WITH CATHERINE RAUSCHUBER
San Francisco Peoples' Organization
celebrates one year anniversary
October 2, 2006
San Francisco is a city that embodies the progressive values
of diversity, equity, justice, opportunity and optimism. San Franciscans
should be proud that people across the country and the globe look
toward our great city for leadership and inspiration for how a
city can embrace these values in its public policies.
Saturday at St. Marys Cathedral, the San
Francisco Peoples Organization (SFPO) held and celebrated
its second annual convention. Founded in June of 2005, SFPO is
a coalition of local community-based organizations, unions, advocacy
groups, and residents working to put San Francisco progressive
values into practice.
Saturdays event included caucus elections for board seats,
speakers, a supervisorial candidate forum, and issue workshops
on topics important to SFPO membership, such as anti-gentrification,
immigrant rights, education, and violence prevention. The days
speakers included SFPO President Jane Kim, former Supervisor Matt
Gonzalez, Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Tom Ammiano, Reverend
Norman Fong, and the Labor Councils Tim Paulson.
SFPO President School Board candidate,
Former San Francisco Board of Supervisors President, Matt Gonzalez.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, David Grant (Senior
Action Network), Labor Council Executive Director, Tim Paulson,
and Supervisor Tom Ammiano.
As a board member representing the Womens Caucus, I have
been honored to be a part of the first year of this fledgling
organization that is tasked with a very difficult charge
to construct a coalition that provides a forum for the diverse
voices of the left to work together, while simultaneously respecting
their differences. San Franciscos progressives have frequently
come together and rallied behind causes or personalities, but
we have too often been unable to carry this unity forward. Through
disbanding and reforming, we lose some of our potency and ability
to build on the successes of the past. The focus of SFPO is to
foster progressive unification and spirit beyond the fleeting
nature of election cycles. Although we progressives may not always
agree, it is important that we maximize our power when we do.
At Saturdays convention SFPO celebrated some of its achievements
from its first year. SFPO worked in close partnership with the
a Better California to defeat Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's
special election measures in November 2005. SFPO assisted in the
development and passage of Supervisor Ammiano's Worker
Health Care Security Ordinance, creating universal health
care for local residents.
SFPO also advocated to increase mandatory levels of affordable
housing in new housing developments, took a leadership role in
uniting communities of color and progressives to fight for Proposition
A's homicide and violence prevention efforts, played an active
role in the UNITE-HERE
Local 2 contract campaign, attending pickets, planning meetings,
and participating in civil disobedience, and launched an e-mail
dispatch that reaches over 5,000 constituents and highlights local
progressive issues, campaigns, and events.
Also notable Saturday was the release of SFPO's first report,
a mid-term analysis of the policies and priorities of the Newsom
Administration. According to the document, SFPO decided to review
the current status of five issues public safety, economic
development, land use and housing, transportation, and homelessness.
The 17-page report, prepared in conjunction with expert reviewers
in the five issue fields, gives praise for things such as marriage
equity, city greening efforts, and Project
Homeless Connect, but also offers a critical analysis and
puts forth SFPOs vision and recommendations, adding a voice
of social justice to the public policy dialogue in the city.
I believe we as a city are only as strong as our most vulnerable.
At its heart, SFPO is about helping San Francisco to embody the
progressive values it embraces and create a community that is
welcoming and supportive of all its members, regardless of race,
gender, lifestyle, age, or economic status.
SFPO is young and has a long uphill battle ahead of it if it wishes
to become more influential in local politics. SFPO does not have
the luxury of significant financial support, unlike some of its
counterparts in local political organizing. Despite these challenges,
SFPO members are hopeful, and this spirit was palpable at Saturdays
District 8 Congressional Candidate Krissy Keefer, Building Inspection
Commissioner Debra Walker and Michael Goldstein
Maufas, School Board Candidate and SFUSD Board Member, Mark
Julian Davis, Catherine Rauschuber, jazz singer Judy B
Community Based Organization caucus
Candidate Forum with District 8 Supervisoral candidate
Alix Rosenthal, District 2 candidate Vilma Guinto Peoro, District
6 incumbent Supervisor Chris Daly, District 2 write-in candidate
Dave Kiddoo, and District 10 incumbent Supervisor Sophie Maxwell.