Friday, November 09, 2012

The "moderate" London Breed and other myths

Lee and Olague in happier days. Photo by Luke Thomas
 
This election has made us all weary after months of dumb pronouncements by clueless "experts" and commentators. Since it's closer to home, the crap we get on city elections is even more annoying. Some of it is easy to dismiss, like BeyondChron, where Randy Shaw is clearly more interested in national politics than he is in local politics, even though he has nothing of interest to say that hasn't already been said much better by others.
 
Hard to see too why local journalists consider David Latterman a useful source on city issues. They may actually agree, but they probably figure that they have to pad their election coverage with quotes from pseudo-experts and academics to lend it at least a patina of credibility.
 
The Bay Guardian cites Latterman's opinion on the District 5 campaign:
 
“It's hard to unravel what happened here,” Latterman said of the D5 race, noting the complicated dynamics created by Olague's mayoral appointment, her vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Julian Davis' problems, and the outside spending. He praised Breed's campaign, calling it a “a solid win,” but he also said Breed's independence helped her and she might have suffered the same fate as Olague if she had gotten the appointment from Lee back in January: “I think Supervisor Breed doesn't win this race; challenger Breed did.”
 
Well, yes. If Breed had been appointed instead of Olague, she too would have lost. Maybe this qualifies as an insight to those who are new to the city and to District 5. But those of us who were here in 2000---ancient history!---recall that when Mayor Brown appointed a woman of color as supervisor for District 5, she was buried by uberprog Matt Gonzalez in the runoff simply because she was appointed by a mayor who was perceived as a "moderate" here in Progressive Land. Until we have a leftist mayor---someone like John Avalos---District 5 will never allow the mayor to choose its supervisor.  (That the ultra-liberal Willie Brown was seen as a "moderate" in San Francisco is comical, especially to Republicans, since he was an early supporter of gay rights, civil rights, and, with the Burton brothers, one of earliest opponents of the US attack on Vietnam.)

What does Breed's "independence" consist of? The only thing progs use against her is her support for Lennar's development project in a long-neglected part of the city that desperately needs development. It's easy for progressives to carp about Lennar from the relative luxury of District 5, which, in spite of its leftist reputation, contains some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city in the upper Haight and Pacific Heights.

The Chronicle also goes to Latterman for a sound bite on a Mirkarimi story:
 
Political consultant David Latterman said he thinks that if a Mirkarimi recall qualifies for the ballot and has a strong campaign behind it, it would be successful with voters---partly because progressives may not continue to back the sheriff after Olague's defeat. "Is the left really going to go to bat for this guy?" Latterman asked. "They just did, and they got pounded. They got vilified."

There's no indication that the District 5 vote had anything to do with Mirkarimi, and there's no evidence that Olague's vote actually hurt her. Obviously some voters were offended, but others thought her vote was right, which means it was probably a wash politically. Since Olague was already damaged goods as Mayor Lee's appointee, a vote against Mirkarimi would only have confirmed her image as the mayor's stooge.

Nor did any of the other candidates make a big issue of Mirkarimi's fate. Support for Mirkarimi among progressives---and others, like me, who thought he was a lousy supervisor---was based simply on the opinion that his offense did not justify destroying this man's political career and his family. Mayor Lee's campaign against Mirkarimi, while pleasing to the anti-domestic violence zealots, created nothing but bad feelings. He should have left the whole issue to the domestic violence furies to launch a recall against Mirkarimi.

Tribune of the city's left, Supervisor Avalos, has a particularly spineless comment in the Chronicle recall-Mirkarimi story:

"I've already spent months of my life anxiously awaiting a vote that I knew would upset everyone in San Francisco, and I'm not really looking forward to going through that again," Avalos said. "I would probably stay out of it."

How's that for leadership? No, John, the Mirkarimi issue is not about you and your chickenshit anxiety about having to cast a vote. It's about Mirkarimi and his family and doing the right thing. Avalos is the perfect representative of the narcissistic San Francisco left. He doesn't want any of his votes to upset anyone. After all, he'll be running for mayor again in 2015.

C.W. Nevius continues his role as City Hall megaphone. To hear him tell it, Mayor Lee gets credit for everything that passed on the city's ballot, though there was a political consensus behind all the successful measures, with even the Bay Guardian endorsing those ballot measures.

Look at London Breed's campaign website and try to find any evidence that she qualifies as some kind of "moderate." Look in particular at her endorsements. Breed will of course be a good, party line San Francisco progressive as a supervisor, which is a shame. The board badly needs a real moderate---or at least someone willing and able to penetrate the ideological bubble wherein city progressives dwell.

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