By Luke Thomas
August 10, 2012
Eight of 10 candidates vying to replace suspended-elect Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on the most progressive seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, engaged in a relatively low-key debate Wednesday, testing their campaign messaging while seeking the endorsement of the District 5 Democratic Club.
The invited candidates included former Redevelopment Agency Commissioner London Breed, community organizer Julian Davis, attorney Daniel Everett, former Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Chair Hope Johnson, Mayor Ed Lee-appointed D5 Supervisor Christina Olague, SFIC Director Andrew Resignato, College Board Trustee John Rizzo and community organizer Thea Selby.
The forum, held at the Park Branch Library, was attended by as many as 70 members of the public that included 8 Washington luxury condo development protesters, campaign staffers, club members and media.
The debate format included a round of candidate introductions, followed by randomly assigned pre-scripted questions on public safety, Muni performance, medical marijuana dispensary closures, bicycle lanes on Fell and Oak streets, ranked-choice voting, CPMC’s hospital development, blight and rent control.
Though there was little to separate the candidates on the issues with each candidate ably articulating their positions, two candidates took the opportunity to indirectly attack the appointed incumbent.
Olague, who was appointed by Lee following her co-chairship of the controversial “Run, Ed, Run” campaign and who claims to be a progressive, has supported the dismantling of ranked choice voting; voted in support of developing luxury condos along the Embarcadero; voted in support of the reappointment of pro-development Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini – and who maintains close ties with former Mayor Willie Brown and Rose Pak who held a Chinatown fundraiser in June on Olague’s behalf raising over half of her campaign $81,000 war chest, mostly from maximum $500 campaign donations from individuals living outside of the District.
“There are rogue development interests that are controlling the agenda at City Hall,” Davis said. “They have a vision of City San Francisco that includes luxury condominiums for the ultra-rich, chain stores, parking garages – it’s a vision for San Francisco that doesn’t include the people in this room. It doesn’t include everyday people.”
“They get away with it by choosing your leaders for you,” Davis added. “Over the past two years in San Francisco, we’ve seen an appointed mayor, an appointed district attorney, an appointed sheriff and an appointed District 5 supervisor. Ask yourself, is that participatory democracy, the way we envision it – and the answer is, it is not.”
“I feel strongly that District 5 needs an independent voice, one that’s not beholden to the downtown interests that dominate all of our politics,” added Resignato.
Responding, Olague said, “I’m progressive. I’m loyal, but the only people I am beholden to are the residents of District 5,” drawing titters from the wings.
The club ultimately endorsed Breed, Davis and Olague in the ranked-choice race that will be decided by voters in November.
To watch the entire debate, recorded by Tony DeRenzo Productions, click here.
By the Numbers
London Breed: Raised $85,461 from pro-development interests, attorneys and medical professionals. Notable individual donors include Willie Brown partner and attorney Steven Kay; Brown protégé Bevan Dufty; California Attorney General Kamala Harris (another Brown protégé); Angel investor Ron Conway (Ed Lee booster), firefighters, Local 38 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union; and actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Her endorsements include California Attorney General Kamala Harris, State Senator Leland Yee, College Board Trustee Chris Jackson, SF School Board Commissioners Rachel Norton and Jill Wynns.
Christina Olague: Raised $81,332 mostly from maximum $500 contributions from business, development and banking interests. Approximately 90 percent of Olague’s contributions are from non-District 5 Asian American residents. Notable donors include Storefront Political Media founder Eric Jaye, members of the Chinatown Community Development Center, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim (a Brown and Pak protégé) and Sam Singer (Singer Associates).
Her endorsements include Mayor Ed Lee, State Senator Mark Leno, Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Treasurer Jose Cisneros, Supervisors Jane Kim, David Campos and Eric Mar.
Thea Selby: Raised $41,432 from mostly small business interests and attorneys in and outside of the District.
Her endorsements include Assemblymember Fiona Ma, Supervisor Malia Cohen and SF School Board Commissioner Emily Murase.
John Rizzo: Raised $14,740 from mostly small donations from inside and outside the District.
His endorsements include Senator Leland Yee, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Supervisors Eric Mar and David Campos, College Board Trustees Milton Marks, Natalie Berg, Chris Jackson and Steve Ngo.
Julian Davis: Raised $9,333, mostly smaller donations from inside and outside the District.
His endorsements include former SF Democratic Party Chair and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, College Board Trustees Chris Jackson and Natalie Berg.
Note: We’re hearing former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez will officially endorse Davis later today after withdrawing his endorsement of Olague. It is unclear if Gonzalez will sole endorse Davis. We’re also hearing Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos will officially endorse Davis today.
Andrew Resignato: Raised $2,274 mostly from individuals outside the District.
Hope Johnson: Raised $600. No endorsements to date.
Daniel Everett: No campaign donation filings or endorsements to date.