The Case for John Avalos

Written by Chris Daly. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on January 05, 2009 with 47 Comments

District 11 Supervisor-Elect John Avalos and Supervisor Chris Daly on election night.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Chris Daly

January 4, 2009

John Avalos, Community Organizer

District 11 Supervisor-Elect John Avalos

I first met John Avalos back in 1999 at his old place in the Excelsior, across from Monroe Elementary School. By this time, John was already well known in community organizing circles for his work at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. John and his partner, Karen Zapata, had opened up their home as the Excelsior mobilizing spot for Tom Ammiano’s campaign for Mayor. I can remember thinking how lucky we were to have such a great connection in the Excelsior, a neighborhood that had been notoriously difficult for progressives.

Between 2000 and 2004, John served as the Director of Organizing for Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and as Political Director for Justice for Janitors, SEIU Local 1877. At Coleman, John led the citywide outreach effort to pass the reauthorization of the Children’s Fund. He also brought Coleman to the next level of advocacy around the City budget, organizing service providers and residents to directly engage on the defining questions facing City Hall decision-makers. At Justice for Janitors, John mobilized political support for 2 contract campaigns, ensuring that over 2000 workers received wage increases while preserving healthcare and retirement benefits.

City Hall Savvy

In early 2005, I invited John to work as a Legislative Assistant in my office. It was one of the best decisions I have made as a Supervisor. Over the last 4 years, I watched as John Avalos adroitly managed legislative and political affairs, always taking time to hear from everyone while watching out for our City’s most vulnerable.

Most notably, John was able to use his experience as an organizer to open City Hall’s doors to ensure that the voices of San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities were clearly heard during budget deliberations. John was able to demystify the budget process for community stakeholders while coordinating sometimes-tedious budget discussions between Supervisor offices, the Budget Analyst, Controller, and Mayor’s Budget Office. John played much of this role at City Hall even in the years that I didn’t Chair the Budget Committee. Through John’s work, tens of millions of dollars worth of vital services for childcare, health and mental health programs, park restorations, and senior support were saved from the chopping block. And tens of millions more were added for affordable housing and other programs.

Let’s be honest here, there are several Legislative Assistants that are more involved in the day-to-day running of local government than many members of the Board. John was one of these “leg aides” and was known as the go-to-guy on budget matters. His even-handed work on the City budget drew strong praise across the political spectrum with accolades from Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Ross Mirkarimi!

On the Frontline for Justice

We all have some experience in supporting a candidate for office and then being disappointed with their performance once elected. Maintaining the accountability of elected officials to the progressive communities who elect them is as important as winning elections in the first place. Over the years I’ve noticed that there are 2 indicators of how responsive a politician will be to progressive politics. The first is rooted-ness in community. The second is sense of justice.

While John’s roots in community are deep, his desire for social justice is even stronger.

In 1999, when John Avalos learned of the wrongful conviction of David Moreno and Justin Pacheco for a murder they did not commit, he launched a media campaign through We Interrupt This Message to free the two Latino youth from jail. By generating national coverage of the case and, generally, of racism in the criminal justice system, John was able to help Moreno and Pacheco win a not guilty verdict on all charges and their freedom. You can’t find John’s fingerprints on this case. He didn’t do it for personal gain or advantage. He did it because it was the right thing to do.

John has witnessed the injustice that the system can deal out, and it doesn’t just inform his outlook. It drives John to fight for justice at every turn.

Perseverance Through Adversity

My other measure for elected officials is how they respond to crises, which seem to come up far too often in local government. When it comes to tough times, the Avalos family has been put to the test. John’s daughter Rene was born 16 weeks early during a family trip. Rene battled for her life, and after 4 months and 2 hospitals, she made it home. Through it all, John was a Super-Dad. Not only was he glued to Rene’s bedside, he also navigated the complicated hospital bureaucracies and managed interactions with doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators to make sure Rene got the care she needed. Faced with the adversity of his first child’s life in the balance, separated from his home, and with skyrocketing medical bills, John was able to draw from a community of support, and rally through.

