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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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UncategorizedTom's Town: We still don't elect our elected officials

Tom’s Town: We still don’t elect our elected officials

By Tom Temprano

NOVEMBER 14, 2014 — As the game of backroom baseball to decide who the Mayor appoints as a replacement for the Sacramento-bound David Chiu carries on in earnest, I can’t help but think back to July when this Board of Supervisors had a chance to bring the decision out of the backrooms and into the open.

48hillstomstownMany of you may recall the close 6-5 vote to strip the Mayor of his power to appoint his legislative check and balance — and now we can see exactly why Let’s Elect Our Elected Officials was so necessary.

Instead of speculating about who might be running in an open election for the District 3 seat, and why a district full of voters might support/not support that person, we are instead speculating about which City Hall power brokers are pulling for which potential appointee. There’s Rose Pak pushing for Planning Commission President Cindy Wu, there’s Ron Conway going to bat for Christine Pelosi and there are, to quote the Chronicle, some in the Mayor’s “inner circle” going all out for Julie Christensen. Apparently we even have a challenger to the will-be appointee in Jon Golinger, already lined up!

This sort of power-broker puppeteering may be fun fodder for journalists and good gossip for political barflys but it’s the sort of stuff that really turns off an already-turned-off electorate. Wouldn’t our local democracy be a whole lot more democratic if all the aforementioned people had to go to the voters and run for the seat?

Unfortunately, our Board of Supervisors didn’t think so — and so here we are going through another round of the anointment (a more appropriate term than appointment given how difficult it is to unseat an incumbent) circus without a pathway for a democratic election in sight.

Or is there? It was quite clear that the Mayor was applying a lot of pressure on members of the Board to stop Let’s Elect Our Elected Officials from reaching the November 2014 ballot. Supervisor Malia Cohen, who just easily won reelection with the mayor’s strong backing, waffling on her vote at the last minute to kill the measure is pretty clear evidence of that.

It stands to reason that an idea that nearly got out of the Board chambers and onto the ballot might still have some legs and could be particularly fun to have before voters on the November 2015 ballot – at the same time the mayor is running for reelection. Watching him have to defend his Pope-like power to undemocratically anoint as he pleases might give an extra wedge issue to would-be challengers like Mark Leno or Tom Ammiano.

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The board, which will now have an additional mayoral appointee sitting on it no matter who the power brokers choose, is unlikely to come up with the 6 votes to put it on — but collecting the signatures necessary to get it on the ballot could certainly be an option.


Another School Board election another loss for LGBT candidates – and the LGBT youth in our schools. One of my many disappointments on Election Day was the inability of our electorate to add a much-needed LGBT voice to our city’s Board of Education. If there’s anywhere that LGBT perspective and leadership is need it is in our city’s public schools.

Despite many of us adult gays feeling like San Francisco is a 24-7-365 queer acceptance utopia, the LGBTQ youth in our public schools have a much different experience. A look at this 2011 survey of 5,000 SFUSD middle and high school students demonstrates just how difficult public school can be for LGBT students in this city.

One of the saddest findings shows that one out of every three LGBT students attempts suicide every year – a number that goes to one out of two for transgender students. Additionally more than half of queer students said they were sad or depressed, they were twice as likely to do things like smoke cigarettes or do drugs than their straight counterparts. And 40% of LGB and 66% of trans students said they had been bullied at school.

All of these statistics point to a really serious need for a more LGBT-friendly SFUSD. Now, this isn’t to say the administration and elected board isn’t working to help our queer students – they most certainly are. But having an LGBT commissioner like Jamie Rafaela-Wolfe or Mark Murphy sitting at the table would undoubtedly have helped to turn up the heat on efforts to make sure our queer students are taken care of.


Nobody knows how to have a good time on a picket line like nurses. This week’s picket outside of Kaiser demanding higher staffing ratios and better safety precautions for nurses came complete with a full sound system pumping out danceable, yet appropriately thematic, songs like ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’ as well as one of the most decked out food tables this side of a ‘Looking’ shoot. Here’s to hoping that the good folks at CNA can party their way to a victory against the profit-flush Kaiser Corporation, which could apparently afford to spend $15 million to defeat Prop 45 and protect their right to gauge us patients but can’t afford to hire enough nurses to keep us from sitting in gurneys in hallways for days on end.

