Davis Releases Statement, “Sets the Record Straight”

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on October 17, 2012 with 35 Comments

Julian Davis

Candidate for District 5 Supervisor Julian Davis. File photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

Editor’s Note: This article has been revised since its initial publication.

October 17, 2012

Julian Davis, a leading progressive candidate running in the race for District 5 Supervisor, today released a statement that, in his words, “sets the record straight.”

Davis is responding to an uncorroborated allegation, first reported by SFWeekly, that he sexually assaulted Kay Vasilyeva, a current city employee, one-time actress and former campaign staffer, when both he and Vasilyeva worked on the 2006 campaign to re-elect former District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly.  Vasilyeva was a paid staffer; Davis was a volunteer.

The allegation, coming on the heels of last week’s controversial vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, has prompted Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos and Jane Kim to drop their support for Davis and revoke their endorsements. The San Francisco Bay Guardian, which previously endorsed Davis as their number one pick in the ranked choice race, has also revoked its endorsement and called for him to drop out of the race.

“If it’s a political hit, it is a perfect political hit,” Daly told FCJ. “The Davis campaign had all the momentum and was on the path to likely winning.”

Daly said he faintly recalls a conversation he had with Vasilyeva about the alleged incident but said he is “very certain that sexual assault was not part of it.” Daly’s campaign manager, Bill Barnes, who joined and managed Daly’s campaign after the alleged incident occurred, said though he cannot remember specifics of the conversation he had with Vasilyeva, he advised Vasilyeva that if she believed a crime occurred, she should report the incident to police.

“My memories that are most clear about that campaign were the political side of what was going on, not about the interpersonal issues,” Barnes said.

Neither Daly or Barnes reprimanded Davis or asked him to leave the campaign and Vasilyeva did not report the incident to police.

Davis concedes he did act inappropriately when he, Vasilyeva, and her boyfriend at the time ex-boyfriend, went to see a movie together in 2008, that he was being “overly flirtatious” with Vasilyeva – but he denies that he ever sexually assaulted her, or anyone else, and that he later apologized to Vasilyeva for his behavior which, he said, she accepted.

In his statement, Davis acknowledges his past mistakes with some women with whom he “may have crossed boundaries,” and is calling into question the timing of the bombshell, just three weeks before Election Day.

“If you’ve read stories about our race in the past few days, you have no doubt seen some suspiciously timed allegations, less than three weeks before Election Day,” Davis states:

“Let me set the record straight.

“When I was first asked by reporters if I had any history of sexual impropriety, I candidly acknowledged that I had been overly flirtatious with some women in my past and that I may have crossed boundaries. To those women with whom this was an issue, I apologized and made amends many years ago. However, I have never sexually assaulted anyone.

“I continue to question the timing of this attack on my candidacy less than three weeks before Election Day.

“Some of you have noted that some endorsers, already feeling pressure because of their decision to reinstate Sheriff Mirkarimi, have elected to withdraw their support for my candidacy.

“No one can deny that there is presently a particular sensitivity around domestic violence issues, and this may have been a contributing factor in their decision in this instance. I want to emphasize that I respect this heightened sensitivity and I will not criticize those allies of mine that have chosen to withdraw support.

“I will not, however, admit to things I have not done. And I thank those allies who have stood by me including former board presidents Aaron Peskin and Matt Gonzalez, Small Business Commissioner Kathleen Dooley, and groups with whom I share core values, including the San Francisco Tenants Union, the League of Young Voters, and many, many, more.

“I want to thank the many of you who reached out to me in the past few days to let me know that you continue to believe in my candidacy.

“I have met with my campaign team, and we remain confident that we can win this race, and serve the people of District 5 with honor and distinction. The city faces critical issues that need to be addressed. I believe, as others have stated, I have by far the best grasp on the policies that most affect people here.

“Together, we will cross the finish line on November 7. Thank you for your continued support and belief in me.”

Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of this story.

Luke Thomas is a resident of District 6.  As a professional photographer, he has supplied photography services to several campaigns in this election cycle including Davis’ campaign.

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 SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. 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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  2. Oy vey … The one point Julian Davis has *NEVER* addressed or acknowledged in his two e-mails following this scandal, was that he had his lawyer send Kay a “cease-and-desist” letter — in effect, threatening her with a defamation lawsuit if she continued to talk about these allegations.

