Davis needs to drop out

|
(246)

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

Reductio ad absurdum goes like this:

Ed Lee gets investigated and then convicted for perjury before the EC and is sentenced to step down from his position as mayor and serve 5 years probation. Unsatisfied with a just disposition of the case, a lynching party plots to go to his home and string him up from the tallest tree in GG Park. The SF Weekly editorializes against such vigilantism, but then faces the opprobrium of ridiculous internet commentators.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 6:53 am

This was quite possibly the most nonsensical post you have ever done. Grats.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:30 am

Except that several editorials have referred to his guilty plea as something defendants often do to escape prosecution. In essence, you have nodded and winked at the criminal justice process Mirkarimi underwent, not taking it seriously.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:05 am

but Ross Mirkarimi's guilty plea for misdemeanor false imprisonment was characterized by DA Gascon himself as an "EQUALLY SERIOUS" charge.

Now, in the Mason Mayer case, I think you can say that Gascon's allowance of a misdemeanor false imprisonment plea in lieu of the FAR MORE SERIOUS FELONY CHARGES that faced him, did represent the younger man "escaping." So glad you cared enough to bring it up.

Thanks.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:40 am

By Gascon, yes, but not by the Guardian or many of the commenters here. You people seem to be treating it as a necessary inconvenience the Sheriff had to go through. Of course, the apology he gave to Ivory Madison as part of the plea is taken about as seriously.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

and so I don't pretend to be any better than those who are wrong on this particular topic.

The charge of misdemeanor false imprisonment -- turning the van around with his wife and son inside it -- is an equally serious charge to misdemeanor domestic violence, misdemeanor witness intimidation, and misdemeanor battery.

In defense of those who claimed it did -- those of his friends, anyway, and not the push-pollsters who attempted to skew public opinion by suggesting the sheriff had "gotten off lightly" in the disposition of his criminal case -- I think the intention was to make clear that the underlying crime was far less serious than the original allegations suggested. And also -- most importantly -- the fact that witness intimidation was not part of the conviction meant that the mayor would have no basis for his official misconduct ploy.

So both are right in a way. Lots of people have turned vans around, and pleading guilty to it doesn't seem anything like what the initial charges comprised.

Hope that helps.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 6:36 am

THANK YOU, SFBG and Tim Redmond, for standing up for those progressives who don't discount women. Going to put out a pretty strong call for Thea Selby in this moment.

Posted by somers on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:08 pm
Posted by whaaat on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

This is a great editorial. Davis is done.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

Kudos to the bravery of Kay Vasilyeva for speaking up. She is my hero.

Posted by d on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

From: Julian Davis
Date: Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Subject: Questionable Timing Shrouds SF Weekly Hit Piece
To: xxxxxxxx@gmail.com

Friend --
Yesterday, the SF Weekly published an allegation made by a staffer in Mayor Ed Lee's administration that I made unwelcome physical advances towards her six years ago.

The allegation in the SF Weekly piece is completely untrue, but the story is out.

The overwhelming majority of commentators see this for exactly what it is: an 11th-hour 'October Surprise.' The words of support that people have been sending me have only reaffirmed what I've known all along: this campaign continues to have the most passionate, loyal, and energetic people behind it.

Now it is more important than ever that our campaign hit the streets and talk to voters. If you can lend support fighting back against this dirty attack, please stop by 609A Haight Street or call Campaign Manager Aaron Selverston (415) 669-4875 to get plugged in.

And if you can, make a donation.

Together, we'll show the political establishment that a smear campaign can’t take our voices away.

In Solidarity,

Julian

Posted by WOW on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

"allegation made by a staffer in Mayor Ed Lee's administration"

What a joke!! She works for the dept of Emergency Management, not Ed Lee. Julian more than well knows this, I'm sure. What a deplorably shameless move. This man will clearly never own up to his own poor behavior, let alone change it. Dismissed!

