By Tim Redmond
AUGUST 12, 2014 — The fate of a ballot measure to curtail real-estate speculation in San Francisco could come down to a handful of votes at the Democratic County Central Committee – and Sup. David Chiu will be on the hot seat.
The Democratic Party endorsement is critical to the Prop. G campaign – and how bad would it look if party leaders in San Francisco decided to throw in with the landlords?
The real-estate industry will have lots and lots of money to oppose the measure, and tenants will need all the support they can get. The Party nod would be a huge help.
The DCCC these days is pretty closely split. The chair, Mary Jung, works for the Board of Realtors, and she’s got quite a moderate crew following her. There are also a handful of folks who tend to be in the center, including Chiu – and if he goes with the tax, others will likely go along.
If he doesn’t, it will become serious fodder for Sup. David Campos, who is running against Chiu in the race for Tom Ammiano’s State Assembly seat.
Insiders I’ve talked to say the vote could be close, and some members may try to vote for No Endorsement.
Chiu hasn’t weighed in yet on the Anti-Spec tax. I’d call him and ask him about it but he maintains his stance as the only public official in San Francisco who isn’t talking to me.
Campos will have the strong support of the San Francisco Tenants Union and other tenant groups. Would Chiu would be willing to go against those groups and harm the tenants of San Francisco just because he won’t get their endorsement? I would hate to think so.
The DCCC will also be voting on what normally would be a no-brainer – a Democrat is running against a Republican for BART Board. The Dem, Nicholas Josefowitz, runs a solar energy company and has the support of San Francisco’s other BART Board member, Tom Radulovich.
But the Republican, James Fang, is in an unusual position. He’s been a fairly useless member of the board for 20 years – he was terrible on the BART police issues – but in the bitter labor battle and strike this year, he was the only BART Board member to stand with the workers.
That means the BART labor unions are supporting him. No surprise there; that’s what unions do. He was there for them when none of the Democrats were, so now they will be there for him.
It’s an officially nonpartisan office. The DCCC can’t support a Republican, of course, but could be neutral.
And that’s where some progressives on the panel are headed. Rafael Mandelman, for example, hasn’t come out in support of Josefowitz, saying he feels that the voices of the workers have to be taken into account.
That’s pissed Josefowitz off – and led to a barrage of social media attacks on Mandelman, who is one of the most popular members of the DCCC. Josefowitz’s campaign manager called Mandelman out for not being a good Democrat – and the backlash has forced Josefowitz to apologize and back off.
“I have never supported James Fang,” Mandelman told me. “But I told Josefowitz that I couldn’t support him without the BART unions.”
So instead of intimidating a Dem into voting for him, Josefowitz may have pushed himself even closer to No Endorsement.
The meeting’s at 7pm Wednesday (Aug. 13) at the state office building, 455 Golden Gate.