    Besides being offensive (telling the victim to shut up), this has got to be the stupidest and most politically tone-deaf move that any political candidate has ever made.  If Davis had simply denied the charges, it would be a “he said, she said” story, and many of his progressive supporters could credibly stand by him and say: “well, he denied it and I believe him.”  But once he threatened her with a defamation lawsuit and told her to stop talking, he immediately threw out any credibility or possible sympathy out the window.  That’s what triggered Campos and Avalos to drop their endorsement, and it put them in a position that continuing to support him was indefensible.

    The fact that Julian Davis is so blind to that obvious mistake — and has never acknowledged it in any of his two public statements — speaks volumes about his profound lack of judgment.

    • Alleging allegations does not a victim make.  What is offensive in Hogarth post is that Randy Shaw’s attack poodle would say just the opposite if he was directed to.  The ethically challenged criticizing of a progressive candidate to appease a tea party mayor to keep the cash flowing to the THC is what is offensive.

      What is curious is that Kay raised the issue with the progressive supervisors in the springtime, they endorsed Julian anyway.  But when she raises it after the major endorsements are out, in what looks like it might be an October surprise in the wake of the Mirkarimi case, they change their positions.

      If this happened as Kay claimed, then the appropriate steps would have been to either slap Julian across the face–she would have found ample support in a Daly crowd–file a criminal complaint, or decide that it was not such a big deal and let it pass.

      The question that the Mirkarimi case raised was how far one could go back in time to impugn an officeholder or one seeking office to disqualify them from serving or being elected.  That applies here as well.

      I would note that many of Kay’s defenders are liberal Democrats made innumerable excuses for and who fawn to this day in adulation for the Bill “Prince of the Bimbo Eruptions” Clinton who was trotted out on stage to give Obama a big push even though Clinton set the table for economic meltdown, policies which Obama is doubling down on.

      Liberals and progressives are the ones who have pushed feminist legal gains over the past few decades.  And conservatives have figured out how to use liberal and progressive sensitivity to these issues in a way that enlists us in a project to dismantle our own politics while effectively exempting themselves.  These charges did not stick against Schwarzenegger.

      At this point, I’m more than through with any sort of identity politics, done.  So long as corporate dominance exists and has learned how to use identity politics to neutralize the opposition through divisiveness, infighting and self destruction, the only things that matter to me now is the ongoing economic attacks on everyone that will remain unaddressed so long as we allow our attention to be distracted from issues that impact everyone onto a case of an outrage against an individual.

      • Well, wasn’t sure what to make of this but I think your eloquence may have convinced me for the most part, Marcos.
        I still wish Julian Davis hadn’t sent the cease and desist letter that seems to have stirred all this up, but doesn’t seem nearly as serious as the moralistic backlash it’s fueling.  I suspect that Christina had already won the election anyway, the moment she voted to reinstate Ross, so I hate to see this drown everything else out. 

        While everyone’s fussing about it, David Lee, with the half million he’s raised, may unseat Eric Mar in D1 and seriously damage rent control.

        Today Melissa Griffin, in her column, announced a Facebook page identified with the Most Wanted Pics’ I’m about to attach.  She included Julian Davis though his photo hasn’t been added yet.

    • “this has got to be the stupidest and most politically tone-deaf move that any political candidate has ever made.”

      Hardly.  There have been many at the federal level far worse than this, involving both corporatist, neocon, pro-war parties.  You must not keep up.

  3. I don’t have much to say about this because I’ve never met Kay Vasilyeva, and just barely know Julian Davis.  But I would like to hear an explanation of the timing, three weeks before the election.

    I see so much political use and abuse of womens’ issues that I always have to stop and ask myself, “What’s really going on here?”  Yesterday I read Dianne Feinstein’s shameless use of the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate 14-year-old Malala Youfsazai – for her advocacy for girls’ education – to defend the Afghanistan War.  (http://goo.gl/kH10BS).  Never mind the three children who were killed by drone bombers while gathering firewood this week.   I wouldn’t want to push a precise analogy or liken elements in this story, and it’s one of the more extreme examples of womens’ rights abuse.  And again, I don’t really know tJulian Davis and have never even met Kay Vasilyeva, 

    But can someone explain the timing?

  4. The Bay View stands by Julian Davis, our first choice for District 5 supervisor

    “No one should ever make unwanted advances, and I cannot say that the young woman who alleges impropriety is untruthful. But if she accepted Julian’s apology six years ago, as I’ve heard, why come forward now? Julian questions the timing, and I question the young woman’s ties to the administration, which opposes Julian’s candidacy just as it opposes equal economic opportunity.”


  5. Luke, I would like to take the opportunity to provide a little bit of context to my quotes recorded here. While I don’t remember Kay specifically mentioning sexual assault to me back in 2006, that does not mean it didn’t happen. Bill Barnes and I both think that our comments here were pieced together to make a point that is not really there.

