Two of the most conservative, pro-landlord members of the Democratic County Central Committee want to redo the endorsements vote in District 11 in an effort to find a narrow majority in favor of Ahsha Safai.
The move by former chair (and professional real estate lobbyist) Mary Jung and Fiona Ma, a member of the state Board of Equalization, seeks to have the DCCC overturn its decision last month to stay out of the D11 race.
That “no endorsement” vote was a victory for progressive Kimberly Alvarenga, who was able to block Safai from getting the nod even though he had the backing of all of the “ex officio” members – the people who, like Ma, are state or federal elected officials who live in San Francisco.
It’s not unprecedented to reopen an endorsement – the DCCC decided at its last meeting to endorse Victor Hwang along with Paul Henderson for judge; earlier in the year, the panel, with different members, had voted only for Henderson.
But this one is fascinating, because in the last round, the vote was 15-15, a deadlock that left the committee with no decision. The proxy who represents Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who would have been the swing vote, wasn’t at the meeting.
That’s unusual – if one designated proxy can’t make a meeting, the ex officios can send someone else. It was almost as if Pelosi didn’t want to get in the middle of this one – she has close ties with SEIU nationally, and Alvarenga is the political director of SEIU Local 1021—but the people Pelosi typically sides with are with Safai.
So either Safai’s team thinks Pelosi is going to show up and vote with him – or they think someone else will flip.
Let’s look at what’s really going on here: The real estate industry is behind Safai. The big interests that support the mayor and his agenda are raising and spending money in D11, because they want to be sure that the progressives don’t have a six-vote majority.
If you don’t believe me, check out the campaign filings. Just about every major real-estate interest, developer, landlord lawyer, and lobbyist for the industry has given money to Safai. The people making money off the real-estate boom, and the resulting displacement of tenants, think Safai is going to be their guy at the board.
I’m not sure how his allies think they are going to change the votes of any of the 15 who went with either Alvarenga or NE – it would be a pretty serious embarrassment for any of the people elected as part of the Reform Slate to suddenly change their positions. And it would indicate that somebody got to somebody – because the issues haven’t changed. Neither Alvarenga nor Safai has changed. The membership of the DCCC hasn’t changed. The only thing that’s going on is that the Safai people are clearly twisting arms and hoping they can change just one vote.
Count on a really heated meeting. It starts at 7pm on Wed/28 in the basement of the State Building, 455 Golden Gate.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I do some freelance work for SEIU 1021 editing the local’s quarterly magazine. I also work for USF as an adjunct faculty member and for SF State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Program. In the unlikely event that anyone else offers me any work, I will be happy to share.