Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Julian Davis falls in line

Four long years ago there were 22 candidates for District 5 Supervisor. Before the incumbent, Matt Gonzalez, abruptly announced that he wasn't going to run for re-election, there were only a few registered to run against him, including Tys Sniffen and me. After Gonzalez's announcement, all the opportunists rushed into the race, including the eventual winner, Ross Mirkarimi.

One of the 22 candidates was a young, personable Julian Davis, a Stanford graduate student. The thing I remember most about Davis's campaign was the principled stand he immediately took when we all heard of UC's plan to privatize the old extension site on lower Haight Street for a massive housing development to fatten its bottom line. In fact Davis and I were the only candidates of the 22 who thought this was a terrible idea that should be resisted.

Four years later, apparently he's changed his mind about the issue, since he's supporting Ross Mirkarimi (see notice below in italics), who has taken the lead in allowing the predatory UC---which has had the property tax-free from the city for 50 years only because of its education "mission"---to privatize the property with a massive private housing development on property that's been zoned for public use for more than 150 years.

It's not surprising that Mirkarimi, who supports the Market/Octavia Plan (40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness!) and the Rincon Hill luxury highrise condos, would ally himself with UC's neighborhood-destroying housing project. Rincon Hill was touted by Supervisor Chris Daly as a great progressive housing victory, and Ross probably figured he could do the same on UC's plan to trash a state and national landmark to build 450 housing units---make some kind of a deal with UC and declare a victory for open space, housing for senior LGBTs, affordable housing, or whatever.

I sent Davis this message the other day: "What about UC's impending ripoff of the old extension property? Note that Ross has rolled over on the issue after talking tough in the beginning, betraying the neighborhood and the people of San Francisco." No response from Davis, who evidently doesn't want to alienate his progressive comrades by continuing to question the UC deal.

SF progressives are notoriously bad at self-criticism. Where would they do it anyhow, even assuming they had any inclination to examine their politics and/or question their leadership on city issues? Not in the Bay Guardian, which apparently thinks its primary function is to be a cheerleader for all things "progressive" in SF. Ditto for BeyondChron, which is essentially an online version of the Bay Guardian.

This lack of the ability to engage in self-criticism and debate is why city progs screw up one issue after another---homelessness, housing, the Bicycle Plan fiasco, Critical Mass, the mayoral race, etc.

In any event, it's disappointing that Davis has joined the lockstep progressive movement in SF

Dear Friends,
I am forwarding you a very important message. Our progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors is worth preserving this election cycle. So, please come out Tuesday to support the candidates that will continue the legacy...Club Waziema TOMORROW Tuesday, October 21, from 7-9pm.

We all know how important the presidential race is. But with all eyes focused on the presidential race, we are in serious danger of losing our progressive majority on the SF board of supervisors.

Imagine this town without a progressive board: things we take for granted, like rent control, minimum wage laws, inclusionary housing requirements, health care, chain store limitations and so many other important protections for our residents and neighborhoods would be in jeopardy. We cannot let this happen. We must take action to elect a progressive board. And there's no time like now.

Fortunately, our progressive supervisor in D5 is poised to win re-election by a solid margin. But the situation is different in North Beach/Chinatown (Chiu), in the Richmond (Mar) and in the Excelsior (Avalos). These are the key swing districts in this election, and progressive candidates Avalos, Mar and Chiu are facing very difficult races.

Let's show this town that D5 supports progressive candidates in key swing districts. Come meet the candidates, hang out with your neighbors, sign up to volunteer for campaigns, and donate what you can.


D5 for a Progressive Board -- an event to support swing district candidates John Avalos, Eric Mar and David Chiu
Hosts: Ross Mirkarimi, Quintin Mecke, Dean Preston, Julian Davis, Eric Smith, Dan Nguyen Tan, Jonathan Wright, Richard Kay
Date: Tuesday Oct. 21
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Location: Club Waziema, 543 Divisadero (between Hayes & Fell).
Donations: Strongly encouraged to any or all of the campaigns. Tables will be set up for each candidate.

If you can't make it, please visit the candidates websites to donate/volunteer:
John Avalos:
Eric Mar:
David Chiu:

See you all on Tuesday. And please spread the word to everyone you know. Thanks!

Labels: , , , ,