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UncategorizedWatch out for Wiener: The Scott Wiener for Senate...

Watch out for Wiener: The Scott Wiener for Senate campaign is well under way

But progressives are confident that he will have a serious challenger

Puppies? for real? This pro-Scott Wiener slate tried to take out Assemblyman Phil Ting's progressive nominees
Puppies? for real? This pro-Scott Wiener slate tried to take out Assemblyman Phil Ting’s progressive nominees

By Tim Redmond

JANUARY 15, 2015 – C.W. Nevius called me yesterday. Yeah, the Chron columnist, the guy we used to mock at the Guardian with a logo that said “What the Fuck, Chuck?” But like a lot of people I have criticized over the years, Nevius realizes that politics in San Francisco is a contact sport and he doesn’t seem to take it personally.

He called to ask about my relationship with Scott Wiener. No, that’s not a gossip item; he was writing a column about the supervisor, who is not popular among progressives, and wanted to know how Wiener treats someone who doesn’t share his politics.

I can’t speak for others who clash with him, but as I told Nevius, Scott Wiener has always been cordial to me, has always returned my phone calls and texts, and has always treated me with respect. (Sometimes we even agree.) I contrast that to Assemblymember David Chiu, who stopped talking to me last spring – which was silly, unprofessional, and foolish.

Why is Nevius writing a column about Scott Wiener? I think he’s figured out that the Wiener for State Senate race is well underway. And like Mayor Ed Lee, who figured he could raise enough money early enough and line up enough political allies to scare off any credible challenger, Wiener is already working hard to establish himself as a prohibitive favorite.

That’s what the all-out effort to lock up a slate of candidates for the state Democratic Convention was about last weekend. I was at the 17th Assembly District meeting, but a similar thing happened across town, in the 19th AD, where incumbent Assemblymember Phil Ting had a mixed slate of candidates (some progressives, some moderates) and Wiener’s allies tried to knock out all the progressives.

The SF Moderates – a group that used to be known as Plan C – put together a slate literally called “Parents, Puppies, and Pride on the Westside” that cherry picked some of the moderates from Ting’s slate but left off all the progressives. I am told by reliable sources that candidates were getting phone calls from the Mods asking one question – will you support Scott Wiener for Senate? – and anyone who didn’t pledge to work for his endorsement didn’t get the nod.

The effort, I’m told, also involved the San Francisco Board of Realtors and Mary Jung, the Realtor lobbyist who is also the chair of the local Democratic Party.

In the end, the Ting slate mostly prevailed. But the effort surprised a lot of people, including Wendy Aragon, a longtime party activist who was one of Ting’s nominees. “People were being told very specifically not to vote for me,” she said. “I can’t figure out why they saw me as a threat; I’m so low on the food chain in progressive politics.”

An interesting twist on all of this: Money was clearly spent on the slates. People were bused to the AD 17 caucus. Fliers were printed. Not big money, but somebody paid for these campaigns.

And we have no idea who that was.

There’s no reporting requirement for campaign contributions to candidates for state convention delegate. There’s no disclosure at all. Somebody could have delivered an envelope full of $100 bills to one of the camps and we’d never know a thing about it. That’s a loophole worth noting.

But back to the Wiener for Senate campaign.

Wiener hasn’t filed any paperwork yet, so he’s not officially in the race. But he told me he is “very seriously considering” it, which in political language means: Yeah, he’s in.

He will probably have the support of outgoing Sen. Mark Leno; Wiener has worked on every one of Leno’s campaigns, and the senator values that kind of loyalty. He has proven he can raise money. It’s a citywide race (actually, the district includes all of SF, parts of Daly City, Colma, and parts of South San Francisco) and he’s never run citywide, but he’s clearly already started working the West side.

And we don’t know at this point who’s going to challenge him from the progressive camp.