John Avalos, Emiliano, Rene and Karen Zapata.

John Avalos for President of the Board

I support John Avalos for Board President because I believe he is the best choice to lead the new progressive Board during these tough times. His progressive politics are grounded in decades of community and labor organizing work and a profound desire for social justice. John is universally liked and respected and has an uncanny ability to bring people together.

Supervisor-elect Avalos may know more about the City budget than I do, even with my 8 years on the Board, thrice as Budget Chair. This is important because, with the current financial crisis, the City budget is likely to occupy the new Board for the better part of the next 2 years. It would be smart for the Board to elect the Supervisor with the most hands-on budget experience to our top leadership spot.

John has assembled what will be the most experienced and diverse staff at the Board. Rachel Redondiez brings 8 years at the Board with her own impressive record of community and labor organizing. Francis Hsieh has 4 years at the Board plus another 2 as an aide in Sacramento. She comes back to City Hall from her position as Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. Coupled with John’s 4 years at City Hall, the Avalos office isn’t just going to be prepared; they are ready to lead on day one.

Despite all this experience, John Avalos will be a new face for change in San Francisco politics. This little piece here is probably the most extensive column ever published about John. John’s fresh face fits neatly with the mantra for progressive change that has just swept across the country. With a community organizer and relative outsider set to take the keys to the White House, a John Avalos Presidency at the Board would make for very good symbolism.

This fall, John assembled one of the most sophisticated and well-organized progressive political campaigns that this City’s seen. Like Eric Mar and David Chiu, he took some of downtown’s toughest hits and proved his political mettle. John has helped politically transform what was a conservative neighborhood into one that is very much in play for progressives. (In addition to electing John, District 11 was one of five to support the Affordable Housing Charter Amendment.)

The recent release of Gus Van Sant’s biopic not only elevates the stage for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; it also provides us with the opportunity to turn the tables on the definition of the Supervisor from the Excelsior. Think about the meaning of a progressive Latino Board President, from the neighborhood that used to be known for producing Dan White.

John Avalos is ready to walk in a proud line of progressive Board Presidents, as a community and labor organizer who has battled through adversity with a passion for social justice.

Chris Daly

Chris Daly is the Political Director for SEIU Local 1021, a union of over 50,000 public sector and non-profit workers. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2001-2011 and owns and operates The Buck, a bar and grill on Market Street.

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Comments for The Case for John Avalos are now closed.

  1. John Avalos speaks for me!

  2. today was a victory for SF progressives and the city’s future. hats off to ross for his final vote and to the new board. now let’s do the people’s business.

  3. JCP,

    Believe me, I know that it takes a community to turn things around.

    But it definitely helps if the community is on City Hall’s radar and receiving technical assistance.

    Having someone who represents D11 as board president definitely puts a spotlight on the district.

    Anyways, that thought is moot at this moment. Maybe it could be reality in another couple of years.

    And JCP, believe it or not, I agree with you on one thing. The last thing i want to see is a bunch of useless service centers with their headquarters in other distircits setting up shop in our area. How many times have we seen storefronts set up in our area, only to see them disappear a couple of years and a few hundred thousand dollars later?

    Tom Murphy

    ps – i’m done on this topic. Tom Rathman coming back to the Niners as a coach.

  4. Well, Avalos wasn’t chosen board president. I wonder if Chris Daly is going to blame my “threats” as the reason for this defeat?

  5. Well, it looks like the only person who had just one vote was Chris! Ross got 4 on the first round. As usual Chris’s bullying failed and only ended up making him more enemies.

  6. Tom M: Why would you depend on a government official to make positive changes in District 11? The power to do so, comes from the people in the community. We don’t have to depend on the people whose salaries are paid for with our tax dollars. They work for us. Its not the other way around. I, for one, will do my best to make sure John Avalos is held accountable for what occurs in our district.

