Is Nation Out of Touch With San Francisco?

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Tagged: , ,

Published on May 11, 2008 with 2 Comments

District 3 candidate Joe Nation
Photo by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

May 11, 2008

Senate District 3 candidate Joe Nation has not taken an official position on all eight San Francisco propositions on the June ballot, Fog City Journal has learned.

The former assemblymember from San Rafael, considered a frontrunner in a fiercely contested battle with co-frontrunner Assemblymember Mark Leno and incumbent Senator Carole Migden, is raising questions about his ability to effectively represent San Francisco residents.

District 3 encompasses the eastern half of San Francisco and includes Marin County and portions of Sonoma County. Forty-five percent of the District’s electorate resides in San Francisco.

Responding to Fog City Journal inquiry about his position on two controversial ballot measures – Propositions F and G – Nation wrote:

“I have not taken a position on the San Francisco ballot measures. I am very supportive of increased economic development in the Bayview Hunters Point area, but I have not studied this issue sufficiently to where I would be willing to take a public position.”

At issue for San Franciscans is the development of much needed affordable housing on the decades-neglected Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard site. Proposition G, a measure backed by Florida-based Lennar, Inc., pledges to make up to 25 percent of the estimated 8,500 to 10,000 homes Lennar plans to develop, affordable.

Proposition F takes a stronger position and would mandate at least 50 percent of all housing developed on the site to be affordable. It has the backing of grassroots community activists and organizations that gathered over 11,800 signatures to place Proposition F on the ballot.

Proponents of Proposition F say Lennar’s plan “did not go though the usual planning process but was created in back room political deals,” according to a Proposition G rebuttal argument in the June 3 Voter Information Guide.

Lennar, through its spokesperson Kofi Bonner, has called Proposition F a “poison pill” that would, if passed, kill the Lennar project.

Proposition F has the political backing of Supervisor Chris Daly and the backing of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, St. Peter’s Housing Committee, POWER, Environmental Justice Agency, Chinese Progressive Association, and the Sierra Club. Proposition G has the political backing of Mayor Gavin Newsom, District Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and Senator Dianne Feinstein. (See “Pay to Play Bay Area” for a primer on Lennar’s connections to San Francisco’s political establishment).

Leno has endorsed Proposition G and has publicly stated his opposition to Proposition F. Conversely, Migden has endorsed Proposition F and opposes Proposition G.

Fog City Journal asked Nation Friday if he is prepared to take the time necessary to study the San Francisco propositions, with a view to him publicly stating his positions ahead of the June 3 election.

As of time of publishing, Nation remains silent.

For many voters who are not familiar with Nation or his candidacy, knowing that he has not taken a stand on the most important housing issue facing San Franciscans, will likely raise red flags about his competency to effectively represent San Francisco.

Or worse, San Francisco voters may correctly interpret Nation’s reluctance to take a stand, on any of the local propositions, as political sidestepping.

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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  1. Interesting he hasn’t taken a position. Nation met with community leaders behind Proposition F in mid-March after being stumped by a related question at the UC Hastings debate.

    Stumped like a fox.

  2. Hell, even I have a position on F and G. It’s not like you have to be a genius.