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UncategorizedHow did Katy Tang end up as Board of...

How did Katy Tang end up as Board of Supervisors president?

Norman Yee might have been a caretaker president, but instead the job went to Katy Tang
Norman Yee might have been a caretaker president, but instead the job went to Katy Tang

By Tim Redmond

NOVEMBER 18, 2014 – Sup. John Avalos came over to the rail by the press box around 6pm today and told me that he wanted to declare “Frank Underwood Day” in San Francisco.  The backroom deals and the nastiness over the replacement of Sup. David Chiu as board president were, he said, something out of House of Cards.

The main goal of all the intrigue, which ended with Katy Tang, probably the most conservative member of the board and one of the least-well known, taking over the powerful post, was to make sure Sup. David Campos didn’t get to vote, the progressives had no shot – and none of the people who are angling for higher office got a resume boost.

Not a good way to make public policy or elect a person who can now appoint not only committees but members of the Planning Commission and the Police Commission.

Scott Wiener and David Chiu confer before the vote
Scott Wiener and David Chiu confer before the vote

There was no reason for the rush. Chiu hasn’t resigned from his current job, and won’t until he joins the state Assembly Dec.1. The board could have waited until Campos was back. But no: Chiu was determined to move forward.

Early in the day, the talk was all about Sup. London Breed as the go-to candidate, but as time wore on, I started hearing that maybe the board would elect a caretaker –someone who would hold the job for the rest of Chiu’s term, until January, and then allow a new president to be elected.

Sup. Norman Yee would have done that. Tang was also mentioned as a possible short-termer.

In fact, by the time the vote approached, I was getting the impression that Breed didn’t really want the job and wasn’t pushing for it.

The people who did want the job – Mark Farrell, who would like to run for mayor some day, Jane Kim, who would like to run for higher office too, and (possibly) Scott Wiener, who is also looking beyond the Board of Supervisors – were sort of mutually exclusive. None was going to support the others.

And then there was the Oligarchy Factor.

The folks who are running this city now – Ron Conway and his allies, who helped put Chiu in office – don’t want anyone with remotely progressive leanings to have any power at all. Kim, while hardly a hard-core leftist, dared to challenge the Airbnb legislation, so she was unacceptable.

If Campos had been in the room, there might have been a move by the progressive flank to at the very least cut a deal, but no go.

Mike Casey, the head of the Labor Council, appeared during public comment to express his outrage at the way this was going down. Earlier, he had told me that the oft-criticized progressives wouldn’t have acted this way: “For all their hijinks, Aaron Peskin and Chris Daly would never have allowed this to happen,” he said.

In the chambers, he testified that “this board has been hailed as one of civility and fairness. I find it unbelievable that you would consider electing a new board president without the supervisor from the Mission District.”

Mario Yedidia of San Francisco Rising echoed that sentiment: “Please don’t vote today. It doesn’t feel appropriate at all.” Longtime labor activist Frank Martin Del Campo said that if the board moved forward with the election of a new president “it would say the government is no longer listening to its people.”

Avalos rose to try to delay the vote until Dec. 9, when all 11 supervisors would be present. “To do it today,” he said, “doesn’t bode well for what this city is about.”

His motion to delay the vote failed 6-4, with Kim, Mar, and Yee joining Avalos.

After that, the whole thing went down as if it were orchestrated in advance – which it clearly was.

Farrell nominated Tang. Nobody else was nominated. Avalos and Mar walked out in protest, and Tang won with eight votes.

Is she going to be a caretaker, holding the job until January and stepping back to let the new board elect someone for a two-year term? She won’t say. The last caretaker who promised not to run for the job was named Ed Lee; remember how that worked out?

So thanks to Chiu wanting to control the process of naming his successor, one of the most progressive cities in the country has just put one of the most conservative members of its governing board in the second most powerful post at City Hall. Is this how he’s going to operate in Sacramento?


Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. Cut her some slack, Tim Redmond and commenters. I wouldn’t call her conservative at all. And for you hypocritical San Franciscans – conservative doesn’t have to be a dirty word. You guys practically treat it like a 4-letter word. Just because Tang is not covered in piercings, with pink hair, doesn’t mean she’s conservative. Like me, she’s a Taiwanese American who grew up in the Sunset and went to UC Davis. I’m always assumed to be conservative, traditional, and accountant-like, when my interests and worldview are just the opposite. People are always shocked whenever I mention Burning Man or show up at a yoga studio or trendy vegan restaurant. That’s subtle racism that I’m subjected to everyday. My interests and tastes are progressive, but I’m a shy, bespectacled Asian, so people assume I’m some fundamentalist Christian or fresh-off-the-boat accountant.

    I’d say Tang is pretty mainstream San Franciscan for a millennial – not exactly conservative by any standards. I see her name around for Sunset festivals and events. She officiated at a same-sex wedding for a journalist and his Taiwan-born husband. Check out the YouTube video. She appears poised and confident. She also speaks Mandarin quite well.

    Wake up, San Franciscans. Stop judging and discriminating. You claim to be open-minded, but you’re more closed-minded than many “conservatives.”

  2. Just because websites censor doesn’t mean it’s right. Why are people so afraid of free speech? Even morons have a right to air their views.-JTF

  3. Tom Ammiano has been a progressive leader for 40 years. Mark Leno is a leader. There are many more. I’ve been a progressive activist and public speaker and have been in SF since 1977, I know.-JTF

  4. I guess you mean forcing people out of their longtime rented homes, destroying beautiful Victorians to put up super expensive ugly glass and steel tall buildings. I hope the Western part of the City, the dividing line is Van Ness, not by the Sunset, can resist this horror.-JTF

  5. The GOP didn’t really win. Over 1,000,000 voters voted for Democratic House candidates than Republican US House candidates. The Congresional Districts are so gerrymandered by Republican in the house that the Republicans won their elections anyway. This also applies to gerrymandered US Senate districts.

  6. Who the hell are the four of you that you claim were the braintrust for campaigns. Who are you? I’ve been around SF politics for 37 years and I don’t believe you.-JTF

  7. Best post yet with real analysis. Also answered my questions about who are the Frogs? It was a typo for Progs. Mods are moderates. Thanks.-JTF

  8. That was Compos not Avalos who went to Bali. I went there for a month for $4000, and I’m certainly not rich.-JTF

  9. Who are mods? Who are frogs. Last I heard frogs were a derogatory name for the French, and mods wore 60’s & 70’s clothes, hairstyles etc.-JTF

  10. Leno has said he is not running for SF Mayor. Ammiano is 72 and has also said he won’t run. Maybe Leno would run for US Rep. if he moved West of Stanyan St. from Pelosi to Phil Ting’s district.

  11. Marcos, don’t you know that there are Chinese with many viewpoints from conservative to progressive to everything in between, just like members of any ethnic group including whites? You are a piece of work!-JTF

  12. Race doesn’t matter to me, it’s the policies and political stances, in other words the “work” that matters. The problems with Lee and Tang have nothing to do with their being Asian. Marcos, really, you call yourself liberal or progressive and you make a blatant racist comment which brings this conversation down to a white supremacist rant.

  13. Hillary, I think you mixed up David Chiu with Katy Tang. Unfortunately this particular woman of color is a manipulative conservative who became President of the board through shady backroom deals.

  14. Is driving out teachers, nurses, cops, workers, etc. with $4000 rents and thousands of evictions without cause, the way to prevent “socialism” ? The social democracies of Scandinavia and the Netherlands have the best educated, healthiest people in the world.
    I ‘d love to see a just non-white supremist social democracy in the USA. -JTF

  15. How dare you fault Agnos for protecting the AIDS Vigil! Were you here during the AIDS holocasut. SFlost 19,000 people, dead in their 20’s & 30’s. I lost 100 friends! So did many others.
    The government was ignoring AIDS. The sick people who chained themselves to the old Federal Building in Civic Center were real heroes.
    We have had two excellent mayors since 1976. Moscone and Agnos.
    Agnos always took the just political position. He was replaced with the ineffectual ex police chief Jordan because the progressives shot themselves in the foot again.
    Agnos had a difficult personality like Carol Migden. Both were great politicians just hard to deal with.
    I don’t have to go to dinner with someone like that but if their policies are correct I’ll vote for them anytime.-JTF

  16. I am progressive and did some work and fundraising for Top Ammiano in his amazing 1999 write in race for Mayor. He received 90,000 votes against Mayor Brown, phenomenal in a write in campaign.
    The Bay Guardian insanely endorsed the incompetent, barely sane, Angela Alioto for Mayor, putting her picture on the front page.
    She recieved 22,000 votes , most of those would have gone to Tom.
    Tom Ammiano gave this City so much and continued to do so. In return, in 2004, he got 10% of the vote, inn the Mayorial elelction primary because of Angela and the Bay Guardian. I have never forgiven the SFBG although their demise is a huge loss to this City.

  17. Campos, Avalos, Mar, to some extent Kim (a mixed bag) are “liberals”. They are all that renters and poor people have in SF Government to fight for them.

  18. The term “progressive”, when applied to the likes of turncoats Mirkarimi and Kim, is laughable.

    There is not even a liberal on the Board. 🙁

  19. You are such a talented internet debater, I mean, why are you giving it away? Clearly you demolish everyone who comes before you and command the respect of all who are fortunate enough to read your wise pronouncements.

