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Friday, March 24, 2023

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News + PoliticsElectionsSo now I am an 'election denier?'

So now I am an ‘election denier?’

A bizarre attack from the neoliberal front pretends that the mayor is popular, there was no district gerrymandering, and the progressives are like Donald Trump. A new low.


So an op-ed in the Chron says I’m an “election denier.”


I’ve been called a lot of things before, but this one’s new.

I’m not alone, either; my fellow travelers in this assault of democracy are Sup. Dean Preston and Lee Hepner, a former aide to Sup. Aaron Peskin.

My great offense, it appears, is saying what a broad range of political activists, community leaders, and journalists have written and confirmed: The redistricting process was driven by appointees of the mayor who wanted to change the direction of the Board of Supes.

Drawing districts to favor one political party over another is a long-established tradition in the United States, and acknowledging when it happens isn’t “denying” anything.

None of us, as far as I know, have said the D4 or D6 elections were “stolen.” Joel Engardio and Matt Dorsey won. You could read about that in 48hills. Gordon Mar and challenger Honey Mahogany conceded, as they should have. Engardio and Dorsey got more votes in a free and fair election, and they will take office, as they should.

But we did point out that the redistricting process was, for the first time since the return of district elections in 2000, a highly partisan and corrupt process.

I am not the only journalist who has written about this. It’s pretty well established.

As to their other point, that the mayor is just swimming in popularity and doing a wonderful job:

For too long, the composition of the Board of Supervisors has failed to reflect the will of the people. San Franciscans are deeply unhappy with their representative body: The San Francisco Standard found that the board had a negative 54 percent net approval rating, and a Chronicle poll found that only 12 percent of San Franciscans thought that supervisors were doing a good job.

Think about it — how does San Francisco elect leaders like Breed, Wiener, now City Attorney Chiu and District Attorney Brooke Jenkins citywide, but have a Board of Supervisors that fights them tooth and nail at every turn? Why did a majority of supervisors oppose the recent Board of Education and district attorney recalls when a majority of San Franciscans voted them out?

That dynamic is only possible in a city where the disconnect between the Board of Supervisors and the public has become enormous.

Actually according to most of the polls I’ve seen, the mayor is also deeply unpopular. From the Chron Sept. 13:

The results suggest that Breed’s popularity has plummeted over the past two years. Praise for her early success at steering the city relatively safely through the pandemic has given way to discontent and outright rage over issues like homelessnessproperty crime and the deadly fentanyl epidemic.

Perhaps that would suggest an enormous disconnect between the public and the Mayor’s Office.

Of perhaps it simply shows that after more than two years of a brutal pandemic, with City Hall (which by the way is run by the mayor, not the supes) failing to address some major issues, the voters are unhappy with local government in general.

That’s not denial. That’s reality.

And I just have to say: Andy Mullen and Mike Chen come from the neoliberal side of SF politics. They like the term “moderate.” I think neoliberal is more accurate, and at any rate, they are more conservative than Preston, Hepner, and me.

Which is fine. As I have told many of the folks in the Yimby movement: I have nothing personal against you, and if I thought your proposals would bring down housing prices and reduce economic inequality, I would support them.

I just disagree.

Isn’t that was reasonable political debate is about?

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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