Leno, Kim backers adopting ranked-choice voting strategy

Progressives appear united in endorsing both as Leno holds a festive kickoff featuring a diverse and energetic crowd

The established progressive leaders and organizations in San Francisco appear to be leaning toward dual endorsements of Mark Leno and Sup. Jane Kim for mayor.

The Tenants Union endorsed both. The Harvey Milk Club is moving in that direction. Sup. Hillary Ronen has endorsed both.

Mark Leno’s kickoff featured Sophie Maxwell, Sandra Lee Fewer, Aaron Peskin, Fiona Ma, Phil Ting, Alex Randolph, Hillary Ronen, and John Rizzo, flanked by lion dancers

Saturday at Leno’s campaign kickoff, a long list of progressives, including Ronen, Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer, Sup. Aaron Peskin, and D8 candidate Rafael Mandelman, were on hand and spoke in favor of Leno.

They were joined by former Sup. Sophie Maxwell, Rudy Corpus Jr. of United Playaz, and Lt. Yulanda Williams, president of Officers for Justice.

Assemblymember Phil Ting and Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma were also speakers.

I suspect that if Kim has a similar event, some of the same people will be there.

Hillary Ronen said Leno would shake up City Hall

Ronen, who has been the most outspoken person at City Hall about the need for a dramatic change from the policies of former Mayor Ed Lee, set the tone for the way Leno is framing his candidacy:

“At this critical point in SF history, he’s going to shake shit up,” she said. She called for a mayor who would change “the past 22 years of the same-old, same-old.”

Fewer gave a firebrand speech, talking about how “the very essence and soul of who we are is at stake. … We have had enough. It’s time to regulate greed.”

Rudy Corpus Jr. of United Playaz said he was throwing down for Leno

Peskin said “Mark Leno is the change we so badly need.”

So the progressives and the people who are deeply dissatisfied with the direction of San Francisco are looking at a ranked-choice voting strategy that focuses on Leno and Kim as the best alternative to the prospect of Mayor London Breed, who was closely aligned with Lee and has the support of Lee’s major backers, including former Mayor Willie Brown.

Not clear what happens with Position Three on the ballot. The Teacher’s Union gave Breed the bronze medal on the slate. The Tenants Union endorsed only two.

The left is not entirely united on this strategy: Progressive icon Tom Ammiano is endorsing only Kim, as are former Supes John Avalos and Matt Gonzalez.

The RCV strategy of two progressives running together worked in Oakland, when Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan essentially ran together against Don Perata. Don was the establishment candidate, the one with the power structure behind him. Thanks to the RCV strategy, in which pretty much everyone who voted for Quan put Kaplan second and everyone who voted for Kaplan put Quan second. Perata won the initial round with 40,000 votes to Quan’s 29,000, but when they ran the RCV counts, Quan passed him and won.

As Election Day gets closer, it’s also possible that the strategy may evolve, based on who has a better chance of winning. If Kim looks like she’s in the lead, more people may put her as number one; if Leno holds that position, he may get more first-place votes.

At any rate, this is the first time a mayor’s race could be decided by two candidates running an RCV strategy. If Breed winds up winning, there will be a lot of talk in a lot of circles about getting rid of RCV and returning to the old system of runoffs.


  1. Yes I understand. There’s the argument the lib vote would spilt, but I don’t want to argue that.

    The current is just so horrible for the people of the world that it’s hard not to look at hypotheticals. This whole mess can be framed back much further than 2000, and still be argued pretty convincingly on a hypothetical level. If Robert Kennedy wasn’t shot ….

  2. Sigh, this again.

    If one insists on framing third-party votes in terms of which of the top two parties they “really” belong to, then take into account that Gary Johnson took more votes from Trump than Jill Stein took from Clinton, tipping more states towards Clinton than towards Trump. If one’s insistence only counts for Greens and somehow Libertoonians get a pass to vote however they want, well that’s pretty untenable.

    Also, past support for Green candidates is not tantamount to support for Stein or her faction in 2016.

