Monday, December 12, 2016

Another post-mortem on the District 5 election

Randy Shaw on the District 5 election results:

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.

Rob's comment:

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.

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Good news: Scott Wiener is leaving town

SFBC photo, Dyami Serna

2016 has been a terrible year, but out of the mud grows the lotus: at least Scott Wiener is leaving town now that he's been elected to the State Senate.

Clearly unfamiliar with Wiener's record as a supervisor, Hoodline's interviewer lobbed him some softball questions (Scott Wiener, Departing District 8, Talks Housing, Nudity, Political Ambition, & More).

Wiener is asked, "What's your biggest regret?" He answers with a long riff on the nudity issue, including this:

So, I pursued legislation. To this day, I hate that I was in a position where I felt the need to do it. I stand by my decision, but that was not what I ran for office to do, it was not in any way what I wanted to do. I personally don’t have an issue with public nudity, but unfortunately, in some ways that is the legislation that I’m best remembered for. I do all this other work, but that will be on my tombstone. That’s frustrating for me.

The problem was Wiener botched the issue in the first place with a half-measure that pleased no one.

There are other, more important, issues Wiener botched: he tried to dilute the initiative rights of the people of San Francisco, which was overwhelmingly rejected by city voters.

He lied about how CEQA supposedly delayed the Bicycle Plan, and his attempt to "reform" CEQA was rejected by the Planning Commission (see George Wooding's analysis of Wiener's bogus reform. See also this.)

Several years later, Wiener's understanding of the planning process was still defective.

No surprise that, along with the rest of the Democratic Party lemmings, Wiener supports the high-speed rail boondoggle.

Wiener supports high-rises on the city's Waterfront, and he's just nutty about the idea of building subways in San Francisco.

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San Francisco: Zero waste by 2020?

Handling 630 tons a day

From Daily Kos:

A few weeks ago I went on a tour of the new state-of-the-art upgrade at Recycle Central, San Francisco's 200,000-square-foot recycling plant on Pier 96 run by San Francisco's resource recovery company Recology.

Ever since I wrote Where No City Has Gone Before: San Francisco Will Be World’s First Zero-Waste Town by 2020, I've had the opportunity to delve more deeply into the composting component of my city's efforts to make the very idea of garbage obsolete, but up until this year I hadn't set foot in the place where the contents of our blue bins go to get reborn...