Posted by lw on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

Every email that comes from every campaign is a fundraising email. Take a look at any one and see for yourself.

Posted by Why surprised? on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

She should send him a cease and desist for deliberately misrepresenting her as a staffer of Ed Lee.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

"allegation made by a staffer in Mayor Ed Lee's administration"

What a joke!! She works for the dept of Emergency Management, not Ed Lee. Julian more than well knows this, I'm sure. What a deplorable move. This man will clearly never own up to his own poor behavior, let alone change it. Dismissed!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

Bad karma is a real bitch huh? Hey Julian, your attempted political career is over. Move to a different town.

Posted by Susan on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

Congratulations, you are officially a medium for deplorable political undermining. You are aiding in the sabotage of a campaign on the basis of innocuous, 6 year old allegations.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

Really...how many people are going to put your down as 3rd because they consider that to be voting against you? And you'll still have name recognition which can make the difference in the muddled world of RCV.

If it was a real election you wouldn't stand a chance but you have a pretty good shot thanks to RCV. Go for it!

Posted by Troll on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

"this campaign continues to have the most passionate, loyal, and energetic people behind it."

Really? Who seems like the biggest, creepiest liar now. That would be Julian Davis

Posted by TomC on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

Hey SFBG, he was never "a front-running candidate" in the first place. He was never going to win and you lost all credibility by:

A) Endorsing him and

B) Referring to him as "a front-running candidate"

C) Great Job! By the way, the SFBG hasn't been relevant since the 90's

Posted by TomC on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

"the SFBG hasn't been relevant since the 90's"

The BG must be quite relevant to you otherwise you wouldn't have come here, correct? The trolls never quite think through their "material" and end up looking like hypocrites. Do you often visit websites that you consider irrelevant? How intelligent is that?!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

This is absolutely an Occam's Razor situation. Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one. It's not a grand conspiracy, a man simply has gaps in his character that led him to wrong another person.

I think his response shows that he does not have the judgment necessary to be a supervisor. This young woman has just taken on a tremendous personal risk to bring this to light (and note that she made a good faith effort to do it privately first when he started his campaign). He responded by trying to spin it in to some paranoid delusion about secret networks of people trying to snatch away his power.The fact that people are willing to humor him is frankly pathetic.

He doesn't have the humility or character to effectively run a district and influence how taxpayer dollars are spent, plain and simple.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

The important fact is that Mr. Davis sent that cease and desist letter to her to try and shut her up. Then, Mr. Davis says it his political rivals that are out to get him. C'mon Mr. Davis, you screwed yourself because you really don't care what you did and only apologized to run. Shame on you Mr. Davis, shame on you.

Bravo SFBG in finally checking the facts.

We need someone like Breed in district 5 who is honest, straightforward and accountable. Mr. Davis is clearly none of those things.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

Well said. His outright denial of the incident and pathetic attempt to make the allegations out to be a false attack by a "political opponent" display very poor character and integrity indeed. Not someone I want representing my district.

Posted by lw on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

A pattern of reactionary scorched-earth dirty tricks such as the Lee/Mirkarimi affair -- and the willingness of a once-acute progressive media establishment to fall for such.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:54 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 8:22 am

Never failsc to amuse. The simplest answer is that it's another repug scam. Occams Razor.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 11:19 pm
Posted by D. Native on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 4:52 am

Ever since I pointed out to you that the "author" of the book you had cited attempting to seem erudite was actually its editor, and the book a collection of essays -- you've been ineffectually striving to catch me in a malapropism or some other error, but each time you've failed pathetically.

Quite amusing. Please don't change!

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 6:45 am

Wasn't me that called you out on misuse of Occam's Razor. Nice try though.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 7:53 am

...can only be made to apply if you think everything that happens in this town is a question of "progressive" vs. "machine."

Oh, it's you, Lilli; never mind.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

This is a story that's years, years old and there are no facts other than what's she's said about something that happened years ago.