    As a progressive with a long history with both Kay and Julian, this is an incredibly difficult situation. While I can empathize with a candidate who is under severe attack, I agree with John Avalos in thinking that the issuing of the cease and desist letter was a problem. Kay Vasilyeva is not a political opponent or saboteur — she is one of us, and her voice should not be silenced.

    •  Chris, thank you for your comments and context, duly noted.

    • Very interesting comments here from Chris Daly. They should be disseminated widely to provide context to those progressives who think Kay is some type of Ed Lee stooge. It is clear that she is not and that the cease and desist letter was a stupid, unnecessary mistake and an egregious unforced error for Davis. It made a six-year old issue a very relevant issue today.

      Do we really want a person with this type of judgement to lead District 5?

    • You don’t think Christina won it the day she voted to reinstate Ross?

  6. If he remains a candidate for supervisor, he may likely win.  There’s at least one current conservative supervisor (charading as a “moderate”) who had lots of negative things written about him (factual information) in campaign literature against him, but it didn’t seem to matter.  He became a supervisor anyway.  And with most people being too busy with their texting addiction, will they even remember these allegations against Julian Davis when they put down their gadgets and vote?

  7. Its not blaming the vitcim, until a crime has occured, its questioning the politcal motive, I also worked on daly re elect with 30 of my close freinds, we heard allot, allot, but we never heard that julian touched kay, kay is very strong woman and not a victim, just as olaque and jane arent toddlers by voting on the actual legal questions before them correct ly. Were all grown women and can understand the critical timing of these attacks and we.can all see the trivalization and machine not seriously addressing violence against women and using it as a football at their pep rally. Thanks to daly and those.of us that arent afraid to question and tell the truth.

    • Being a strong woman does not mean you can’t be subjected to sexual harassment/assault and be intimidated enough by the aggressor and disillusioned enough by a system that so often dismisses and doubt a woman’s word over a man’s to not go to the police.

  8. Bad image,

       When Anwar Sadat was assassinated?    You see that?    An entire army truck stopped in front of the reviewing stand and the soldiers got out w/their weapons.    Not understanding, he stood to salute them.    They riddled him w/bullets.

    When his security unit realized they couldn’t do anything they started to throw metal folding chairs over his body to at least slow down the bullets.

    Davis campaign kinda like that tonite.


    • Great video link, if the ‘incident’ occured as described, JD should be grateful he escaped intacto and not castrati. Can SF politics sink even lower.
      GO GIANTS, please win at least one and come on home.

  9. I question the timing of the report of an alleged incident that happened in 2006.  I also wonder what  Davis meant when he says, “he may have crossed boundaries” with women.  His statement did not help his cause.  Regardless, the damage is done; his campaign is all but over.

  10. Campers,

       Wanna see some soft porn starring Vasilyeva?   

    > http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi2257323033/She's at :19 and again at :30 in lesbo pillow fight scene.Why do I never get to appear in these films?Starting to rain in St. Louis in the 7th and Posey just singled and we’re down 2-1.(I’m more worried about Giants)Dig the film.This lady ain’t Goldilocks.And, …If a woman rubs her boobs against me in a bar in a playful manner?Is that sexual harassment?Lord, I hope not.Go Giants!h.

    • Nice–blame the victim, demonize the one with courage to speak out and turn the perp into a victim.  You must be a San Francisco Progressive!

      •  No.  He is just a douche.

        • More misogyny, Nate?  Are vaginas unclean?  We can go at this all of the day and all of the night and all of the while Willie Brown is making book by selling our communities out from under us.

          • @86883e1d8289f5b704d6504ff6f52ab9:disqus :  Exact.

          • What’s the obsession with Willie? He hasn’t been mayor, or held any elected or appointed office in how long?  Perhaps you should look at your current leaders, like Peskin/Avalos/Campos/Mar/Kim/Olague/Leno/Ammiano and the others that control the DCCC, control the BOS, and represent SF in Sacramento as well.  Find another straw man, like Gavin, who is almost as irrelevant (until he gets promoted from Lieutenant)….  

          •  Marc. 

            Thats really adorable that you are trying to make me out to be a misogynist because I called out some creepy old asshole who is posting art videos of people having fun and calling them soft porn. Doing this in an attempt to discredit her, or even worse, trying to make a case that she was asking for it, is shameful.  The fact that you are more concerned with me calling him a douche than people saying things like that is your problem.

            • Nate, “asking for it” involves a man deciding that a random woman is “asking for rape” because of the clothes she is wearing or the way that she carries herself in public.  This is not that, and the comparison you make devalues the seriousness of rape when compared to what allegedly happened at the bar.

