Gonzalez withdraws his endorsement of Olague

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Gonzalez spoke at Olague's April campaign launch, only to now sour on his one-time progressive protege.
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

Matt Gonzalez – the attorney and former president of the Board of Supervisors whose 2003 run for mayor galvanized the city's progressive movement – has withdrawn his endorsement of Sup. Christina Olague for his old District 5 supervisorial seat, citing her positions on the 8 Washington project and replacing ranked-choice (RCV) voting with a September mayoral primary election.

It is perhaps the biggest political blow that Olague has suffered since being appointed to her first elective office by Mayor Ed Lee in January, and a sign that she may be siding more solidly with Lee and his pro-development allies than with the progressive political community she has long identified with – and that could complicate her race in one of the city's most progressive districts.

Gonzalez, who helped launch Olague's political career by appointing her to the Planning Commission in 2004, confirmed his decision and the reasons for it, but he told the Guardian that he didn't want to make a formal public statement yet. That could come later in the week, possibly coupled with a new endorsement in the race.

But he did say that he's been frustrated with Olague's actions on both 8 Washington – a housing project for the super-rich on the Embarcadero – and with her recent antics on RCV. In both cases, it wasn't just the votes, but the way they were made that have raised doubts about Olague with Gonzalez and other progressives.

Olague and Sup. Jane Kim (another former Gonzalez protege who has disappointed many of her one-time progressive supporters on several high-profile issues) not only voted for the 8 Washington project, but also for a series of amendments that made the already lucrative project even more profitable for the developers and costly to the city.

On RCV, as I reported on Friday, Olague surprised progressives by giving new life to efforts by the most conservative supervisors to repeal the system, then has made a shifting series of statements and pledges on the issue, in the end supporting a system that will repeal RCV only for the mayor and create a September election.

The fear is that election would be extremely low turnout, and Lee could win it outright with at least 65 percent of the vote and avoid the normal November election, and Olague has been unwilling to fully explain her position or address concerns that she is simply doing Lee's bidding. Olague hasn't returned our calls on that issue or for her reaction to Gonzalez's decision to withdraw his endorsement.

Comments

My read is that Gonzalez' ire was raised on IRV, not 8 Washington.

Didn't Gonzalez say last year that Ed Lee would make an acceptable mayor?

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 11:35 am

She doesn't want to appear to be too close to extremists of either wing.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 11:48 am

Is this someone spoofing you again? Is the real marcos in favor of IRV and on vacation out of range of WiFi?

I mean. Okay. You don't think IRV helps progressives. That at least seems like a credible stance.

But what's this about Gonzalez? Some bad feelings towards him? Why would you in essence claim now that he supported Lee's re-election bid?

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

I opposed Prop A ten years ago and I stand by that.

I can't remember where I read it, but Gonzalez said last year that Ed Lee would make an acceptable mayor.

Gonzalez is close to the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" line in politics, where if your ideology does not gain traction, the solution is to move closer to the ideology of your opponents at the cost of your values.

That is how a progressive can support raising the cost of health care past the point of affordability for dependents of city employees and retirees.

No, the way out of this mess is to ditch ideology altogether--ideologies are for those who are fresh out of ideas--and use our progressive values as bridges to those who don't vote progressive.

Yeah, our ideas are still better. The task is communicating how our ideas, not the Heritage Foundation or the New America Foundation's moderate and conservative ideas, are better.

Gonzalez has an ownership stake in IRV. He sees it as his legacy. Thus, it is difficult to let go and in light of developments over the past 10 years, to admit that it was a mistake, that I was correct, and to move on towards progress.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

did NOT support Lee's election bid. THAT is a fact.

marcos, you seem to be a bit too stubborn and a bit too prone to employ the rightists rhetorical flourishes.

*You* claim to know that IRV hurts progressives and that it precludes alliance building on their part; but others -- real honest-to-goodness progressives -- have good reasons to support IRV.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but at the time IRV was promoted and passed, it was thought the short runoff election cycle greatly favored pro-business candidates in relation to fundraising possibilities. I don't know that anything has changed in that regard.

Also, all along people who supported IRV did so because it saves the high costs of the otherwise all-too-frequent runoff elections.

Can you dispute it? No. Rather you go on about how progressives have lost ground.

Hint: marcos, progressives have been losing ground everywhere. Hopefully it is just a matter of the pendulum swinging. In any case it is not a good occasion to get petulant about your having lost on IRV.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

IRV sucks for progressives.
So does Ologue.

These are not mutually exclusive statements.