Everyone knew a year out that the 17th Assembly District race was going to be David Campos and David Chiu. At this point, the only progressive candidate talking about running for Leno’s seat is former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, but he hasn’t committed to the race. Sup. Jane Kim is mentioned in every conversation, but she hasn’t said much of anything publicly.

Ammiano is popular among a lot of folks up in Sacramento; if he decides to run, he’ll have a lot of support from incumbent legislators who would love to see him back in the state Capitol. That will also translate into money.

He told me that he’s looking at the race, but if he doesn’t run, somebody will. “There will be a serious progressive candidate,” he said.

The left has no candidate for mayor. Progressives lost the Assembly seat, and lost the D17 delegation elections. The mayor doesn’t believe he even has to acknowledge the progressives anymore; he can just side with Ron Conway and the Realtors with no consequences.

So there has to be a strong challenger to Wiener; an unopposed Mayor Ed Lee followed by an unopposed Sen. Scott Wiener would be deeply disturbing.

Meanwhile, the Wiener campaign is rolling along.

 

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.
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  30. GAY dude aware of charade” welcoming Pride parades animosity “LGBTQ” society. Politicians
    whom LGBTQ identify with heritage politically indifferent..regarding darling Scott why impoverished policies. TIC units which Scott favored “recourse” slanderous to renters “Micro Housing” insult of not repealing fair housing. Now Scott senator going benefit working class LGBTQ society well results of Scott’s representation. You decide those within LGBTQ society supporters causing gentrification Scott doesn’t give a “DAMN” about those. Not immediate and financially circles of politically power equivalent Robert Garcia mayor of Long Beach favor REITS! Scott ideal boy of GAY joy to whom? Ask renters chosen neighborhoods losing housing due lottery of TIC policies Scott is for LGBTQ rights. A joke ratio of affluent “Ideal GAYNESS” rampant L.A,Seattle and San Francisco there example of correctness! Scott to become not GAY mayor of San FranGentrified but accomplishments for himself many don’t understand this. Ed Lee Democratic party cause urban blight Scott fight among you if Democratic machine remains. David Chui,London Breed or Amy Wise later I favor residents going decide. Whom going benefit public policies soon Scott! OUT hotel/Condo project Mid-Market and Otis St condo towers displacing, LGBTQ society forgotten affluent resident only. Ellen interviewed ask Ms.CoverUp! gotten Obama medal of Freedom politically choice. Scott going to mayor 2020. are you sure? Ratio of class A office 140 new buildings and counting REITS bought your seat!

  31. Mar is not very bright. He was even clueless and deer-in-the-headlights when he was being ridiculed on the Daly Show.

  32. It really doesn’t take much of my time to share and educate here. I am an efficient multi-tasker, and can think and type very quickly.

  33. I don’t see anything wrong with sticking Scott Penis in the Senate. He’ll just be one of many dicks and won’t be able to do much damage. It will be good to get him out of city politics where his sliminess can cause real problems.

  34. man, seriously, do you ever do anything but post spiteful comments on this blog? like, wtf? it’s amazing, you’re on some website you obviously hate just all day, every day. give your head a shake, man. unless you’re in a wheelchair all bitter, you don’t really have an excuse to dedicate this much of your life to being so bitter and pointless. right now you and internet nobody who trolls for kicks, but with time you could learn to be content, it’s possible.

  35. Jean, two things.

    First, I am not a Republican. I am a registered Democrat and have never voted GOP except for Arnie.

    Second, I would love it if others posted here more, but nobody seems to be able to refute my points and so they appear scared to contribute.They really should at least try. I don’t bite and people really only learn by engaging with others.

    I know Tim wants a vigorous debate here, so please feel free to counter my points if you feel you have a valid argument.

  36. OMG we have Republicans commenting on Republican’s comments on this website? Has EVERYONE been so turned off by Sam?

  37. It’s true that most squabbles in SF are between different groups of Democrats who would all appear like left-wing extremists to the vast majority of the country.

