Will progressive Democratic Party slate collapse over D5 race?

Tenants worked to elect progressives to run the local Democratic Party; now some of those members appear ready to vote against the tenant choice. Plus: Who will stand up to Dede Wilsey and her support for Trump?

The San Francisco Democratic Party will decide Wednesday night who to endorse in the fall elections – and there’s a schism in what was seen in the past as a progressive reform slate that took control of the party in 2016.

Mayor London Breed is pushing hard to make sure the party doesn’t endorse tenant lawyer Dean Preston for supervisor in D5 – and there’s a chance that her appointed incumbent, Vallie Brown, could get the nod.

Dean Preston, here with Sup. Hillary Ronen, has the support of the grassroots groups that got a progressive slate elected to the DCCC. Will that translate into an endorsement?

It will, I am told, be very close.

Progressives say they worked hard against corporate interests to wrest control of the party from the pro-real-estate interests; tenant groups and activists raised money, knocked on doors, made phone calls and did everything possible to elect a progressive slate three years ago that made former Sup. David Campos chair.

He replaced Mary Jung, who worked for the real-estate industry.

Now, some say, after all of that, the progressive majority is collapsing, and some of the people elected on that pro-tenant slate may vote against Preston.

DCCC Vice-Chair Petra Dejesus, who supports Preston, told me: “The Tenants Union was behind us 100 percent, and the tenants in San Francisco helped our slate get elected. And now we have this tenant lawyer who they trust, and our slate should stand behind him.”

The DCCC endorsement is important in this town, and particularly in D5, where the population is overwhelmingly Democrats. The endorsement allows a candidate to be on the Democratic Party slate card.

“There’s no whining in politics, but if Vallie Brown get the endorsement, I will be very disappointed,” former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, who helped put together and promote the progressive slate, told me.

The party will also vote on a resolution by Campos that urges the Shanti Project, a widely-respected organization that was founded to help people with AIDS, to renounce its “Lifetime Achievement Award” to Dede Wilsey, who is not only a Trump supporter but organized a fundraiser for him in San Francisco.

“When someone is working to re-elect this president, they need to be held accountable,” Campos told me. And, he said, so does the organization: If the Shanti board (here are the members) insists that Wilsey gets an award, he wants to urge all Democrats to boycott Shanti’s annual fundraiser.

His resolution takes on one of the city’s top philanthropists, who has connections to many leading local officials – and raised the question: Is it okay to honor someone who gives money to charity if at the same time they are promoting unspeakably bad policies like the agenda of the Trump Administration?

From Campos:

SFDCCC Resolution Urging Board of Directors of Shanti Project to Rescind Its Lifetime Achievement Award to Trump Supporter Dede Wilsey.

As a past supporter of Shanti Project, who as a Supervisor actually voted and advocated for the City giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to this organization, I never thought that there would ever be a need for this. Nevertheless there is such a need and tomorrow I will be asking the San Francisco Democratic Central Commitee (SFDCCC) to consider and pass this Resolution formally asking Shanti’s Board of Directors to rescind its Lifetime Achievement Award to San Francisco’s number one supporter of Trump, Dede Wilsey.

One would think that as Trump and his Administration are locking up kids at the border, engaging in the mass deportation and separation of families, depriving members of the Transgender Community basic human rights, and fanning the flames of hatred and racism to the point of inspiring mass shootings of Latinos, that Shanti, an organization that is supposed to be about compassion, would refrain from making the political statement of honoring one of Trump’s enablers simply because she gives them money also. I sincerely hope that Shanti does the right thing here. After all, Trump’s hateful policies are literally targeting many of Shanti’s clients.

Should Shanti’s Board of Directors fail to do the right thing and proceed to honor Trump supporter Dede Wilsey, the Resolution calls upon all San Francisco Democrats who oppose White Supremacist Trump to boycott this event.

Thank you Sarah Souza for co-sponsoring the Resolution. I know that Dede Wilsey has donated money to many powerful San Francisco politicians over the years. I hope the SFDCCC has the votes to pass this. In these perilous times, the San Francisco Democratic Party must take a clear stand against Trump and his supporters. If San Francisco cannot stand up to Trump then who will?

Here is the text of the Resolution:

WHEREAS Donald Trump is a White Supremacist whose Administration has pursued racist policies that target women, people of color, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ Community, and anyone who is deemed to be different; such policies and actions have included, among ther things, putting innocent immigrant children in cages at the border, the systemic separation and deportation of immigrant families, depriving Transgender men and women of basic legal protections, targeting and discriminating against Muslims, and fanning the flames of racism and hatred to the point of inspiring some of his supporters to commit mass shootings against members of the Latino Community; and

WHEREAS the biggest political supporter of Donald Trump and his White Supremacist policies in San Francisco is Dede Wilsey, a registered Republican who is actively promoting Trump’s presidency and re-election, including holding a fundraising for Trump in San Francisco; in exchange of which fundraising, Trump appointed Wilsey’s son as his Ambassador to Hitler’s native Austria; and

WHEREAS notwithstanding the fact that Dede Wilsey is openly and proactively promoting Trump’s racist and White Supremacist policies, Shanti Project and its Board of Directors have decided to honor Dede Wilsey with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its upcoming Annual Gala; which award goes against the purported values and principles of Shanti as an organization which claims to have a mission of enhancing the health, quality of life, and well-being of people; and which award goes against the theme of its Gala, “Compassion is Universal”

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee hereby calls upon Shanti and its Board of Directors to rescind the Lifetime Achievement Award that it is presenting to Trump supporter Dede Wilsey; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that should Shanti and its Board of Directors proceed to honor Trump supporter Dede Wilsey with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its Annual Gala, the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee hereby calls upon all San Francisco Democrats who oppose Trump and his White Supremacist policies to boycott said Annual Gala.

Interesting to see if any of the DCCC members will side with Wilsey.