Posted by hortensio on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

I agree with hortensio.

Posted by Mark on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

I did not say that Gonzalez supported Lee. I said that I was told or read that Gonzalez said that Lee was "acceptable" about this time last year.

I contest the notion that progressive ideas are in decline. Progressives/Liberals/Democrats won the 2006 and 2008 national elections. The Democrats spent more time neutralizing that progressive threat than they did in challenging the Republicans' conservative agenda. That is why they lost the House in 2010 and is why Obama is at risk and must demonize Romney to distract from their abandoning their base.

I think that the record is clear locally from the time that I'd participated. Progressive capacity doubled in 1999 and doubled again in 2003. Once IRV came into play in 2004-5, progressive power dwindled into the nothingness.

I am not making an argument "post hoc ergo propter hoc," as I am asserting that causality for the marginalization was due to the lack of focused organizing during runoffs.

Like I said earlier, there are no absolutes in this debate. There is no progressive side, no conservative side, just one set of trade offs versus another.

Gonzalez has demonstrated a vindictiveness when people go off of his reservation, whether they did not endorse him for VP in 2008, support Camejo over Cobb in 2004 or support Prop A/IRV. My read is that this is about him preserving what he sees as his legacy.

Like Clinton, that legacy involves the marginalization of the political forces that brought him to power. The problem, thus, is winner take all single member districts, not the way that we elect winner take all single member district candidates.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

Who care what Gonzalez does or doesn't do?

Posted by Vince quackenbush on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 11:48 am

A not-insignificant number of District 5 voters.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

Ah, and just this morning I was wondering how Hipster Christ Superstar felt about Olague. Not.

It is amazing who and what the SFBG set will trot out to prove a point. How many articles have been published on this site vaguely threatening Olague if she didnt start towing the party line? And now we have some of the consequences..

Someone who lost his race for mayor (a race which was entirely based on the idea that he WASNT Gavin Newsom) and then quit his job as supe so he could sue to city full time.

We're scraping the bottom of the barrel these days arent we.

Posted by Greg on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

Lines are not towed, they are toed.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

>"Olague and Sup. Jane Kim (another former Gonzalez protege who has disappointed many of her one-time progressive supporters on several high-profile issues) "

Okay Jane. Don't say you weren't warned. Get your butt in Progressive line or you'll be next. Start voting the way that you're supposed to. Unless you want to face the daunting prospect of having to face an SFBG and DCCC endorsed opponent next time.

What chance would you have then?

Posted by Troll on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

Yes! This is great news for Olague! Only shows how independent she is and how her campaign is riding a great wave of grassroots enthusiasm.

My sense is that, inexperienced as she is, she thought she could hold on to all of her progressive support while advancing the Mayor's agenda. And, yes, Gonzalez seems to delight in being a little bit the oddball iconoclast, but Christina probably should have thrown a few crumbs around.

Posted by gust on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:24 pm
Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

Julian Davis got the Peskin endorsement, which is truely the kiss of death.

Posted by chris pratt on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

Relise my comment might be misinterpreted as being anti-Julian, i actually support him, but reluctantly tend to agree with you, the possible SFBG endorsement could be another unwelcome smooch. This site is getting unreadable, so many ignorant, hateful, homophobic, racist trolls.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 9:08 am

Why subject yourself to it? Follow Eric Brooks and exit stage left.

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 10:41 am

My usual practice now is to skip anything posted by Anon, Guest, Troll, etc; it makes the comment thread a little more readable and intelligible, though occasionally I do check some of that gibberish, providing it less than 2 or 3 lines.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 18, 2012 @ 8:24 am

The Progressives eat one of their own because of her willingness to reach for compromise. Sad.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

Perhaps it is better that Progressives lose elections. They don't have to concern themselves with compromise and can retain their abstract, ideologic purity.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

Olague has clearly stepped off the progressive reservation a few too many times and she must be corrected, here on the pages of The Guardian, before she gets any more ideas in her head about voting the way she wants.

It's fascinating that progressives are now fighting rear-guard actions in places like District 5. Never mind about trying to convince voters in marginal districts to adopt progressive values and elect supervisors to carry those values into law - the movement has fallen back to defending its heartland in the Haight after losing every other supervisor race and seeing progressive stalwarts like Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi replaced with people like Jane Kim and Christina Olague.

It's like seeing the Germans defend the center of Berlin in 1945.

