Davis needs to drop out

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EDITORIAL Kay Vasilyeva, a member of the San Francisco Women's Political Caucus, has come forward with the allegation that District Five candidate Julian Davis grabbed her and put his hand down her pants at a political bar crawl in 2006. That was six years ago, but it's still important — and more than the incident itself, the response we've seen from Davis is highly disturbing. He's utterly denying that it ever happened, and retained a lawyer to send Vasilyeva a letter threatening her with legal action if she continues to talk.

While we endorsed Davis for supervisor, we take these charges very, very seriously — particularly coming at a time when relations between men and women in the progressive movement are badly strained.

Since the SF Weekly, which broke the story, suggested that we knew something about Davis's behavior, we need to state, for the record: When we endorsed Davis, we had heard nothing even remotely close to this type of allegation. Yes, we knew that in his 20s he was a bit of an arrogant ass. We knew that at one point, he actually got into a tugging match with another person over the ridiculous question of who got to hold a campaign sign. We'd heard that, in the past, at somewhat debauched parties, he'd made advances toward women who weren't interested in his affections.

Those could be the acts of an immature man who has since grown up. And since, on a level of policy, knowledge, and positions, he was by far the best and strongest progressive in the race in District 5, we — along with much of the local progressive leadership — thought he was demonstrating enough maturity that he was worthy of our support.

But this new information, and his response to it, is alarming.

We don't take last-minute allegations about a front-running candidate lightly; people have been known to dump all sorts of charges into heated races. When we learned about Vasilyeva's allegations on Oct. 13, we did our own research. We spent two hours with Davis and his supporter and advisor, former D5 Supervisor Matt Gonzalez. We realized that allegations without corroboration are just charges, so we tracked down everyone we could find who might know anything about this incident — and, as we discovered, other similar events. And we have to say: Vasilyeva's account rings true. Davis's categorical denial does not.

More than that, we were offended that he in effect threatened with a lawsuit a woman who, at some peril to herself, came forward to tell the public information about someone who is running for elected office. What was the point of that, if not to intimidate her? It's highly unlikely he's going to sue (and drag this whole mess into court). He says he was just trying to send a message that he has a legal right to respond to defamation, but this is a political campaign; if he didn't want to deal publicly with what he must have known were these sorts of potential allegations, he shouldn't have run for office.

This is a bad time for progressives in San Francisco. The Mirkarimi case has brought to the fore some deep and painful rifts; a lot of women feel that (mostly male) progressive leaders have pushed their issues to the side. For the future of the movement and the city, the left has to come together and try to heal. This situation isn't helping a bit.

Davis needs to face facts: Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos have withdrawn their endorsements. Assembly member Tom Ammiano is almost certain to do the same. With his inability to handle the very credible charge that he not only groped a woman but lied about it, Davis no longer has a viable campaign in the most progressive district in the city, and we can't continue to support him.

We have said it many times before: People on the left need to be able to put their own ambitions aside sometimes and do what's right for the cause. Davis can't win. He's embarrassing his former allies. He needs to focus on coming to terms with his past and rebuilding his life. And for the good of the progressive movement, he needs to announce that he's ending his campaign, withdrawing from the race, and urging his supporters to vote for another candidate.

Comments

Odd

That you didn't do any of that kind of investigating before you endorsed him. If you knew there were inklings of this kind of thing (and personally I think you knew more than that) wouldn't it have been prudent to look into it then? Or did you just not care?

Steven is his personal friend. Really hard to imagine he didn't know anything. Everyone else did.

Posted by Haven't we learned our lesson? on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

Is that this is being brought up just before election time. Considering this happened six years ago, I believe this is a deliberate attempt to slander Mr.. Davis. From what I have gathered, the event happened during his late twenties while bar hopping with friends and colleagues. Can we please just move on and judge our candidates on who they are today, as opposed to hearsay?

Posted by The only thing thats odd here is, on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

Even more odd is that SFBG is so quick to find Davis guilty of a serious offense when no charges were ever brought against him and no formal investigation conducted. You've played judge, jury, and prosecution in an event that threatens to destroy this man's entire career. One would think that a bit more discretion would be exercised in this instance as well as in his endorsement.

Posted by Even more odd.. on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

too much credit, power and influence.

Only Julian can destroy his own career.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 8:19 am

Julian Davis should be held responsible for his actions, no doubt about that. It appears from various reporting on these events that he indeed took responsibility for his actions by making amends with both alleged victims months ago.

What will ruin his career at this point is creating a media storm and shoving him out of a race which he has built from a serious underdog position with grace, compassion, vigor, and respect. I feel sorry for the man.

