Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Supervisor Olague is a lame duck

Photo by Susana Bates for the SF Chronicle
 
Those glossy doorhangers for Supervisor Olague now littering District 5 are devoid of political content, except for a list of those endorsing her. It's all about "standing up for community values," you understand, and keeping "San Francisco a thriving, vibrant and diverse city." Any candidate using "vibrant" in his/her campaign literature should be disqualified from holding public office, but there are more substantive political and policy objections to Olague. Her ten years on the Planning Commission were undistinguished, as she and fellow commissioners allowed UC to rip off the old extension property on lower Haight Street. And there's the Market and Octavia Plan, which includes a bunch of highrises at Market and Van Ness as per the dumb Smart Growth doctrine that guides, if that's the word, our city's Planning Department.

Even by the low standards here in Progressive Land, Olague stands out as an opportunist. She and the rest of the Gang of Four abandoned the Green Party after Barack Obama was elected president and Democratic Party liberals took over the Democratic County Central Committee, which made being a Democrat fashionable again. She then joined the Run Ed, Run campaign to get Ed Lee to run for mayor, even though he promised not to do so when he was appointed interim mayor by the supervisors. Mayor and Liar in Chief Lee then appointed fellow opportunist Olague as District 5 Supervisor.

Among Olague's endorsers: Matt Gonzalez, who appointed her to the Planning Commission more than ten years ago when he was District 5 Supervisor. (Gonzalez's most memorable legacy: the ban on the right-turn onto the freeway at Market and Octavia, which he led on behalf of the Bicycle Coalition.) Olague probably remembers the 2000 campaign in District 5, when Gonzalez buried Juanita Owens, who was Mayor Brown's choice. Mayor Lee's endorsement of Olague will likely be a similar kiss of death for her in prog District 5.

The doorhanger tells us that it was "hand-delivered to you by a volunteer!" Based on what I paid for my doorhanger four years ago, I bet it cost Olague's campaign at least $2,000. She can pay for a pricey doorhanger but still has to exploit the labor of volunteers? This is a "progressive" tradition in SF. The Bicycle Coalition raises a lot of money from its membership and from contracts with City Hall, but it still recruits and exploits idealistic volunteers that it calls "interns."

Note too that Enrique Pearce, another Run Ed, Run guy, is Olague's campaign manager. I bet he didn't come cheap. SF Weekly's Best of San Francisco edition, which leaves few city asses unkissed, plants a big smooch on Pearce's butt this week, calling him the Most Effective Political Consultant.  After noting the important role Pearce and Olague played in getting Ed Lee elected mayor, the Weekly says that Pearce

was guilty of no wrongdoing. And: scoreboard, baby. Lee won, and Pearce will manage the campaign of Christina Olague, the Run, Ed, Run campaign co-chair, in the November election, on which Kim's former political rival, Debra Walker, is volunteering. If Ed Lee represents a new era of pragmatism over dogma, Pearce is out in front. He saw it coming. "We're not seeing the most rigid candidates crossing the finishing line," he said. "They need to be more flexible in approach, with strong progressive values"...Some may complain about the methods, but it's hard to argue with the results.

The reality: Both Lee and Olague represent current "dogma" on every major policy issue in SF: "Smart Growth," highrise development, the Central Subway, anti-carism and the Bicycle Plan, etc. "Pragmatism over dogma"? More like opportunism over principle and good public policy. Just win, baby!

One surely can "argue with the results," since Pearce also managed the successful campaign of Supervisor Kim, who, at best, is just another pretty face, clearly unfit to be on the city's leading policymaking body. Not to mention Liar in Chief Ed Lee, who, like Olague and Kim, supports every dumb and destructive public policy in San Francisco.

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