  7. guymarcela:

    Points very well made and taken. However, if Avalos purports to open more social service centers in District 11, I guarantee you he will face a recall election.

  8. Chris Daly plays politics to win, which must be why so many people who have opposing interests to his react so forcefully to his words and actions.

    The way I see it, Chris likely couldn’t get enough votes to become Board President so he cleverly devises the next best solution: support his long-time former aide and confidant John Avalos. Very smart. I’m sure they’ll both have lots of fun dividing up the Board assignments and running city hall in the best partisan style that defines San Francisco politics.

    Let’s hope that Ross doesn’t succumb to the current bullying tactics of Chris and this new Gang of 4 and that he votes to support another long-time supervisor like Sophie Maxwell as board chair. Maybe she can help instill some decorum and mutual respect for the general public by the high-potency testosterone brigade being sworn in today.

    As someone who has been following local politics for the past two years, my observation is that progressives are great with the rhetoric but their policies are mostly paternalistic and their politics are stifling to those who may unfortunately disagree with them. The guiding principles of progressives are to support big, bureaucratic organizations to watch over and “protect” us, such as supporting landlord controlled affordable housing that is owned and managed by officious non-profit bureaucrats who like to tell us what to do in “our” homes. Progressives also support regressive taxes like sales taxes and job-killing payroll taxes. And you’ll never see a city hall hearing conducted by progressives to investigate the billions of dollars of rents that landlords suck out of the city from residential and commercial tenants, nor will we ever learn about the billions of dollars in welfare subsidies our federal and state governments give to San Francisco residential and commercial landlords at the same time government is slashing services to the infirm and the poor.

    Like it or not, this city is owned and controlled by Democrats and the rest of us just have to face this unpleasant reality. And despite the perceived differences between a Chris Daly or a Gavin Newsom such as whether we need another $10 million a year for “affordable” housing, more healthcare services, a community court – or not – the real differences are miniscule among Democrats such as Daly, Newsom, Leno, Yee, Willie and Jerry Brown, Ma, Ammiano and most likely the new four supervisors.

    Notwithstanding some marginalized groups that are part of the Democratic Party’s “big tent,” the Democrats are solidly the party of big landlords, big labor and big “non-profit” groups. These are the same groups who have created the worst financial crisis is the world’s history. They are not a Party that is sympathetic to working people, the middle class, business owners or anyone else who tries to make this world a better place outside the confines of big government, big labor and big landlords, regardless of how much their rhetoric might indicate they actually care about the rest of us.

    What we can do as insignificant individuals to make this a better world, however, is to stop voting for Democrats. The world’s children and future grandchildren who would want a more prosperous, peaceful and inclusive body politic will thank you immensely. In the meantime, let’s all support Sophie Maxwell for board chair to try to bring some civility and respect to city hall.

  9. As someone who has seen the constant neglect of D11 from City Hall, I think having John Avalos as board president could only help bring more attention and resources to the district.

    Who knows, maybe the district will make it onto all City Maps one of these days.

    As for the comment that someone could be voted out in 4 years for doing a “bad job,” i think IRV has proven to be a golden tool for any incumbent to be reelected.

