Editor's Notes

Yee and Avalos — right now, today — are doing the things they need to do to emerge from a crowded pack



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.

Avalos had more than 400 people at his kickoff. State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano was there to endorse him. He's got window signs all over the east side of town. He's showing momentum, energy; he's on track to solidify the progressive base and start moving west. He has agreed to cosponsor the mayor's pension reform plan (but only if SEIU Local 1021 gets the amendments the union wants).

Yee has figured out a very smart strategy: He realizes that he's already got name recognition and a west-side base, that he's never going to get the support of the Chinatown establishment (powerbroker Rose Pak hates him), and that he's one of at least five candidates fighting over the center. So he's trying to grab a share of the left.

Yee's people were thrilled that he and Avalos got the Sierra Club. The more groups that endorse the two together (in any order), the more Yee becomes associated with the progressive standard-bearer. And the more second-place votes he gets on the left. (Don't kid yourself; this race may well come down to who gets second-place votes on the left.)

And Sup. David Chiu just gave Yee a great big gift. Chiu defied every single tenant group in town and became the swing vote in favor of the Parkmerced project. Now the tenants are pissed — and you know Yee is going to try to take advantage of it.

The frustrating part of that scenario is that Yee was never a good tenant vote when he was a supervisor. That's his Achilles' heel on the left — but it's old history, and the anger at Chiu is here today.

Would Chiu be a better mayor for tenants than Yee? Quite possibly. Is any tenant group thinking that right now? No.

Chiu's in a tricky spot. He's trying to be the centrist progressive — and that's a hard thing to sell to either the center (where he's one of five candidates) or the left (where Yee is edging him out in cozying up to Avalos).

City Attorney Dennis Herrera hasn't recovered from the political consultant lobbying mess (not a new story, he's hardly the only, or even remotely, the worst offender, but damn, it makes him look bad). Former Sup. Bevan Dufty's doing great at the candidate forums but doesn't have a breakout move. Assessor Phil Ting is awfully quiet.

It's only June. But it won't be "only" anything much longer.


Chiu just became -the- vote to destroy an entire beautiful tenant community where thousands of working class people live; a move that could eliminate a massive block of rent controlled housing in San Francisco.

How could he now, by any stretch of the imagination, be better than Yee for tenants after a maneuver like that?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 9:05 am

We have $800million+ deficit and no meaningful opposition to corporate-controlled policy makers shoving development and tax breaks for corporations through at an insane rate. The pensions and salaries are so out of control that three very dangerous things are happening: voters are folding right into "austerity measures" as the only way out, rapacious investors are dropping in like angels from outside to finally take a piece of our town - which we have resisted for so long, and the cronies of these developers and companies are stampeding over our Government agencies and offices, effectively buying our politicians.

We need real leadership from an outsider to put the brakes on.

Leland Yee? John Avalos? Tim, you have been so bad these last few years. You cling to some old mode of covering politics - worse, without significant competition, you've grown into an editorialist who tells people who to vote for months all the way up to election day, rather than allowing the process to reveal the best candidate. You critical skills - which you had for years - have become profoundly dimmed. And it's terrible that you would take this approach in an Instant Runoff Election - actually it's anti-democratic.

IRV - instant runoff voting - only works if everybody gets educated to each of the candidates and cares about them. It is about coalition building. It's about NOT choosing someone till the end. It's about exploring ALL the options and trying to put together a ticket in your mind. You should be teaching this and doing lots and lots of educating about IRV and all the candidates.

I am so offended by your behavior since 2007, Tim. I am sorry to say it, but I am.

Voting Karthik Rajan, first, Terry Baum or John Avalos second and third ensures we can get ahold of what has spun out of our control. I have the skills to put together whatever form of government John or TTerry Baum or other progressives want, without influence from high-ranking Democrats or others (i.e. former Mayor Newsom's people all planted in positions since his departure).

We share so many values, you and I, and all your readers. You do me a disservice by "covering" this election the way you do. Have the courage not to dismiss me and rather to consider:


Thank you,
Karthik Rajan

Posted by Guest on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 9:55 am
Posted by buck on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 11:48 am

Karthik, where is it written that the optimal strategy on IRV is for public leaders to ineffectually wait until the last minute to support particular candidates?

I see the opposite. We should be supporting a block of candidates right away who can end the corporate and developer influence on the mayor's office. Early support will help them to get a big lead on fund raising, to work extensively and closely with eachother for mutual support, and to build an early firewall against the Downtown controlled candidates so that the latter are less able to sneak in on ranked choice votes by feigning progressive pretenses. If we have encouraged an early and truly progressive block to run together as a team, this will give the voters clear direction to favor that block.

If we are going to win this thing, we need to get in the game bigtime, right now.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

John Avalos has no chance of winning the mayor's race. It's hard to believe that any informed commentator on SF politics would claim otherwise.

Leland Yee, David Chiu, and Dennis Herrea are all cut from the same political cloth. The three are self-promoters who change their political views depending on which way the wind is blowing.

Progressive secretly hope that Yee will turn out to be one of their own. Moderates secretly hope that Chiu will turn out to be one of their own.

Both sects are deluded. Yee is devoted to Yee, and Chiu is devoted to Chiu. And Herrera, of course, is devoted to Herrera.

If elected, Yee, Chiu, and Herrea would all be "C" mayors, just like ever other mayor in recent memory. That's not bad.

But anyone who gets excited about any of these three is self-deluded.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 02, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

'nuff said.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 02, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

"Shut up already."

- Greg

Wow, you made a post without shouting an obscenity.

You're getting better, Greg!

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 02, 2011 @ 2:50 pm