              These are two individuals who knew each other are in a bar at a social event and had been in social, not just political, conversation.  In that context, as the attempted hetero mating rituals might have played out, perhaps he thought that she was asking for it because that is the unspoken, uncertain part of hetero mating rituals between two consenting adults in a bar setting.  Perhaps he was mistaken, perhaps he misread the situation and there was no consent.  That is where Occam’s razor cuts for me in a case like this.

              That is way different than a male predator who picks women or men, for that matter, at random and feels them up without consent, or if this had occurred in the political context of a campaign headquarters. 

              It is not like we queers know nothing about how men who are too ‘forward’ can operate.  It is a mystery to me how the planet can be facing overpopulation given the rickety and uncertain nature of het coupling.

              • Believe it or not, sometimes het women do indeed ask het men for sexual attention, or het men sometimes misread signals from het women in these contexts as a green light for sexual attention.  Is misreading such a signal now tantamount to rape under this climate of schizophrenic feminism?

                •  Look man.  This whole situation sucks, and I don’t know what happened.  On one level, I count Julian as a friend, have worked with him on a ton of things and feel really horrible for him and all of the things that he is going through. 

                  I don’t think that misreading someone 6 years ago disqualifies you from much.  I am much more concerned about the response that has come from people who are supporting Julian: making Kay out to be some kind of evil tool for the establishment when that is simply not true, posting artsy videos that people made and trying to use them as a basis to say that she deserves to be groped/ hit on inappropriately or to invalidate her voice.  None of these people are doing Julian any favors. 

                  I wasn’t there six years ago but I can see what is happening now and its really disappointing. 

                  • Nate, in politics, little happens by accident.  The context of what might have happened 6 years ago is as valid as the context of what is happening now.

                    If you’re going to let h brown set the terms of your political debate and accept the framing of feminism in terms imposed upon us by both conservative power and frustrated feminists who are compensating for their lack of power at higher levels by working through their politics on the relatively less powerful, then that is your error.

                    h brown is like Gonzalez and Adachi’s attack dog working for their turdblossom who is paid on the public dime to do Adachi’s and Gonzalez’ political work.

                    In both cases, you empower those who have nothing to do with your politics, with the feminist project writ large, and end up further empowering those who are hating on women on an industrial scale.

                    This all or nothing thinking has to end, this garrison mentality.  I can’t blame ANYONE for wanting to jump off of the progressive ship as Christina has, as I have because under the watch of the PC clique with which you associate and which has less and less play outside the already converted. It has taken on water and is sinking fast, and it is not just the rats who are adverse to drowning, to losing.  You sink, we swim.

                    •  That’s just a fundamental difference between the way we see the world and evaluate situations. 

                      I don’t see this as some big conspiracy or a conservative power grab, because I know both people.  I understand the competitive dynamics of 2 weekly news papers that hate each other.  I get that this is a political race.  I also see the way that different camps have chosen to deal with these accusations or feelings that were out there, not only after, but well before the articles were published.

                      People who we agree with politically sometimes act in ways that we don’t agree with.  Recognizing this isn’t allowing people who are conservative to manipulate me.

                       I’m going to sign off here because I’ve had enough of the Marc Solomon gibberish generator for a while.

                    • Nate, why this absolutism?  I did not say that it was grand conspiracy, but did say that motive is part of the context as it always is in politics.  Is motive the entirety?  No, but it is not nothing either.  Straw women are easy to demolish because, well, they are strawmen too.

                • No one is calling this rape, get your facts straight. It was sexual harassment, and from the sounds of it, also sexual assault by technical definition. “Misreading signals” does not an excuse for sexual harassment or assault make. 

              • No. “asking for it” is not just relevant in the context of rape, and believe it or not, rape (and sexual harassment and assault) DO NOT just happen to randomly selected women. Being in a social (and in this case, also work-related, as it was a political fundraiser event for the candidate) context without another human being does NOT make it ok for you to physically touch a person in an intimate manner underneath their clothing, no matter what “signals” you may think you’re reading. That is disrespectful, unacceptable and predatory behavior, period. Come on, what is wrong with you. If you think that is perfectly fine behavior, you don’t know quite as much about “hetero mating rituals” as you think and also need to attend a sexual harassment seminar.

    • Sorry campers, here’s the link:


    • People touching you in bar #thingsyoudontneedtoworryabout

    • That video. Her name clearly is Goldicocks.   I feel that this young woman deserves every bit of groping and then some from hot Julian Davis, and boy I am jealous.