  20. True, but he did help ensure that, when they arrived, there weren’t enough rental homes available for those workers.

  21. Gullicksen did nothing to free global capital from controls, to site profitable internet companies in the region nor to unleash torrents of venture capital on the region.

  22. Oh I see, you were like a special forces outfit operating on a need-to-know basis, all James Bond and all?

    Got it. Mum’s the word, although I’m surprised you were allowed to mention it at all. Is your life now in danger as a result?

  23. I don’t like any kind of manipulation. But if SEIU, SFTU and the various other leftie groups are seeking to distort the process then the forces of good have to do the same.

    It would be better if the intimidaters backed off and let people make up their own minds

  24. Or they can alternate between the two. Or be pending a sale as a TIC. Or used by the owner’s friends or families.

    The point was that they are no longer rented out long-term, and Gullicksen was a factor in that loss.

  25. Or they can alternate between the two. Or be pending a sale as a TIC. Or used by the owner’s friends or families.

    The point was that they are no longer rented out long-term, and Gullicksen was a factor in that loss.

  26. Either these homes are vacant or they are being let short term. Why not take a moment to collect your thoughts and rejoin the “conversation” once you have something to say?

  27. That’s odd because some of your progressive colleagues are complaining about the number of vacant units in SF and/or that there is all this Airbnb’ing going on.

    I’m glad you have confirmed that they have no case.

  28. Nobody who was where then? Surely such an eminent and successful group would have left some kind of paper trail. Or there would be some acknowledgement from Gonzalez, Ammiano, Daly or Mirk.

  29. Well, Greg, you did deny the Ukraine thing so I’ve eliminated one nation. I’ll get there.

    No, I don’t get paid. That would be great. When I said it is “my job” I meant in the sense that it’s my job to keep my wife happy, or make sure my kids have shoes, and so on.

    Although it does always interest me how willing folks here are to believe the highly unlikely scenario that 48 Hills is such a threat to global capitalism that it would be worth paying someone to try and thwart the dozen or so people who read this blog. And I don’t come cheap.

    Sorry but this is all just for fun. Are we having fun yet?

  30. in response to Marcos: Like your comment about Ed Lee inventing the Internet. — Is Identity Politics everyone trying to figure out who Sam is while Sam tries to figure out who you & Greg are in real life?

  31. I do the “no comment thing” not because it’s true or false, but because I don’t want to provide troll bait. If I deny that I’m from the “Soviet sphere” as you say, then that knocks out a whole area of the world for process of elimination. Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong. Speculate all you want. I will say this… unlike marcos, the I’m pretty sure that the other poster doesn’t know me. Take what you will from that. Now can we get back to the topic at hand… the fact that you admitted that you’re a paid troll and now trying to desperately walk back that statement?

  32. Greg, you shouldn’t be so hard on marcos. I had pretty much figured it out anyway.

    See when I repeated the claim that you are from the Ukraine (which I do not know – somebody else here said it) then you denied it. Fair enough.

    But when I asked you if you worked in healthcare, you did the “no comment” thing.

    The conclusion is obvious. If you are unwilling to lie in public (and for now I’m assuming that) then you have no problem denying something that isn’t true (you’re from Ukraine) but you weren’t going to deny that you work in healthcare, which turns out to be true.

    So you gave away quite a lot yourself there.

    Now, you claim you work in healthcare to “help others”. No, you work in healthcare for money. I don’t know what kind of healthcare (yet) but I’m not buying the nobility thing. You could be selling expensive nutrition supplements that do nothing for all I know.

    Finally, sure, I haven’t revealed much about myself. But then neither have you. I inferred things about you based on odd comments you made here and on SFBG. Similar information both ways but I made the inferences.

    By the way. I’m willing to accept it’s not Ukraine, for now anyway, because of what I mentioned above. But I still think it is somewhere that is or was under Russian or Soviet influence. And if I find out that Greg is your middle name, then I’ll know that the source is reliable. That’s an odd thing to make up if it isn’t true.

  33. Gee, thanks marcos [sarcasm]. Well, now that you say it, yes, I do work in healthcare. Generally, I try to neither confirm nor deny speculation about my personal life. Sam wanted to believe I’m some sort of “non-profit salaryman sucking off the public teat”… I say let him. It’s not that I’m not proud of what I do -I am. But the more details that are known about someone, the more those details are used by trolls who are here to discredit people. As you yourself well know. That’s why I’ve kept personal details out of it.

    So now I’m going to be accused of bias on the Kaiser thread because I work in healthcare. In fact, the reverse is true -I work in healthcare, *because* I wanted to be in a job that helps others. And that’s why I support the nurses. But see how it works?

    Of course the troll reveals nothing about who he is.

    So… in the future, I’d appreciate if you respect my privacy and anonymity and not reveal details about me.

  34. I was talking about the success of the local economy since Lee became mayor. His job-friendly administration has helped us boom. For a start, Twitter would be gone but for Lee.

  35. Many clearly are because there are estimated to be upwards of 10,000 vacant homes in the SF. They’re nearly all rent-controlled.

    It’s often not about the money but about the lack of control.

    But refusing to do long-term lets doesn’t mean no income. I can do short-term lets or sell as a TIC.

    The point is that rent control deters long-term rentals.

  36. Ed Lee was personally responsible for bringing Genentech, Salesforce, Google, Apple and Facebook to the Bay Area when he was City Administrator.

    My understanding is that it was Ed Lee, not Al Gore, who personally invented the internet.

  37. Sure, with rents for a 2BR hovering around $4K, rational landlords are leaving those dollars on the table, of course they are.

  38. You made this claim:

    “The four of us who provided the brain trust for the competitive campaigns of the mid 2000s . . . ”

    You now seem unable to even name the other three, let alone show me the progressive winners giving you credit. In fact, you subsequently admitted that they ignored you.

    not one name or citation or reference for such a major influence strikes me as very odd.

  39. You made this claim:

    “The four of us who provided the brain trust for the competitive campaigns of the mid 2000s . . . ”

    You now seem unable to even name the other three, let alone show me the progressive winners giving you credit. In fact, you subsequently admitted that they ignored you.

  40. No, you misunderstood what I meant by “job”

    If I was really getting paid, I would never admit it. That would be lying. This isn’t.

  41. That’s not true any more. The number of SF homes under rent control slipped below 50% of the first time recently and that trend continues, because no new RC units are created but several thousand are vacated every year.

    I’d agree that Ellis isn’t the real issue because there aren’t many of them. The real killer is landlords who decide not tor e-rent a unit when they get a vacancy, and there are several thousand vacancies every year.

    Gullicksen has helped kill the business of providing homes. He has driven people like me instead do tIC and condo conversions, or short-term lets.

  42. You claimed to be one of the four “brains” who master-minded progressive success. That’s a lie. You’re a guy who spends all day posting to anonymous blogs.

    So am I, of course, but I’m not making inflated claims about my achievements.

  43. Ah, so the evidence supporting your claim is that you support it?

    I’m not disputing the outcomes. I am disputing your grand claims for being responsible because, in all the time I have been following these things, nobody except for you has made that claim.

  44. Evictions are a tragic problem, but given that there are like 200,000 rent controlled units in San Francisco, orders of magnitude more people benefit from rent control than are put at risk due to speculation.

  45. The data might support that claim except that you haven’t provided any. And you admitted elsewhere that the leadership “ignored” you. So how can you claim their success?

    Enlighten us. Who were the other three? Show me a citation? And why has nobody here stepped forward to support your claim? Not even Greg whom you now admit knows you.

  46. marcos, thank you for confirming that Greg is a healthcare worker. He tried to denied that but, knowing that some people here know him personally, could not be seen lying.

    However I did catch you out in a lie. You claimed to be the brains behind progressive success but then admitted that the leaders ignored your advice.

  47. Except when he didn’t. His policies led to far more evictions, which transfers money from tenants to landlords. And they drive up rents which further punishes tenants and rewards landlords.

    And billions is way out anyway.

  48. People trying to skew campaigns in their favor is not any form of democracy I value. IMO there should be no campaigns and people should just vote.

    If big business money and lobbying is wrong, then so is Chris Daly and his cronies on the streets trying to intimidate voters.

  49. Ted Gullicksen shifted billions of dollars from the pockets of landlords into the pockets of tenants. That is effective.

  50. I said that there were four people who were active on campaigns in the 2000s, one of which was me, who, if you had them on your team, you had a very good chance of winning. The data support such a conclusion.

  51. The point is that SF did much better than other cities and recovered more quickly. In particular, the unemployment rate has halved since Lee took over. Other cities cannot say that and if Avalos were mayor, the economy would be worse – there can be little doubt about that.

  52. Nobody can take anything you say seriously because all you do is spin lies to gain what you perceive as tactical advantage at any given time. Greg is a health care worker, I know Greg, he is a real person with a real advanced degree and a real job doing real things that help real people.

    You, “Sam,” are merely a virtual figment.

  53. It depends hoe you define “success” Gullicksen helped some tenants keep a cheap rent. But he also caused many evictions by being “successful” at keeping rents down.

    And for every landlord that he drive out of business, there were more evictions, more transition from rental to TIC or condo, and higher rents as the result of the decreasing vacancy rate.