    And when someone who is slightly less left-wing, like Chiu or Wiener, makes a small move towards the moderate center, they clean up in city-wide and state elections.

    While people like Campos would rather be powerless but pure, for whatever that is worth.

  38. All of that is good Sam. Maybe the City can beat back some of the more ridiculous legislation it enacted in recent years like “no or less parking” for the new condos and apartment buildings.

  39. To Messrs. Redmond and Nevius: The question of how Sup. Wiener treats those whose politics he doesn’t like would well be posed to certain current and former Sunshine Ordinance Task Force members whose ouster he and Sup. Chiu orchestrated after the task force voted unanimously to find they had violated local and state open-meeting laws by ramrodding a redevelopment contract at Parkmerced with 14 pages of amendments that Chiu had slipped in at the last minute.

  40. I always thought he’d be more interested in Nancy Pelosi’s seat. Surely she can’t be planning on sticking around for another 10 years can she?

  41. I must say I’m surprised. I thought Wiener was eyeing the Mayor’s office in 2020. Maybe he doesn’t wnat to face the Machine.

  42. Avalos never had six votes because some of the more progressive candidates didn’t want him to be appointed. If that’s not in-fighting, then what is it?

    Ed Lee got ten votes in the end. Only Avalos opposed him if memory serves. Sour grapes, perhaps?

  43. Progressive supes didn’t act out their petty grievances when Ed Lee was selected as temporary mayor. It was done behind doors against the will of the supes who were wanting to see Sup. Avalos become the temporary mayor at the time.

  44. Another well-done article followed by the tiresome whining of a bought-and-paid-for troll. This is one of the few sites around where you DON’T want to waste times in the “comments” section. 🙂

  45. I think that is the inevitable result of the natural tendency of those on the left to endlessly bicker and fight with each other.

    The classic example of that is when Gavin moved on and, at that time, the progressives could have installed one of their own. Instead they acted out their petty grievances with each other and allowed Ed Lee to prevail. And now they cannot even conjure up a credible challenger to Lee.

    Leno and Ammiano are past it. Campos and Avalos have “loser” stamped on their foreheads. Daly, Peskin and Gonzalez have receded into nothingness. Mirk slapped his way into unelectability.

    Where is the leadership? The charisma?

  46. What is also important to note is that the moderates are already working on future elections many years out. The left is poorly coordinated. The effort to elected a progressive slate for the state convention was virtually non-existent. No real effort came from Tom Ammiano or David Campos.

  47. I doubt that it matters if you can muster a progressive candidate or not, because there is nobody who can beat Wiener if Wiener chooses to run. Remember this includes the west-side and the southern fringe cities which are quite conservative by SF standards. If Campos cannot even win the east-side, then nobody like him can win the Senate seat.

    And Wiener would be a very good choice. Even his enemies (or perhaps, especially his enemies) acknowledge that Wiener gets things done. His work rate is impressive. His ability to work with different groups is unmatched on the board, and he has a canny knack of getting right to the nub of the problem. Watching him demolish Supes like Kim and Campos in a debate is a veritable joy to behold. But he can also be quite lefty when he wants to, like throwing (too much IMO) money at Muni.

    Progressives are now too few in numbers to fight every battle and every election. You have to pick your battles. You’ve already wisely given up on the mayoral race. I don’t see Ammiano wanting to get branded a loser against the brightest new star in local government.

    Maybe you should support Wiener and work on getting someone you like elected as his replacement supervisor. At least that’s a race you might go well in.

  48. Better yet we have no viable candidate to replace Scott Wiener on the BofS. Ed Lee will appoint Zoe Dunning one of the the co-presidents of the Alice Moderate Democratic Club. The Alice club continues to turn out well seasoned viable candidates who are previous members of their 50+ person board. Scott was a former President. Alice was plastering the city with the images of Chiu and Wiener this last election. We on the left are incapable of cultivating pragmatic electable candidates.

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