The Mission High School auditorium is a big venue, room for more than 1,000 people, and it was packed last night for an event featuring Sup. Jane Kim, former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and BART Board candidate Lateefa Simon talking about housing and transportation policy.

It was part of the Jane Kim for state Senate campaign; Kim sent out mailers promoting the event and her team worked every possible social media angle to get people out.

Jane Kim poses with SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi, former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and DA George Gascon
Jane Kim poses with SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi, former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and DA George Gascon

Still: Huge turnout for a Tuesday night, and the crowd was pretty enthusiastic about Kim’s positions.

Before the event actually started, I got to hang out in the VIP room with the speakers, and had a chance to talk to Villaraigosa, who has been more than coy about his future plans, which a lot of pundits speculate will include a run for governor. He would be a formidable challenger to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has been trying to create an air of inevitability about his next step up.

Villaraigosa has his issues, and the teachers and public employee unions aren’t thrilled with him (for very good reasons). But Kim and a long list of local elected officials, including Public Defender Jeff Adachi, District Attorney George Gascon, Sup. Aaron Peskin, School Board Member (and Supe candidate) Sandy Fewer and BART Board candidate Lateefa Simon were on hand, posing with the former LA mayor and Kim.

Mission High auditorium was packed
Mission High auditorium was packed

I asked him if he was running for governor, and he smiled. “I will make an announcement in November,” he said. But the scuttle behind the scenes was pretty clear – everyone expects him to enter the race.

(There’s a strange thing that happens in California politics when SoCal and NoCal candidates run against each other. People in this part of the state, who know the likes of Gavin Newsom, are often desperately looking for someone else; people in LA, who know the likes of Antonia Villaraigosa, have seen his flaws for years and want an alternative. There are more people in the South; the Northerners get elected).

But I got the clear impression that Villaraigosa is going to be in the race. The only reason he would stay out is if the Hillary Clinton administration offered him a sweet cabinet post – but if he says he’s announcing in November, it tends to support a run for governor.

Kim talked at some length about housing and homelessness, and while there wasn’t anything new that she hadn’t said before, she got a rousing reception.

A small number of protesters took the Wiener line that Kim wants tents all over the city
A small number of protesters took the Wiener line that Kim wants tents all over the city

This is part of her political strategy – to use events to get the word out and increase enthusiasm. “We know we are going to be outspent,” Eric Jaye, her campaign manager, told me. “So we need 1,000 people to each tell ten people why they are supporting Jane.”

It’s something that Dean Preston, who is running against incumbent Sup. London Breed, has also been doing. He’s been holding workshops on housing issues, attracting large numbers of tenants who are worried about staying in their homes.

A fairly small number of demonstrators showed up outside, pushing Sup. Scott Wiener’s line that Kim is against housing. In fact, Wiener put out a press release saying that Kim was against affordable housing because she voted No on a sales tax increase. Actually, she voted No as part of an effort by progressives to get rid of a nasty and cynical effort by Wiener to turn homelessness into a wedge issue in November.

You can see who this is playing out: The demonstrators pitched a couple of tents on the sidewalk and complained that “tents are not homes.” Pretty much everyone agrees that tents are not part of the city’s long-term housing solution. There’s a clear split on whether the city out to roust homeless people in tents when there are not enough shelter beds for them and nowhere near enough permanent housing.

Simon made the case that transportation is a critical progressive issue, particularly when more and more San Francisco residents are being displaced and forced to move further out of town. A hotel worker in San Francisco who has been forced to move to Richmond pays $300 a month for BART fares, she said – and that’s a social justice issue.

So the campaigns are heating up even before Labor Day. And from the way Wiener’s folks are acting, it’s just going to get more ugly.


  • danimalssf

    Jane Kim: Hero of the Homeless (unless she builds a fence to keep them out of open spaces in her district).

  • jhayes362

    Saw the pic of Wiener’s tent protesters and I had to wonder: is this the best way to deploy volunteer campaign staff? Bodies are precious in any campaign. Sending them out with a positive message would seem to be their highest and best use. Perhaps Wiener doesn’t have such a message.