    To claim Gullicksen was a success is to look at only side of the equation.

  54. Wait, marcos. Yesterday you said you were the “brains trust” behind progressive successes but now you are saying that you were ignored and so you gave up.

    Which is it? Were you ignored or were you followed?

  55. I never said I was a paid operative. You made that up. I did make a reference to my “job” but I meant it in the sense of feeling that it is my obligation to call people out when they are wrong.

    I called Greg out on being a healthcare worker thereby invalidating his position on healthcare worker pay. And I called you out on claiming to be the intellectual foundation of progressive success in the 2000’s.

    But of the two claims, Greg’s is far more credible. Yours is a delusion of grandeur.

  56. Runforthehills, when Lydia decided to limit comments to two person, I told here that it would be ineffective and pointed out that it would create far more work for her without any result. Well, she ignored me and pretty much everything I predicted has happened. The comments dried up and so did a lot of the interest.

    And instead of reversing the decision, she doubled down by dramatically reducing the amount of political content. Now, political content there was always weak anyway, so it’s no great loss. But the drop in eyeballs continues and since ML is now trying to be financially independant, that does not bode well.

    Once a blog starts to micro-manage user input, it dries up. You saw the same thing with SFBG after they switched off comments and look what happened next.

  57. Why does “Sam” insist upon lying to people.

    First he says that he’s here purely for the civility of the discourse, then he turns around and lies and manipulates using personal attacks instead of substantive discourse.

    Then he stipulates clearly to being a paid operative and now he attempts to disavow himself of such a claim.

    The thing about “Sam” is that you always know that he’s lying especially when he’s lying.

  58. Sam, It’s not what I think, it’s what you said. I understand the desire to walk back your comments, because you realize now that they thoroughly discredit you. But you said it, not I.

  59. In order for economic policies to be pro-cyclical, there has to be a phase in the cycle in play at the time. Ed Lee and Ron Conway threw more fuel on a the flames fueled from Wall Street’s easy money regime, they did not start the fire

  60. And it was Ted Gullicksen who led the SFTU towards success.

    Gullicksen was one of the few of his clique who was actually effective.

    The rest of them are just going through the motions of proving their fidelity to the in-group.

  61. Wait a sec, I worked on campaigns that delivered real lasting results in San Francisco electoral politics and that exposed to me the faults in the progressive nonprofit arrangements. Once corporate power figured out how to disarm that coalition, I saw what was happening and quit throwing good volunteer time after bad. It turns out now that the housing professionals are turning towards ideas I put forth a decade ago but which did not comport with their narrow agendas.

    There is no joy in saying “I told you so” when the upshot of that is that the City that we were fighting for is probably no more. It is not like once one dominates the left that one becomes king of the leftists and calls it a day.

    Eshkenazi called the SFBG for what it was, a very narrow bullhorn for a few individual activists and their for-pay gigs. It was that inward focus that led to the SFBG’s evaporation, discrete choices were made and those choices were consequential.

    You might not agree with my conclusions, but they are quite well informed on the facts. I wish I had been wrong.

  62. The cash flows through Conway (tech), Pak (PRC) and Brown (whatever he gets his grubbing paws onto) to Lee and Chiu variously over time.

  63. When laziness is your most potent weapon, you know you’re in trouble.

    But I am honored that the brains behind SF progressive success talks to me at all. Nobody else agrees with your self-assessment of course, but I can see it clearly now.

  64. Good analysis, Smarf. You and Becky have made the usual suspects here look more like the problem than the solution.

  65. SFrentier, I recall reading some progressive commentary after the election in which Jane Kim beat Debra Walker, despite Walker getting both the DCCC and SFBG endorsements..

    One commentator complained that Kim’s looks had swung the election for her, while another progressive was horrified by (what they thought was) the implied sexism of such a remark.

    But yes, other things being equal, looks matter in politics. And more for women than men – sad but true. And progressive women are notorious for not being lookers.

  66. Greg, you just misquoted me twice, so your claim to offer “direct quotes” is disingenuous.

    I didn’t notice that Tim had removed Daniel’s post but it was offensive. However that removal appears to have thrown the entire threading and indentation structure out. That’s a software problem, I believe, as the same thing happens at MissionLocal when they remove a comment.

  67. No, the distinction is very important. You can totally be in favor of gay marriage while wanting lower taxes. In both cases, you want to less less government interference.

    “I am socially liberal but economically conservative” applies to a lot of voters in SF. Ignore or dismiss that at your peril.

  68. Personally I’d be perfectly happy if people didn’t work on campaigns at all. I don’t need people trying to tell me how to vote.

  69. Greg, it amuses me that you think i am paid to be here, and that you think I write well and effectively enough to justify that.

    But I am here mostly for the entertainment value, and the satisfaction of winning debates against people who ostensibly have much more political experience than me.

  70. When the margin of victory is small, it doesn’t take much to tip the balance either way. There is little question that the vote on Mirk hurt Campos. The only question is whether he would have won if he had voted differently.

    Personally I doubt it. The bigger factor was the perception that Campos is more rigid and polarizing.

  71. I have no “issue” with any race, and have never once said anything to that effect. You, however, have repeatedly expressed racist sentiments (black people can’t resist playing the race card, Hispanic people speak with improper syntax, things like that), so saying that you’re colorblind is the most absurd thing I’ve heard all day.

    Interesting that Tim is capable of moderation after all… racist comments like Daniel’s get taken down (my disagreement with that comment is still there, but the original comment appears to be gone. )

    But slander of other posters seems to be A-ok, huh Tim? Note, btw… one can dismiss these accusations of racism as a stupid back and forth. But there’s a difference. I back up those accusations with direct quotes. Sam the Troll just makes them up out of thin air.

  72. I’ve spent exactly 5 seconds on this post and all 130+ comments. I think my 5 seconds distill the essence:

    1- read the subject: “How did Katy Tang end up as Board of Supervisors president?”
    2- looked at photo.
    3- answer to #1: cause she’s hot.

    End of story.

  73. I’ve spent exactly 5 seconds on this post and all 130+ comments. I think my 5 seconds distill the essence:

    1- read the subject: “How did Katy Tang end up as Board of Supervisors president?”
    2- looked at photo.
    3- answer to #1: cause she’s hot.

    End of story.

  74. Actually he all but admitted that he’s a paid troll, saying it’s part of his job to be here and discredit progressives.

  75. 1. The thing about progressives and Asians is that Asian progressives know that they are viewed somewhat suspiciously by other progressives. Since they are driven away from the White progressive boys club, they don’t have to be loyal to the White boys club either. Same thing goes for female progressives. So long as the misogynist wackos like H. Brown and Rick Hauptman exist, they will help drive out otherwise progressive women into the middle, which explains the Rosenthals, Derses, Walkers, Vasilyevas, and so on.

    Latinos are the last minority group left in the progressive faction, this is mostly due to what I call the Che Guevara t-shirt factor. Many White progressive activists desperately want to be the next Cesar Chavez and thus Latinos are the hip minority group to have around, whereas African Americans are old news for them. It’s how they also vindicate their guilt for living in The Mission and Bernal Heights and and being the original cause of gentrification before the techies showed up.

    Look at who who Campos hired to be his staff during the campaign, mostly male and White, probably from the Mission and Bernal too.

    2. Part of the progressive dilemma is that they’re too damn cliquish. Their concerns are so narrow and distracted, and ultimately not relatable to many. Facebook name policies, soccer fields, unattractive condos, blocked views, who the fuck cares. John Avalos had the right idea with local hire, but all that remains now is Angry Post-Affair Avalos. Progressives don’t know how to talk to the majority of people because they only talk amongst themselves and have 100+ post long arguments over whether it’s okay to call a woman a whore and high-fiving themselves for defriending Nicole Derse on Facebook.

    3. Lack of political professionals? Well there is Stearns but he fucked himself by pissing off the unions and thus cheated himself out running Campos’ campaign. Derse’s been kicked off of Progressive Island despite the fact that she ran Eric Mar’s campaign and helped secure a progressive seat, but that’s more to the detriment of progressive than it is to her. Ultimately, progressives are more interested in personal vendettas than winning elections, which require discipline and professionalism. If you want to be a professional, you gotta wear grown up pants, a skill severely lacking in progressives at the moment.

    4. Campos didn’t lose because he didn’t have enough money, in fact his fundraising was not bad at all as far as progressive campaigns go. Lack of money can also be made up for with a large and fervent base of volunteers which Campos also did not lack.

  76. I disagree, Anon. We were talking about this at the Campos election night party -someone had asked if we thought that it might have made the difference if Campos had voted the other way. A friend of mine chimed in to say that they would have just found something else. And she only vaguely follows SF politics. If you know how big money campaigns are created, even someone who’s not too up on SF politics understands how it works. As long as the money is there, the consultants will find something to hang their hats on. You can be a total boyscout and they’ll still find something. The money makes the difference.

    And speaking for myself, I respect leaders who have a spine. Had Campos caved in to pressure and voted to remove Mirkarimi, I might still have supported him over Chiu, but I certainly wouldn’t have contributed to his campaign. And I do know there are others who felt the same way.

