Another post-mortem on the District 5 election
The subjectivity of who is a San Francisco “moderate” or “progressive” was fully exposed in the D5 Supervisor’s race. Incumbent London Breed is always placed in the “moderate” camp. Challenger Dean Preston is an unquestioned “progressive."
Yet a progressive establishment identifying Safai as the incarnate of evil took a pass on challenging Breed. These progressives were so focused on D11 that they missed a critical opportunity in District 5.
To the surprise of everyone but himself and his campaign volunteers, Dean Preston ended up with 48% of the vote. That is remarkable. Preston nearly won despite not being endorsed by Peskin or Kim, and with the progressive reformers controlling the SF Democratic Party not simply staying neutral but actually endorsing Breed.
Peskin stayed neutral in exchange for Breed backing the 60 day restriction on Airbnb rentals the Board passed after the election. Other progressive constituencies and clubs also stayed out of D5.
Good to see Shaw debunking the false moderate/progressive political labels. The reality in San Francisco is there's very little disagreement on important issues.
Even if Shaw's account of Peskin's political calculations is accurate, this is a flawed interpretation of what happened in this campaign. Yes, Preston advertised himself as a progressive, but all he did was brandish that label without taking policy positions on anything but housing. He apparently assumed that would be enough in the usually progressive District 5, along with some key endorsements like this.
Preston ran a play-it-safe campaign, failing, for example, to take a position on the Masonic Avenue bike project that, after tearing up Masonic Avenue for a year, will create traffic congestion in the middle of District 5.
Of course taking a position on that issue and attacking Breed for her other many flawed policy positions would have antagonized some district voters, but it would have at least demonstrated leadership and stimulated some real debate on the issues. As it is, Preston's campaign will vanish without leaving a single political trace.
Shaw has a very sketchy account of London Breed's record as a supervisor:
Breed entered 2016 with a record—strong support of Airbnb, weak on inclusionary housing, and a big backer of Julie Christensen against Peskin—that made her vulnerable in progressive D5. She then voted almost consistently progressive in 2016, which helped her ward off Preston’s challenge.
Breed actually has a terrible record on the issues, which Preston was unable or unwilling to attack.
For a closer look at her record, see my London Breed: President of the board of supervisors.