    Also, also, “screwed us again” seems to refer to a certain vote count in 2000 that was debunked by a media recount in 2001.

  3. Spec’s my good man,

    I went to Spec’s every Friday night for many moons.

    Then, came the tourists …

    Or, as Mark Knopler sang it …


    Best friends and I went there last Friday and it wasn’t that crowded for first time in forever.

    Second choice always Cafe Tivoli.

    I sat there once a couple of tables from Keith Richards who’d come to see the Punk bands and do some Slam Dancing.

    I danced away many a night when I was able at Grant and Green when the diet pills were cheap and plentiful.

    Did many an evening on the stretch flying on acid.

    Of course, for really down home funk it was always the Saloon and their blues bands.

    What was the name of the hat shop where everyone bought their first decent berret after they’d earned them?

    You could get one of those stove-pipe like antique London cop’s things …

    The whole community cried when they were forced out.

    Anytime on Trieste or North Beach my friend.

    Alioto for Mayor!


  4. h.,

    You go to Trieste? Want to go with me?

    The front door thumb latch is still sticky, the bathroom exhaust fan still purrs, and the storage loft is still the best place to take naps. Not much has changed.

    Paul Kanter didn’t hang out there until he was after my sister, Taura. Once he started coming he never left. Where did he sit? If you guessed smack on the corner of Grant / Vallejo then you’d be right. Same as Kerouac.

    Did you ever go to the Lost and Found saloon and see Blue sing? Did you ever get ‘lobotomized’ with Kantner? Did you ever see Fabio perform on Saturday? Did you ever see Don Gianni bustle in and out all day long?

    When I was a drug addled mess in this town, the Trieste family (Paul, Ida, my former brother-in-law Alex, etc…) looked out for me. Luckily I made it out from under that, but I’ll never forget.

    What are your memories from the corner?


  5. Rosh,

    Good to hear from you. Missed you at the gathering of Marshall School Parents in support of 21 year veteran 1st grade techer Andres Tobar.

    You think a street intersection .,.

    Grant and Vallejo

    is a … “national and historic treasure”


    No one’s talking about blocking Grants Street.

    Which is, to me … a real treasure.

    It’s making the single block of Vallejo (?) a public piazza.

    Fire trucks can still get through.

    It just will not be a thoroughfare for cars.

    Creating a Huge front yard for Trieste atween them and the church and Angela’s Nuova Porziuncola …


    Alioto for Mayor!!

    Go Giants!


  6. That it was who they first chose. There was no way they would get a progressive in as mayor. Not with six moderates on the board. They had to have six votes, and without choosing someone acceptable to at least some of the so-called moderates, there would have been a deadlock and Breed would have held two offices, which should be illegal, and would certainly be improper.

  7. A lot of the problem with Conway is his viciousness. He will go after anyone who crosses him, without mercy. He does not tolerate dissent from his will.

  8. Peskin upset me with his recent lame-o recusal on the Indigenous People’s day vote. Is Columbus celebrated because he was Italian? No.

    I’ve known Aaron in passing for a long time (my oldest sister worked at Trieste 25-30 years ago). I do believe he’s looking out for all of us who view the intersection of Grant and Vallejo as a national historic treasure.

    Just say no to piazzas.

  9. Never heard of her, I would imagine few SFers have. “Top choice of progressives” should mean what? Like I said, the entirety of this episode is viewed through a racial prism.

  10. Democrats are already almost indistinguishable from many Republicans when it comes to business issues anyhow. They pay lip service to the eviscerated middle class and the “union support” they offer is to the few remaining unions – namely public employees.

  11. Rosh,

    It’s been a power struggle for over a hundred years.

    I don’t know the politics of the Trieste family and their business.

    Pardon me if I doubt that “Basically everyone at Trieste says no to the piazza.”

    Hard to believe anyone would oppose the addition of a little park at their front door.

    The current state of the fight is Aaron vs. Angela.

    I like them both very much but (to me) Angela’s about power and love and Aaron’s all about power and territory.