  77. Actually the term “Asian” is a big tent and almost as confusing as the what it replaced.

    By it do we mean someone from Japan, someone from Taiwan, from Hong Kong or Singapore; someone who speaks Cantonese, or Mandarin or some variant?

    It’s a little like assuming Italians, Greeks and Turks – Mediterranean peoples – all have the same interests.

    Likewise “hispanics” – who come from different Central America countries or from Mexico (some of whom celebrate Day of the Dead and some of whom don’t).

    Regarding progessives, lots of interesting and refreshing comments above. I have never gotten over the whole process by the way Lee was nominated in the middle of a BOS meeting out of the blue. It was a scene out of a Preston Sturges film, the Great McGinty perhaps, but not funny this time.

    So the vote for Katy Tang who may be a decent choice – she may grow with the job as they used to say – but it sort of resonanted with the Lee appointment (which put Chiu out of the running for mayor). You could understand why Avalos and Mar walked out.

    The tech companies need to be scrutinized as to their dealings with the city – read TechCrunch and ValleyWag about their business dealings – read about Ashton Kutcher’s conflicts of interest re Details magazine. They would have come to San Francisco – we had the upper hand – but we acted as if we didn’t and caved in even before we were asked to.

    San Francisco is a beautiful city, people want to be here no matter what, but the Lee and Chiu City Hall acts as if it were Fresno.

    etc etc


  78. What does “socially liberal” even mean? That one favors gay marriage or the dream act? Without supporting liberal economic principles you’re no better than a “liberal” Republican.

  79. I am looking for a quote to support theat Greg had said something racist, in some other thread or forum.
    BTW, ‘censorship’ is when a government prevents you from expressing yourself. When a private website, left, right or capricious, takes out comments, it is not censorship. When I hang up on someone that’s not censorship either.

  80. Point being that community people are not going to work on campaigns if the odds are that the people they elect switch sides and screw them.

  81. I don’t recall David Chiu ever:

    – threatening to haunt someone over their vote. How’s that working out for you Chris? Is it still “on like Donkey Kong”?
    – cutting teenagers off from public comments because he didn’t care about their issue
    – get pissed off and curse out his ally (Mirkarimi) over not backing his budget play
    – or threaten to fight the mayor. Sure takes a lot of balls for a 30 year old to threaten a senior citizen smaller who’s smaller than him.

    But Sam you’re wrong. Chris Daly is a landlord. Although according to Greg, that would mean he doesn’t contribute anything to society.

  82. Y, I’d answer you but somehow the entire comment sequencing and indentation here has been thrown into disarray by what looks like some half-assed attempt at censorship. So reasonable debate is now impossible since I have no idea which message of mine you are responding to.

  83. I think Campos knew he would lose and so deliberately went away at a time when he knew he would be doubly humiliated.

  84. Yeah, but I am just here for entertainment. I’m not claiming or wanting to change the world. I kinda like the world the way it is. So I win in nothing changes, while marcos and petrelis lose.

  85. If memory serves, it was Mark Leno who passed the San Francisco’s first inclusionary housing zoning ordinance which I believe was the first of its kind in the nation.

    When there are term limits for electeds, then the continuity of power required to see a long game political project throiugh must be maintained external to the elected branches, in the bureaucracy and lobbyists. This is as true for the corporate interests as it is for whatever interests oppose them.

    The downtown lobbying crew registers with the Ethics Commission. The “progressive” version of that is in the nonprofit world. They are going nowhere no matter what. They’ve got solutions to peddle irrespective of whether those solutions have anything to do with the questions being asked today.

    There is a natural coherence in trickle up rent seeking while there is a natural incoherence in resistance to that rent seeking. That asymmetry has always put “the left” at a disadvantage unless dominated by a militarist vanguard. That coherence must be facilitated using tools like the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

    The problem is that the nonprofiteers hold anyone middle class and above in contempt and don’t trust them, us to do right by their most vulnerable. They’d rather cut a deal with Ed Lee than deal with white neighbors. And with that approach of subtraction and division they simply cannot win. There are not many more chances to pull back on the stick and avoid controlled descent into terrain.

  86. Easy with the “we” word Michael. For you and marcos it’s always been about “you.” You both relish in the schadenfreude watching the left self-destruct, blaming this person or that organization for the left’s misgivings. If only we’d listened to you and voted for you!

    Please remember that you recently ran in a district race where a credible leftish candidate could have received 30%-40% of the anti-Weiner (pro-progressive) vote. Last I looked you were at around 6% of the vote. If you don’t see that as a total repudiation of you and what you bring to the table as a potential leader and candidate, then we’ll just have to agree that you can’t always fix stupid.

    And unlike you and marcos, the SFBG was an excellent mouthpiece for the left, and both the Milk Club and SFTU have done real work on important issues with a lasting legislative legacy. But it’s so much easier being a stale blowhard posting on a little-read website, isn’t it? At least you have Sam to keep you company, aging quacks with little productive to do in life other than post snide, ill-informed remarks while laughing at the the left. Nice work!

  87. You’re the one who’s claiming that a milquetoast like Campos is extremist left communist. He’s not, he’s pretty mainstream, came within a few points of a majority of voters.

  88. Yep, Mirk became toxic when he bruised his wife and the only decision for Progressives at that point was whether to mindlessly support him and fail, or distance themselves and give themselves at least a decent chance.

  89. Yep. The SF progressives seem incapable of seeing distrust of Mirk through anything other than partisan lenses. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that a lot of people might honestly think the guy’s a sleazeball, independent of political views.

  90. There are many progressives who are young, many who are women, and many who are not white. As to thge leadership of the left, I am not aware of any such thing existing in the twenty-something years I’ve been here. There are lots of small organizations like the ones you mentioned, but I can’t think of any leader, if I wanted to follow one.

    Conservatives don’t have one in this town, either, BTW.

  91. Elections have consequences . Campos lost. He also had the stupidity (or hubris) to book a vacation with non refundable tickets for after the election on the assumption that he would win of course. Not the best exercise in judgement, I’m afraid.

  92. No, Campos, Mar and Avalos are all termed-out and their districts are vulnerable to going more moderate.

    I said leaders not elected representatives, and the SF progressive movement is overwhelmingly white males. If you do not believe me, sit in on a meeting of the SF Green Party or the SFBC.

  93. Aaron Peskin had it right when it went down. Ross should have resigned to help save progressive politicians and the “progressive” name. But he’s not known for either humility or caring much about a broader movement other than being the orator for the left and “a powerful man.” If you talk to some of the people who worked on his first Supervisor campaign, you’ll learn enough about the person. You can’t build long-lasting movements with egocentric, bombastic, glad-handing politicians who also rip their underlings new orifices whenever they make a mistake. Plenty of politicians have succeeded with these traits (Kevin Shelley and Carole Migden come to mind), but when the leadership pool of the progressives is so small already, having someone like this as a one of the leaders is a death march to oblivion.

    Mirkarimi was clearly railroaded by Ed Lee for political gain, but fighting for his political life caused one, and probably two, very progressive politicians to exit the political arena. Even Jane Kim, a very strong candidate for higher office otherwise, may find it much harder to win the mayor’s seat or a state election because of her vote. We might tend to forget past events, but the campaign team for an opposition candidate surely won’t let voters forget. Mirkarimi has many friends and supporters in the community and he’ll get support in future elections, but the larger progressive community should stay as far away as possible. There’s nothing progressive about supporting candidates who’ve made major mistakes, who should have gracefully resigned from the limelight so that less toxic candidates could take their place. Maybe that’s why interest in politics is at an all time low. We don’t admire the people who become politicians and we don’t like most of their policies either.

  94. See, Becky, I kinda agree that Ed Lee is not a master ideas guy or strategist. He’s a competent administrator and not a real leader. That said, if the voters are sick of ideologues and simply want a can-do compromiser, then who are you or I to deny them their wish? And the truth is that he is popular, if only because of a favorable economic headwind.

    But I will take issue with you on the idea that grubby bare-knuckles fisticuffs is the most important imperative of the SF left. Maybe if they had the ideas and the people behind them, then sure. But it is no substitute for that vision thing. And I don’t see no stinking vision.

    Which leads to another question. It seems that the left is fighting yesterday’s battles. The sixty-something leftie boomers are irrelevant and, while Leno or Ammiano might have a swan song left in them, that is not the future. Gonzales shone brightly for about a minute but even he is almost 50, while Leno is over 60 and Ammiano is over 70. The future does not that way lead.

    Maybe the reality to face is a different one. SF is now a town for old money, affluent knowledge workers and a sub-class of service workers. And maybe the new Jerusalem in not the flower-power city of 1967 but some failing metropolis like Oakland or Detroit. Sometimes the cards just don’t fall your way, ya know? Would it really be the end of the world as we know it if SF was a more moderate town?

  95. Campos and Avalos are both clowns. I love when they talk of SF values. Mostly the people who talk of SF values are load mouths who aren’t from here. Born and raised here and also bringing up 2 kids here. Worked very hard to buy a house and I get sick of being grouped with the lames who try to tell me about SF values. Katy Tang is a good choice . Nice to see a person from here moving forward.
    Avalos and campos are finished.

  96. Campos, Mar and Avalos are “ageing white men”?

    Anyway, that was a total non-sequitur. Progressives do not like or dislike Asians. Maybe the cartoon progressives in Runforthehills’ mind do. Maybe the ones in yours do. I can’t help either of you about that.

