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UncategorizedPeskin announces run as former mayoral ally slams Ed...

Peskin announces run as former mayoral ally slams Ed Lee and his D3 appointee

Rose Pak, endorsing Aaron Peskin, calls the mayor “isolated” and says all he cares about is tech money as D3 campaign moves into full gear

Peskin launches an effort to recapture D3
Peskin launches an effort to recapture D3

By Tim Redmond

MARCH 30, 2015 – Former Sup. Aaron Peskin launched his campaign to reclaim his old District 3 seat today, showcasing a broad range or supporters including Rose Pak, the Chinatown activist and power broker who has clashed with Peskin repeatedly in the past – but who told me today she is bitterly angry with the way Mayor Ed Lee is behaving in office.

The formal announcement, which everyone had been expecting, kicks of what is certain to be a bruising campaign that will showcase the growing schism in the Lee Administration.

Lee’s Chinatown allies, who helped put him in office, wanted Planning Commission Member Cindy Wu to take the D3 seat vacated when David Chiu moved to the state Assembly. Tech powerhouse Ron Conway vetoed that choice, saying Wu wasn’t pliant enough on Airbnb, and the mayor wound up with Julie Christensen.

Now he has to prove his hand-picked supe, who is unpopular with his old base, can get re-elected – and his record on that isn’t good. His first supervisorial appointment, Christina Olague, was defeated by London Breed in D5 (after she stood up to the mayor and he turned against her), and his appointment to the Community College Board, Rodrigo Santos, lost not once but twice at the ballot.

And while Lee is personally popular, polls consistently show that the voters are unhappy with the direction the city is going, particularly on housing, development, and land-use – all critical issues in D3, and all areas where Peskin has more than 20 years of experience.

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Rose Pak, who helped put Ed Lee in office, told reporters he is "isolated" and listens only to tech money
Rose Pak, who helped put Ed Lee in office, told reporters he is “isolated” and listens only to tech money

Peskin chose the site of the Lee family eviction to hold his first formal campaign event – and Mrs. Lee joined him. “It was not my plan to run again for office,” he said. “But small businesses, artists, tenants, even legacy businesses are being forced out of town. … Last year alone, 2,000 tenants were evicted. Of 14,480 housing units approved or in the pipeline for construction, only 839 are afford able to the middle class, and that’s less than six percent.

“The facts are stunning and frightening.”

It was a stark comparison to the statements Christensen made in a profile in the Examiner Sunday. Not once in the interview did she use the word “crisis” to discuss the housing situation. Not once did she show any concern that the fabric of the city was being torn apart. She just talked about “unity.”

Peskin, on the other hand, spoke of “a time of unprecedented crisis,” and said he wants to mandate that all new housing is at least one-third affordable and fix the flawed Airbnb legislation that is allowing short-term rental platforms to “illegally steal affordable housing.”

There were no elected officials at the event, which would normally signal that a candidate with so many connections at City Hall is in trouble. But that was by design – the kickoff was Aaron Peskin of old, the neighborhood activist and defender, not Aaron Peskin the powerful politician. He will eventually wind up with a long list of current and former elected officials and organizations.

He was also careful not to trash Lee or Christensen. “I’ve known Ed Lee for many years, and I know we can work together,” he told reporters. That’s a positive campaign approach that will be hard to maintain down the stretch: It’s absolutely certain that Conway will raise money (or just write a check) for an expensive independent-expenditure campaign to trash Peskin.

But while you can call him “bombastic” (as the Chron did today), he’s been in office too long for anyone to find any dirt that would come as a surprise to any constituent. At some point, though, the IE will stretch and try to smear him – and at some point, he will have to respond.

Today, though, all upbeat, all about policy, all good vibes from Aaron. Not so much from Rose Pak.

A bunch of us talked to Pak after the event, and she was, as always, not shy with her opinions. I asked her if she had read the Examiner story, in which Christensen says she’s the only person qualified for the job. “What makes her qualified?” Pak asked. “She is of the upper class and we are of the lower class.”

