Latest Alioto-Pier Rumor Triggers Rally for Dave Jones

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on July 16, 2009 with 6 Comments

Assemblymember Dave Jones was joined Wednesday by a phalanx
of Progressive electeds in support of his candidacy
for California Insurance Commissioner.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

July 16, 2009

Following an unconfirmed rumor floated Tuesday suggesting Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier has turned her political sights on the 2010 race for California Insurance Commissioner, San Francisco’s politically Progressive electeds Wednesday responded with a preemptive rally in support of Assemblymember Dave Jones.

Jones, 47, represents Sacramento County in the California Assembly and is considered the Democratic frontrunner in the race to replace GOP Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.  A reform candidate, Jones said he “will hold the insurance industry accountable to the promises they make,” adding that he supports a single-payer healthcare solution that will “cover all people, regardless of income and status in life.”

“As your Insurance Commissioner, I will fight for single-payer,” he said.

Assemblymember Dave Jones

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Assessor Phil Ting, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Chris Daly, Ross Mirkarimi, Eric Mar, School Board President Kim Shree Maufus, Democratic County Central Committee Chair Aaron Peskin and representatives from the offices of Assemblymembers Mark Leno, Fiona Ma and Tom Ammiano, attended the rally organized on short notice by Peskin and Daly.

“Assemblymember Jones’ candidacy for Insurance Commissioner has been endorsed by a wide spectrum of San Francisco elected officials,” Peskin said, noting that Jones has also earned an endorsement from moderate Supervisor Sean Elsbernd. “Clearly, [Jones] is supported by folks across the political spectrum here in San Francisco.”

DCCC Chair Aaron Peskin

Jones successfully spearheaded a campaign in 2006 to reform the state’s conservatorship system serving thousands of California’s oldest residents, and he passed a law that cracked down on unauthorized viewing of patients’ medical records. He also pushed unsuccessfully to restrict businesses from storing sensitive consumer payment information and requiring state approval before raising health insurance rates. He also supports adopting inclusionary housing standards, ensuring that a specified percentage of homes built in new developments are affordable to moderate or low-income families.

“A reformer is needed to run the insurance commission of the State of California,” Peskin stated. “We all know that for the past decade health insurance costs have increased by over 100 percent. We know that that office has been controlled by a Republican for the last many years, and we know Dave Jones has the track record to bring real reform to the insurance commission.”

“I cannot think of a better candidate with a better resume and record of fighting for consumers,” said City Attorney Herrera, adding that he has worked with Jones on the issue of gender rating, a practice of risk assessment employed by health insurers resulting in women paying 39 percent more for healthcare insurance than men.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

If elected, Jones would manage the largest consumer protection office in the state. With a $200 million budget, the agency regulates insurance rates and enforces laws related to insurance.

Alioto-Pier, Newsom, and the CA-10/Garamendi factor

Alioto-Pier, 41, has for several months been linked with several unconfirmed rumors suggesting she is seeking statewide office before she terms out of office on the Board of Supervisors. Her spokesperson, Bill Barnes, downplayed the rumors as “speculation.”

Alioto-Pier will announce her intentions for future office, if any, in due course, Barnes said, noting that the outcome of the November special election in the Tenth Congressional District (CA-10) may be the catalyst that will resolve uncertainties about her intentions.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier

Conventional wisdom suggests that should Lt. Governor John Garamendi lose the race to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher in CA-10, he would likely seek reelection as Lt. Governor. As an incumbent, Garamendi would be a formidable opponent against any would be challenger, including Alioto-Pier who has twice run for statewide office (for California State Secretary in 1998 and 2002) and lost.

Others are speculating Alioto-Pier may be reading Mayor Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial tea leaves, foreseeing a continuing struggle to close a two-to-one fundraising gap and higher poll numbers enjoyed by California AG Jerry Brown, who has yet to officially declare his gubernatorial candidacy. Assuming Newsom cannot make inroads against Brown, and Garamendi wins in CA-10, Newsom may instead opt to run for Lt. Governor, placing Alioto-Pier in the awkward position of running against her longtime ally.

In essense, Alioto-Pier would be getting “bumped,” suggested Supervisor Daly. “If someone is getting into this race because they’re getting bumped out of another race – that would be ridiculous.”

Hence, there maybe some truth to the latest rumor that has Alioto-Pier looking more opportunistically at the race for Insurance Commissioner, an office position Newsom is not expected to seek under any scenario.

Peskin believes the latest unconfirmed rumor is true, but said Alioto-Pier will not pose a threat to Jones’ candidacy.

“Nobody in their right mind is going to take her entering the Lieutenant Governor’s race, the Insurance Commissioner’s race, or any other race outside Pacific Heights, seriously,” Peskin said.

More Photos


Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Ruth R. Snave

    Wow, our local progressives must be a nervous lot if they think that Michela Alioto-Pier is a threat to anybody!