Guardian caves into Nevius. That is the real story here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

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.
Tim, you have made a very damaging statement against Davis, "as we discovered, other similar events" where is the evidence Tim?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

Absolutely. I hope that Davis sues the heck out of the SFBG for such vicious slander.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

The "evidence" you speak of can only be made public if the other sources go public, something which may indeed happen but which they cannot nor should not be forced to do. It doesn't seem to me that the Guardian would have much to gain by admitting wrongness and pulling their endorsement of a candidate they had strongly supported if there was not strong evidence that these (and other) allegations are accurate.

Posted by lw on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

He almost had a real job there, now it's all slipping through his grabby little fingers.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

Have --you-- considered getting a "real job?" Then you wouldn't have to vegetate on this site 24/7. Unless you're job is trolling.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

You sound pretty angry - what's that all about?

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

"For the future of the movement and the city, the left has to come together and try to heal."

That is Sheep 101. Just "pretty words." How can there be a "healing" when the root cause of the infection/cancer/problem hasn't been addressed? One cannot "heal" something until the root cause of the problem has been analyzed and resolved (think UCSF and what they do their with patients). I'm on the far left and I don't see a "left" anywhere anymore. It's dead. Mostly what I see are corporatists (which are conservatives). Those that claim to be "left" or "progressives" are Obamabots and he ain't left. Mr Drone is a right-wing neocon Republican having continued and expanded the policies of right-wing neocon Bush, but that doesn't seem to bother the faux-left/faux-progresives who support and endorse any Republican with a symbolic D behind their name, which is why the BG endorsed Obama. Pathetic! "My D team right or wrong" (while making lame/pathetic excuses for the D team).

With gentrification in San Francisco, there appears to be very little "left" remaining here at all as the City moves to the right.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

I've reached the point where I find it very humorous when people in S.F. claim they're "progressive' (who came up with that word? Bitch, please), "liberal," "conservative," and - my favorite - "leftist." Do people really think humans think like that? No one is "left" or "right..." we all fall somewhere in between. San Francisco seems to pride itself on being so incredibly "left," but after living here for as long as I have it's become so phony and transparent... 75-80% of the "leftists" are posers trying to be cool or different because they desperately need to feel less inferior, which is how they feel by just being themselves.

Posted by EAG on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

As a long time progressive who has worked on campaigns with all parties involved I feel like the problem here is not unsubstantiated rumors but a progressive culture that does not listen to women when they say there is problem. People have been talking about Julian's "women problem" for a long time. Hell, people were talking about Ross's 'temper' and Matt's 'women problem' for an even longer time. Every progressive I have talked to today who worked on campaigns have said they have seen him pull some of the same shit over the years.

Kay may work for the city but she has also worked harder to get progressive candidates elected then almost anyone I know. This is not an October surprise. She brought these issues up to the folks that endorsed Julian a long time ago. The surprise is that Julian is so paranoid that when he heard a reporter was sniffing around about a story that he sent a lawyer after Kay.

Kay was not out to throw the election, she just wanted the internal folks in the progressive movement to know they were supporting someone with a history of being an ass to women and that if elected it might cause even bigger problems down the road. Those guys all ignored her and here we are, late in race without much of a progressive alternative.

As much as I want a strong progressive in that seat I would rather not have someone whose first repose is to sick a lawyer on their accuser. London breed is not the answer for our most progressive district. The real victim here is the working class people of this city that want to keep rent control.

One day I hope we can find progressive candidates in this city that are not ego maniacs, but I guess they would not run for office if they were sane and humble.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

Seriously this is a man who will, if elected, be in charge of and influencing a lot of people. Some of them will be women in their twenties who will be subject to his disrespect, and some of them will be men in their twenties who will look to him as an example of attitude and behavior towards colleagues.

