Sometimes I will write about local politics. If you don’t want to read these kinds of things, just skip past it. There will be plenty of Muni related posts soon enough, as well as pictures of dogs….
For those of you in San Francisco, there is an election for State Senator this year. This will be the first election with the “new” Senate District, one which encompasses the entire City of San Francisco, as well as portions of North San Mateo County. Previous Senate districts usually cut SF into 2 districts, one which included the city’s Westside and points south of SF, another with the City’s eastern portion, and parts of Marin County.
For some reason, the only two candidates that are likely to make it to the fall election under California’s “Top Two” system (whereby the two top vote getters, regardless of party, advance to the fall election) are two members of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, Scott Wiener and Jane Kim.
What’s that? You want to throw your vote to some zany non Democrat candidate in the fall election? You’re out of luck, friend. It’s “Democrats” or nothing here!
I’m not so sure that the Board of Supervisors is the place I want to go looking for someone to represent San Francisco up in the state capital. It’s not generally a group known for brilliance, and whether you’re a supporter of the leftier side of politics or the “developer/dotcom/tech/edlee” side of politics, I think we can all agree this isn’t exactly a great place to recruit from.
And yet, in recent years when there’s been vacancies for Higher Office, we have “Supervisors” running for those spots. (Just recently, two Harvard grads, David Chiu and David Campos, ran for the Assembly, and Chiu won.)
Anyway, Wiener is the establishment favorite, who is popular amongst developers, realtors, business-y types who need something (i.e. money) from the govenrment etc. Jane Kim is the favorite amongst the “progressives” (a term, like “moderate” which has no actual meaning in San Francisco politics) and has been struggling a bit as Wiener tends to have more endorsements likely to secure favor with voters when they get a junk mailer listing them.
I really don’t dislike either one – Wiener at times has been helpful on some issues related to transit in and around SF, and Kim has always been polite and listened to things I’ve brought up on blogs or in correspondence. I’m not sure, however that they’re the best possible choices, and I really don’t see how voters who give SF city government such low marks would give anyone associated with city hall a promotion and a pay raise.
I suppose if I’d won the Powerball I could have run as a weird SF version of Trump (“build a wall to keep the tech people out and make techbros pay for it” maybe?), but I didn’t so I’m not.
WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS ARTICLE?
Oh, right. So the Chronicle, which backs Wiener, wrote this story the other day about another attempt to pass a tax on sugary sodas in San Francisco, they did the usual. What was intersting, is that in this account, the reporter seemed to forget their own story from 2014, detailing why a previous effort failed.
Read it and you’ll find that it was Wiener’s interference which was a big reason why the measure lost.
Desperate to be the one in front of the cameras saying “lookit me I hate sodas, America” his changes to the final ballot measure made it more difficult to pass – the measure had majority support, but NOT the 2/3rds vote needed with the changes he made. Additionally, this change ensured that billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s operation wouldn’t give needed money to fight soda industry interests, ensuring its “defeat”. (side note, the fact you can get a majority vote and still lose is truly amazing in 2016)
If you think that passing a Soda Tax is going to solve the world’s problems, then this is kind of a Big Screw Up (if you think the Soda Tax itself is a Big Screw Up, then I suppose it’s a good thing). Either way, it seems like Wiener would be better off just owning up to his mistake, rather than try and BS his way out of it. Even better, it’d be great if the Chronicle could find a way to “remember” something they reported on just a few years ago.
As for me, it is just a reminder why maybe the Board of Supervisors is not a great place to be recruiting for the big leagues, but that’s another post (or 10).
Given the history of legislative elections in San Francisco, especially when there’s a progressive lefty up against the establishment choice, Wiener will likely win, regardless of any past transgressions so I guess he’s off to Sacramento to continue this kind of thing.
It is interesting, however, to see the Chronicle (which is just a mouthpiece to advance the Hearst Corporation’s real estate interests at Fifth and Mission these days) forget their own reporting at times.
PS: A Recent History of state legislative races reminds us of this “progressives lose” history: in 2002 in the Mark Leno/Harry Britt battle for Assembly, Britt lost. Carole Migden was elected in 2004, but was defeated for the Democratic nomination in 2008 by Mark Leno.
In 2014, Sup. David Chiu (establishment) ran against Sup. David Campos (”progressive”) and won also. This also ensured a board vacancy, which was filled by someone appointed by Mayor Lee, only to see (again) a Lee appointee defeated at the polls. (that’s a whole other post though LOL)
Generally, when you have a district that is heavily Democratic in California, and there’s only two “Democrats” on the ballot for a “primary” or a general election, the establishment Democrat, supported by business and oil/gas interests, tends to win these fights. Even in so-called Lefty San Francisco.