  97. I don’t know what you mean by nasty tricks. Strategy and tactics are amoral. What I’ve outlined is simply an argument for a strategic approach versus the head-on charge and ensuing debacle the progressives seem to prefer in recent years.

    Of course these are just tactics, it’s not my strategy to devise and I certainly wouldn’t air that strategy online if it was. Sheesh, you are one critical cat Mr. Sam.

    Yes, dislocation is the goal, absolutely. That’s the goal of every strategic effort in history. I’m surprised you dismiss it so easily given its value and efficacy in conflict.

    I didn’t say there was no intellectual gravitas on the left. I think there are plenty of deep thinkers on all sides of the political spectrum in SF. But the lefty thinkers have become overly rigid, overly certain, and overly comfortable in their roles and, more importantly, their solutions. At the same time, none of the younger progressives are really challenging these folks or making alternate plays. I suppose its cyclical but the left really seems to need another charismatic leader to pull them together.

    Don’t bring national stuff into a local debate. We live in our own little world here and some of us believe the national elections were more the result of political cycles than some grand ideological realignment.

    So quick to dismiss Leno too, Mr. Sam. Don’t be. He can reach deep pockets. He’s charismatic. He hasn’t screwed up. He has been in tough races. He’s campaigned in fully half the city. He’s logged crazy hours at random community meetings and is loved by many in the nonprofit world. Business man, gay man, city guy, budget chair, former supe, prolific fundraiser, etc… Mofo is a contender. When he announces, listen to all the people who say it will be a tough decision, especially those who run center-right. That’ll be a good read of where he really starts.

    Most of all, though, Leno is nuanced, thoughtful, principled. I like Ed Lee but I don’t know I can say those same things about him and I think they are increasingly important for our city at this moment in history.

    Ed Lee is the “go time” mayor. Let’s get it done. Let’s make this my legacy. Let’s work this out. But the more I see of it, the more I wonder whether his collaborative approach is really smart and consensus-minded or just the expansion of a very small table by a few seats for the hand-picked.

    One more thing. Ron Conway seems to be a petty asshole and it really does seem like he’s had a disproportionate amount of influence on Mayor Lee. He sends intimidating letters to public officials, pushes for policies that benefit him financially, and is disrespectful of people who disagree or, worse, don’t support him and his ideas. I don’t know that I’ll support a second Lee term with Conway in the mix.

  98. marcos, if you are going to make bold, self-aggrandizing claims such as you were part of the intellectual force behind successful progressivism, then it is incumbent on you to justify that claim.

    Better of course that someone other than you comes forward in defense of your claim but nobody has. And if you can’t substantiate the claim, then who?

    Anyone can play that game. I was the “brains trust” behind the GOP taking back the Senate. Isn’t this fun?

  99. I agree there is no intellectual gravitas among the SF Prog political class. Campos– the standard bearer in the last election– did not prove a deep thinker. But there are thinkers out there, it’s just that the progressive pols don’t read.

    I’d dispute a “national move to the right.” Progressive initiatives like minimum wage have legs. And the GOP won because so few voted. There is no intellectual gravitas among the conservative pols.

    With the possible exception of Rand Paul. Paul is great on civil liberty and foreign policy issues but a libertarian hack on economic issues.

  100. FINALLY, some smart analysis of the SF Progs problems. Becky Bayside has my attention, especially on her “three big problems.”

    1) Terrible down ticket candidates… AMEN! Mirkarimi is a slick suit. Golinger’s caper stuffing the ballot argument box on Prop B was despicable. I don’t know enough to comment on Progressive Asians, but I think that Jane Kim fits the bill as both an Asian and as a young woman. Perhaps Kim will run against both Leno and Lee for Mayor. Her principled stand against AirBnB won me over.

    2) Terrible messaging… conceptual social justice arguments are worthless… AMEN. But that’s the cart before the horse. The horse is a renovated progressive platform, a unified group of saleable ideas with a moral core. You need bacon before you can have sizzle.

    3) Lack of political professionals… AMEN. Marcos comments on this also, that the progs used to have a cadre of cheap labor, gone because they blew it and times changed. But Becky Bayside is right that the old gray ponytails of the left don’t welcome newcomers and are too certain for new ideas. The SF Progressives are REACTIONARY.

    4) Lack of fundraising… AMEN. There is progressive money out there. But there is also libertarian, tech money that might well make common cause with SF Progressives on issues like Deep State surveillance, on foreign wars, on entrenched Democrats (Pelosi, Boxer, Brown, et al.) More radical libertarians inhabit a gray area of anarcho-capitalism, which bends around the curved space of politics and melds into other forms of philosophical anarchism. It’s all about creative coalition building.

    Becky Bayside wraps it up nicely with, “If they continue to use dated strategies, devolve into petty fights, and insist on ideological purity, they will become increasingly irrelevant and our city’s political divisions will become very nuanced versions of the moderates.”

  101. Readers will note that marcos cannot substantiate his claim that he was one of the people who drive progressive success.

    I invite anyone who can support that thesis to say so. I am not expecting anyone to.

  102. No, you are an ass who has no clue and whose abject absence of worth does not warrant such a level of attention.

  103. Hmmm, what civility did David Chiu violate? Did he say the fuck word at every meeting like Daly? Did he go on vacation after an election and miss a schedule Board meeting?

  104. What a crock of shit. Are you comparing SF elections to SF? Are there Jim Crow registration issues in SF? Do the polls close early on blacks and Hispanics?

    Are you just bitter that liberal Asians who are well-educated refuse to swallow all progressive ideas? We can be socially liberal and refuse to accept the homeless policies in this city (even if Jane Kim does).

  105. I don’t think Geary is in her district. Although that is a good example of a broad 6-lane street that could up-zone well.

    Irving, not so much.

  106. Y, nobody is more post-racial and color-blind than me. I am the walking breathing living embodiment of Colbert’s “man who doesn’t see race”

    But that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand what others mean by race, and how it drives their thinking. And sadly it is the progressives who constantly make a big deal out of race. They deem any argument for their views to be incomplete if it isn’t festooned with references to “people of color” or “communities of color” or “women of color” and other performative phrases designed to build on the presumption that not being white is somehow better, worthier and more noble than being white.

    Well, those who live by the card-playing sword, perish by it too. And in fact I give Greg and Daniel a certain amount of respect by at least being open and honest about their issue with Asians and, particularly, the Asian political power bloc.

    They don’t like it because they feel that, as non-whites, they should be on the progressive side. They are not and given that they are fully one third of the voters in SF, that matters.

  107. Her plan is a first step, just like “artists’ lofts” were the first step for the east Mission 15 years ago. If there were no political resistance, cranes would be set up along Geary and Irving streets by now.

  108. What people like me hate, among other things, is racism, which is judging people—for better or worse—based on their body’s physical qualities, such as race or gender. Calling someone a ‘most favorite minority’ or ‘a least favorite minority’ is unredeemably insulting, even if Time Magazine says it. If someone said to me “your people are typically hardworking overachievers”, I’d be just as insulted if they said to me “your people are typically conniving and inscrutable”.

  109. Tang’s blueprint is modest, calling for only a thousand new homes, which is trivial for such a large, flat expanse of land. And the uplifting oh height limits is restricted to certain strategic corners, and certainly not a broad-based up-zoning.

    Indeed, her plan is careful to formally acknowledge the importance of maintaining the current low-rise, SFH nature of the area. And her fairly conservative base wouldn’t have it any other way.

    The eastern neighborhoods are far, far more suitable for high-rise development. The over-engineered infrastructure of those neighborhoods encourage and indeed demand greater densities and heights.

    What the city really needs is a choice of environments. High densities where the transit and freeway system is, and more family-friendly low-rise neighborhoods in the west.

    One solution doesn’t fit all, and if we wish to take our “diversity” mantra seriously, then that must apply to our neighborhoods too. Give me a choice of neighborhoods and I will be able to pick the one that suits me the most.

    Currently that is the west Mission.

  110. I wonder how this will interact with an upcoming political hot potato, development on the west side. The push for big development in the eastern neighborhoods has been enabled by political conservatives from neighborhoods not affected by that development. From what I’ve read, the idea of big construction is as unpopular in the Sunset as it is on the east side, but so far the west side hasn’t had to deal with this issue.

    If a Sunset politician is popular enough and politically strong enough, she can afford to lose some popularity points while pushing for heavy development in that part of town. Tang’s “Sunset District blueprint” is a start in that direction.

  111. Wonderful to see a Lowell High graduate as BOA president. I am a SF native, having attended one of SF’s Catholic high schools. When I was a child many years ago, I remember clearly that San Franciscans saw themselves as distinct from Los Angeles and were proud of that fact. How did John Avalos and David Campos, two guys from Los Angeles, ever come to speak for San Franciscan values? Earlier this year I called David Campos office to express my opinion over something but once I identified myself as a Catholic of European descent, his office had no time for me. As far as I’m concerned, David Campos is a racist . There is a new zeitgeist and I, for one, am happy to see the so-called “progressives” revealed for what they are really are!

  112. I’d question the “refutation” because it is based on looking only at how blacks voted in just eight cities, and those cities are of course more liberal and less religious.

