Packed room shows unhappiness with the mayor’s agenda
By Tim Redmond
MAY 20, 2015 – The room was packed, and it seemed as if most of progressive San Francisco was on hand as former Sup. Aaron Peskin formally kicked off his campaign for District Three supervisor last night.
There were union leaders, environmental leaders, Sups. David Campos and John Avalos, former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Community College Board President Rafael Mandelman … and from the energy in the room, you got a sense that there’s a deep unhappiness with the direction of Ed Lee’s San Francisco.
There are political events where the candidate talks about how great he or she is, and Peskin did a little of that, relating his accomplishments as a neighborhood activist, two-term supervisor and chair of the local Democratic Party.
And many of the people at Bitters, Bock & Rye had fond memories of Sup. Peskin, and support his political future.
But overall, the people I talked to were thinking bigger, thinking about the crisis that is San Francisco today, and looking at Peskin as a strong alternative to the Lee Administration and its agenda.
Sandra Lee Fewer, a member of the SF School Board, talked about the pressures on Chinatown and the housing crisis, and announced: “I am throwing down for Aaron Peskin.”
“This November is when we put a stick in the ground — or when we say, what have we done?” she noted.
She made a veiled reference to the tech crowd taking over the neighborhoods when she said that San Franciscans “can eat a great burrito, but we also have to care about the people who make the burritos.”
Ammiano said that the city now has “a basically Republican board.”
Then Peskin took the mic, and talked about the lack of affordability in the city, the huge numbers of evictions, and the overall sense that the San Francisco many of us have come to love is in a state of free fall. “Like the fires that ravaged this city 100 years ago … it is burning out of control,” he said.
“It’s not about getting me back in City Hall. It’s about getting you back in City Hall.”
I haven’t seen much of a grassroots effort for incumbent Julie Christensen. But she’s already raising tons of money from the mayor’s friends and allies – and I can guarantee that Ron Conway will create an independent expenditure committee to attack Peskin.
So this single district race, in which fewer than ten percent of San Francisco voters will have a change to cast ballots, will be a test of the popularity and agenda of a mayor who has no strong opposition – but whose agenda and positions on issues are making a growing segment of the city unhappy.
Which is why money and energy from across this town will be focused on District Three in November.