    • Foginacan

      Wiener’s campaign desperately wants to be aggressively innovative, but it’s so clumsy and obvious, it comes off like a pilot episode for a bad cable show about an upstart canvasing operation.

      And Kim doesn’t recognize it yet.

    • Magic Michaelson

      I think it’s pretty darn important people realize that Jane Kim is a total fraud on housing issues.

      The fact she’s taken $144,000 from developers who then are approved with no affordable housing in their projects needs to be talked about.

      • jhayes362

        I don’t know for sure, but you could probably say the same thing about Scott Wiener, who may even be relying on developer and real estate money to a greater extent than Kim. In any event, developers have the option of contributing to the city’s affordable housing fund in lieu of including affordable housing in their developments.

        Might this have been the case here, or did developers supporting Kim get a pass on the requirement? If so, how did this happen?

        • Magic Michaelson

          I believe it’s a mix. But anyone who knows anything about the in lieu fee knows that it isn’t high enough to actually allow any affordable housing to get built; it’s pretty much just a payout to the city that maybe possibly could someday be used for affordable housing if the opportunity arises.

          The fact she has allowed so many projects to get away with this is shameful. And she’s opposed outright affordable housing projects for no good reason too. In general, she just doesn’t seem to care about affordable housing beyond her ability to get a good soundbite.

          • jhayes362

            You’re talking in vague generalities. No names of projects. No names of developers. Nothing about Wiener’s record on this matter. For example, name “outright affordable housing projects” that Kim opposed and Wiener supported and where these positions were demonstrated.

            If this was before the Board of Supervisors what was the vote? Was Kim the lone holdout or was it a 6-5 vote, an indication that it was a close issue on which the city, probably, is closely divided.

            Absent some more detail here, this is a fruitless and stupid discussion.

  • chris12bb

    Jane Kim has offered no solution to the homeless beyond offering SF up as a campsite. But unlike other campsites you do not have to register at the gate. Allowing people to camp is not a solution for the campers or the residence of Frisco.
    She has not offered a solution on Transportation or shown any thought to Education despite being on the Board of Education.
    Yet another self serving lawyer who’s next step is on the backs of the working class. Public service should be just that a service to the public. Not expect the public to be a service to her career.
    Don’t vote Kim another expense on the working class.

  • curiousKulak

    $300/mth in transit costs is considerable, but not uncommon, and certainly cheaper than a car (where the average parking fee alone might be close to $300!). And yet, Richmond rent is cheaper, and probably more than a $300 difference.

    Or not. I’ve heard people (family) weigh the options of EBay vs Outer Sunset (BART vs Muni) along with the savings in rent (or not). Getting something more than marginally as expensive is difficult as that is the calculus a lot of people are doing. Add in the time spent, and it often makes more sense to suck it up and live here – where they work – however expensive.

    Individual choices. Yet the current rent control regime doesn’t help, by keeping people here with cheap costs when they have little or no other reason to be here. Maybe adjustments should be made that factor in someone’s employment (or lack thereof) in distributing the inevitable subsidy that rent control becomes. Then maybe teachers and service workers wouldn’t have to make such crazy, polluting commutes. Trouble is that future employees don’t currently vote, and the pols are all about the current election cycle – Jane Kim being one.

  • SnapsMcKenzie

    Tim attended a rally for Jane Kim and was impressed her supporters were also at the rally.

  • Porfirio666

    The teachers union in L.A. dislikes Villaraigosa because he supports charter schools.

    Charter schools are anti-union.

  • Jon Schwark

    We also found out yesterday that Kim has taken $144,000 in donations from “Luxury” (market rate) condo developers. This is what it takes to get much needed housing built under the Peskin-Kim pay to play system. Somehow this isn’t mentioned anywhere in your story.

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  • Porfirio666

    Matier & Ross have always been gossip-mongers.

    They spilled a lot of ink on Chris Daly’s allegations that Mayor Gavin N. was a coke abuser.

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