    Even so, SFGate (which I would rarely believe over the Washington Post anyway) has the black vote for 8 as nearly 60% – still well over the average 52% overall rate and the highest of any race.

    The exit polls are the most reliable data we have because there is no way to know the race of actual voters. We can quibble about whether it was 58% or 70%, but it was a clear majority and caused much hand-wringing among while liberals at the time. I’m surprised you don’t remember because you seem to follow these things quite closely.

  113. Wait, marcos, are you seeking 25% of the credit for progressive election successes of the early naughties?

    “The four of us who provided the brain trust for the competitive campaigns of the mid 2000s have been alienated away from politics and even San Francisco.”

    Can you furnish evidence for such an audaciously self-important and conceited claim? And was that before or after you were kicked out of the Green Party?

  114. Becky, that’s a smart commentary (way better than the usual suspects here) but when I distil what you really said it is that the left should engage in a box of nasty tricks to try and disorientate the moderate majority. It’s tactics but without a strategy. And as we saw with the Daly “fumble” and the Tang “sting”, the left aren’t very good at the nasty stuff.

    Nor should they be because they are supposed to be the sensitive caring wing of the political spectrum, and if they start behaving like spoilt brats (pace Avalos’ tantrum last night) then they just look like kids throwing toys out of their strollers.

    You’re right that there is no intellectual gravitas on the left. They’re all emotion and no intellect; all heart and no brain, making lots of noise signifying nothing. And yet historically the left have been intellectuals (although not as much as they’d have you believe). So why not here?

    Getting better at games and battles might help but what the local left really needs, and is bereft of, are big ideas that resonate with people outside of the usual suspect leftists cliques. And I see no sign of them.

    Throw in a national move to the right and things look hopeless for the local left. And Mar, Campos and Avalos are all termed-out next election, and all three of those districts are turning more moderate, demographically.

    Finally, as I said before, Leno is not the savior. He just looks like the best bet when you’re drowning and he’s got a lifeboat.

  115. Because in your world everyone is an extremist and you are just quibbling over whether they are hard left or hard right.

    The silent majority is evidently invisible as well.

  116. Get over the idea that San Francisco is a progressive city. That word has no meaning any more and San Francisco left that stage a while ago. City Hall wants to compete with New York City and Hong Kong for who can stack more people into a small area at one time. (Remember the old frat game of how many people who can get in a phone booth?) If the voters wake up, they will put new leaders in City Hall, otherwise, they will live under new rules and more austere times.

  117. 1. Unlike the conservatives that invest in nurturing talent for the long game, progressives do no such thing, with individuals sitting on their sinecure until they expire. Those who do rise have been ground into co-option through the nonprofit complex until they’ve got that dead eye look.

    2. There are multiple competing progressive constituencies that have been further divided successfully by the conservatives over the past 8 years. The poverty groups including housing and health care, the transportation groups including the MTA chorus squad and the neighbors are all antagonistic because that’s the product of a successful divide and conquer intervention. None of these sectors trust each other and most of them fear San Franciscans, hence they’ve thrown their lot with the conservatives to secure their positions.

    3. The volunteers who used to work on winning campaigns for peanuts somehow do not want to throw more good resources after bad given that after we won elections, our colleagues, and I’m looking at you, Nicole Derse, Enrique Pearce, David Owen and Kay Vasilyeva, are easily flipped and use the knowledge we gave them against us. There is not enough money in progressive politics to make a living out of it, the strength that we had was leveraged through massive volunteer and cheap labor outcomes. That only sustains so long as those who throw free/cheap resources are not kneed in the groin afterwards. The four of us who provided the brain trust for the competitive campaigns of the mid 2000s have been alienated away from politics and even San Francisco.

    4. There is no money in challenging the moneyed, we win by magnetizing numbers who then throw money at us. There was plenty of money in 2003 when we appealed outside of the comfort zone.

  118. Honestly, what did you expect? The progressives are a wreck at the moment with each player on their own team and everyone seems to sort of despise one another. The moderates aren’t lovey-dovey with each other but with control of Rm 200 and the Board, strong supporters outside of City Hall (money and muscle), plus a boom economy, they can really do whatever they want (for the next couple of months at least).

    That said, all is not lost for the city’s Left. Here are a couple of things to consider:

    1) Tang in the board’s big seat creates two openings. The first would be to see if the progs can create situations where Tang missteps. She’s super cautious and hasn’t been in the waters that long and has never had to manage a real political mess. Any politician who has a natural tendency for a certain type of behavior – whatever it is – is someone who can be gamed.

    If the progs can create situations where Tang has to make tough choices, there’s opportunity to create divisions among the moderate’s supporters outside City Hall. Those divisions will be absolutely critical if the progs are going to reclaim power and influence. They need to create new sides and capture new supporters.

    The second opportunity is the obvious one: create situations where Tang has to prioritize her own politics or manage the board over the wishes of the mayor’s office. Room 200 is going to get even more pissy in the election cycle and will be expecting all the mods to be on the team. Disrupting that unity and communications is job one for the progs over the next four months. If the progs do a “Daly” and go public with their tactics, they’ll end up looking like assholes. But if they can quietly create trouble and divisions, it will pay dividends by next summer.

    2) Tang is interim. When one is in the minority on a voting board and is left out of big decisions, any management disruption is a good thing. Another messy vote, another chance to show divisions, another chance to cry foul, another opportunity to undercut the peace-creating mayor narrative is useful. Chaos is the goal of the guerrilla.

    3) Leno. If the progs are willing to adopt slightly more flexible and pragmatic goals, Leno could be a great champion to help bring them back to power. He’s flexible and pragmatic and is really a solid counter-weight to Lee. Leno’s a political leader compared to Lee’s government manager. The question isn’t, who would be the better mayor, the question is, who would be the better mayor TODAY. Lee was a great replacement for the drama of the Newsom years. But is he the best guy to manage the city now that we’re at a point of looking forward and having to figure out what kind of city we want to be for the next forty years? Does Ed Lee have a vision for our city? Is a “yes man” the best person to say “no” to strong industries and personalities in a boom economy? I don’t know. I’d like to hear that debate.

    If the progs can find a way to marry modified portions of their agenda to Leno’s platform, they will have a large, powerful vehicle to make their case and a popular politician to carry their water back to the mainstream.

    4) The D4 replacement. If Wu, push her back into the prog camp. I mean, where else will her ground troops come from for her reelection? The mayor’s office will be focused on their own race and she’s going to have a lot of work to do on her own. She’ll need friends. If someone else, who knows? But Lee doesn’t have the best track record on replacement electeds holding their jobs in the next election.

    Of course, all this is fine but the progs will also need to address three big problems:

    1) Terrible down ticket candidates next year. Mirkarimi? Golinger? Jeez. At best they can be classified as a misongynist and an annoying geek. There’s a pipeline for progressive Asians to get politically involved but somehow they rarely stick around long enough to run for office. Fix this and the prog’s long-term prospects go way up. Oh, and how about a woman or two? The city’s political boards are full of ambitious women who rarely make the cut to be a campaign contender. Note that the most successful women candidates in SF are younger women. The Debra Walkers of the world won’t cut it anymore. Name the last progressive woman over 50 who got elected to a local office in the past decade.

    2) Terrible messaging. Someone needs to coordinate progressive communications. Maybe a real mayoral contender can accomplish this but until the progs start talking about issues in the same, relatable way, they are going to be stuck with just the true believers and self servers. That’s a hard way to advance a citywide agenda. The public’s anxiety is the progressives greatest tool. Conceptual social justice arguments don’t carry as much weight in an economic boom. Time to refocus on what’s bothering people TODAY.

    3) Lack of political professionals. The progressives just aren’t that good at elections anymore. There are few progressive consultants, the ballot initiatives aren’t run well and, it appears, with very little coordination, and there doesn’t seem to be a strategic/tactical braintrust. I understand these meetings take place but the personalities at the table to too large for newcomers, too certain for new ideas, and too entrenched for new approaches to be taken seriously.

    4) Lack of fundraising prowess. The left needs investors. Progs are generally capable of creating divisions and causing havoc and making the mods look jerky. But its counter productive unless one capitalizes on those divisions. The best way to keep someone on your side is to have them give you money for a cause you both believe in. These donors share prog values but aren’t ideologues, won’t pass the prog sniff test on “key” issues and will want something in exchange for support. If the progs can line up these interests and get money flowing, the game is back on. If they continue to use dated strategies, devolve into petty fights, and insist on ideological purity, they will become increasingly irrelevant and our city’s political divisions will become very nuanced versions of the moderates.

  119. Yes, I made much the same point in my 6:17 a.m. post above. It’s interesting that progressives always look for some ulterior motive or conspiracy every time they lose. When the reality is that they usually lose for a much simpler reason – there just aren’t enough of them.

    Randy Shaw claims that the progressive core of SF voters is about 35%. That sounds a little high to me but then it depends where you draw the line between progressives and liberals.

    But either way, what we know is that the progressives and the liberals together can constitute a majority. However, that requires the progressives to compromise and they are notoriously bad at that. (I believe the decisive factor in the Chiu/Campos battle was the perception that Chiu can compromise and Campos cannot).

