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Overheard in Fog City

Luke Thomas
FCJ Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Photo by Adam Aufdencamp

By Luke Thomas


August 9, 2007, 5:06 p.m. (updated)

If I were a betting man…

… I'd bet Supervisor Chris Daly will announce that he will NOT run for mayor, but you won't read his final announcement here. Daly told Fog City yesterday he was giving the scoop to the Bay Guardian once he's finally made up his mind.

Tick-tock, tick-tock...

"Off the record, I haven't decided yet. On the record, I haven't decided yet," is what the wiley fox told Fog City by phone.

Despite filing a declaration of intent to run, and despite a long drawn out 'should I or shouldn't I?' meeting at the San Francisco Green Party headquarters last night, after Daly adds up all the pros and cons he will ultimately put his family first and will not run.

It's just a hunch, but you heard it here first.

Elephant Talk

Update 10:45 p.m: Supervisor Chris Daly announces he's not running for mayor, releases statement to the Bay Guardian and tells Fog City, "your hunch was good."

Progressive Allies and Friends,

For the past 6.5 years, we have enjoyed strong progressive politics in San Francisco. Progressive San Francisco has delivered a new era of worker’s rights with the nation’s highest minimum wage, universal health coverage, and paid sick days. Requiring significant amounts of affordable housing and other public benefits, we’ve made development work for communities. We've set the agenda on workers' rights, housing, health care, city services, transportation, and the environment. Our political opponents, even holding the office of Mayor, have been on the defensive.

Despite our political strength and its marquis standing in local political races, it's clear that we've had difficulty engaging in this year's Mayor's race. 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. Unfortunately, this does not always translate well into the mainstream and corporate-controlled media.

For the better part of a year, I felt a great deal of responsibility to find a strong progressive candidate for Mayor, all the while acknowledging that I was not our best possible candidate. There were discussions, caucuses, lunches, and even a Progressive Convention aimed at compelling a progressive entry into the race.

With news last week of the final potential candidate forgoing the race, I decided to take another look at making a run.

This past week Progressive San Francisco produced a flurry of activity about that possibility. I was heartened and inspired that so many were willing to step up in the face of significant odds. Dozens of you dropped what you were doing to spend hours on end with me this week. Hundreds pledged your support.

The outpouring gave me hope that we do have what it takes to take back Room 200 and deliver social and economic justice to San Francisco.

However, I have decided not to file a candidacy for the Office of Mayor.

Given the negative, million-dollar campaign against me last year, there was never a question that this Mayor's race would be brutal. The incumbent promised as much in a meeting this week. Our ideas are better, and I was committed to running a campaign about our issues. But most of us had reservations about whether we'd ever be able to achieve resonance on the issues against the tide of hits, personal attacks, and media hype of the Newsom vs. Daly personality clash.

Sarah and I arrived at last night's meeting with the intention of announcing my entry into the race and were moved by everyone's willingness to act on faith. When I called on progressives for support for a Mayoral run, progressives responded. But I also sensed that the reservations in the room were real.

Progressives are certainly ready to vie for the Mayor's seat, but, unfortunately, I am not the right candidate.

There is some good news. Progressives are much stronger than we were the last time we didn't field a challenger for Mayor. Back in '83, the progressive movement had not recovered from the Milk/Moscone assassinations and the subsequent repeal of district elections. Dianne Feinstein enjoyed great popularity after soundly squashing a recall effort. She went on to easily win reelection later that year.

Four years later it appeared as if downtown's reign would continue with the front-running candidacy of John Molinari. His bid, however, was upset when Art Agnos united San Francisco's left with a disciplined, sustained, and effective campaign.

We all know that electoral work is just a part of the overall effort we need to put forth. There is no substitute for the basics of organizing and serving our people so they can live with dignity. I will always remain committed to the struggle and to building progressive politics and people power in San Francisco for the years to come.


Chris Daly

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