units upstairs.Read more »
I heard a retired Army officer, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, on the radio May 2 talking about the death of Osama bin Laden. Great news, he said, with all sincerity; now we can end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop wasting all this money, and bring the troops home.
That would nice, wouldn't it?
But don't start counting on an end to the wars, an end to the deaths of U.S. troops, or an end to an $881 billion defense budget (up from $300 billion in 1980 and $311 billion in 2000) or a significant change in our national priorities.Read more »
The candidates for mayor of San Francisco are already lining up endorsements — the Sierra Club held its interviews April 23, which seems awfully early to me, since some of the most interesting contenders in this town (Tom Ammiano, Matt Gonzalez) have a tendency to jump in at the last minute. And the filing deadline isn't until August.Read more »
You lose a lot on the left. We all get used to it; we're fighting against a rich, entrenched power structure and the rules of the game are rigged against us. For people in the labor movement, it's been a particularly bad year; all over the country, politicians are looking for ways to undermine collective bargaining rights.
So it's nice to win one every now and then — and it's nice to be able to say that labor, progressive labor, just won a major victory in San Francisco. But it's no surprise that the San Francisco Chronicle got the story wrong.Read more »