Saturday Voting Initiative Dead? Herrera Downplays Connection to Consultant and Contributor

June 18, 2011 | 7 Comments

The WhyTuesdaySF initiative was the brainchild of political consultant Alex Tourk, who successfully tapped private venture capital from Silicon Valley angel investor Ronald C. Conway, tech maven David Jeske, Morgan Stanley partner Robert Lesko and other wealthy interests (some of whom, like Lesko, were from out of state) to fund the campaign to place Proposition I on the November 2010 ballot. Despite being drowned out by the hubbub of pension reform and hotly contested supervisorial races, voters overwhelmingly approved the WhyTuesdaySF initiative by almost 20 percentage points.

Posted in News, Politics

Tony Hall Gets Some Necessary Conversation Love

Tony Hall Gets Some Necessary Conversation Love

June 17, 2011 | 3 Comments

Tony Hall is the target of Melissa Griffin and Beth Spotswood’s latest episode of Necessary Conversation, poking a little fun at the former District 7 Supervisor and mayoral candidate, best known for his stand against corruption on Treasure Island, successfully defending himself against trumped-up allegations of money laundering, and for his silky-smooth, swooner voice.

Bock, Gascón, Onek Square Off at DA Candidates Forum

Bock, Gascón, Onek Square Off at DA Candidates Forum

June 16, 2011 | 3 Comments

But judging strictly by the applause-meter, the clear winner was David Onek, a criminal justice expert and former San Francisco Police Commissioner who is the founding executive director of the UC Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice. Onek is running as a reformer and an “outsider,” yet he’s no stranger to the halls of power. His father was once senior counsel to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and his father-in-law is Michael Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts and the 1988 Democratic nominee for president. He served in Mayor Newsom’s Office of Criminal Justice before being appointed by Newsom to the Police Commission. Still, his message that only an outsider can reform the criminal justice system, seemed to resonate with the audience.

Posted in Opinion, Politics

Wagging the Dog

Wagging the Dog

June 15, 2011 | 6 Comments

Think about it. Just a week after submitting his budget and fresh off of negotiating a deal on pension reform; just days after revelations that a political consultant with close ties was staging an Astroturf campaign to draft him into the race; and at the very moment legislation authorizing the biggest demolition of rent-controlled housing in San Francisco history was being transmitted to his desk, Ed Lee was at my bar looking magnanimous—bearing gifts for one of his most vocal critics.

Posted in Opinion, Politics

NationBuilder: Increasing Grassroots Access
to the Voter File

June 15, 2011 | No Comments

Today I begin a new role as chief organizer for NationBuilder, a software platform that aims to equip grassroots activists, small businesses, NGOs and candidates with the kind of organizing tools that are usually reserved only for those with deep pockets. NationBuilder is the brainchild of Jim Gilliam, a progressive activist who co-founded Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films. Jim is also creator of Act.ly and TweetProgress.

Posted in Politics

Overheard in Fog City: Campos to Vote Against His Conscience?

Overheard in Fog City: Campos to Vote Against His Conscience?

June 14, 2011 | 4 Comments

Apparently the progressive supe is uncomfortable with his support for Turman, according to a reliable source, but remains committed to Turman despite damaging reports of Turman’s record absenteeism on the Human Rights Commission.

Posted in News, Opinion, Politics

Congress Should Reject US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

June 14, 2011 | 4 Comments

The negotiated U.S.-Colombia FTA will give market access for U.S. agricultural, consumer, and industrial products, and will immediately remove all tariffs on about 80 percent of U.S. goods entering Colombia. This includes immediate duty-free treatment of beef, cotton, wheat, soybeans, many fruits, and other agricultural products. The remaining 20 percent of tariffs will be phased out over a period of 10 years for both agricultural products and industrial products. In addition, the agreement provides protections for U.S. investors that will be enforced through a binding international arbitration program.

Posted in Opinion, Politics