Ed Lee, Leland Yee and the progressive vote

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A couple of months ago, I got into an argument with Enrique Pearce, who runs Left Coast Communications, the firm that set up Run Ed Run and ran one of the independent expenditure committes for Ed Lee. I told him that his firm was misnamed, that Lee was not a "left" candidate; he told me that Lee was the best bet for progressives because he was the "only candidate who could stop Leland Yee."

Now: We can all argue forever about Yee's progressive credentials (I've done that in detail here). But if Pearce was telling the truth, he was wrong, so wrong, and the numbers show it. Leland Yee came in fourth. Lee didn't prevent Yee from becoming mayor; he prevented John Avalos or Dennis Herrera from becoming mayor. Very different story, Mr. Pearce.

Willie Brown and his rich friends were all ecstatic at his party at the Palace Hotel, and why not? They're back in the game, back in charge at City Hall. And if Brown -- who, by the way, engineered this whole thing in one of the most brilliant political moves in San Francisco history -- is that happy, there's a reason for it. The wealthy and powerful interests in San Francisco think Lee is going to do what they want. That's why they're celebrating his election.

I'm not trying to be a downer here -- it's still possible that the ranked-choice voting system will put Avalos in first. But it's not at all likely. The only way that could happen: If the "anybody but Ed" vote was so strong on election day that virtually all of the second-place votes from Bevan Dufty, Jeff Adachi, Yee, David Chiu and Dennis Herrera went to Avalos. Possible, but don't be on it.

The reality is we're probably facing four years of Mayor Ed Lee, and I hope he proves me wrong and shows that he's willing to stand up to the people who put him in power. Possible, but don't be on it.