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. “So why do you want to cram the board with gays?”

    The only person advocating that perspective right now – is you Sam – with your poor understanding of rhetoric and ludicrous written assaults.

    You say: “I think that is called card-playing. Lose the labels, the cards, the identity politics and the cheap stereotypes.”

    You are surely one to talk about “card-playing and labels” because you employ them in your meandering, simplistic and dull use of rhetoric.

    Which “card” is yours “Sam”? What is your “identity politic”? How about a “token” of
    admission to play the game of criticism?

    “if we have to elect a Supe mid-term then let’s elect a Mayor mid-term as well.”

    Well duh… Sam you can do better than that now.. come on!

    But really… “tokenism”? What is this “Anthropology 101” in 1985 – surely you mean “totemism?”

    This is 2014 after all and you are not a young person in the scenario addressed by Tom – that is for certain – nor do you have young children in the school system.

    You’re lashing out at very well presented opinions with poorly thought out and dull rhetoric.

  2. Obviously there will be more supervisorial appointments than mayoral appointments, because there are eleven times as many Supes.

    That does not imply that the principle of how to do it is any different.

    The real issue here is that the BofS is usually more left-wing than the mayor. So of course progressives want Supervisors elected but mayors appointed by the Supes.

    But that’s a hunger to win power and not about democracy or fairness or justice.

  3. There have been many supervisors appointed by the Mayor and since I’ve lived here only one Mayor appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Your argument, believe it or not, is unbalanced, established false equivalences that cannot be justified. Hence it is no argument at all, merely a straw person.

  4. Lee never promised not to run. He merely stated that, at the time he was asked the question, that he had no intention to run. I believe that truly was his intent.

    He was later persuaded (“Run, Ed, Run”) by others that it was in the interests of those 800,000 people to run, and so changed his mind.

    The large margin of his victory among those of the 800,000 who voted clearly vindicated that decision.

  5. My purpose was more to ensure that readers understood the flaws in the cited argument. You are of course free to support the double standard just as i am entitled to expose it.

  6. Don’t worry, it won’t be her (though I agree that would be particularly grotesque). But Ed Lee doesn’t owe much to Nancy Pelosi. He owes a lot to Ron Conway. So it will probably be some unknown hack who can be easily controlled by Lee/Conway, in the fine tradition of such luminaries as Carmen Chu, Katy Tang, Phil Ginsburg, and Jose Cisneros.

  7. I did not promise anyone, much less 800,000 people that I would vote for David Campos and then do the opposite, did I?

  8. To prove that, you would need to show why appointing a supervisor is fundamentally different from appointing a mayor, and so far you have not done.

    Nor has Tom, and nor has anyone else. It is the weak point in the entire argument.

  9. But at the time you contributed to the Campos campaign, you presumably did intend to support him.

    You changed your mind, and that is absolutely fine. After all, Ed Lee changed his mind about running and he has proven to be a popular and successful mayor.

  10. But my point to Tom is that it is not a different conversation at all. It’s the exact same point. If only the voters should appoint a supervisor then only the voters should appoint a Mayor.

    Otherwise it smells fishy, partisan and opportunistic.

  11. Ah, so your explanation is that you supported him at one point in time but then changed your mind?

    You were for him before you were against him. Got it. Thanks.

  12. I did not comment on how the mayor should be appointed. That would be a different conversation. But you are not interested in having a substantive political conversation.

  13. I guess the use of a calendar is too difficult for you to master, huh? You are not interested in political discourse at all.

  14. No, I want to understand the position that the Mayor should not appoint a Supervisor but that the Supervisors should still appoint a Mayor.

    That strikes me as a contradictory position and I would sincerely love to hear what the argument is for that seeming double standard.

  15. Not at all, marcos. I am well aware of your criticisms of Campos, and they do not need to be re-hashed.

    But given your position on Campos, I was curious about why you would nevertheless contribute to his campaign?

    If it was made in error, I think we’d all understand.

  16. This is where you abandon any pretense of wanting to bring different ideas into the discourse and simply attack people. You do not want to have anything resembling a political conversation, you’re in complete gotcha mode trying to get me to recapitulate my grievances with Campos in order to get me to help you to diminish Campos’ already minimal position. You want no discourse of any sort, this is all tactical. Pathetic, little troll.