I told her that a lot of us were hearing that the mayor has abandoned his former allies (including Pak) and shifted his allegiance over to Conway and the Technorati. “That’s 100 percent true,” she said. “It’s all about the tech people. He’s so isolated now. I don’t think he ever takes a break to think about where he came from.”

More: “How do you find equity and fairness here? It’s obscene when someone can write a personal check for $500,000 and swing an Assembly race.

Now let us remember: Rose Pak is not a foe of wealth or development. She’s been connected to a lot of big-money projects, including some that Peskin fought, and she said she is still going to support Lee for mayor because “he is running unopposed, and he’s going to be the next mayor.”

But her remarks are not in any way unique. All across the tenant and community bases where Ed Lee once had, if not support at least acquiescence, people are furious and demanding change.

I was riding the 49 bus back to Bernal Heights after the event, and talking with a Peskin supporter about the event, and a middle-aged African-American man sat next to me, introduced himself, and told me that he hadn’t know the former D3 supe was back in the game.

“But that’s my district,” he said, “and I’ll be voting for him. This mayor is just awful. I’ve lived in my apartment for more than 20 years, and I’m just waiting for the eviction notice to show up any day. We just can’t take it anymore.”

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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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  8. Go Aaron. Conway isn’t the only person that can write large campaign checks. Get ready for November. Julie out….Aaron in. And that’s a fact.

  9. LOL fresh ideas. Sell off SF pc by pc to the highest bidder. Thats what Lee is doing.

    3 different tax breaks for tech companies and their employees and he’s still sticking to the 30,000 affordable units BS he’s been peddling for months. Even people on his own staff admit that number is not enough, tricks of accounting and flat out unattainable by his current pace.

    I dont like Pac but Lee has moved SF in an unsustainable direction all for the $$$$

  10. Just a reminder is all. As long as the progs keep doing the exact same things with the exact same people, there is little chance of a different outcome than previously found – no matter the excuses.

  11. You’re right, Hope. Peskin dropped the ball on finding a good replacement to carry on the legacy of his work (which was otherwise largely good). But was that his responsibility alone? I think it can be said that the whole progressive movement dropped the ball. Nobody’s perfect, Hope. But we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. At least Peskin was an astute legislator, and someone who progressives could talk to and expect a reasonable chance that he’d listen.

  12. How quickly you forget just exactly who brought you the shape-shifting David Chiu. That’s right, it was the shape-shifting Aaron Peskin himself. Is SF now in for more of the same except now with the power hungry Rose Pak in tow?

  13. Peskin, and his ilk (Rose Pak esp.) are yesterday’s Progs with yesterdays bad ideas. I like Julie, but what I really would like to see is a new crop of young Pols with fresh ideas and not these same, tired old re-treads, pushing the same 80’s agenda. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

  14. If it will make you feel better, we’ll place doilies on the doors of those getting evicted or priced out of their homes.

  15. Civility is less important than what they’re actually working for. Let’s not be hypocrites about this -the right doesn’t care about civility either. That London Breed’s got quite a potty-mouth, but nobody ever calls her on it, because she’s doing the bidding of her corporate backers.

  16. Listen, what matters most to me are values. I like Peskin’s. Sure, I’m with you: some politicians could learn a thing or two about “nonviolent communication”. I took classes in that, and am glad I did. When you say things in a dissing manner, folks get defensive and it can create resentment where you don’t want it. But, I also see through the bluster to what is underlying it, and that is what is most important. Conversely, a little outrage can be called for sometimes. But language is powerful. Best to know how to use it well.
    The current climate calls for someone willing to cut through the crap (pardon my language). Money corrupts so bad–and that corruption comes in many forms. It’s sickening! So I am super glad a seasoned politician is back in the ring who gives a damn about THAT.

