More than 70 community leaders from the Mission and Excelsior showed up to tell the local Democratic Party not to make a last-minute change and endorse a real-estate backed candidate in D11.

The DCCC had already voted on “no endorsement” for that district. The two candidates running for Supervisor are Asha Safai and Kimberly Alvarenga. Last month’s meeting saw Safai’s supporters ask the DCCC to endorse him — but he failed on a 15-15 vote.

During the meeting tonight, speakers from SEIU, CNA, Latino Democratic Club and Harvey Milk Democratic Club strongly supported Alvarenga and demanded that the DCCC stick to the original vote.

DCCC Chair Cindy Wu listens to members debate on possible revote. Photo by Sana Saleem
DCCC Chair Cindy Wu listens to members debate on possible revote. Photo by Sana Saleem

As it does, the discussion became really heated when Kat Anderson (Proxy for Fiona Ma), Mary Jung and Tom Hsieh insisted that the chair, Cindy Wu, was being biased because she questioned whether the revote should be on the agenda. Supervisor David Campos asked that members not resort to mansplaining.

The example of  Paul Henderson, who was previously one of the endorsed candidates for the judge’s race was frequently brought up. In Henderson’s case the panel, which earlier (with different members) voted to endorse Henderson, a mayoral staffer, for judge, agreed to add a dual endorsement for Victor Hwang. Supervisor Malia Cohen implored that the panel go for a dual endorsement in this instance as well.

Gabriel Medina, Secretary of the Latino Democratic Club, warned the committee they were at risk of sending a very bad message to the Latino community of San Francisco: “We’ve had our eye on the DCCC. If you open this vote the message is loud and clear: The DCCC has a problem with Latinos in San Francisco”

However, Sup. David Campos had the last say when he pointed out a possible legal issue in how the request was phrased. According to Sup. Campos, the request made by Ma wasn’t phrased in the correct manner and didn’t include the term “reconsider.” The public needs to be notified in advance of a reconsideration, he said, and failure to give that notice is a violation of the state’s open meetings law.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin was quick to pounce and reminded the audience that with sufficient members of the Board of Supervisors (or their representatives) present that they would be in breach of the Brown Act (the state’s law requiring decisions taken by public officials to be made in open session, after proper notice), if they were to move forward with this proposal.

An attempt to overrule that lost, 15-13, with two abstentions.

The lead-up to Campos’ clever legal wrangling was fierce.

Campos instead asked for a motion to examine the legality of the request which was passed by the panel.

The re-vote may be considered in the next meeting — but that won’t be until next month, at which point any change will be too late.

The power of the DCCC endorsement is the inclusion of an endorsed candidate’s name on the Democratic Party slate card, which will have been finished and mailed out long before the October meeting.

So it appears that the narrow majority against endorsing Safai held, which is a huge victory for Alvarenga.