Posted by Even more odd on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 11:51 am

Yeah, saying that Davis needs to drop out seems a stretch. These encounters at bars with people in their twenties with hormones buzzing can be very hard to gauge...I mean, I'm all for women's boundaries being respected, but, I'll also allow for a certain playful randiness. And if I, as the woman, should be offended, well, I'd just say "hey dude? what up??? stop that!"...Now apparently, the dude apologized...Long ago....So now we are subjected to "accusations" at the 11th hour of a campaign? Well...if you want to be "by the book" on behavior codes that ought to be followed by men towards women...Okay. We now know that Julian overstepped his bounds and apologized for it. But Julian is in his thirties now, has much grace and creativity and breadth of knowledge on the campaign trail which is pretty evident if you've ever took the trouble to attend any debates of late...and so I would vote for substance in a minute---this is what we need---over some unfortunate breach of conduct that happened 6 years ago.
It's probably good this was brought up. Men, apparently, still have some lessons to learn, and maybe they will all think twice before doing dumb things...But without more solid "evidence", I'm just gonna chalk this up to an unfortunate breach of conduct, and give Julian Davis the benefit of the doubt. Thank you Kay, for bringing it up. These are important issues, and now we are better informed.

Posted by Daniele E. on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

That's why I was saying that while the Guardian has every right to pull it's endorsement, based on whatever criteria it feels like, I didn't want to go so far as to call on him to drop out.

I'm glad a woman is saying this, because it needs to be said, and if I was the first one to say it, someone would call me sexist.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 7:00 am

Yeah, Greg, I hear you.
There is so much reactivity in our world, I find. This is one great benefit of learning meditation: it teaches you to respond, as opposed to react.

I'm responding based on what i've heard, and also what I don't know. Anyone is free to draw their own conclusions, but this is how I see it.

Posted by Daniele E. on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

One pathetic story after another.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

I know she's not the Guardian's choice, and I get why. But I think London Breed should be the D5 Supervisor.

She's professional, experienced, and personable, and while she'll never be the choice of the sort that had endorsed Davis, she won't screw them over, either.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

You've got to be kidding. Her whole history has been to screw progressives.

Look, there is a progressive in this race who's an adult. That person is John Rizzo. He's been great on the College Board and he'd make a fantastic supervisor. He really should have been the Guardian's #1 endorsement to begin with.

As a backup... I don't know... Hope Johnson, and then probably Olague. Yeah, I know. Her votes have sown a lot of distrust, but at this point there aren't many good backup choices. I still think she's more progressive than Breed. I guess the difference comes down to this: Christina has unfortunately shown herself to be all too willing to sell out her progressive principles; London Breed doesn't have those principles to begin with.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

You are an ass, if not, London Breed herself. Go crawl back under your rock, troll.

Posted by Guest2 on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

"You disagree with me, therefore you're an ass."

Posted by Hmm... on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

This is unfortunate but probably right call. While people want to find similarities between Mirkarimi and Davis, both the facts here and the substance of what happened are anything but similar. The most significant differences are that we have (1) a perpetrator who accepted responsibility for his actions vs. one who denies allegation vociferously and (2) a victim who ultimately sided with the calls for mercy vs. one who is aggressively being pushed back againt.

From the sounds of this editorial, the SFBG has not only verified the veracity of Ms. Vasilyeva's complaint but also potentially uncovered similar enough incidents to cause serious concerns. I have no reason to believe that the SFBG would be saying this if there's wasn't a significant amount of truth to the allegations. If Mr. Davis insists on staying in the race then the SFBG should do its best to surface as much of this story as possible.

I've met Mr. Davis a number of times in the past and haven't had the displeasure of the boorishness described above. Then again I'm not a younger woman who might be seen as a target for such behavior. For his own sake Mr. Davis needs to come clean about what happened, disclose his past misdeeds, and seek forgiveness. For the sake fo San Francisco's progressive movement, he should stand aside and refrain from making an endorsement.

Posted by aml on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

I'm curious what leads the SF Bay Guardian to the conclusion that these charges are "highly credible". Thus far, I've seen nothing but the testimony of the alleged victim, the circumstantial evidence of her ties to Davis' opponents, Davis' legal response, and other miscellaneous hearsay evidence.

Without further reporting of concrete evidence, it appears that SFBG and other media outlets are fueling a senseless cycle of outrage.

Posted by Lee on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

Totally agree. I have yet to see any corroboration or substantiation of any of these claims. You call this journalism? Nobody with half a brain would agree with the conclusion the Guardian just came to. Willie Brown and Ed Lee just got 10 years of votes from D5. What a fucking COUP.

