The trouble with compromise


"It takes no compromise to give people their rights... It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression." -- Harvey Milk

OPINION As I sat in the audience at the Jan. 23 San Francisco Young Democrats meeting and watched the first debate between David Campos and David Chiu in their race to represent San Francisco's 17th Assembly District, I was disturbed to hear the words "compromise" and "consensus" come out of David Chiu's mouth more often than the words "eviction" and "displacement."

During the debate, a line in the sand was drawn by the two candidates: Campos was on the side of the underdog, a voice to the voiceless; and Chiu, by his own admission, was all about compromise and "getting things done."

Don't get me wrong. True compromise can be a good thing. Unfortunately, what has been coming out of City Hall, from both President Chiu's Board of Supervisors chamber and the Mayor's Office, hasn't been real compromise. It's been a wholesale selling of our city to the highest bidder. The only thing that our leadership's compromises have yielded is a compromised San Francisco.

Compromise gave corporations millions of dollars in tax breaks and it has forced nonprofits and small businesses out of our neighborhoods. Compromise has not resulted in any substantive action to curb Ellis Act evictions, instead serving to green light the building of luxury condo towers throughout the city. Compromise has allowed queer youth shelters and our parks to be closed to the people who need them as a last resort, as our bus stops have been opened up to billionaires for little more than pennies.

Chiu's compromises have cost this city dearly. His compromise with developers on Parkmerced will lead to the demolition of 1,500 units of rent-controlled housing. His compromise on Healthy San Francisco allowed restaurant owners to continue to defraud consumers and to pocket money that should have gone to health care for their employees. His compromise on Muni killed a much-needed ballot initiative that would have resulted in an additional $40 million for the agency — a ballot initiative that he originally co-authored.

Please forgive me if I am fed up with compromise and am demanding actual leadership from my representatives.

Now is the time to stand with people of color, with members of the LGBTQ community, with our youth and elders, with artists and with small businesses, all of whom are being forced out of our city.

Thankfully, we have another choice. Sup. David Campos has shown that real change comes not from compromising your values but standing up for your principles. His legislative accomplishments include providing free Muni for low-income youth, protecting women's right to choose at the Planned Parenthood Clinic, and preventing teacher layoffs at our public schools.

Campos has demonstrated that he, not Chiu, is the right choice to follow Tom Ammiano's footsteps to Sacramento. Ammiano, who had 13 of his 13 bills signed into law this past year, is the perfect example of the success that can come from leading with your principles and not compromising your integrity.

San Francisco needs a leader representing us in the capital. Successful victories in reforming the Ellis Act and closing the Prop. 13 tax loophole will take a leader who can stand up to landlords and corporations, not a compromiser who will sit down at the table in a backroom with them.

That is why I will give my all to make sure that David Campos is our next representative in Sacramento. Pardon me if I refuse to compromise.

Tom Temprano is president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.


A polarizing figure like Campos will get nothing none because he cannot play well outside his narrow support groups.

Chui is a proven leader and a pragmatic can-do guy who gets things done. Campos is a proven whiner and ideolog.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 8:23 am

Mr. Temprano, if you're roiling the lonely SFBG trolls in their parents' basements, you can be assured you're on the right track. Great work, great piece!

Posted by Andy B on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

insulting them?

Or maybe you cannot?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

Thank you for the guest editorial, you have just convinced me to write a check to David Chui.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 8:59 am

Essentially Campos was presented as an inflexible, narrow-minded whiney Hispanic gay who cannot talk to a diverse group of people.

He sounds like a real winner.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:14 am

big difference between the two's talent at facilitating discussion and negotiating. campos has barely got anything done pro-actively.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:12 am

but will get eaten alive by the moderates and conservatives in Sac. He just doesn't have the debating and persuasion skills.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:36 am

Campos...folowing the Chris Daly route into political oblivion.

Posted by Guest-SF on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:34 am

out. He's simply too divisive, polarizing and ideological.

Is he a citizen?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:42 am

Campos can be an attorney like Matt Gonzalez. Arguing for his side only.

Posted by Guest-SF on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 10:02 am

Campos could never pull that off.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 10:17 am

than continuing to vote for the Democratic party candidate, no matter how liberal or progressive, and expecting any substantive change. That said, Temprano does a good job of highlighting Chiu's most egregious actions while ignoring that Campos accepts a lot of real estate campaign cash.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:43 am

On what planet is Campos even remotely a contender? What has he done?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 10:20 am

Campos has shown that he has the principles to stand up to all forms of domestic violence.

No compromise!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 10:23 am

and coalitions to get things done.

Giving stirring speeches to narrow segments and constituencies doesn't even come close to that.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 10:37 am
Posted by greg on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 11:01 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 11:12 am

Only as long as they agree with his politics. If Ed Lee was the one who was charged, you know Campos would have been screaming for his head and how people need to take a strong stand against DV crimes.

On a side note, is our Sheriff off probation and can he finally carry his duty sidearm again?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

Campos' inability to compromise is exactly why he's been one of the least effective members of the Board. He's barely done anything, but gee, at least he's stuck to his ideals while going down with the ship. The far left complained about Twitter, but what alternative did they offer? None, but at least they would have left Market a lively cesspool free of gentrification.

Posted by Reed on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

Actually, if Campos was a Tea Party member the author would be railing about his inability to compromise and how he's too ideologically bound to get anything done. More proof that the far-left and the far-right have more in common than with the majority of the population.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

Hear, hear!

Posted by Awayneramsey on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

Hear, hear!

