Endorsements 2012: San Francisco races - Page 4

Rizzo and Selby for D5 supervisor. Our top choice in D1 is Eric Mar

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Thea Selby's not as much of a lefty as Rizzo, but she's a neighborhood and small-business advocate who got involved in politics organizing the Lower Haight after a spate of shootings outside her doorstep. She's good on land-use issues and, while she unlikely to win, could have a political future if she stays active.

The other strong candidate in the race is London Breed, director of the African American Art and Culture Complex. She's the only major candidate born in the district; she grew up in a housing project, living with her grandmother while many of those around her wound up in prison or dead. She's a smart, compelling candidate with a tremendous amount of personal charm. She served on the Redevelopment Commission, voting the wrong way on the Lennar project, and is now on the Fire Commission.

The problem with Breed is that she's too conservative for the district. She supported the ridiculous sit-lie law (and still defends it). She has the support of the Police Officers Association. She's raised a ton of money, in part because the landlords like her. We do, too — but not as the D 5 supervisor.

The mayor has made the re-election of his appointee a high priority, and the outcome of this race will be in part a referendum on the power structure at City Hall. We're going with Rizzo, and Selby.

SUPERVISOR, DISTRICT 7

1. NORMAN YEE

2. F.X.CROWLEY

3. JOEL ENGARDIO

You don't expect to get a left-leaning supervisor from D.7, which is almost certainly the most traditionally conservative part of the city. For eight years, it's been represented by Sean Elsbernd, a smart, effective, and honest advocate for homeowners and businesses who was wrong on most of the issues but trustworthy and accessible.

This time around, there's a chance that D7 could move into the swing column; two candidates who would vote with the progressives at least some of the time are in strong contention.

Our first choice is Norman Yee, president of the school board and executive director of Wu Yee Children's Services. Yee already has eight years experience in local government, and — while he, like all the D7 candidates, talks about public safety and quality-of-life issues, he also told us he's "not opposed to taxes." He's supporting the City College parcel tax, Prop. A, and is open to looking at other revenue measures, including possible parking-lot taxes to pay for Muni.

He's a little shaky on housing. While he called for an audit of all vacant city land to seek sites for new affordable housing, he supports tenancies in common and has no idea how the city can meet its General Plan housing goals. He's working with campaign consultant Enrique Pearce, who is part of the more sleazy side of the mayor's operation, and that gives us cause for serious concern. But on balance, he's our first choice.

Crowley, who just stepped down as the head of the Theatrical Stage Employees Union, is an old-San Francisco kind of guy, a graduate of St. Ignatius who's lived his entire life on the West side of town. He served on the Public Utilities Commission, where he was never much of a supporter of public power, is still dubious on Clean Power SF, doesn't want to support much in the way of increased density west of 19th Avenue (except at ParkMerced) and is hardly going to be a progressive leader on the board.

He has a strong labor background, which cuts both ways: He's likely to be horrible on development issues and will listen to the building trades people, but will also listen to SEIU on the city budget. Not our first choice — but he's far better than Mike Garcia, who was a bad vote on the Ethics Commission and the Board of Appeals and is much more of a traditional pro-business, cut-taxes-and-regulations candidate. Garcia's got the support of Elsbernd and will have plenty of downtown money, so we're willing to go with Crowley as an alternative.

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