    Progressives hate that they are a minority and so maintain the myth that they are not, but lose anyway because of some vast right-wing conspiracy, or voter fraud, or bribery, or misinformation, or corruption blah blah.

    The reality is much simpler. The silent majority of voters are moderate, and the BofS and the Mayor merely reflect that numerical superiority, as they should. But look hard enough for a conspiracy and you can always find one, whether it is there or not. It is so much comforting than an inconvenient truth.

  120. I disagree. What the Asian-American bloc is doing is to forge key alliances in order to further their values. You cannot reasonably blame them for that.

    75% of San Franciscans are either white or Asian. Only 63% of the Supervisors are. It is the blacks and Hispanics who are over-represented on the Board of Supes, with two each.

    Can you blame the under-represented ethnicities for seeking to compensate for that bias?

  121. Check out Mike Kozmin’s 11/19 p. 4 Examiner foto of young Supervisor Tang hugging kingmaker Scott Weiner after her election as interim BOS president. I could swear it looks like she is stabbing him in the right kidney with her pen while smiling beatifically, a picture worth a thousand words!

  122. The Chinese American conservative power structure is driving a wedge between conservative Chinese American political hacks and the rest of San Franciscans.

  123. Who can truly understand all the dark maneuverings that lead to the Tang vote? None of us really. But it’s fascinating to see Tim’s comment board going into overdrive as bits and pieces of facts, opinions, alternative realities hit. It’s especially fascinating to watch the nasty little one-on-one and three-on-one dog fights break out on 48HIlls against the backdrop of the Big Dog fight at City Hall.

    I’m not so interested in the blow by blow. I’m trying to figure out where the large process is headed. It seems clear to me that Chiu is a very smart Machiavellian politico with his own advancement firmly in mind. But also that he has powerful backers and mentors.

    I’d guess the nexus includes the Natty Prince, our former Mayor, and whatever political wise man is advising Ron Conway. I’d guess that Chiu is going to Sacramento with BACKING. That he’s NOT going to get lost in the sauce there, because he’s repping powerful, nascent economic interests. And because there is a political wave among the low information electorate toward moderation.

    Despite Redmond and Shaw; despite the emotional sendoff of Gullicksen, the SF Progressives are in deep trouble. As the commenters note, they had a one term mayor in Agnos followed years later by a short, ineffective period controlling the BOS.

    The Lee election engineered by the Natty Prince and Rose Pak was the turning point, as we’re now seeing. But all of this against a back drop of “shared progressive values,” so that minimum wage and other similar popular issues get passed easily.

    There is still the possibility the SF Progs will find new leadership, new ideas and new energy. It’s doubtful that Tim Redmond and his clique will be able to identify these new leaders if they emerge.

    But there is also the distinct possibility that a tepid, moderate, consensus “progressivism” will prevail masking the real issues as the whole system lurches toward what one commenter drolly called the New Feudalism, 2014 meets 1014.

    More’s the pity…

  124. It was Campos who was swanning around in Bali rather than doing his job.

    Avalos was the one who threw a giant hissy fit and walked out of the room sulking because he was out-voted.

    If Campos had been here, the result would have been exactly the same. He might as well stay in Bali and complete his suntan.

  125. Avalos? On vacation? In Bali?

    I guess being a “progressive” in San Francisco is a really, really sweet deal.

    Can’t wait for Avalos to come back and lecture us all on income inequality, and the need to reduce our carbon footprint.

  126. So what? Peskin doesn’t have any power or relevance any more, and Chiu is his own man.

    If the progressives want to blame Peskin for Chiu’s success and the fact that Mirk isn’t mayor (as Greg bizarrely claimed) then go right ahead. I’m fine with that.

  127. I can only assume that you have never met a Republican if you think those liberals are.

    Such comments tell us more about how left-wing you are than about how right-wing they are.

  128. Would a man be reelected to a leadership position after leading his party off of a cliff from 60 Senators and +70 in the House down to minority status?

  129. “Remember the outcry when 70% of blacks voted to ban gay marriage in CA?”

    No, I don’t remember that. I haven’t seen any credible evidence that it was nearly so high. I’d be open to seeing it, but I’m guessing that as usual you’re pulling “facts” out of your ass.

  130. David Chiu would never have been appointed to the Small Business Commission not to mention elected D3 supervisor without Aaron Peskin’s support.

  131. ‘Suppose you’re right. Lying Leno will sell out the Progs just as he’s sold out the Mods.

    All in the interest of a nice cut to his jib.

  132. Ah, so you are trying to drive a wedge between Chinese Asians and non-Chinese Asians? How enlightened and inclusive of you.

    The 2010 census didn’t consider that distinction to be worthwhile but I’m sure you know better, even though you probably cannot tell the difference anyway.

    Now, how about those H1-B visas huh?

  133. Since you believe that all Asians and Chinese and that all Asians feel represented by a Chinese American, you are truly the racist in this forum. What prejudice!

  134. Dee,
    I’ve never been a big fan of identity politics. Both sides play it. Even Sam the Troll here plays it, while decrying it with the other side of his mouth. Willie Brown was masterful at it -better than any progressive I know.

    The difference is that when conservatives play identity politics, it’s cynical. They’re actually “playing” identity politics, in the literal sense. Just like you see with the comments on this thread. Unfortunately, some progressives really believe it. You can peel off a certain number of progressives by putting forth a Trojan Horse candidate who fills certain blanks, because conservatives know that progressives value diversity for diversity’s sake. And that’s often their downfall. Conservatives understand that values are what matters, and they can use this progressive weakness to beat progressives at their own game. I’ve been trying to tell progressives for years that we need to play for keeps and elect people for their values, not because they fill certain blanks.

  135. “Would Greg insult a man in the same way he insulted a woman? Actually, maybe the answer is yes.”

    Put away the race card (and gender card). I’m just telling it the way it is. I’ve said worse about the likes of Gavin Newsom, another unqualified special interest hack who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.

  136. Agree. I’ve heard more than once that Chiu can’t be trusted. Not good that he’s headed for Sacramento. He’ll be more or less out of sight there, except for what he spoon feeds the Chronicle.

  137. Chiu’s job was to represent his (mostly fairly moderate) constituents, and not to transform San Francisco into a socialist state.

    Too bad he didn’t vote the way you told him to, but evidently he is more popular than Campos, even on the east side of town.

  138. Greg is right on this one. Welcome to level two of the game of electoral politics, where the pieces you collected in level one and have brought with to level two turn on you and screw you. Many of us cast a wary eye towards Chiu in 2008 but were reassured that our fears were misplaced.

  139. Chris Daly never made any pretense towards civility while David Chiu has made it the centerpiece of his political propaganda which is now revealed as a lie. That the progressives played along with this sham for as long as they did is testament to their strategic misjudgement.

  140. Dee, there is something deliciously ironic about a progressive whining about identity politics. We should savor this moment.

  141. Asians are exactly one third of the city’s population according to the 2010 census.

    The most under-represented race on the Board are whites, with 42% of the population and only two supervisors.

    The most-over-represented race are blacks, with 6% of the population and two supervisors.

    If you think race matters, of course.

  142. Tim, Campos being away was largely irrelevant here because his vote (or more likely, his sulking and walking out) would have no difference. 8-0 isn’t much different from 8-1 or 8-3. It’s still a landslide.

    And Tang is a good choice. She’s bright, level-headed and thoughtful, and to be unopposed at this level is very significant.

    It would be better to see this in the context of the city moving to a more moderate city politically. Peskin to Chiu, Mirk to Breed, and Daly to Kim all signify that trend. And Avalos, Peskin and Mar are all termed-out next time, meaning that those districts should become more moderate as well.

    In fact the real anomaly is Yee, who is too left-wing for his west-side district, and is probably the least capable and smart supervisor on the board. He could be vulnerable too and so you really need to start thinking about what the future looks like for left-wing extremists. The demographics are not in your favor.

    And if all the hope for a socialist city lies with Mark Leno, then you’re in more trouble than you think. He’s no progressive and never has been. He might run from the left against Lee but then what choice does he have. But in the end Leno won’t be much different from Lee, which is fine with the majority who always elect moderate mayors.

  143. It makes perfect sense that the Mayor and Board President, the two top positions, should be held by a minority that comprises 21% of the population, just like the good old days in South Africa.

  144. One of the more human things about Greg is that he isn’t particularly PC. He’s bitched about Asians before. And his attitude towards women can easily be seen by the apologist stance he takes towards Mirk.

    But now we see Greg’s true colors. Tang is smart, likeable, educated, bi-lingual and popular. And of course Asian. In others words, she is a threat to the male-orientated world of SF white progressives. Greg, who deftly mixes misogynism and racism in with his progressivism, doesn’t like that one little bit.

  145. Boo-ya! You progs need to read the hand writing on the wall…..your irrelevant. It’s a new day in San Francisco….the political pendulum has finally swung past center and is firmly in the hands of the adults in the room.

    Your divisive politics did you in…..Boo-ya!

  146. “Tim, you’re asking the wrong sort of question. You should be asking how did progressive end up with such incompetent leadership?”

    This question itself is highly uncivil.

