Political Shock Wave: Peskin Announces D3 Candidacy

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on March 31, 2015 with 8 Comments

Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin announced Monday his second candidacy for District 3 Supervisor.  Photos by Luke Thomas.

Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin announced Monday his candidacy for District 3 Supervisor. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

March 31, 2015

Former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin sent a shock wave through the San Francisco political establishment when he announced yesterday his candidacy to retake the District 3 supervisorial seat he previously held for two terms beginning in 2000.

“I’m running for supervisor because the challenges facing San Francisco and District 3 are simply too enormous for me to sit on the sidelines,” Peskin said to a throng of enthusiastic supporters across the District that includes Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Chinatown, Nob Hill and Russian Hill. “District 3 is being ravaged by the affordability crisis and that’s why we need experienced, effective leadership and not a rubber stamp at City Hall.”

As many 100 supporters from across the District attended the announcement.

As many 100 supporters from across the District attended the announcement.

Supporters held signs that read, "We need Aaron."

Supporters held signs that read, “We need Aaron.”

Known for his creative legislative talent, oration skill, and for a Machiavellian style of politicking to achieve results, Peskin made the announcement outside the Nob Hill apartment building where 18 months ago an elderly Chinese-American couple and their disabled daughter was evicted after living in the building for 34 years.  The Lee family was ousted by their landlord using provisions of California’s Ellis Act, taking advantage of the soaring costs of housing due to the influx of highly paid tech workers seeking housing.

“The facts are stunning and frightening,” Peskin lamented. “Evictions caused by the Ellis Act have doubled every year for the past three years. Median rent in San Francisco today has shot up to over $3,500 per month. Homelessness, always a vexing issue, is growing and seemingly more intractable each cycle. And it’s not just renters and the poor; the middle class is rapidly disappearing from San Francisco.”

Seventy percent of District 3 residents are tenants, the highest ratio of renters to homeowners in the City.

“Last year alone, some 2,000 tenants were evicted, told to pack up, get out and move – and after eviction they faced rent prices that could be double or triple what they could afford,” Peskin added. “Of the 14,448 housing units approved, but not yet built in this city as of the third quarter of last year, only 839 (units) are to be affordable to the middle class – that’s just 6 percent.”

Peskin’s candidacy has the full support of Mayor Ed Lee booster and Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak who is at odds with the mayor over his appointment of Julie Christensen to the D3 seat vacated by former Board of Supervisors President David Chiu following his election to the California Assembly. Pak, who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the election and re-election of Mayor Lee, supported Planning Commissioner Cindy Wu for the appointment.

Calling Lee’s appointment of Christensen over Wu “worse than a betrayal,” Pak said she is supporting Peskin’s candidacy because he is a “capable, talented, hard working individual.”

“While he was the supervisor for eight years, every time the community needed something, he came through,” Pak added.

Asked if technology angel investor Ron Conway, a Republican, has the mayor’s ear on appointments and public policy, Pak said, “Ron Conway just goes along with whatever he can buy and then he does the mayor’s bidding, spending millions to defeat who they don’t like,” a reference to the multiple independent expenditure campaigns funded by Conway to defeat progressive politicians and candidates who stand in the way of turning San Francisco into a dormitory for tech workers, or interfering with his portfolio of tech interests.

Chinatown community leader Rose Pak takes questions from reporters.

Chinatown community leader Rose Pak takes questions from reporters.

Help on the way

Peskin, 50, said his goals include pursuing an affordable housing policy that seeks a minimum of one-third of all large housing developments to be affordable, to protect non-profit commercial spaces, to identify surplus public lands for the development of affordable housing, to continue the fight for Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act reforms to ensure housing units built after 1979 are also protected by rent control, and to fund and reform Muni, congruent with population growth.

Additionally, Peskin seeks to “fix the flawed Airbnb legislation that is, in its current form, unenforceable and doing nothing to stop the bad actors who are exploiting home sharing by illegally stealing affordable housing from the rest of us.”

In closing, Peskin referred back to the Lee family’s speculative eviction, “Standing here today, it is heartbreaking to say that it’s too late for Mr. and Mrs. Lee and their daughter, like it’s too late for thousands of others who have been evicted and displaced, but it’s not too late for us to make a difference – it’s not too late to take action to contain this raging crisis and bring relief to those who need it and deserve it.”

“Let’s take a stand to make San Francisco more affordable and livable and retain its essence, its soul and history,” Peskin added.

More photos

Bobby Coleman, a tenants rights activist, said Peskin’s  “track record is obviously far more consonant with the Tenants Union than Julie Christensen.  Julie opposed last year’s anti-eviction ballot measure and, so, by her own admission, she is not aligned with the Tenants Union.”

Bobby Coleman (left), a tenants rights activist, said Peskin’s “track record is obviously far more consonant with the Tenants Union than Julie Christensen. Julie opposed last year’s anti-eviction ballot measure and, so, by her own admission, she is not aligned with the Tenants Union.”

Rose Pak and DCCC member Hene Kelly strike up a conversation following the announcement.

Rose Pak and SFDCCC member Hene Kelly strike up a conversation following the announcement.

Peskin with his wife, Nancy Shanahan (left) and Rose Pak.

Peskin with his wife, Nancy Shanahan (left) and Rose Pak.

Luke Thomas

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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