  10. Regrettably I am getting into this debate late so all I can do is to implore to the decency of the “progressives”- Daly, Campos, Chiu, Mar and Avalos-to put the citizens of San Francisco first and vote for Mirkarimi for Board President tomorrow. You are the people I have counted on and believed in to represent my peers and I, and although I do not have privilege or power, I used to feel I (and my peers) had your respect until now.
    The facts are that as a UNIONIST the suggestion that the most brand new junior supervisor is as QUALIFIED AND POSSESSES as accomplished a track record as a four year veteran is truly ridiculous and offensive. Unions recognize seniority for a reason-experience. Experience usually indicates proficiency.
    I do not know Avalos, but I always thought highly of him and enthusiastically endorsed him. Maybe after two years, he’d be the best choice for BOS President., but right now it is Mirkarimi.
    Actually, I guess he is only the best choice for the vast majority of San Franciscans while three “progressives” that hold the power and the purported expectation to represent our best interests are willing to injure us to make the point, they dislike Mirkarimi’s personality. I am used of this however. As a state worker I have seen how five Republicans can destroy millions of Californians’ lives by holding up the state budget due to the super-majority requirement, here in SF we have three individuals with the power to hurt or help hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans. All because they don’t like Ross in spite of all he has done for San Francisco.
    That is all it is and we all know it. The only people posting here in agreement with Daly are other people who dislike Mirkarimi.
    I also feel for the people of District 11 because instead of worrying about the violence that cost Ivan Miranda and the Bolognas their lives, Daly and Avalos think the priority is giving the least experienced the Board Presidency. If I lived in D11 I would want my supervisor to be focused on solutions for youth so they do not resort to violence, support for the families of these tragic homicides and working tirelessly to protect SANCTUARY city as Newsom and the xenophobes want to end sanctuary for our vulnerable immigrants!
    The votes tomorrow will determine if the priorities are those of the public or their own self-interest.
    For me, anyone, who does not put Black and Latino lives as a top priority does not meet the definition of progressive as far as I am concerned.
    I have raised three children of color who have all known murder victims and I am sick of the politicking going on while our youth are dying.
    Your votes tomorrow will reveal who the progressives are or not.

  11. I don’t believe this should be a Ross v. John v. Chris issue. What should be explained, is what the Board of Supervisors will do to solve the problems of our city.

  12. Perhaps the Ross supporters should be asking themselves why Ross has no support from any of the other progressive (and moderate and conservative) Supervisors and why John does. This should be more telling that anything else.

  13. Chris Daly:

    You made a very supportive argument for John Avalos. However, it falls far short of being compelling.
    I won’t argue that he is City Hall savvy, has the ability to organize members of the community and a sense of justice. I will argue that he doesn’t have much fiscal knowledge in being able to properly decipher the city’s budget. Not even you can offer a rebuttal for my assertion.

  14. Patrick: There are aspects of your agenda that I agree with. However, how does the progressive wing of the Board of Supes purport to attain such goals?
    First, I don’t see how developing a thriving downtown is detrimental. Development brings in much needed tax revenues. Believe me, many other cities would love to have that problem.
    Second, everyone wants safe and clean schools. Why its never become a reality, only those in charge can answer that question.
    Third, I’m all for clean and safe neighborhoods. However, will John Avalos commit to making that a reality? I would like to see, on this blog, a solid committment from Mr. Avalos, and Chris Daly, that both will not advocate the city bringing any alcohol & drug treatment facility, social service center, etc., to District 11. Frankly, we already have enough social service faclities in the district.
    Fourth, I would strongly advocate expanding the universal health care policy just as long as there are safeguards that services are provided to SF residents only. Also, there has to be assurances of cost containment.
    In addition, I believe in good land use and planning. In fact, I am a strong advocate of open space. I believe, the decrepit Sunnydale projects should be torn down, McClaren Park expanded with the land made available, and quality affordable housing built for those residents at the former Schalge Lock & Key site. Don’t you think that’s a good idea?

  15. Chris,
    You should know that I did not “hide under my desk” when you were being “clobbered.” In fact, I sent emails to both the San Francisco Chronicle and KTVU condemning them for their bias against you when they tried to claim you were removed as budget chair because of your “behavior”. The Chronicle was forced to print a correction because they falsely claimed Peskin removed you after your remarks about Newsom.

    I also put in writing before the election that when candidates were asked who they would support for Board President that the correct answer was “Daly or Mirkarimi”. I always assumed that if the progressives won, it would be between you guys.