Posted by Awayneramsey on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

Arguing with internet trolls is like playing chess with a pigeon.

No matter how good you are at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board and then strut around acting like it won.

Posted by Chess on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

the premise of this article is that Campos is rigid?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 6:21 pm

They should of made the headline, Campos: "Compromise sucks!"

Posted by Dieter on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

That's a beautiful analogy. Wish I'd thought of it!

Posted by Greg on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

mind, no matter how overwhelming the contrary evidence"

He's a real winner.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

That a narrow ideological true believer is not a narrow ideological true believer?

This essay says that narrowness is a good trait, people pointing out that narrowness is not a good trait makes you mad?

You seem to be upset that Campos is judged on the things he wants to be judged on.

Posted by guest on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 11:36 pm

That is funny as hell, man.


Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

There's nothing wrong with driving a hard bargain and compromising from a position of strength. This can be done when the issue at hand has broad appeal and is framed favorably.

The problem with David Chiu is the transactional nature of Chiu's politics, the fact that the outcomes of his deals favor David Chiu and that the outcomes have no coherent ideological orientation, not the fact that Chiu compromises.

The progressive movement, for its part, has compromised with itself before taking the field. Let's see if they can ditch the identity fixation and appeal outside the narrow circle to a majority of today's San Franciscans.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

Progressives are anti-development, when 2/3 of the population of The City wants more housing. They are on the wrong side of the biggest issue of our time.

Progressives can still form coalitions with other groups on common goals, but won't be winning anything city wide until they get over their irrational fear of market rate development.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Feb. 13, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

massive support, as Avalos found out to his cost.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 13, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

The problem with Campos and those stuck on ideology is that they always frame issues like Parkmerced as corporations versus people, and cannot see the other side. There are legit arguments for both sides on most contentious issues, they are complex. Maybe people who support such a project actually think that's the best path for increasing density and housing, and it's better for those residents and the city in the long run. Instead it is simplified as self-serving for politicians like Chiu by people like Marcos. The same happens on the other side for example, when politicians who support unions are accused of being their puppets. Sometimes it's true, sometimes it isn't. But one thing you can count on is that ideologues like Campos, and cheerleaders on the sidelines like Marcos, will cast things as good versus evil when they disagree.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 12:29 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 7:24 am

Great piece, Mr. Temprano. Very well put. Thank you for this.

Posted by Andy B on Feb. 06, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

"His compromise on Muni killed a much-needed ballot initiative that would have resulted in an additional $40 million for the agency — a ballot initiative that he originally co-authored."

Chiu added the $40m to the MTA charter measure because he wanted to use it as a chit in budget negotiations. That trick worked, and the progressives scuttled the ballot measure because Newsom threatened to cut $40m from the poverty nonprofits.

The charter measure we worked on that Chiu hijacked was intentionally silent on budget matters. Once Chiu came on the scene, I knew that our work would end up being for naught.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 08, 2014 @ 10:57 am

and why did he do that? just to be evil? or to use it to fund other city services? or because he's in the pocket of evil corporations?! gasp!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2014 @ 9:51 pm

Because it benefited David Chiu at the time, that's why David Chiu does anything. The progressives at least sold out hundreds of thousands of Muni riders for some poverty services, not their own self preservation.

But it was not David Chiu who provided the 6th vote to kill the MTA measure.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

If it had, you would not have needed to have "worked on it".

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

Progressives have no problem with Rose Pak backing and donating to Campos? But it's a problem and she's a puppet master when she does the same for any other candidate? Why so? - "Progressives," please explain.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2014 @ 9:55 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

Anyone who thinks California laws or policies will be substantially different depending on whether one David or the other wins the assembly race is seriously misguided, or very young or naive. Government institutions are like a super-tanker - they don't change course easily or often. That's why the people who are so engaged in electoral politics versus issue advocacy are part of the problem. They are deluded in thinking that one bozo or the other elected to office (no offense to politicians) will actually solve the myriad of social justice issues facing the city, state or country.

People solve problems by protesting, organizing and causing trouble for the status quo. Groups like Pussy Riot will create more changes in Russia than any of the empty suits in the Duma, just like the agitated advocacy groups in the US will change the staus quo more than the empty suits working in any level of US government.

Governments only react when they think they might be evicted from office unless they make the minimal changes necessary to placate the muppets so they'll go back home and keep quiet.

I'll offer a bet of $10,000 if ten years from now - after the assembly term ends - the California budget priorities are more than 5% different from today. My bet is that Caltrans will be the same sprawling beast. The judiciary will be getting roughly the same percentage of budget revenue. The state indebtedness will be roughly the same. The dozens of state law enforcement groups will be receiving the same, outsized percentage of funding. And other state agencies will continue to operate in roughly the same fashion as today.

I'll offer another $10,000 bet that the revenue side of the budget will look roughly the same ten years from now as well. The state will be relying on regressive sales taxes and income taxes to fill its coffers, with little change towards a more progressive tax system.

In short, the notion that either David will have much of an impact on state government operations is ludicrous and insulting to intelligent voters. If anyone wants to change CA's state legislature, get involved with the races in San Diego, or Central Valley or the northern districts, where a real impact to the make-up of the legislature might be possible.

Government is the problem, not the solution. Wasting much time on electoral politics beyond local city or county elections is a fool's game, especially in a relative mono-culture environment like SF or LA, where most of the state legislators are chosen.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

It's politician vs public.

Campos will funnel money towards one group while Chiu will do same for another. Take your pick of what special interest you prefer.

If someone came out not beholding to either side, both would attack that person

Posted by guest on Feb. 09, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

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