  17. Eric Mar has definitely made some bad choices… 8 Wash, the Mirkarimi vote… and I’m not a big fan of his brand of nanny-state liberalism generally. He certainly seems to be from the wing of liberals who values safety over individual liberty. That’s why I liked Jake better. He wasn’t as strongly progressive as I’d like, but he was probably more from the same wing of progressivism as I am. Still, Mar was miles better than the other guy… the chinless wonder who was out to destroy rent control. In any case, Mar’s termed out. I wouldn’t mind Jake in there for another couple terms.

  18. Daniele, are you seeking a return to the bad old days of a total lack of civility, manners and respect at City Hall? Because that is what we had when Peskin and Daly were on the board.

    We’ve made a lot of progress in terms of our politicians adopting a business-like and mature interaction. Getting Peskin back would throw that into reverse. He’s like a petulant child.

  19. Pier 70 went to voters and won handily, so maybe not all height limits are apple pie. Perhaps apple strudel with potato dough — very tasty most of the time, but not with every single meal.

  20. Height limits on the waterfront (less than 1% of the buildable area of SF) are apple pie to San Franciscans. We voted to enact this in the 1980s. Voters affirmed that in 2013 (8 Washington) and 2014 (prop b).

    If we were in a reasonable environment, I’d agree that blanket policy is bad policy. But we have episodic variances, no real planning, corruption of politicians and developers who are not required to play by the rules.

  21. And that’s what’s frustrating, because even if I disagree with SF progressives’ positions on some local issues, there’s a definite need for more investigative journalism around here. But I don’t trust Tim’s work because I see far too many of these little instances of BS littered all over it.

  22. Why? Height limits are not kittens and apple pie. It’s pretty reasonable not to have a blanket policy on them.

  23. Oh please. So the Chron writes that Lee is getting pressure so from that you can conclude that Ron Conway specifically vetoed Cindy Wu because of Airbnb. And Tim can print it as a fact.

    Just like when Christensen says that she couldn’t find people who were qualified and interested in being Supervisor and that gives Tim the right to print that Christensen says that she is the only person qualified for the job.

    This is why you guys lose and whine and lose and play the victim over and over again. Because you like it when Tim makes up bedtime stories about boogeymen for you and you get to live in your little make believe world while the other side is reality based and kicks your butt every time.

  24. Unbelievable is a good word for Tim.

    I used to have a real problem with it in the SFBG days because it had a real imprint and pretty good traffic and people could stumble upon Tim’s stuff and assume it to be accurate. Nowadays I still think it is outrageous but essentially harmless. I’m sure the people at City Hall read it for yuks.

  25. Generalizations does not make truth, I can state Jesus Christ was a blond haired Mongol dwarf does not mean it’s true. Or a reliable source said the moon is made of green cheese does make it true.
    Or the SF Chron said …….. does not make it true.
    Tim’s generalities does not make his words true.

  26. The links to previous 48 Hills articles on the Wu/Christensen thing are below the main article. The Chron quote (“S.F. political insiders jockey for David Chiu’s seat, power”, Nov. 10, 2014) is “Lee is being pressured by some in his inner circle to look at other candidates considered more moderate or business-friendly. They include Julie Christensen…” So who else do you think was pressuring Lee? Do you think AirBnB had nothing to do with it?

  27. >”If that’s the worst outrage Tim has committed, he’s a better human being than me.”

    It isn’t even Tim’s worst outrage in this article.

    He made the wild assertion that Ron Conway vetoed Cindy Wu because of her attitude towards Airbnb. When asked, he was unable to provide any corroboration or tell us how he knew that.

    Tim doesn’t help you guys at all.

  28. What I meant was, if she’d said “I couldn’t find any people who were qualified to do it,” that would seem arrogant. Anyway, it’s nitpicky. I am not going to mind exactly what Redmond asked Pak, especially since both had read the article and know exactly what was being talked about. If that’s the worst outrage Tim has committed, he’s a better human being than me.