    It is true that no one has a “divine right ” to the presidency, but I think the number of votes Ross got in November make a very strong statement. Remember, when Ammiano was first Board President, it was because he was the highest vote-getter citywide. True, the D5 race was not hotly contested in 2008. But, much of that is because Newsom and his allies were not able to get anyone to agree to challenge Ross. District voters also could have skipped that part of the ballot, but instead chose to vote for Ross in very large numbers.

    Finally, you say you would support Avalos no matter what. I take you at your word. However, according to Savannah Blackwell’s earlier article, you did say some negative things about Ross, and I think that was unjustified. Now, you seem to be denying that you said anything against Ross.

    I also wish you would have made your feelings about the Board Presidency public earlier, so that we could discuss it in private. Now, it is just an insider game among you guys (and you are all guys) who are considered the progressives on the Board.

  16. Would John have run had you not urged him to do so? I don’t think so. I don’t see any evidence anywhere of Ross’s actions in this matter right now that are divisive. He’s not writing pieces attacking you or John as far as I know.

    I never said he had a divine right – he was just in the natural line to take the spot for progressives absent compelling reasons to oppose him. You seem to oppose Ross for personal reasons and it’s certainly understandable that you would support your former aide and friend who is also more experienced than most newcomers.

    Personally, I will be glad when the vote gets here and this is over even though it now looks like Dufty or Maxwell with be presiding over the board. Oh, and get ready to say Mayor Herrera because that’s looking more like a reality than it did before this started with John’s announcement of his candidacy. I just really can’t believe John’s first act is to launch this divisive campaign for board president.

  17. mwbsf, the condescension in your comment is the assumption that John Avalos has “gone along” with my plan. It’s condescending to John to assume that his run for President was my idea. The truth is that we had a conversation about it, and he decided to step up.

    I’ve been taking responsibility for my actions for 8 years, and I will continue to do so. However, your assumption that my actions and not Ross’s are creating fallout shows your bias. Ross has no more divine right to the Board Presidency than anyone else.

    I am certainly the one primarily responsible for the Progressive Convention — it was my best effort to get a high profile candidate into the race for Mayor. I failed, and I own that. Have you ever asked yourself why I was the only one aggressively working on that? The answer is that other progressive “leaders” failed to lead. I take responsibility as a leader who led and lost.

    If John has more votes than Ross, why is it John’s people who are creating a split in the progressive community and costing us the Mayor’s race?

    I think that I made a very compelling argument for John — his City Hall savvy, rooted-ness in community, sense of justice, and ability to bring people together.

  18. Chris,

    You absolutely have a right to your opinion and your vote and you also get to own the fallout from your actions. Patroninizing? I don’t get the use of buzz words – that’s kind of low road right there. The attacks on Ross – “Progressive Convention for maximum adulation” – please – you are the one responsible for that frigging disaster. One of the effects would be to create a split in the progressive community and cost us the mayor’s race and for what since you still have not presented any really compelling reason for supporting John over Ross. Yes, John will also have to take responsibility in this regard if he continues to run for the board prez which is his perfect right, but wrong-headed. What is patronizing about that?

  19. jcpardell, speaking for myself, it certainly doesn’t include coddling downtown financial and real estate interests, the very interests that ran nasty campaigns against the new supes joining the board tomorrow. amongst other things, the local progressive agenda to me should include: good, safe public education for our children – a good working relationship between the board and other city agencies with s.f.u.s.d; safe and clean neighborhoods for our families; green public power; affordable housing; adequate health and social services; expanding the current healthy san francisco universal health care; good and balanced land use planning; and checking a doddling mayor who’s tilting at windmills in his dream of running for governor in ’10 and who’s been consistently looking to his next position since he scraped by in ’03, almost losing an election a more astute politician in his shoes would have won handily with the resources at his disposal.

  20. Patrick Goggin:

    Can you please explain to me what is the agenda of the “progressives”? I’m still unclear as to what that political facet believes in.