    Although she may have fantasies of climbing up the political ladder, she’s not going anywhere. She’s an underwhelming plodder who has no real support outside her own supervisorial district.

    In general, ex-supes in SF don’t go very far after they leave the board. True, Dianne Feinstein became a U.S. Senator, but her initial springboard was do to an extraordinary situation, the assassination of Mayor George Moscone.

    In general, the best hope that ex-supes can have is to get elected to the state legislature, after which they generally fade. If they’re especially well connected, they can land an appointment, on leaving the legislature, to the Integrated Waste Managment Board, like Carole Migden.

    Otherwise, they end up like Matt Gonzalez. That is, they find a perch from which they can make some noise for a while. After a year or so, though, the public doesn’t remember who they are.

    The big exception to this pattern, of course, is Aaron Peskin. He will be remembered for the Peskin Principle, which he coined, and which will be forever associated with this name:

    “Payback is a bitch.”

  • paulhogarth

    Regardless of Alioto-Pier, Dave Jones is an excellent candidate … a class act all the way, and someone who deserves progressive support. He already has an opponent from L.A. who comes off slimy and opportunistic, so it’s important to get behind his campaign early and show some strong support.

    As for Michela, I agree with Peskin … she doesn’t deserve to get elected to anything outside Pacific Heights, and I feel bad for District 2 residents anyway. Michela is a political legacy, who believes her family name entitles her to any elected office she wants … which offends me on so many levels.

    Back in 1996, when she was in her late Twenties, Michela decided to run for Congress — by moving to Napa the day before the filing deadline to run against a Republican incumbent. Her opponent was a douchebag and deserved to lose, and was eminently beatable. But Michela managed to fuck up that opportunity for the Democrats — by mispronouncing the names of towns in debates. I was new to California back then, but even I could see how a “swing” voter in Humboldt County would be offended that some heiress of a San Francisco political family would think she could represent them.

    On Election Night losing in 1996, she announced she would run for the seat again in 1998. Fortunately, cooler heads in the Democratic Party prevailed … and she was talked out of running again, in deference to Mike Thompson — who won the seat that year, and was elected to Congress. But the only way they could bribe her out of that race was to give her the Democratic nomination for California Secretary of State. She ran, and in what was a landslide year for Democrats managed to be one of ONLY TWO Democrats that year to lose a statewide election in California.

    So in 2002, she tried again … by running for Secretary of State. That time, she came in a lousy third place for the Democratic nomination — losing to Kevin Shelley, who later had to resign in disgrace. It took Gavin Newsom getting elected Mayor for Michela to finally get herself *appointed* to public office.

    And now she thinks she can be Insurance Commissioner? Or Lieutenant Governor? Puh-leeze … She shouldn’t even get elected dogcatcher.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    Paul Hogarth is right when he says:

    “Regardless of Alioto-Pier, Dave Jones is an excellent candidate…”

    However, Hogarth contradicts this sentence by devoting most of the rest of his post to denouncing Michela Alioto-Pier.

    This contradiction should serve as a warning to Dave Jones. He would do well to keep some distance between himself and our local progressives here in SF if he wants California voters to elect him.

    Our local crew has a remarkable knack for grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. Just look at their behavior in the mayoral race of 2003.

    The basic problem is that they love to contradict themselves, with as many people as possible watching, and then feel proud of the fact.

    This thread is an example. They say Michela Alioto-Pier has no chance of getting elected, and so Dave Jones should be elected to stop Alioto-Pier.

    Watch out for this crew, Dave!

  • Rob Anderson

    If Mirkarimi, Peskin, and Daly support Jones, I’ll have to take a closer look at Alioto-Pier.

  • jcpardell

    I’m all for a single-payer health care plan. However, by soliciting the support of Supervisors Avalos, Chiu, Campos and Daly, Assemblymember Jones may have hurt his campaign. Any opponent, will now label him as an advocate of a health insurance policy, that will spend resources on illegal immigrants. In cash strapped California, that will not go over very well.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    J C Pardell is right. Any candidate for statewide office who becomes identified in the voters’ minds with SF’s board of supes will have a tough time winning.

    The same problem exists even in SF itself. In the last 35 years, only two incumbent supes have moved directly into the mayor’s office.

    The first was Dianne Feinstein in 1978 because of the assassination of Mayor George Moscone. The second was Gavin Newsom in 2004. Although a supe, Newsom actually ran against the board, denouncing it for its failure to deal with homelessness.

    In general, the board has low approval ratings, almost never going above 50%. The voters associate it with the peripheral and goofy behavior of its most outspoken and visible members. Yikes!

    The taint of the supes will be another factor working against Michela Alioto-Pier, who has just announced her candidacy for Insurance Commissioner.

    It will also work against Dave Jones if he parades his support from prominent members of the board of supes.

    Some sound advice for anyone running for state office in CA:

    Stay away from our board of supes!