  29. No, my issue isn’t arrogance; it is a that a candidate who is a chickenshit (see Mike Pence and yesterday’s interview) and cannot even say if she supports height limits on the waterfront or not, a waterfront that is in HER/OUR district, is not fit for office.

  30. Greg, I thought you were a big fan of Eric Mar?

    You know, the guy who voted for Ed Lee as mayor, the Twitter tax break and 8-Wash.

  31. That’s the best you can do? Pak is entitled to her opinion. Tim is still consciously misquoting, and your herring is still red.

  32. What arrogance?

    ““I don’t think anyone in City Hall wants to see seniors evicted from their homes or see especially our lower-class and even our middle-class neighbors have to move out of The City.”

    “The supervisor doesn’t know jack shit about Chinatown,” Pak told The San Francisco Examiner. “She addresses us as lower class. What sensitivity would she have?”

  33. You don’t get it, Jon. Anything to the left must be seen at the most macro level possible, and always with favorable assumptions.

  34. “It presents Christensen as more arrogant than she presented herself, sure. ”

    It does indeed, and that was the goal of Tim’s misrepresentation, which he’s now done multiple times despite being called on it. Honestly, who do you think is being fooled here? Come on now.

  35. Unless Christensen moves to the left, affirms height limits on the waterfront, discusses strategies should the court rule against prop b, I won’t consider voting for her.

  36. You don’t understand the rules. Anyone or anything that is center or left gets examined with a microscope to reveal any defect, regardless if that defect changes the context or intent.

    Conversely, anything to the right, especially when it comes to fleecing people must be seen at the most macro level possible, and always with favorable assumptions.

  37. Good news. Peskin’s more of a dealmaker than a staunch progressive, but he does keep the good of the city in mind rather than just making a deal for the sake of elevating his own clout like Chiu.
    Now if we can just convince Jake to make a run for D1…

  38. Tim removed the “and willing” and then he added the “I’m the only person qualified” thing. She never said that.

    And then Tim goes on to predict that the other side will engage in smear campaigns.

  39. I don’t see it as misleading (and how can you tell it’s ‘with specific intention to mislead’?) It presents Christensen as more arrogant than she presented herself, sure. But in practical terms, of course this is restricted to people who are willing to take the job. In this context, he asks Pak about it; both of them have read the article, and both of them, like everyone else, know that there’s more than one person in the world who is qualified be a district supervisor. Pak answers as to whether Christensen is qualified or not, regardless of whether others are.

  40. Actually, you are way behind here. I have reported this before, numerous very good sources have confirmed it, and other media have reported the same thing, which has never been denied. I wish I could make this stuff up

  41. By removing the “and willing” he changed the meaning of the quote, with the intent to mislead.

  42. “In a year of looking, I couldn’t find people that were both qualified and willing to do it” is the quote. Looks close enough to me.

  43. Interesting that Redmond refers to Olague losing her election as a sign of dis-satisfaction with Ed Lee when the truth is that it was Olague’s ill-considered vote to retain Mirk as Sheriff, in opposition to Ed Lee, that directly led to her loss.

    But who can reasonably not admit to a wry smile at the idea of Tim and Rose Pak getting into bed together and giving birth to a bastard white-bearded cross between Bilbo Baggins and a sawn-off Merlin the Magic Marauder?

  44. “I asked her if she had read the Examiner story, in which Christensen says she’s the only person qualified for the job.”

    So how many times are you going to repeat this particular lie, Tim? You stated in an earlier post here. Multiple commenters pointed out the untruth of it. You know very well it’s a lie.

  45. Re: “Tech powerhouse Ron Conway vetoed that choice, saying Wu wasn’t pliant enough on Airbnb”

    Can you imagine if a real journalist made a powerful claim like that without offering a shred of evidence or any type of source?

    I mean, think about it. How would Tim know that Ron Conway vetoed Cindy Wu because she “wasn’t pliant enough on Airbnb”? Did Conway tell him? Did the Mayor?

    Creativity is a wonderful thing but there is a time and a place for everything.

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