    What did you think when Peskin put together a group of Telegraph Hill dwellers at the BOS in an attempt to drive out the …

    Parrots of Telegraph Hill?

    His wife hates their noise.

    He got the guy who wrote the book on the birds to come out and condemn them.

    One little old lady from Peskin’s crew wore an SFPD ball cap while she swatted at birds in Sue Bierman Park while the tourists were feeding them.

    The parrots beat him and they didn’t even have a lawyer.

    Ask George Lucas who’s gonna win.

    Alioto for Mayor!

    And, of course …

    Go Giants!


  12. The Leno and Kim surrogates will have to start snapping at each other at some point. Because only one of these progressives can become mayor. If Rose Pak were still alive, she’s swing her big swinging dick toward whichever of the two fawned over her the most and win the election.

  13. I’ve read the article and the comments and if I understand correctly and the election was today, I should select – #1 Kim, #2 Leno, and #3 Alioto. Is this correct?

  14. It’s funny that you mention that, as London Breed is also doing a fundraiser with Silicon Valley’s Wade Randlett in March. Randlett is anti-union, on record for wanting to move Democrats to the right on business issues, and champions flooding campaigns with lots of high-tech money.

  15. If it was actually about race, then why was it that a black female, Naomi Kelly, was the top choice of the progressives on the board to be the caretaker Mayor, and was personally asked by Jane Kim if she was willing to take on the job? (Kim was also nominated herself, but chose not to take it on, as she felt that nobody running should have the position. That left only one person who could get enough votes and who wanted the job, unfortunately.

  16. Never mind that a black female, Naomi Kelly, was the top choice of the progressives to be a caretaker Mayor, and was personally asked by Jane Kim if she was willing to take on the job. Kim was also nominated herself, but chose not to, as she felt that nobody running should have the position.

    Oh, but I guess you would only know that if you actually had bothered to educate yourself by watching the proceedings of the meeting.

  17. Basically everyone at Trieste says no to the piazza. Fabio and Angela have zero support there. The whole thing has regressed into a power struggle.

    I’ve got Ida’s back 110%. She’s going to pull out all the wins at Grant and Vallejo.

  18. Only by those who are looking to obfuscate the facts. Two factors, and only two factors, led to her not being allowed to continue as Acting Mayor. The first was her improper attempts to hold on to her Supervisor’s seat (and the Presidency of the Board of Supervisors while continuing to be Acting Mayor) and here connection to Ron Conway. The bottom line was, it takes six votes to be named Interim Mayor. There are five members of the Board that are considered Progressive, and six that are considered the so-called Moderates. Breed could not vote for herself. She was counting on a 5-5 split allowing her to circumvent the clear intention of the law, that the President of the Board become Acting Mayor (a temporary position) until an Interim Mayor is appointed. The Interim Mayor can be anyone who meets the qualifications for office, but they must have six votes. It was never intended that the President of the Board would be able to hold on to two offices at the same time. That is a conflict of interest. But Breed did not want to lose her seat if she is not elected mayor. She was outsmarted by the progressives, who persuaded Farrell, who was not happy with Breed’s scheme, and Sheehy, who was also unhappy with Breed’s power grab, to allow them to appoint Farrell as Interim Mayor. I suspect that Ron Conway’s heavy handed threat that any moderate who opposed Breed would feel his wrath may have contributed. It was well known that Farrell wanted to run, as did Tang. I kind of suspect that Farrell got his revenge by taking office for a few months, and then leaving politics, which robs Conway of his revenge.

  19. Thanks ‘curious’,

    I’ll get a window sign and a button for you.

    To whomever said she wouldn’t get her and Ferlinghetti’s Poets Piazza atween Cafe Trieste and the Sanctuary of St. Francisc of Assisi?

    Y’all don’t know Angela.

    You shudda seen her fight Holy Mother Church when the new vicar decided he wanted to spend money there to make his own digs as good as the Pope’s.

    Ain’t afraid of nothing or nobody.

