By Luke Thomas
June 7, 2012
Former legislative aide to Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Quintin Mecke, who officially filed to run in the ranked choice race for District 5 Supervisor today, says political independence and a check on excessive development will be central to his campaign message and platform.
His candidacy was first reported by FCJ.
“I’m running for District 5 Supervisor because I think it needs independent leadership,” Mecke, who previously ran for mayor in 2007 against then-incumbent Mayor Gavin Newsom, told FCJ outside the Department of Elections, accompanied by several friends and supporters, “and I think that the changes happening in this city right now, specifically the dot-com boom happening for a second time in San Francisco – my concern is that this administration is not managing the change well, nor is the Board of Supervisors.”
Mecke cited rising residential and commercial rents as an example of the downside impacts of Mayor Ed Lee’s policy of stimulating San Francisco’s economy with tax breaks to tech companies like Twitter, Zynga, SalesForce.com and others.
In response to the impacts of his economic policies, Mayor Ed Lee is sponsoring an affordable housing measure on the November ballot that would provide housing subsidies for middle-income residents. But the mayor recently told FCJ he is also modifying developer inclusionary affordable housing requirements, reducing the percentage of required affordable housing units per multi-dwelling development from 20 percent to 15 percent.
“My role as District 5 Supervisor would be to manage that change so that there’s equitable growth in San Francisco, which is not happening right now,” Mecke said. “We’re making all our bets on a trickle-down theory that the wealth of a very select few is going to trickle down to the masses – and I don’t think that’s the case right now.”
Mecke cited the recently approved 8 Washington project, a 134-unit luxury condo development on the Embarcadero with multi-million dollar price tags and supported by the mayor, as an example of misplaced development and housing policies. Lee-appointed District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague, a self-described progressive, voted in support of the project.
“I think we’re losing something in San Francisco,” Mecke said. “It’s not necessarily any one massive development, it’s a persistent amount of change that is happening – and I think that growth needs to be managed better in a way that keeps people here who have been living here a long time, able to stay here.”
Mecke is a supporter of community policing as part of his public safety platform, particularly police walking foot patrols to deter crime, a progressive policy championed by former District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. He is also a strong advocate for public transportation but said, “Let’s be honest, we’re not going to fix Muni until the City actually makes a larger commitment to truly fund Muni. It hasn’t and it’s not.”
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. Mecke is the tenth candidate to enter the D5 contest which has attracted a handful of political heavyweight challengers including College Board Trustee John Rizzo, former Redevelopment Agency Commissioner London Breed and community activist Julian Davis.
Asked to comment on Olague’s record, Mecke said, “My concerns would be that she or anyone else in this race has the required independence and the history of independence in this District, from Matt Gonzalez to Ross Mirkarimi – both of those were very strong independent voices at City Hall, no ties to any administration, and I think that’s what District 5 respects and that’s what it needs.”
“I don’t think the conversation in this race is about who is more or less progressive,” Mecke added. “I think the conversation is, who is independent in this race, who can manage the change best at City Hall.”