  21. jcpardell, the threat i think chris was referring to was john losing his job before his term is up. since the only way that would happen is through a recall, his demise or stepping down (not foreseeable), in the context of your comment, this is reasonably seen as a threat.

    i too am a d11 resident and would be excited about the prospects of an an avalos presidency because of the positive impact this would undoubtedly have on the district. while it’s not ideal to have a freshman supervisor take the gavel, if anyone were capable, experienced enough, and endowed with the right temperament for the job it’s john. that said, as a d11 SF progressive my priority is a progressive board prez. and, since progressives hold a majority on the board in the wake of our resounding victories on 11/4/08, i feel strongly that disagreement amongst our leaders not result in the minority wresting control from where it is rightly placed – with the progressive majority.

  22. Is that a typical “Chris Daly” response? Its great, that as an elected official you respond to those who have concerns. However, its somewhat ignorant for you to consider my comments to be a threat of any kind. I have only asked for accountability. Is attempting to engage in substantiative dialougue a threat?

  23. I think I’m done responding to the idle threats from jcpardell.

  24. First, the ability to comprehend municipal budgeting, is a specific skill that takes many years of education and practice. Your explanation of John’s qualifications, is at best, ambiguous. Can you provide SPECIFIC items of his experience, that suggests he, or any of the Board of Supervisors, is qualified to deal with our city’s budget issues. After all, if any of you are/were, the City of San Francisco wouldn’t have budget deficit.
    Second, whether my candidate won or lost, is irrelvant. John is now my district supervisor, and the people of his district expect him to do his job. If you, in someway are going to deviate him away from that, in four years (or less) he will no longer have that job.

  25. I believe that I explained why Supervisor-elect Avalos is uniquely qualified to shepherd the new Board through this difficult budget in my original post.

  26. mwbsf, please do explain your accusation of my “low road approach”.

    Also, I think that your accusation that John Avalos has “gone along with it creating a chasm within the progressive movement” is patronizing.

    I made my case for John Avalos for Board President, and it’s fine if you don’t agree with it. But as an 8 year veteran of the some toughest political battles on the Board of Supervisors, I believe that I’ve earned the right to my opinion and my vote.

    As for jcpardell, sorry your candidate didn’t win. I can guarantee that whoever you supported, they received votes from less than 29% of the electorate.

  27. I have the utmost respect for the democratic process. However, I’d like a more throuough explanation as to why Supervisor Daly is championing John Avalos for the board’s presidency. After all, he just won his first election.
    Also, I disagree with Supervisor Daly’s assertion, that John Avalos is well equipped to deal with our city’s complex budget problems. Does John Avalos have an accounting background? No. Does he have an B.S. or MBA in finance? No. Has he ever worked as a CFO for an entity? No. Therefore, what makes him qualified? After all, we are facing a fiscal deficit of an epic magnitude. Never once, during his campaign, did John Avalos mention what he would purpose to correct the problems of our city’s budget. All Chris Daly has offered, is his support of targeted tax increases. Is that the best they can do?

  28. I find it very discouraging that Chris has chosen to take this low road approach and John has gone along with it thus creating a chasm within the progressive movement and possibly harming the chances of electing a progressive mayor. Chris simply has not made a case for some compelling need to have John as board prez rather than Ross vis a vis moving the progressive agenda forward. Especially considering the fallout, I would think that compelling need would be the standard. However, I do understand his support of John on a personal level.

  29. Chris Daly:

    What I will say, is John better concentrate on the problems of District 11 before embarking on advancing his own political fortunes. 71%, is quite a significant number of voters who didn’t support him. He needs to remember that. Unlike Sandoval’s tenure, there will be more eyes on Avalos’s performance.