    On the other side of the sanctuary was/is/? what used to be a 3 story school, I believe?

    Angela followed completion of her gift of the Nuova Porziuncola with plans to turn it into a retreat for scholars studying ways to bring World Peace.

    Here’s Chron write-up of opening while St. Francis smiled.


    I couldn’t believe it when Weiss tried to usurp that ministry.

    The others are all self-serving climbers.

    Angela Alioto is the Real Deal!

    Go Giants!


  20. Rosh,

    I stopped voting for the candidate with the best of chance of winning who doesn’t have the character I insist upon or share my views …

    Stopped that long ago when I became a sometimes Green.

    Beat abandoning the field (which I rather like) completely.

    Just frame my prediction and rub my nose in it after the votes are all tallied in June …

    Turnout … 22%

    Winner: Angela Alioto

    2nd place: Jane Kim

    3rd place: Amy Weiss

    4th place: Mark Leno

    And, Giants win the World Series again!


  21. That London Breed was removed as Acting Mayor and effectively replaced by an Interim Mayor who happened to be wealthy, white and male – is basically the narrative and prism through which the whole episode was seen, was it not?

  22. OTOH, w/ RCV, progs don’t have to worry about the SEIU and some of the ‘non-profit housers’ getting enuf voters out a second time. Problemo solved.

  23. I like her as a person. I like what she has tried to do in North Beach. And I agree, she very much loves San Francisco. She may well surprise us all.

  24. h.,

    Angela Alioto is a trip. I have communicated with her about Trieste and the piazza — she is tenacious.

    But you know damn well she hasn’t got a chance. I can’t support her for this endeavor.

    The Tenants Union knows what cooks. It is crucial — if the progressives want to win — to endorse a one-two punch. Alioto is out. Weiss is out. If a third name gets thrown into the mix it will be detrimental to the strategy (attention G_G).

    Fuck a feel-good vote. I play to win.


  25. Geek,

    Angela is a good friend of me and my family and I disagree with her on some issues like whether the cops are butts …

    however, she is the only candidate who is running for an actual love of San Francisco and her record proves that it’s never about her.

    the rest are all on the payroll of someone who doesn’t care about SF

    Go Giants!


  26. RCV is a highly flawed system. It might be an adequate way to avoid run-offs in supervisorial elections but it is an insult to the voters that we use it in mayoral elections.

    (1)The last two times we had mayoral runoff elections MORE people voted in the run offs than in the general election, not less. Would this trend have continued? We’ll never know because we cut it off and installed RCV.

    (2)Would an intense run off that focused attention on Jean Quan have prevented that particular disaster in Oakland? We’ll never know because they have RCV.

    (3)In RCV if your first choice is eliminated then your vote goes to your second choice, right? Wrong. A lot of times your #2 was already eliminated and your vote goes nowhere. If your vote (and others) had gone to your #2 would they not have been eliminated? We’ll never know in an RCV world.

    (4)Quick – who is your 3rd favorite poet? 2nd favorite actor? Don’t know? Well you better make something up in an RCV world.

  27. Zhoosh,

    Tell me a joke.

    A short joke.

    It can be a dumb joke.

    But, please show me that you aren’t just another Russian bot wasting all of our time.

    OK, gimme that joke.

    Ta da~! And, here’s Zhoosh with his/her idea of humor.

    Can robots laugh?

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a robot laugh.

    You be the first, Zhoosh.

    Go Giants!


  28. While I won’t hold my breathe, and fear some, to many, of her decisions I won’t like. But I do feel like she would listen to ALL constituents, unlike Leno, Kim, or Breed – who seem to feel like the ‘other team’ can go sit on a stump.

  29. Rosh,

    Alioto will win because there will be a low voter turnout and they will look like me. Old and over the hill and unlaid.

    But, they will remember the name Alioto.

    As do I.

    Then, she’ll be Mayor for 9 1/2 years.

    Actually trying to help the City.

    Not treating Room 200 like a stepping stone.