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

If Olague voted the way she wanted and in a way that was consistent with her long stated values, there would be no controversy. But she's clearly acting on behalf of the Mayor's Office and unable to face her critics or even her longtime allies to offer explanations for her new positions. Seeing some independence and an ability to express coherent ideas would be welcome developments to see in this ambitious political newbie.

Posted by steven on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

Have you considered that? People are entitled to change their minds and of course she was going to act and vote differently as a Supervisor than she did in the other non-elected positions she's been in.

I don't live in D5 so honestly I don't care who's supervisor and besides, I have other issues with Olague that are entirely separate from the ones you've mentioned. But imposing Tea Party-style litmus tests on politicians is a bad idea whether it's coming from the Left or the Right.

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

Three years ago 8 Washington was a non starter because the Progressive Gang of Six would have squashed it. Now they are down to the Measly Three.

D5 has always been their stronghold and they are obviously going to make it a stand.

Steven's assertions about her working against her long term beliefs is bizarre. She's been a supervisor for a few months...maybe her chairmanship of Run-Ed-Run might clue you in that you don't understand her long term beliefs.

Meanwhile, if Malia Cohen voted against 8 Wash and for RCV then the SFBG would be singing the praises of her independence.

Posted by Troll on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

Olague did support Leno over Britt in 2002...

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

Are there any substantive issues of disagreement between Britt and Leno? Seriously?

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

It shows that Olague has a history of not being a proglodyte autobot.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 5:56 am
Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 6:19 am

The Britt/Leno race was deemed a litmus test by the proglodytes. Christina failed that litmus test.

The progressive movement was left on on autopiliot by the professional proglodytes and there was no check from normal San Franciscans because there were no runoffs to mobilize us.

That is why the progressive movement is exhausted and that is why Olague sought political refuge elsewhere and why I jumped off of the progressive train before it careened off of the cliff.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 6:33 am

You can be a real tool but you can also be one of the most insightful commenters here. Your comment about "proglodytes" was definitely one of the latter.

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 8:28 am

The term proglodytes originated in 2003, was put to bed when they began to rear up on their hind legs and challenge corporate power. Now it has been resurrected again.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 8:55 am

@steven - Exactly right. What exactly does Olague stand for at this point? Does anybody know?

Posted by Jym on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 12:04 am

During a brief conversation, Olague told me that she knows that the opposition to RCV is due to the reduced influenced of campaign money on the elections with RCV. In other words, she is fully aware that the opposition to RCV is really a downtown/big money interests powerplay. She flipflopped, probably under orders from the Mayor who appointed her to the Board.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

Right, and the people who put heart and soul into progressive, neighborhood and independent campaigns, between our ample trust funds and the nonprofit jackpots are able to donate free services to campaigns. Because we care.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

I'm beginning to doubt that your motivation is what it is claimed to be. Might you simply be pretending to argue in favor of progressive causes? This topic in particular -- and your glib use of rightist memes to describe progressives -- make me think you are dissembling in every way.

Rethink?

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

Marcos was never progressive, except where it serves his interests. You should have figured that out a long time ago.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

the part to further your own interests.

The fact is that I've haven't spent too much time until recently reading marcos' comments and I haven't ever encountered such a slick troll as he. I get it now.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 6:43 am

Really, you mean that my application to be a progressive might be rejected after all of these years?

Listen, lillipublicans, we've tried it the leftists way for 30 years now, wading into the morass of identity politics, outsourcing activism to the nonprofiteers and labor employees, and we've seen our circumstances universally deteriorate nationally and locally.

How much more time do you all want everyone to wait for you all to get it right? No, it is time to go back in time, to figure out which of the turns we were guilt tripped into were wrong turns, and to root out that error from our practice.

At the rate that you all are going, climate change will turn San Francisco into the Venice of the West, the City will be all upscale white and Asian before you all figure out that there is indeed a problem and start to fashion fixes.

As Lenin said, you've got to break some eggs to make an omelet, so let's get cracking.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 7:29 am

If you can't see the sarcasm in that post, damn, we just need to blow up the progressive island and start anew.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

>" In other words, she is fully aware that the opposition to RCV is really a downtown/big money interests powerplay."

The combined population of the RCV cities (San Francisco, Oakland, Minneapolis/St Paul) is 1.9million. Did she happen to say where the opposition to RCV came from in the other 99.4% of the country?

I can tell you what the problem is: It doesn't work.

Posted by Troll on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

The Dauphon ("Matt" I) has hereby kicked her off the Progressive Island.

Jane Kim, be warned. She who compromises will not be tolerated.