  30. The Numbers Game.
    Excellent point Chris and well worth repeating as the contest for Governor heats up. The fallacy of pretty-boys ‘popularity’ was debunked by the numbers that showed that 75% of voters did not support him for Mayor. Whatever you guys do, however you play the game, please do not perpetrate a Plaxico by going off half-cocked, shooting us in the you know what and delivering the Presidency to the Newsodomites. You and Ross need to colaborate on a strategy that will ensure a progressive leads the Board, whether it be John or one of you two. This could greatly enhance our chances of reclaiming Room 200 from clones like Dennis the Menace.

  31. No. What I’m saying is that it’s very hard to find any elected official who received votes from more than 30% of those registered in a contested election.

    Your last Supervisor, in his last election, received 10,679 votes. That’s the winning number. It would be great to have 100% turnout and a perfect democracy, but we don’t.

  32. Chris Daly:

    So what you’re stating, is 71% of the people in my district didn’t vote for John. That’s a signinficant amount of voters, who will be monitoring how well he represents the interests of our community. How will ascending him to the presidency of the board immediately solve the problems in my district?

  33. That should read, “1) Ross refused to run for Mayor after playing the Progressive Convention for maximum adulation”

  34. John Avalos received 10,225 votes out of 35,265 registered voters for about 29%. This is a very high percentage considering that this was a heavily contested election. By comparison, in 2007 Gavin Newsom received 105,596 votes out of 419,598 registered voters for about 25%. With no disrespect to my good friend Quintin Mecke, this was largely an uncontested election.

    While strength in district is not the most important argument for Board President, I think that it is a valid one. However, I look at it quite differently than Erika. The Board Presidency is a powerful position. District Supervisors who serve as Board President are in the best position to deliver for their district. Realizing this, progressives have the opportunity to all but lock up one potentially tough 2012 reelection.

    As for District 11, a reoccurring theme has been the lack of respect. Elevating the D11 Supervisor to the Board Presidency would instantly deliver the respect that has been missing since before Dan White.

    As for the YouTube clip, thanks for the memories! This was my last ditch effort at the full Board on July 17th. It was in the beginning of June that, 1) Ross refused to run for Board President after playing the Progressive Convention for maximum adulation; 2) Ross refused to support my original motion in Budget Committee (back when I had Ammiano’s support on the committee); 3) Newsom’s political operation turned up the heat on the budget; 4) Peskin removed me from Budget Committee (I had been the Chair); 5) I accused the Mayor of hypocrisy for cutting treatment programs while dodging cocaine accusations; 6) everyone hides under their desks while I get clobbered; 7) Quintin Mecke finally agrees to be the progressive standard bearer for Mayor.

    Perhaps I am missing some points, but I think that it is important to say that even if this never happened, I would be supporting John Avalos for Board President.

  35. Erika,

    You seem to keep deflecting Chris’s points with tangents, as he correctly points out that he has yet to see any thoughtful rebuttals. Try re-reading his post before you respond and counter his reasoning. Hopefully that will lead you somewhere.

  36. What Chris Daly fails to take into consideration is nearly 73% of District 11 voters didn’t support John Avalos as their first choice to represent the community. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and the opportunity to faithfully work for improving agenda items in our city. However, if portions of District 11 begin to resemble his hometown of Wilmington, CA., he’s going to hear about it.

  37. It was Henry Brooks Adams who once said:

    “Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”

  38. Correction from my earlier post: John Avalos won his race by 1133 votes. An impressive victory for sure, but Ross still got 3 times as many votes.

  39. Chris,
    Both you and John Avalos are progressive heroes, but the fact is that Ross is the ONLY progressive supervisor with broad-based support in his district.
    Consider the numbers:
    Ross got 27,482 votes in November. That is almost 3 times as many votes as any other progressive candidate for supervisor got.

    Avalos received 10,225 votes to emerge the victor in a ranked choice ballot, beating Asha Safai by a mere 123 votes.

    Unlike Ross, John may well face strong opposition from constituents who don’t approve of his actions.

