Candidates Square Off in D5 Debate

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on August 10, 2012 with 7 Comments

Candidates vying to represent the most progressive District in San Francisco squared off Wednesday during a debate hosted by the District 5 Democratic Club. Photos by Luke Thomas.

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.”

Community organizer Julian Davis.

“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.

Andrew 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.

D5 appointed Supervisor Christina Olague.

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.

London Breed.

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.

Christina Olague.

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.

Thea Selby.

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.

John Rizzo.

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.

Julian Davis.

Andrew Resignato: Raised $2,274 mostly from individuals outside the District.

Hope Johnson: Raised $600. No endorsements to date.

Hope Johnson.

Daniel Everett: No campaign donation filings or endorsements to date.

Daniel Everett.

More Photos

Protesters carried signs that read, “Tell Supervisor Olague stop the wall on the waterfront.”

As many as 70 members of the public attended the debate.

From left to right: Julian Davis, Thea Selby, Christina Olague, London Breed and John Rizzo.

Hope Johnson and Julian Davis.

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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Comments for Candidates Square Off in D5 Debate are now closed.

  1. “Davis needs to explain how his views on development differ from
    mainstream progressive ideas, like Smart Growth, dense development, and
    Transit Corridors.”

    –These are all very good things designed to concentrate development in urbanized areas, rather than sprawling out onto ag land and open space.  The opposite of Smart Growth is Stupid Growth.  Stupid Growth is what gave us car-dependent suburbs and big-box stores and ugly parking lots.  It’s an American tragedy.

    —Transit corridors are the best place to expand the built environment.  Appropriate development could happen along, say, the Geary BRT line.  Not talking 40 floor highrises, but 6-12 would not be out of scale.  What a great opportunity to build homes for people that allows them to walk and bus to services?   Of course a few loud Richmond NIMBYs are throwing wrenches.

    “Does Davis oppose the Rincon Hill highrises?” 

    —-Where do you want to build highrises, Rob?  Booneville?

     “Does he
    support the Market and Octavia Plan (40-story highrises at Market and
    Van Ness),”
    –I hope so.

    –A vast majority of the residents in the Market-Octavia Plan area support it.  We took part in its creation.  Hayes Valley and Civic Center neighborhoods are not afraid of affordable housing, density, and residential buildings with little or no parking.  They get it.  Anderson once argued that the Central Freeway shouldn’t have been demolished.  Again, a big majority of the residents in neighborhoods (myself included) adjacent to the Central Freeway worked very hard for nearly 10 years, and 3 ballot initiatives, to have it removed. If you compare the neighborhood now with the pre-’89-earthquake Hayes Valley, there’s absolutely no question that removing the freeway has caused the re-vitalization of the neighborhood.  Ditto for the Embarcadero.

    “and allowing UC to hijack the extension property on lower
    Haight Street for a massive housing development?”

    –Hijack?  They already own it.  Massive?  The DU/acre is close to the existing neighborhood density.  The downside is that they are building far too much parking.  Parking attracts residents with cars, exacerbates congestion, and will be detrimental for surrounding transit. All of the surrounding neighborhood groups want to see those parcels developed. Both HVNA and LHNMA are in negotiations with the developers to reduce parking.   We’re tired of having a moldering crime and graffiti magnet in our midst. 

    Treasure Island?
    —Agreed.  Stupid plan.  We need density where there are already services.  Treasure Island is siberia, by SF standards.  And how is the Bay Bridge going to handle a few thousand more cars?  Liquefaction?  Sea Level Rise?  It’s depressing. Ditto for Hunters Point.

    —The Parkmerced infill project is a great use of dead space in a semi-dense area that behaves like the suburbs.  A few thousand more units will give it life, and allow it to support neighborhood serving business.  Did you know that PM residents use cars to get to work, go shopping, etc, more than 3 times the SF average?  The property also consumes 3 times as much water per resident as the rest of the city.  Again, you can build where there are services or build sprawl. Trouble is, very few of the next generation of home buyers want to live in suburbia. 
    “Preservationists” who are claiming that Parkmerced is historic modern architecture are eroding the credibility of real preservationists.  

    Rob, have you heard of the “Agenda 21” conspiracy theorists? Look into it. If you write to them they’ll send you a tin foil hat. Or another tin foil hat.

  2. Thanks for reporting on the amount of money raised by each candidate and also about the average size of their donations.  I find those numbers very telling about which candidates are favored by the powers that be. 

  3. Rob,

        Missed you at the debate.    Gonzo sent a questionnaire to the candidates which I’m guessing included most of your questions.    Hope said it was quite comprehensive and Matt said it’s cool if I publish hers so I’m just waiting to get a link for this site.

    Will post soon as I get it.

    Giants win and Dodgers lose.

    Can things get better?


  4. Davis needs to explain how his views on development differ from mainstream progressive ideas, like Smart Growth, dense development, and Transit Corridors. Does Davis oppose the Rincon Hill highrises? Does he support the Market and Octavia Plan (40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness), and allowing UC to hijack the extension property on lower Haight Street for a massive housing development? Treasure Island? Parkmerced?

  5. campers,

        David, it’s GonzaleZ with a ‘z’.    A nice Puerto Rican friend (hey, Leona!) named Gonzales says the ‘s’ means you’re from Puerto Rico and the ‘z’ means Mexican heritage.    Either way that’s the most important endorsement of this district race.    Interesting that Matt left the door open for endorsing a second and third choice but didn’t at this time.    Interesting because he’s been a top proponent of IRV voting.

    Check out the Tony De Renzo video of the debate and let me know what you think.

    Link is in body of Luke’s piece.

    For Tony and my coverage of the closing of the registration at the department of elections and a quick ‘How do you do?’ with the Mayor at City Hall yesterday click on this link.   

    I swear to God Tony and I are just lucky.    We crossed paths with Lee and a single bodyguard cop and greeted but didn’t challenge him on any issues and had a good time in … and talking to …

    Giants deadlocked in 1st place with Dodgers.

    Wouldn’t have it any other way.


  6. Today Gonzales, Avalos and Campos endorsed Davis.

  7. Cool,

       A dozen or so of the supe candidates from around the City are waiting til the last minute to file (coming in one hour 5 minutes) to get a piece on the 6pm TV news.   Johnson and Resignato are the only 2 major candidates to file early.    This is a very strong field.    The Bulldog ranks Johnson first cause she don’t owe no one nuttin and Davis second cause I said 8 years ago when I ran with 22 others and him in the 2004 D-5 race that Julian would be mayor of SF someday and I’ll hold to that.

    I like Daniel Everett very much but not nearly as much as he likes himself and sending him to represent you would be like making a little kid the towel boy in a MAMBA locker room.   Still, he’s the surprise of the field cause he’s leading cheers for himself from the middle of a mine field and who doesn’t like to watch that?

    Davis is ready.

    Johnson is ready.

    Olague is over ripe fruit going cheap at the Farmers Market.

    Breed and Rizzo owe more to the 1% then any of the others.

    Let’s see if Asha Safai enters in 11.

    Niners kick off 6pm at Tempest Bar (for me).

    Giants put Lincecum on mound 7:15pm at Tempest Bar (for me).

    Rowdy drunk is ejected from Tempest Bar at 8pm.

    That’s me.

    Enjoy your weekend and think dirty thoughts every now and then.

    It keeps you young.

    Go Giants!