Posted by Political Realist on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

Remember a few weeks back when I mentioned these allegations and predicted they'd come to light and you said: "Show us some names, dates, accusations, and police reports, or STFU"?

Well guess what numnuts? Here are the name, dates, and accusations. The rumors about Davis are true and always were true.

You tried to deny it then and you're still pathetically trying to deny it now. So let me offer you some of your own advice: STFU.

Posted by Haven't we learned our lesson? on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

"Haven't we learned our lesson" - I remember reading that comment you mentioned and I thought then, as I do now, that idiot is definitely pathetic. The worst part about "progressives" are embodied in idiots like him who will set aside any inkling of principles in order to retain/obtain power "for the cause." Progressives do not benefit from the loud blowhards like him who have: No objectiveness, no principles, and an attitude of 'turn the other cheek if it's one of our guys, attack them if they're not.'

Fortunately, I truly believe they are a minority, a LOUD, obnoxious minority of the electorate.

Beautiful Response and advice haha!

Posted by ProgressivesHaveLostTheirWay on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

Actually, when the polyonomous troll tossed out allegations of Davis' supposed improprieties and then was asked to back it up, they said nothing.

The very fact that this was announced cryptically well-in-advance by a commenter who is known for posting reactionary lies and invective suggests strongly that there is some degree of conspiracy afoot to smear Davis.

This is part-and-parcel with the attack plan against Ross Mirkarimi. It smells of Republican scorched earth techniques characterized by the work of Karl Rove.

Yes: San Francisco politics *is* important on the national level enough to justify such an allusion because the city is on the vanguard of so many progressive fronts: renewable energy and instant run-off voting to name just two.

I think there is a kernal of truth to the allegations against Davis. I also think that this hand-down-pants allegation is a bold lie; a titillating (for Republicans) and scurrilous accusation that Davis had ever possible right to dispute vociferously, no matter what the possibly dry-rotted SFBG editor may jump to assume.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 6:20 am

Totally- They have nothing better to do than go after Julian Davis- Not like they are in the middle of a Presidential Campaign- A fight to keep the senate, house elections, Governor elections, State legislature elections. The one they are most concerned with is District 5- cause of everything- they would love to have a real conservative representing the Haight.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 10:30 am

Now you see the truth of it - if they can conquer the Haight they have conquered the never center of progressivism! Finally someone sees it all clearly.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 11:12 am

Interesting how you specify hand-down-the-pants when the articles have only said he touched her under her clothes. You seem to know some pretty specific details about this bold faced lie (that there is a kernel of truth to)!

Oh, also? You cray.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 11:49 am

WOW some of you nuts really are as conspiracy-theorist minded as I thought.

I don't know who "Haven't we learned our lesson" is, I just remember reading her comment. Her response to "Political Realist" stood out because guys with his mindset like YOU are the epitome of what's gone wrong with SF progressives.

You can imagine that we're the same person and there's some sort of systematic conspiracy to smear Julian Davis on SFBG all you want. It's hilarious to me that you actually truly believe all these crazy conspiracies you just make up in your head like they're rooted in actual facts!

You're SO intransigent that when multiple people share the an opinion opposite of yours that you convince yourself that it isn't possible. It must be one person in SF that is commenting and replying huh? Wow, what a nut.

Conspiracy theorists/"Progressives" here's a tip: not everyone who disagrees with you is part of a network of evil corporate underlings being manipulated by rose pak and ed lee. Politics/issues can be complex and there can be genuine disagreement and multiple viewpoints on things. Politicians can vote contrary to your opinion on a matter without being in the pocket of evil powers. Sometimes it can actually be what they think is best. The sooner you stop deluding yourself that you're some freedom fighter and realize your opinion is not the absolute truth when some issues don't have an absolute truth, the better.

Also, lillipublicans, you're not some scholar or expert who really understands how things work. You're delusional and all your expertise is imaginary. Stop talking politics and economics like you have any inkling of what you're talking about.

Posted by ProgressivesHaveLostTheirWay on Oct. 25, 2012 @ 12:41 am

Like the Mirkarimi vote?

http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2012/10/10/mayors-aides-totally-inappropria...
Olague is hardly loved by the power players she gets associated with. She's a progressive and one of the rare ones who isn't stuffed full of them-self.

The Guardian is 0/2 on their predictions. Look what we've learned about Davis and guess who didn't vote with the Mayor!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

Humble and approachable don't spring to mind. It's her world, we just live in it.

My question to you, though: How many 8 Washingtons did Olague buy with her Mirkarimi vote? How many votes with the Mayor and his powerful backers will you accept as Christina just being her independent self?

