Sunday, November 02, 2008

The District 5 race

The Bay Guardian's Tim Redmond (below in italics) is partly right about the D5 race. He of course knows that Mirkarimi has two opponents on the ballot, but neither Owen O'Donnell nor I seem like a threat to actually win the race. Mirkarimi has easily ignored us while downplaying his radical politics. Until last week, O'Donnell was running an issue-free campaign, apparently only trying to raise his name recognition with slickly printed mailers and handouts.

Last week O'Donnell changed tactics with a hard-hitting mailer emphasizing his membership in the Democratic Party while accusing the "rigid ideologue" Mirkarimi of supporting the legalization of prostitution, opposing JROTC in city schools, opposing Mayor Newsom's Community Justice Center, and supporting Prop. H, which moves the city toward a takeover of the city's power system from PG&E.

Except for Prop. H, which he proudly co-authored, it's hard to detect Mirkarimi's political fingerprints on the other issues. I can't find any public statements or news stories linking him to the JROTC issue or to legalizing prostitution, even though it wouldn't be surprising to learn that he opposed JROTC and supported Prop. K. But even if he was clearly on record on these issues, it's doubtful that it would do him any political damage in District 5.

But a citywide campaign will be different. The Murk is playing it safe in this campaign, as if he was already in a citywide race, downplaying, for example, his close political relationship with the SF Bicycle Coalition, not to mention his support for Critical Mass. Since Mirkarimi is apparently considering a run for mayor in 2011, associating himself too closely with the bike people---he understands they aren't universally beloved in SF---legalizing prostitution, or opposing JROTC won't be helpful in a citywide campaign.

Since O'Donnell is a bike guy, too, he isn't using that issue against the Murk. Nor has he shown any interest in the important development issues I've raised, which is typical of city progressives. They get their knickers in a big twist over bicycles but ignore the massive, destructive development schemes being hatched by the city's Planning Dept. and endorsed by Mirkarimi and our supposedly progressive Board of Supervisors.

My campaign, like this blog, has always been about issues. My doorhanger---the only investment I made in my campaign---raises the bicycle issue and the awful development projects supported by the supposedly progressive Supervisor Mirkarimi---the Rincon Hill highrises, the Market/Octavia Plan, and UC's rip-off of the old extension property on lower Haight Street. Mirkarimi has found "common ground" mostly with big developers, the city's bike people, and those adhering to the Bay Guardian's shallow and callow brand of leftism. In any event, anything less than a lopsided victory Tuesday will be a setback for his hopes for higher office.

From the looks of his campaign literature, O'Donnell may have spent as much as Mirkarimi. (I'll check out the numbers in the Ethics Department later this month and post them here.) Like most of the candidates in the 2004 District 5 race, however, O'Donnell will probably disappear as an active presence in city politics after the election, while I'll continue with District 5 Diary, writing about the issues ignored by progressives and both the mainstream and the so-called alternative media. At the very least, my campaign has brought more readers to my blog, thus exposing them to my skeptical views on development, traffic, BRT, the bicycle fantasy, homelessness, and the many shortcomings of progressivism here in San Francisco, aka Progressive Land.

By Tim Remond
endorsements from the Chron.. I'm not surprised they gave Ross Mirkarimi the nod in D5; he has no real competition, and has done a great job in office from almost any perspective. But the nice words
he's shown an ability to find common ground on many issues - and has pushed the mayor for more police foot patrols, authored a crackdown on rogue pot clubs and led efforts to ban plastic bags.
fit in with the Chron's obvious bias in this election. Although Mirkarimi can push the political edge as well as anyone on the board (jeez, did the Chron even support the plastic-bag ban?), the daily paper lauds him for "an ability to find common ground."

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