Will he be a good manager, communicator and organizer for everyone? With this kind of reaction I highly doubt it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

And I don't mean Olague or Kim, but genuine progressives. I was in shock when I first heard the news, and my initial reaction was to defend Julian (I didn't have all the facts). But in retrospect, I think Tim is right. In fact, I'd take it further. I think it's past time to give the good old boys club in the progressive movement a rest (yes, it exists). We should insist that they run more women candidates. That will take care of all the testerone-fueled improprieties. And if they refuse to back our candidates, we should refrain from supporting them. Sorry guys, but we're tired of waiting for you to get your act together.

Posted by Ana on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

The only operation incubating women in politics is Emerge within the Democrat Party. Most of them end up on the conservative side of the spectrum.

Davis went to the SFBG with *Gonzalez* to discuss allegations of improprieties towards women? Really?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

Even better... why not get people who actually LIVED and GREW UP here rather than East Coast imbeciles?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

Why doesn't everybody just chill.

Whether identity politics is rooted in racialism, nativism, or sexism, it's all the same old ugly "us-vs-them" attitude. I personally could care less about what organs they have dangling (or not); I just vote for the best candidate. After all, we elect these people to make and vote on laws, so our primary consideration should always be how they're going to vote.

That doesn't mean there aren't some great women candidates running, and I've worked to elect many of them over the years. It would indeed have been a better city had we elected the likes of Eileen Hansen, Debra Walker, Christine Linennbach, and even Jaynry Mak and Janet Reilly (considering the alternatives in those races), but unfortunately that's not the way things shook out.

On the other hand, I've been tremendously proud of virtually all of the progressive men who we've elected. They've done great things to advance progressive causes, and almost none of them have been involved in "testosterone-fueled" indiscretions, so I find this whole notion of painting all men with a broad brush somewhat sexist.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:45 am

And I thought that even before her hearsay meltdown unfounded slander against Olague and the Mayor.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:58 am

I'm the last person who would want to paint all men --or any group-- with the same brush. I just get a little exasperated when I see women being passed over while men are continually promoted to positions of power. And for SOME men, not all, the power goes to their heads to such an extent that they actually believe that they deserve the extra "perks" of power (a la Gavin Newsom). It is generally women and men of lower rank who end up being victimized by this type of neanderthal. And yes, these men exist. I could give you countless examples throughout history. It goes all the way back to the age-old "droigt de seigneur", so this has been going on for. Historically speaking, things start to improve when we start being more inclusive of the people who have been cut out of the political process. That's why and how "identity politics" gets started in the first place. These are people who are shut out of the process.

That said, I take your point, Greg. Like you, I have always voted for the best (prog) candidate, apart from whatever identity politics they subscribe to. You are absolutely right that we have had some great (prog) male candidates -- men who I was/ am proud to support. Avalos, Daly & Campos come to mind. There are others I would hesitate to back...like say Matt Gonzalez, who accomplished some good while he was a supe, but has his own issues with women (as the guest pointed out). However, I will continue to vote for men who are sensitive to women's issues and concerns. I appreciate your hard work on behalf of Eileen Hansen, Debra Walker, Christine Linennbach, and even Jaynry Mak and Janet Reilly. Let's encourage more (prog) women like this to run! Just saying.

Posted by Ana on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

yep.

Posted by Orlando Chavez, Jr. on Oct. 16, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

Tim Redmond admitted in today's SF Weekly that he was never told about groping allegations until three weeks ago. How is she credible? It's one thing for Davis to have had "women problems" - i.e. being an overzealous flirt in his 20's. It's another thing to accuse him of sexual assault. The fact that the accusation comes now, six years later, FOR THE FIRST TIME, is highly dubious.

Posted by Political Realist on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 7:42 am

Related articles

  • Sorting out a strange election

    What the Nov. 6 results mean -- and don't mean

  • District surprises

    Big-money efforts could unseat Olague -- but not Mar

  • Is the tax revolt over?