  147. Exactly. Greg says if but for Chiu, Progressives “would never have lost the Mayor’s office”.

    But as you note, they never had it in the first place. Newsom stood down and the Supes had to agree on a replacement. The left might have engineered a more left-wing candidate than Lee, perhaps. But the reason they did not was not because of Chiu, but because they could not agree among themselves – something that routinely happens across the globe.

    The rest of his narrative is a fairy-tale of what might have been. “If only this” and “if only that” are the most common phrases that come out of the mouths of perpetual losers.

    And what is worse than losing is losing and not even understanding why, and therefore not learning from it.

  148. C’mon Greg, you used very similar language during the last mayoral race, so don’t get all coy and precious on us now.

    We’re not buying the “yellow peril” paranoia from Daniel any more than we did from you.

  149. A man walking out on a woman is nothing new. The only travesty is suggesting that a woman should wait for them to come back instead of moving forward.

  150. Wow! Are you next going to call her a “whore” like so many other self-described progressive men have done in blasting successful women? Hope not. Vicious.

  151. The worst part of this is the double standard as described by Pelosi. Would Greg insult a man in the same way he insulted a woman? Actually, maybe the answer is yes.

  152. Exactly. Progressives have been playing identity politics for so long that they were caught unprepared when faced with someone who fit all their cliches while some were on a vacation that most working class folks could never dream of. Thank you for stating explicitly what we hoped someone would do! I will vote for you.

  153. Greg –

    You make it sound as if the progressives ever had the mayor’s office to begin with. San Francisco has had ONE progressive mayor in 30 years (and he was a one-termer whose legacy was the clusterfuck known as “Camp Agnos”). How many progressives won citywide election in the past 15 years? The Progressives usually can’t even get a simple majority on the BoS. But all of a sudden, Chiu’s appointment stopped Mirkarimi from being elected mayor (and a widely popular one at that)? Wow…

    And have fun backing Mirkarimi for one more year. With Vicky Hennessey in the race, he’s one and done.

  154. “She’s a female minority who speaks Chinese and grew up in San Francisco.”

    How many identity politics clichés can you fit into one sentence? This might be a record.

    “Down to earth, sincere, ”

    unqualified special interest hack.

    “and well-liked by enough of her colleagues to have a unanimous vote by all present. ”

    …those who didn’t walk out in protest at this travesty.

    “woman of color as the BOS president?”

    …as if the first sentence didn’t contain enough identity politics clichés.

  155. Oh come on…give credit where it’s due — that was frigging hilarious. Especially the part about Mirkarimi gearing up for his reelection campaign. Because apparently, despite everything we’ve read here, Ed Lee and Ron Conway have had no role in the city’s tech boom. Apparently it didn’t matter who was around!!!!!

    We need to laugh at ourselves sometime. Keep up the great work, Greg. That was REALLY funy.

  156. She’s a female minority who speaks Chinese and grew up in San Francisco. Down to earth, sincere, and well-liked by enough of her colleagues to have a unanimous vote by all present. Is this really such a bad thing for San Francisco to have a woman of color as the BOS president?

  157. “Earlier, he had told me that the oft-criticized progressives wouldn’t have acted this way: ‘For all their hijinks, Aaron Peskin and Chris Daly would never have allowed this to happen,’ he said.”

    Chris Daly appointed two of his people to the PUC during his ceremonial one day shift as acting mayor while Willie Brown was out of town. He saw it as his chance to get over on Brown and he took it. And that was different because… how exactly?

  158. Dream on. With this economy people were moving here who weren’t going to put up with the sideshow that you progressives had in Daly. Yeah bad press does matter.

  159. Once upon a time, progressives, led by termed-out supe Aaron Peskin, made a fateful decision to support one David Chiu for the D3 supe seat. Some of us raised eyebrows. Was this the best progressives can do? Really? I mean, the warning signs were there for anyone who was looking. Progressives, however, chose to let it go, focusing on races in D1, D9, and D11. Well, we won all those races (including D3, which counted as a progressive “victory” against an admittedly even more conservative candidate).

    But that race was lost long before the election. And had we not gotten stuck with a slimy Machiavellian dealmaker instead of a solid progressive vote, we wouldn’t have lost the mayor’s office. Had we not lost the mayor’s office, we wouldn’t even be dealing with the Mirkarimi thing, because there’d have been no one to go on a political witchunt. Hell, right now Mirkarimi would probably be gearing up for his mayoral re-election campaign with sky-high approval ratings, getting the credit for an economic recovery that would have happened no matter who was in office. He would have chosen his successor in D5, and David Campos’s successor in D9.

    Even many of the demographic changes hurting the progressive movement might have been muted, because we wouldn’t have turned the whole city into a glass-box condo construction zone so quickly.

    Never underestimate the consequences of one fuck-up.

  160. The article refers to the most recent race that Chiu ran in: for State Assembly, in that race Ronnie, my favorite Republican about town, funded Chiu will hundreds of thousands of cold hard Republican cash.

  161. David Campos was a FAR FAR FAR better choice. This is David Chiu’s farewell “fuck all of you… THIS is how corrupt I REALLY am and you fools just elected me to Statewide office…” sonata, in the best Mr. Burns voice he could possibly muster. What a piece of garbage David Chiu is. Congrats SF on sending the WORST POSSIBLE PERSON to Sacramento. Fuck you David Chiu.

  162. How many times can Tim and the official progressive leadership claim they’re shock, shocked, shocked and doubly-shocked there’s gambling going on in Vegas!

    The Guardianistas and the Harvey Milk Club and an endless line of progressives put so many of their eggs in the Campos basket, and he not only lost he chose to not be in town when all this interim BOS prez biz would be going down.

    Until such time as hard questions are asked by us peons of our official progressive honchos, and they open up their echo chambers (Tim spoke at the Milk Club tonite about the election, Joe Fitz covered Ted Gullicken’s memorial for the Ex), and we demand they stop with their elitism and cronyism, we’re gonna keep losing at the ballot box and in the neighborhoods.

  163. Peskin was good, real good. He would have done whatever it took to deliver, and most of the time did. Hard to figure what Casey refers to here. Are we talking about the same Aaron Peskin?

  164. Scotty “I edit my own wiki page” Weiner took his “highest percentage” from a historically low turnout. But the Noe Valley conservative set loves having a gay man de-gay the city.

  165. “Ron Conway and his allies, who helped put Chiu in office”

    That’s an AMAZING bit of revisionist history since Chiu was Peskin’s protege when he got into office as a Supervisor and BOS President in 2008.

    But hey….if it sounds good then why not just say it.

  166. Also, Katy Tang is highly articulate and Norman Yee is usually incoherent and gets confused easily. Sorry, but that’s the pragmatic truth.

  167. Excuse me….this meeting had been on the schedule for a long time. For the past year there has been a high probability that the BOS Presidency would be in play at this time. There are plenty of breaks in the BOS schedule to allow for vacations.

    Chiu just went through the same campaign that Campos did but he managed to stay at his post.

    So instead of whining and moaning about being outmaneuvered (again) perhaps you should be disappointed in Campos. If he was away because of some unavoidable personal emergency you can argue for the board to accommodate his absence, but not if he decided to miss the meeting to get some R&R.

    Stop playing the victim already. It’s pathetic.

  168. What progressive leader fighting a hard election battle would plan a trip to Bali, right after the election? David Campos, that’s who.

    If he won the race for assembly, he’d have to be getting it together to find a studio to rent in Sacto, staff to hire, get oriented to the state legislature and scads of other important tasks.

    OTOH, losing would mean a race to replace the outgoing David Chiu and lots horsetrading happening at City Hall.

    Either way, a smart politician would know to be here now, but Campos and his hubby planned a trip to Bali. Are they singing tunes from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Broadway musical classic “South Pacific”, as the city’s official progressives lost another in a long line of battles at City Hall?

    It will be sooooooooooo interesting to hear what Campos has to say when he returns why now, of all times, he absolutely had to get outta town.

    Tim, you’re asking the wrong sort of question. You should be asking how did progressive end up with such incompetent leadership?

    Maybe when Campos gets back to town he can finally get back to work on important issues like renaming SFO for Harvey Milk.

  169. I hope that Folks finally realize how toxic the Mirkarimi vote was. No way either Kim or Campos would be elected argely because of that. Olague and Campos lost elections with this as a major factor. Is anyone listening?

  170. Katy Tang, ran unopposed on 11/4/14 in the Sunset (District 4). The SFDOE initially reported that she had 90% of the vote with 10% of the voters in District 4 writing in a candidate. Tang’s “write-in candidate” opposition narrowed to 3.3% by the close of Thursday, 11/6/14. — How radical for the Sunset!

  171. Chiu – I hope the sharks in sacramento have a field day with their new freshman who obviously is playing the usual playbook of politicians with their hands in the cookie-jar…..

    You never listened to the citizens of SF prior, I wonder how things will go down at the state level.

    probably and hopefully a 1 term assemblyman….SF deserves better.

  172. From the Supervisor who received 77% of the vote – the highest percentage ever received in District 8:

    “The fact that Supervisor Campos decided to go on vacation instead of coming to the board meeting — to leave the country on vacation — I would love to leave the country and go on vacation,” Wiener said. “To suggest that because one colleague chose to take a vacation instead of attending a board meeting that somehow it’s not collegial or it’s nefarious or undemocratic for the board to continue with the business of the people, I just don’t agree.”

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