Start the mayor's race now



We hope you enjoyed last week's cover package, "The Rise of Candidate X," a parable about politics and the media in San Francisco. While it was clearly a fantastical tale, it also had a serious underlying message that we would like to discuss more directly here. Bold actions are needed to save San Francisco. It will take a broad-based coalition to keep the city open to all, and that movement can and should morph into a progressive campaign for the Mayor's Office, starting now.

While 22 months seems like an eternity in electoral politics, and it is, any serious campaign to unseat Mayor Ed Lee — with all the institutional and financial support lined up behind him — will need to begin soon. Maybe that doesn't even need to involve the candidate yet, but the constellation of progressive constituencies needs to coordinate their efforts to create a comprehensive vision for the city, one radical enough to really challenge the status quo, and a roadmap for getting there.

It's exciting to see the resurgence of progressive politics in the city over the last six months, with effective organizing and actions by tenant, immigrant rights, affordable housing, anti-corporate, labor, economic justice, LGBT, environmental, transit, and other progressive groups.

Already, they've started to coordinate their actions and messaging, as we saw with the coalition that made housing rights a centerpiece of the annual Milk-Moscone Memorial March. Next, we'd like to see progressive transportation and affordable housing activists bridge their differences, stop fighting each other for funding within the current zero-sum game of city budgets, and fully support a broad progressive agenda that seeks new resources for those urgent needs and others.

Yet City Hall is out of touch with the growing populist outrage over trends and policies that favor wealthy corporations and individuals, at the expense of this city's diversity, health, and real economic vitality (which comes from promoting and protecting small businesses, not using local corporate welfare to subsidize Wall Street). The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce recently gave this Board of Supervisors its highest-ever ranking on its annual "Paychecks and Pink Slips" ratings, which is surely a sign that City Hall is becoming more sympathetic to the interests of business elites than that of the average city resident.

This has to change, and it won't be enough to focus on citizens' initiatives or this year's supervisorial races, which provide few opportunities to really change the political dynamics under the dome. We need to support and strengthen the resurgent progressive movement in this city and set its sights on Room 200, with enough time to develop and promote an inclusive agenda.

San Francisco has a strong-mayor form of government, a power that has been effectively and repeatedly wielded on behalf of already-powerful constituents by Mayor Ed Lee and his pro-downtown predecessors. Lee has used it to veto Board of Supervisors' actions protecting tenants, workers, and immigrants; and the commissions he controls have rubber-stamped development projects without adequate public benefits and blocked the CleanPowerSF program, despite its approval by a veto-proof board majority.

Maybe Mayor Lee will rediscover his roots as a tenant lawyer, or he will heed the prevailing political winds now blowing through the city. Or maybe he'll never cross the powerful economic interests who put him in office. But we do know that the only way to get the Mayor's Office to pursue real progressive reforms is for a strong progressive movement to seek that office.


A few dozen of the "usual suspect" ne'er-do-well's protesting against people going to work in the Mission is a footnote to the hundreds of thousands of SF'ers who are doing well and support Ed Lee.

There quite simply is no mandate to change the city over and above the odd fringe group. Moreover, there is no viable candidate on the left who has any credibility or gravitas.

Has it ever occurred to you that we get mayors like Jordan, Brown, Newsom and Lee because that is what the moderate silent majority of this city want?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

The Guardian says:

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce recently gave this Board of Supervisors its highest-ever ranking on its annual "Paychecks and Pink Slips" ratings, which is surely a sign that City Hall is becoming more sympathetic to the interests of business elites than that of the average city resident.

I say, it's interesting that there is no asterisk about the CoC exempting Avalos and Campos from their ranking. Says a lot about those two progressives. If anyone knows what ever happened to the Avalos plan to create a City bank and what is happening with Campos getting a 24-bed queer homeless shelter open in his district, please share the info with me.

Posted by MPetrelis on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 10:08 pm

"New York City, which faces socioeconomic challenges similar to San Francisco's, has exciting potential right now because of the election of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who waged a long and difficult campaign based on progressive ideals and issues."

This is the second time I've read shilling for Bill de Blasio on this site. Are you sure you know who he is (as opposed to who you want him to be)?

The Democratic victory in New York and the crisis of liberalism
"De Blasio is a Democratic Party hack, a functionary in the Clinton administration who went on to manage the successful campaign of Hillary Clinton for the US Senate in New York and to seek several minor city offices as rungs in the ladder of his political career."


New York Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s appointments signal continuing assault on working class

Posted by Nonpartisan Guest on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

Who to follow?

The Peoples Front of Judea or the Judean People's front?

Posted by local on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

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