    Alioto for Mayor!

    Go Giants!


  30. I think RCV is ok in principle. But I don’t think its the best way to pick a major officeholder. I’d prefer to vote my fav, and if there’s no clear victor, to pick the best of what remains.

    I understand the argument that ‘less people vote in a run-off’. And I consider that morally and intellectually defective. There are relatively few responsibilities for citizens in our republic; voting is one of them. IF they have to make an extra mark and mail in another postage-free ballot during the year … . And with a runoff, we get a better look at the final candidates (or at least another look). I suppose some would be fine hiring an applicant out of a pool of CVs. But its really just better to give the serious contenders another comb-over; table-cleaners at Mickeys not withstanding.

    RVC can work for offices that need more than one selection (I.e. board of directors). I’d hate to pick the POTUS this way. Mayor is our local POTUS.

  31. I like Len

    As a person. He is not a friend of the poor when it comes to housing. He created the category of …

    ‘Offsite inclusionary housing’

    That means that you can (what happened) …

    you can build separate but ‘equal’ (not at all) …

    separate housing in Uncle Tom preachers housing lots (vacant cause Willie’s policies chased the churches celebrants out of town) …

    Yeah, Leno created a legal course for the developers for keeping poorer people of color from living with the rich white folks.

    Or, (which they mostly do now) they can pay a fee into a fund to build the required housing somewhere else.


    Hey, Leno’s a great guy.

    He ain’t no friend of black or brown people.

    But, as I just said …

    he’s a good guy.

    Go Giants!


  32. Or at least allegations of racism and sexism.

    I suspect Zhoosh’s scenario will float. Whether that is really the case of not is another matter.

    Just about all the candidates can probably pull out the race/gender/whatever card. That the Progs happened to pull their ‘midnight massacre’ at the height of “#metoo” and Black-lives-Matter, rather than a defeat of an ‘Ivy-league-Ellen-Pao’ or ‘gay-Jewish-businessman’ just doesn’t have the same emotional bite.

  33. He is absolutely correct. If you post BS accusing people of racism for not supporting Breed bas on her record, poltical positions, and association with Ron Conway, don’t get upset when you are called out for it. And seriously, your ignorance of the First Amendment is appalling. It is not a violation of the FA to disagree with your false statements, to point out that you are full of crap, or even for Discus to ban you. It would only be a violation if you were silenced by the government.

  34. Why do you feel the need to make it about race? They would be ganging up on the continuation of Brown-Newsom-Lee, and Ron Conway’s control of the mayor. Obviously, again , you clearly realize that Breed can’t win by running on her record (she is running from it) and she can’t win on the issues, so she has to invoke race, and do that dishonestly. I imagine a Kim-Leno coalition terrifies Breed and her minions.

  35. Great. RuMADorRuREALLYmad comes out with a nonsensical statement that completely misses any point and is completely worthless.

  36. The First Amendment is about government silencing speech. Not sure why you reference the FA when you put your opinion on the internet and got an opinion back…

  37. I’ve got an extra copy of the Constitution if you need. It’s there plain as day.

    Who would run in an RCV election without an RCV strategy?

  38. Oh, sorry. I forgot that people aren’t allowed to say what they think unless you approve. I know it’s somewhere in the details of the First Amendment but I keep forgetting about it. Again, very sorry.

  39. Great. Zhoosh comes out of the gate race baiting and now we’ve got to read racist and sexist comments for two days.

  40. At any rate, this is the first time a mayor’s race could be decided by two candidates running an RCV strategy. If Breed winds up winning, there will be a lot of talk in a lot of circles about getting rid of RCV and returning to the old system of runoffs.

    Isn’t that backwards? Based on what has happened so far, if Breed gets the most first place votes and doesn’t become mayor because the other candidates ganged up against the Black chick…think about the reaction to that.

    I prefer Breed but would be very happy of she is denied the job because of an RCV ‘strategy”. It would be our best chance of getting rid of these simulations in favor of actual runoffs.

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