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Jim Meko

District 6 is not for sale

By Jim Meko

October 29, 2006

Left to his own devices, Rob Black would probably still be polling single digits in his run for District 6 Supervisor. The sole mailer emanating from his campaign was a tepid criticism of Chris Daly's in-your-face style. But Black has been getting a lot of help from his, um, friends.

Voters in District 6 have been inundated with mailers, push polls, emails and phone calls. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent to defeat Supervisor Chris Daly, with Gap-founder Don Fisher's SFSOS coordinating the expenditures and attack dog Jim Sutton shaping the message. Their spending in support of Rob Black (a former associate of Sutton) has been so egregious that the Ethics Commission was forced to lift the spending cap in District 6 to give Daly a chance to fight back.

With Black creeping up to within two percentage points of Daly in the latest poll, all that spending seems to be paying off. Here's a partial list of Rob Black's "friends" and why they want Daly gone:

• POA - they oppose walking beats, civilian oversight and comprehensive violence prevention.

• BOMA - they don't want to pay their janitors a living wage.

• Chamber of Commerce - they supported management in the hotel workers strike.

• Golden Gate Restaurant Association - they still resist paid sick leave for their employees.

• Committee on Jobs - they don't think developers should pay for community infrastructure.

• Plan C - they oppose any limits on condo conversions.

• SF Association of Realtors - they oppose protections for those who have been evicted.

• Small Property Owners Association - they seek to abolish rent control.

Did those fancy mailers forget to mention where Daly stands on these issues?

Fisher and Sutton orchestrated a similar campaign two years ago in Districts 1 and 11. Although they failed to unseat the incumbents, the onslaught left Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval deeply in debt and Supervisor Jake McGoldrick rattled and embittered.

They're also responsible for campaigns against public power, family leave, universal health care and domestic partners legislation.

But the campaign against Daly is so much bigger than any of their previous efforts:

• SFSOS's ultimate goal is the repeal of district elections. Electing Black makes that possible.

During the last six years, the neighborhoods have gained some semblance of power and the poor finally have an advocate on the Board of Supervisors. But with the unabashed collusion of the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, Fisher and Sutton seek to return to the good old days -- as recently as the mid-'90s -- when they called all the shots in city hall.

Employing a strategy taken straight from Karl Rove's playbook, they are attempting to drive a wedge between Daly's traditional base of support and the more affluent newcomers in the District. They link Daly to unclean streets and drug use, poverty and homelessness, liberal social service agencies and the breakdown of law and order.

The Rob Black campaign seeks the support of the intolerant.

In its endorsement of Chris Daly, ["Daly in District 6," Editorial, October 20], The Bay Area Reporter observed, "[Daly] has been unflinching as an advocate for those who are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the city, including many low-income LGBT folks and people living with HIV/AIDS." Rob Black has turned his back on them.

On November 7, I will vote for Chris Daly. I'll also be voting for Matt Drake and George Dias. I believe in their sincerity, if not their politics. Both have run clean campaigns. Rob Black? He's just a pawn in a much bigger effort -- a dirty and divisive effort -- by downtown interests to take back control of San Francisco politics.

When this election is over, we're gonna need a lot of help to heal this community. Fisher, Sutton and Black won't be around to clean up this mess.

They'll have moved on by then ... their next step will be to plot the destruction of those who dare challenge Gavin Newsom in the 2007 mayoral race. They must be stopped.

Jim Meko is a South of Market activist, currently serving as chair of both the SoMa Leadership Council and the Western SoMa Citizens Planning Task Force and as a member of San Francisco's Entertainment Commission. Here at the Fog City Journal, of course, he's expressing his own personal opinions. He can be reached at jim.meko@comcast.net.




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