By Luke Thomas
May 20, 2012, 11:57 am.
Longtime San Francisco progressive organizer Julian Davis will officially declare this week his bid to unseat appointed District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague, Fog City Journal can confirm.
Davis, 33, President of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, said he is running to “keep this city a vibrant home for the everyday people that make San Francisco real.”
“San Francisco should always be a home for all walks of life, a place for artists and innovators, students and seniors, immigrants and working people who make up the unique texture of our city,” Davis added.
At a gathering in Hayes Valley on Saturday with as many as 60 supporters in attendance, Davis explained his vision for the future of District 5 and the City, a vision that places a higher priority on people while protecting communities from excessive development. The event was attended by Clarence Jones, former counsel, confidante and “I have a dream” draft speech writer for Martin Luther King, Jr.
“In building any political movement, you must have a candidate of impeccable political integrity,” Jones said of his endorsement of Davis.
Davis, a graduate of Brown University and U.C. Hastings College of the Law, is a Bay Area native who has been living and working as an activist and organizer in San Francisco since 2002. He has worked in government and the non-profit and legal sectors on community development, civil rights, social justice and environmental causes. He is well-known in progressive circles having worked on several candidate and ballot measure campaigns including John Avalos for Mayor (2011), Jane Kim for Supervisor (2010), Prop H (2008, Clean Energy Act) and Chris Daly for Supervisor (2006). He also led efforts to free jailed journalist Josh Wolf from coercive confinement in 2007.
Olague, who self-identifies as progressive, has raised eyebrows since her appointment to the D5 seat by Mayor Ed Lee, an appointment that followed her co-chairship of the controversial “Run, Ed, Run” campaign. Though she opposed the redevelopment of Park Merced (against the wishes of Lee), Olague most recently voted in support of developing 134 units of multi-million dollar luxury condos on the waterfront at 8 Washington. As an organizer for the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition in the 90s, Olague opposed similar developments.
She also recently co-sponsored legislation with Supervisor Scott Wiener to weaken historic preservation protections, a proposal that has been met with stiff opposition from preservationists, the Tenant’s Union and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.
Olague also raised questions about her political loyalties when she provided the pivotal sixth vote in co-sponsoring a ballot measure in November that aims to repeal Ranked Choice Voting – a progressive electoral reform enacted in 2004 – from all citywide races.
Considered the most politically progressive of the City’s 11 districts, District 5 comprises the Haight-Ashbury, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Inner Sunset, Japan Town, and Lower Pacific Heights. Davis is the eighth candidate to enter the D5 contest. He joins African American Art & Culture Complex Executive Director London Breed, attorney Daniel Everett, Gill Francis (retired), small-business owner Daniel Landry, non-profit director Andrew Resignato, College Board Trustee John Rizzo, Supervisor Olague and small-business owner Thea Selby in the race that will be decided in November.