  17. You say you want to have a political discussion and that most folks here fear having that conversation with you because we fear your ideas. But here you go again, putting words in my mouth and jousting at the straw person of your own creation. You want no discourse of any sort, this is all tactical. Pathetic, little troll.

  18. No, what I am saying is that if you oppose the mayor appointing an interim Supervisor, then it is logical to also oppose the supervisors appointing an interim mayor.

  19. The natural choice for mayoral succession would be the President of the Board of Supervisors who is appointed by the Supervisors. Perhaps you’d prefer a vacancy until an election so that the bureaucracy of technocrats can “just get things done.”

  20. So you are arguing to repudiate the right of the Supes to appoint a Mayor when the current Mayor leaves mid-term?

    We finally agree on something.

  21. Half right, marcos. You explained your rationale for not voting for Campos. And I certainly understand that, as did a majority of those who voted.

    But that does not explain why you contributed $100 to a candidate whom you deemed not worthy of your vote.

  22. And Avalos’ measure was good on the merits, but given the political complexion of the Board of Supervisors, such a move these days requires front-loaded organizing to have any hope of putting it over the top. As it was, it appeared to be a tactical move by the progressives to hedge their losses in the wake of the AD17 election.

    What is really needed is a citywide conversation on replacing the Kaufman Charter with one that puts San Franciscans, not everyone but, front and center in our government.

  23. I simply asked you to explain your logic for contributing to a campaign that you then decline to vote for.

    That reasoning is not on record anywhere so readers here are reliant on your testimony in this matter..

  24. You could check the ethics filings for the Chiu campaign and you could read my posts here to fill you in on the details. But I don’t think you are interested in the facts.

  25. It’s not beyond speculative reason that you might have political ambition still. One senses that it is bubbling just below the surface, despite your oft-stated cynicism about contemporary local politics.

    But I only offered that contention because I was struggling otherwise to explain why you would donate to Campos and then not vote for him.

  26. marcos, you never answered my question from a few days ago, so I will ask it again.

    Why did you NOT vote for Campos after donating $100 to his campaign?

    Seems very odd. Unless of your course you were hedging your bets by also contributing to Chiu’s campaign.

    Have ambitions?

  27. Same old, same old from the Milk Club’s leaders. No call for the Supervisors to hold any public meetings about the BOS president’s election. Is anything stopping the club and the prog supes’ from holding an open meeting about this?

    I get the sense, that folks are shocked, shocked that Chiu is smartly maneuvering at City Hall about the vote to have a new president in place. Guess the progs didn’t think of what happens if Campos didn’t win the AD17 seat and how Chiu would operate if he won.

    Were Avalos and Mar and Campos ever Boy Scouts? If they were, not sure they learned to be prepared.

  28. You might live to see a left-wing mayor and a right-wing board if supervisors again. Would you still support Tom’s proposal in that scenario?

  29. Can we PLEASE start collecting signatures now????

    I’d love to shove a ballot initiative right up Ed Lee’s peehole!!!

    Forget the complicit Board of Supervisors – they are full of shit. Let’s make this OUR issue for them to squirm around.

  30. You might stand a better shot of having elections for Supes who depart mid-term if you addressed the equivalent anomaly – that the Supes get to appoint a Mayor when the Mayor departs mid-term as well.

    When Gavin moved to Sac, we had an unseemly amount of squabbling as the left desperately tried to install in Room 200 someone who would be much too left-wing for the voters to support.

    Fortunately the left failed because, as they so often do, they squabbled with each other, allowing a popular moderate to prevail. But my point is that to argue to change the one without changing the other is nothing but rank opportunism by the left.

    if we have to elect a Supe mid-term then let’s elect a Mayor mid-term as well.

    To your other point, tokenism is a repugnant reason to play identity politics with any elected or appointed official and yet here you are advocating for gay officers in SFUSD, as if that matters at all. I wouldn’t care if the entire SFUSD were black lesbians as long as they were fair and competent. So why do you want to cram the board with gays?

    I think that is called card-playing. Lose the labels, the cards, the identity politics and the cheap stereotypes.

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