2007, The Struggle Continues
District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly
Photo(s) by Luke
Daly, special to Fog City Journal
December 31, 2007
With the close of the year upon us, I figured it was time for
The Daly Blog
to join the "year in review" fray. As sequel to last
year's progressive blockbuster, 2007 probably
never could have lived up to the hype. With political hits fast and furious, it was
still a banner year for our office's legislation and a solid year
overall for progressives at City Hall. And looking ahead, progressives
appear to be in the driver's seat going into the 2008 Battle for
The struggle continues.
Progressive Sizzle, Not Fizzle
It's no secret that Mayor's races necessarily dominate the political
landscape in election years and that progressives didn't field
a major challenge this year. Our political opponents tried to
take advantage of this by declaring
the demise of progressive politics in San Francisco. Even
progressive commentator Randy Shaw of Beyond Chron parroted the
downtown line in his own year in review
earlier this month.
It is true that I made a significant effort this year to lay
the groundwork for a progressive campaign for Mayor. I never hid
the fact that the Progressive
Convention was timed to allow a challenger to enter the race
early enough to mount a serious run for the seat. My wife, after
being lobbied by many Daly for Mayor enthusiasts and increasingly
fearful of another Daly campaign, decided to take matters into
her own hands and recruited Julian Davis to help her organize
and lead the chants of "Run, Ross, Run,"
as Ross took the stage.
Though the Convention did not draw a big-name challenger into
the Mayor's race, it did bring together 15 progressive elected
officials, including a majority of both the Board of Supervisors
and School Board, and helped set the agenda for future political
races and progressives at City Hall.
Progressives share a principled critique of the personality-driven
politics practiced by our opponents. We elevate the issues important
to everyday people above our own political advancement and personal
self-interest. We are right to do so. My
decision not to run was one of the most difficult decisions
that I've ever made. I will probably always harbor doubt about
whether it was the right political decision. There is no question,
however, that it was the right
decision for my family
and for me personally.
Moving Our Agenda Under the Dome
Not having a big-name challenger didn't stop a slew of major
legislative victories at the Board. At year's end, the most prolific
progressive legislators -- Aaron Peskin, Jake McGoldrick, Ross
Mirkarimi, and myself -- passed 93 ordinances. Tom Ammiano and
Gerardo Sandoval added another 19. Meanwhile the rest of the Board
could only muster 35 between the 6 of them (including Carmen Chu),
despite their direct access to the Administration and City resources.
Of course, these numbers don't speak to the quality or significance
of legislative victories. In the more subjective category of substantive
policies, I count 15 for progressives and 2 for moderates with
Bevan Dufty moving a supplemental
appropriation for the Juvenile Probation Department and spearheading
planning effort for AIDS/HIV services.
McGoldrick shepherded Healthy
Saturdays in Golden Gate Park.
gets final credit for the City
budget and MUNI
completed a property transfer that delivered $850,000
for affordable housing and authored an appropriation for $5
million for first-time homebuyers.
ID cards and Community
Choice Aggregation along with Ross Mirkarimi.
also extended his foot
patrol legislation and consolidated the City's workforce
With Rachel Redondiez and John Avalos doing yeomen's work in
our office, we completed the Development
Agreement for Trinity Plaza, appropriated over a million
dollars for the Geneva Avenue Car Barn and greening projects
on Alemany Boulevard, authorized the opening
of Mint Plaza, appropriated over $28
million for affordable housing, sent $100,000
for hurricane relief to the coast of Nicaragua, and passed
a series of significant
Our office's significant legislative victories cast a giant shadow
on the Chronicle's commemoration
of my sudden political
fall. It's probably no surprise that none of these legislative
accomplishments picked up much Chronicle ink. They blacked out
that paid sick days was named as one of the nation's ten best
public policies of 2007. (It was #2.) They
even buried news of the landmark agreement for development at
Trinity Plaza on
Unsung Heroine -- Paterna Guintos
That's ok though. The victory at Trinity Plaza was one of those
that words could never do justice anyway. I deeply felt this when
another of Trinity's unsung heroes passed away two weeks ago.
Shortly after the Trinity victory, Rachel Redondiez and I wrote
about some of Trinity's heroes, including Paterna Guintos who
had lost her husband, Timoteo, just months earlier. Over the course
of the 4-year struggle to save Trinity, Mrs. Guintos would do
double duty taking care of her ailing husband and attending countless
tenant and City Hall meetings and actions. Mrs. Guintos also fought
for equity for her husband and other Filipino World War II veterans,
as well as for healthcare and senior services. The bitterness
of the victory at Trinity for Mrs. Guintos wasn't limited to the
loss of her husband. She also ultimately lost her home at Trinity
as she could no longer make the rent with her check alone.
While we were able to keep her in her housing a couple of extra
months, Mrs. Guintos moved out of Trinity this summer. Through
all of this, she kept up her advocacy and commitment to her neighbors
and community. Paterna Guintos passed away this month, but her
fighting spirit and "walk with a purpose" will be passed
on to a future generation of activists. I will remember Mrs. Guintos's
belief in me as a defender of those in need -- one even more resolute
than my own belief in myself.
Paterna Guintos (center), RIP, at an April victory
party for the tenants of Trinity Plaza.
It Gets Even Better
Progressives are poised for a very strong 2008. The Affordable Housing
Charter Amendment is likely to move to the November 2008 ballot.
Affordable housing is one of the defining issues for progressives.
Along with protecting rent control, building affordable housing
is necessary to deliver our progressive vision for San Francisco
-- one that truly embraces and protects the diversity of our City.
It's also a vision and an issue that is embraced by an overwhelming
majority of San Franciscans while being opposed by some of our
political foes. This means that it is not just a winner on the
ballot, it also serves to differentiate progressives from downtown's
moderates. This is going to be important in November of 2008 as
the Battle for the Board is on.
The Battle for the Board
The cast of district-based, progressive candidates running for
Supervisor next year is especially strong. In 2008 we have the
opportunity to bring new progressive ideas, energy and activism
to the Board. Some of our brightest stars have already started
building their campaign operations in districts across the City.
I previously blogged
about Eric Quezada in District 9, and Eric Mar, David Chiu, and
John Avalos join him as especially strong, district-based progressive
With the package of campaign reforms that have taken effect,
many of our opponents' dirty tricks are neutralized. Independent
expenditure committees are required to report
their expenditures for mass mailings. Push
polls are regulated, and paid
signature gatherers need to wear badges identifying them as
such. Most importantly, significant improvements have been made
to the public financing program for Supervisor.
Participants in the program will now have access to $87,500 in
public funds with $52,500 in matching contributions from San Francisco
residents. If other candidates and/or independent expenditure
committees bust the expenditure ceiling of $140,000 in the race,
candidates can continue to access an equal amount of public financing
for each qualified dollar raised up to what the opposition spends.
This provision will strongly discourage independent expenditures
in Supervisor races and will likely prevent what happened
in the 2006 District 6 race. As of December 31st,
Eric Quezada and John Avalos have already raised the qualifying
contributions to participate in this public financing program.
Eric Mar is very close and David Chiu will qualify quickly when
he begins his operation.
With big money neutralized, a cast of uninspiring
downtown characters reminiscent
of 2000, and such strong progressive candidates, don't be
surprised to see another progressive sweep in the Battle for the
Board. With a new progressive majority on the Board, 8 years of
experience under our belts, and a lame-duck Mayor, many great
things are in store!
I hope that you have a very happy New Year. I am certainly looking
forward to it, as the struggle continues to make San Francisco
a better place for us all.