By Luke Thomas
March 18, 2012
Undeterred by unrelenting downpours, dozens of high-spirited supporters attended District 11 Supervisor John Avalos’s filing of paperwork Friday at the Department of Elections, officially declaring his bid for re-election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2008, Avalos was joined by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, Treasurer Jose Cisneros, Supervisors David Campos and Eric Mar, as well as union reps, community organizations and residents.
“I feel pretty confident that with the folks that are backing me that we could put together a strong campaign,” Avalos told Fog City. “An electoral campaign can be a great opportunity to reconnect with neighborhoods and residents and issues, at people’s homes and cafes. I’m looking forward to that.”
Coming off a second-place finish in last year’s mayor’s race, Avalos, a progressive, said his biggest accomplishments so far includes balancing a $500 million budget deficit when he served as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, restoring funding to critical services cut by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom; sponsoring and passing the city’s first local hire ordinance; and organizing with community groups in his District around efforts to improve services for senior citizens and youth, as well as helping small businesses survive in a difficult economy.
Asked what he hopes to accomplish in the next four years, Avalos said, “We have a foreclosure crisis in San Francisco. It’s really strong in my neighborhood. I want to figure out how we can create measures to support households against defaults and foreclosures. I also want to look at this municipal bank idea, something that I’ve been pushing.”
During opening remarks, Ammiano, who championed Healthy San Francisco and the Rainy Day fund when he served on the Board of Supervisors, said of Avalos, “The progressive movement started about a thousand years ago. We’re used to being shut out. We’re used to having things watered down, but we are always there and we are sustainable and John [Avalos] has been that protector, a protector of things that we have worked for like Healthy San Francisco, like the Rainy Day fund, campaign reform and District elections and Ranked Choice Voting. And the termites on the other side keep nibbling, nibbling, nibbling – and it’s up to us to spray ‘em. Nobody leaves the roach motel.”
Taking a shot at unnamed progressives on the Board, Ammiano added, “There is a great humanity to being progressive but to those others that we have supported who ran under a progressive banner, please stick to your principles. Let John lead. Let David Campos lead. We’ll take your lead if you are consistent and if you are principled. John should be chair of the Budget Committee. But, again, we are used to being shut out but that doesn’t mean we’re not productive. But, as an example, we need to hold the other progressive members of the Board responsible for a progressive message that makes San Francisco the great city that it is.”
Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who ran as a progressive and was elected to the Board in 2008 in large part with progressive support, stacked this year’s Budget and Finance Committee, which is tasked this year with closing a $165 million budget deficit, with moderate-conservative Supervisors. Though Chiu assigned Avalos to the Budget committee, he named District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu, who was appointed to the Board by Newsom, its chair.
“John Avalos has demonstrated the kind of leader he is,” said District 9 Supervisor David Campos. “He was the progressive standard bearer in the mayor’s race. He has, I think, become the conscience of the Board in so many respects and he’s been a truly effective District supervisor, and I think that’s why you have so many people behind him.”
“John has proven to be someone who is cool under pressure, someone who has a lot of responsibility and who has handed himself really well with a lot of poise and integrity, and he’s very responsive to the needs of the community, so I’m very proud to support him,” Campos added.
Avalos has been early endorsed by United Educators of San Francisco, SEIU 1021, and the Coleman Action Fund for Children.