    I am also puzzled by your remark that Tom was supportive of your budget motion. The clip is on youtube here:
    You didn’t get a second from anyone – including Tom. Did Ross have Tom bound and gagged or something?

    Regarding the next mayor’s race, it seems you are hoping some other progressive will emerge from the shadows. That really worked for us progressives in 2007, didn’t it?

  40. while reasonable arguments can be made for both john and ross for board prez, the reality is that whomever becomes prez is and has always been more about politics than the merits. SF progressives are best served by their leaders working together towards unity thereby 1) not allowing board prez to slip away; and 2) increasing our mayoral prospects in ’11. united we conquer, divided we….

  41. Wow, I didn’t realize that we were already in a 2012 Mayoral runoff between Dennis Herrera and Ross Mirkarimi! If we weren’t, I’d consider a potential candidate like Tom Ammiano (who, by the way, was supportive of my budget motion until Ross killed it). Don’t forget that three years before the 2003 race, our best candidate didn’t even hold elected office yet.

    John Avalos is ready to be Board President. I believe that I made a strong point of it in this column, and I haven’t seen any thoughtful rebuttal to my arguments for John from the Ross faithful.

    If we want to make the argument entirely about experience and don’t want to count time actually doing the work as Legislative Assistant, then I guess I should be Board President. I have twice the experience of Supervisor Mirkarimi, and at the moment, I only have one fewer vote for the position (my own).

  42. In addition to all of his great qualities as a progressive leader and as an individual, of which Chris has written about, John (next to Matt Gonzalez) would make the most handsome Board President that ever was. Huzzah!

  43. I can understand Supervisor Chris Daly’s attraction to having a “fresh face” as the President of the Board of Supervisors, but the greater need is for a seasoned, experienced incumbent Supervisor to run those long, complicated agenda-packed Board meeting and hearings. That is not a knock on John Alavos. He’s a fine gentleman, has worked in City Hall for years, and will make a good supervisor I’m sure.

    But let’s face it, the top candidates for the job are Supervisor are Ross Mirkarimi, Sean Elsbernd, Bevan Dufty and Sophie Maxwell.

    I’m a moderate/conservative when it comes to San Francisco politics, but I would be more than willing to support Sophie Maxwell and even Ross Mirkarimi for Board of Supervisor President because I feel they have the experience for the job and would put their personal, political beliefs and agendas on hold, at least temporarily, for the benefit of all San Franciscans if the issue called for such.

  44. Let experience take the lead.

    Ross Mirkarimi is more qualified and has the time on the board to better understand the job as POBOS.

    Personalities aside, I don’t think that a newbie should ever get the top board job. It doesn’t make sense.

  45. John is great. I just hope he and Chris can count to 2011. Chris says he is not backing Ross for Mayor. Who the heck IS he supporting? Dennis Herrera?

    Chris wrote on his SFBG response to the Guardian editorial that he is not happy with one of Ross’ votes in 2007. It was a vote in which Chris did not get support from anyone on the Board. Did Chris refuse to support Tom Ammiano for Assembly because of his lack of support on this particular vote? Or, is he holding Ross to a different standard than everyone else?

    I still support Ross for Board President. Ross has universal backing in his district, which will allow him to lead without worrying about constituents who may not support him. The new supes will be busy just setting up their offices for the first few weeks, if not months.

    A ranked choice ballot would be perfect for the Board Presidency vote! I support Ross #1 and John #2!

  46. chris makes a good case for john. indeed, of the new progressive supes he has the experience and right temperament for the post. as luke pointed out in a post a while back, however, ross holds the keys to the post. without ross on board dufty might squeak in. a bit of counsel to ross and chris: get together and work out past differences/issues to the point that SF progressives are united, maintain board prez and are primed to take Room 200 come 2011.

  47. Hey Chris,

    You’d be the best Board prez.. Everyone around me agrees with that but will back Avalos as second choice. Why don’t y’all have a ranked choice ballot? Save lots of time.