Wasn't it Matt Gonzales who backed Adachi's pension reform plan last year? And wasn't it He, along with Tony Hall, who backed Pelosi's Republican opponent in 2010?

Maybe Matt should be removed from The Island.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

... and nonsense claims obviously lacking any sort of corroborating sources?

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

Lilliput-publican,

Matt did back Ron Paul for pres. along with Tony Hall:

http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2010/09/07/matt-gonzalez-tony-hall-and-ron-...

And Matt did back Jeff Adachi's pension reform plan:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9HejJOEUVQ

There. Called your silly bluff. Bed time now?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

Matt is Matt, but he didn't endorse Paul for president

And before Adachi jumped in (I think he was the only one Matt endorsed), H interviewed him:

Bulldog: Ok, down to brass tacks. An honest pollster (like there is such a thing) phones and asks you, “If the election were held tomorrow, give me your IRV choices and why?” … what would you say?

Matt: I haven’t decided yet, although I would pick Ed Lee over Dennis Herrera, Leland Yee, David Chiu and Michela Alioto-Pier. I’m going to keep an open mind about John Avalos. And of course, I’m friends with Tony Hall. I’m not endorsing him because our politics are different, but I do respect him.

Bulldog: How about the sheriff’s race? Describe a bit how that department impacts your cases in the public defender’s office? Who you leaning toward in that one?

Matt: I like all three candidates. Frankly, all of them are progressive for law enforcement. I don’t believe we have anything to be concerned about in terms of losing the sheriff’s seat to a reactionary or anything like that.

I like Ross (Mirkarimi) obviously. I supported him in his race to replace me as District 5 supervisor, but I will not be supporting him in this race. I don’t like the idea that the mayor would get to appoint a replacement to his seat. And if that were to happen, it wouldn’t be someone who would get elected in an open race. No progressives are talking about this.

If Ross is elected sheriff, we will likely have a moderate in the Dist. 5 seat and will lose what should be the most progressive seat in San Francisco. So, I believe Ross should serve out his term. He should run for assembly or some other post, but not sheriff. Not now. And as someone who was once the District 5 supervisor, I believe I am allowed to say this. Incumbency is powerful, as Ed Lee is demonstrating, and Mirkarimi’s appointed replacement could end up serving for the next 9 years.

http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/2979/matt-gonzalez-interview-rac...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

Matt is Matt, but he didn't endorse Paul for president

And before Adachi jumped in (I think he was the only one Matt endorsed), H interviewed him:

Bulldog: Ok, down to brass tacks. An honest pollster (like there is such a thing) phones and asks you, “If the election were held tomorrow, give me your IRV choices and why?” … what would you say?

Matt: I haven’t decided yet, although I would pick Ed Lee over Dennis Herrera, Leland Yee, David Chiu and Michela Alioto-Pier. I’m going to keep an open mind about John Avalos. And of course, I’m friends with Tony Hall. I’m not endorsing him because our politics are different, but I do respect him.

Bulldog: How about the sheriff’s race? Describe a bit how that department impacts your cases in the public defender’s office? Who you leaning toward in that one?

Matt: I like all three candidates. Frankly, all of them are progressive for law enforcement. I don’t believe we have anything to be concerned about in terms of losing the sheriff’s seat to a reactionary or anything like that.

I like Ross (Mirkarimi) obviously. I supported him in his race to replace me as District 5 supervisor, but I will not be supporting him in this race. I don’t like the idea that the mayor would get to appoint a replacement to his seat. And if that were to happen, it wouldn’t be someone who would get elected in an open race. No progressives are talking about this.

If Ross is elected sheriff, we will likely have a moderate in the Dist. 5 seat and will lose what should be the most progressive seat in San Francisco. So, I believe Ross should serve out his term. He should run for assembly or some other post, but not sheriff. Not now. And as someone who was once the District 5 supervisor, I believe I am allowed to say this. Incumbency is powerful, as Ed Lee is demonstrating, and Mirkarimi’s appointed replacement could end up serving for the next 9 years.

http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/2979/matt-gonzalez-interview-rac...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 16, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

caliber speaking on topics of civic concern.

The videos, of course, do not support your scurrilous remarks in any way. Scumbag.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 6:35 am

Yes, they do. He supported Adachi's pension plan.

(please refrain from name-calling. let's keep this platform civil, shall we?)

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 7:19 am

which anybody can plainly see; just as anybody can see your complete hypocrisy with regard to name calling.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 7:48 am

Sorry, but the SFBG reported on it (see below). Let's keep the dialogue civil here.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 17, 2012 @ 8:18 am