Rose Pak still has her minions dropping doorhangers everywhere.

Posted by Gust on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

While the Bay Guardian does, in my opinion, have an obligation to support it's journalistic efforts with verifiable facts, the political endorsements of it's editorial staff fall within the realm of "opinion" and are not bound by such requirements. The SFBG doesn't need to justify a withdrawal of endorsement any more than I, as a private citizen, need to justify a change of mind regarding my own voting intentions.

To be honest, I never understood why anyone cares who the Bay Guardian says they should vote for. I prefer to figure that out for myself and I don't give a damn who Tim, the butt-licks over at the Chronicle, Brad Pitt, or anybody else thinks about it.

Posted by Snoozers on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 9:41 am

People are acting here like the SFBG has destroyed Julian. All that really happened is that they changed their mind. No biggie.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 10:12 am

Except a lot of people in this city's "progressive movement" think that—like Virginia, Santa Claus, and the Sun—if they read in the Guardian, it's so.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

Respectfully, I disagree with Snoozers. News outlets do indeed have a responsibility to back up their opinions with facts. Anything less is a disservice to their readers/viewers/listeners.

Posted by Richard Knee on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 10:22 am

And, as the saying goes, they are like assholes - everyone has one. Even you, evidently.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 10:58 am

I was only giving my opinion and I understand that others might feel differently :)

Posted by Snoozers on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 11:13 am

Perhaps on your next go-round you could set the bar for journalism an inch off the ground, Tim. If Davis had merely beat his wife, he'd still have your endorsement.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

other than in your imagination?

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

It was only a bruise!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

So bored with these posters who keep saying, supposedly ironically, that "It was only a bruise!" Dude--or more likely, dudette, it was only a bruise, and done when Ross Mirkarimi tried to get his hysterical histrionic wife to get back in the car while she was attempting a dramatic exit. To say the truth would subject the couple to more harassment as it would sound like R.M. was accusing his wife of being at fault or for being a drama queen....But this b.s. perpetrated by posters like you is just soo tedious. Anyone of us could've been in thesame predicament.

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

Spoken like a true gentleman.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

So you think they're a compatible couple?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 2:17 am

It was only a bruise. It could have happened to anyone trying to control a hysterical woman.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 10:06 am

So, just so I am clear- the SFBG thinks it is okay to cause a bruise on your wife's arm, get convicted of a crime, placed on probation, participate in 52 weeks of DV counseling, and hold a position as the elected head of a law enforcement agency in SF, but it is not ok to grope a girl at a bar.

Just making sure that I am clear on the standards the SFBG is trying to uphold.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

"So, just so I am clear- the SFBG thinks it is okay to cause a bruise on your wife's arm, get convicted of a crime, placed on probation, participate in 52 weeks of DV counseling, and hold a position as the elected head of a law enforcement agency in SF,"

Oh you're not just trying to be "clear," you're just trying to be a smug ass troll and lay out some bait AGAIN. Are you going to try to get "everyone" on here to rehash the RM story for the umpteenth time? 1,000s of posts have already been written about it. What else is there to say about it other than the same thing over and over again? Dysfunctional people do like repetition...of dysfunction. Sick.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

hmmmm...seems to have struck a nerve...

Posted by Troll on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

How there is some hypocritical thinking going on here. Was Ross's behavior in some way better than Julian's? Is there simply a difference because Ross was punished in a criminal court and from the sounds of things, Julian committed no crime- he just has some questionable dating practices?

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

Forcibly groping someone and putting your hands down their pants IS A CRIME. Just because the woman did not press charges does not mean it is not a crime. Wake up.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

It is a crime if it is not wanted, otherwise it is not a crime.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

Note the word "FORCIBLY." Maybe if you learn to read, you will learn some more.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

It is not a crime if there is no criminal complaint, no trial and no conviction.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

And doesn't forcibly require restraining someone so that they cannot resist?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

You're right, the fact that he didn't tie up this girl before molesting her makes it definitely not forcible. I'm sure she was asking to be felt up in front of her boyfriend by a volunteer, anyway.

Posted by ohdear on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 11:45 am

We condemned Mirkrimi's behavior from the beginning, and he faced an appropriate criminal punishment for his actions.

Posted by steven on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

For the SFBG to mount a serious campaign to keep him in office. Honestly Tim, I totally agree with you on Davis- he should not be on the BoS, but I also think it is hypocritical to call for him to step aside while campaigning and urging Ross to keep his job.

It is a mixed message- it is ok to hurt your wife and stay in office- but if you a letch and grope women- six years ago apparently- that is not ok and you should drop out of a race.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

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