Election makes the Board of Supervisors tougher to predict

Latterman discusses his Progressive Voter Index, showing D5 and D9 are the most progressive, while D2 and D7 are the least.
Steven T. Jones

I'm still a bit too bleary-eyed for serious political analysis on D5 or other races today, but I'll offer a few of my own post-election observations and those that politicos Alex Clemens and David Latterman delivered during their usual political wrap-up at the SPUR office this afternoon, noting how this election has altered local political dynamics.

“The Board of Supervisors as a whole is becoming a helluva lot more interesting,” Clemens said, noting that progressive District 5 just elected London Breed, the most moderate candidate in that race, while conservative District 7 gave the most progressive candidates, Norman Yee and FX Crowley, its top two spots (with Crowley the likely winner once ranked choices ballots are tallied).

The result is that both the progressive and moderate blocs lost their most reliable votes to the squishy center, so that “determining what's going to happen before it happens just got more difficult,” a dynamic that could play out most strongly on land use issues.

“I think land use politics is going to be even more interesting,” Clemens said, with Latterman adding, “In this city, all politics really comes down to land use.”

Assessor Phil Ting's election to the Assembly also now paves the way for Mayor Ed Lee to appoint his replacement, with Sup. Carmen Chu widely considered the clear favorite, which would in turn give Lee an appointment to her District 4 seat on the board.

Yet Clemens speculated that Lee may wait to replace Chu until after the next Board of Supervisors is seated in early January – which would allow that person to finish her final two years and still run for an additional two full terms, whereas the Charter would otherwise limit that person to one more term – which could complicate an already complicated election for board president. Sups. Jane Kim and Scott Wiener are the likeliest contenders, but anything could happen.

“Counting to six from 10 is going to be so much fun to watch,” Clemens said, although he added, “I believe in the era of Ed Lee, it'll all be worked out beforehand.”

Neither Clemens nor Latterman agreed that the overwhelming expenditures on political hit pieces (mostly against D1 Sup. Eric Mar, who won a surprisingly big margin of victory) by allies of Lee, or the fact that they turned on Sup. Christina Olague in nasty fashion, would diminish Lee's public standing or the aura of civility he's tried to cultivate.

Personally, I don't agree, and it think progressives have been given an opportunity to highlight the money-driven nature of the agenda that Lee and his billionaire backer Ron Conway have for San Francisco. It's also significant that the most anti-progressive candidates – Lee's City College appointee Rodrigo Santos, D1's David Lee, and D7's Mike Garcia – all fell far short of victory.

Progressives now have a chance to set a positive, proactive agenda for the city, of the kind eloquently voiced by new school board member Matt Haney, whom Clemens thanked for running such a strong and positive campaign, as well as top City College finisher Steve Ngo and Sup. David Campos, who shared an election night campaign party and positive message about progressive prospects.

“That's what me, Steve, and David were saying here tonight,” Haney told me, calling for an end to the adversarial style of practicing politics. “Our values are love and compassion.”

Latterman and Clemens did acknowledge that that record-breaking spending against Mar may have backfired, but they gave more credit to Mar's campaign. “You don't bet against [Mar campaign manager] Nicole Derse in a ground game in the last week of the campaign,” Latterman said.

Derse, who was there, noted its innovative voter identification efforts and strong grassroots volunteer push, a drive partially helped by those reacting to the big-money attacks. Latterman also acknowledges that the strange and controversial videos attacking Mar didn't help, telling the crowd, “And tactically, don't have the Realtors make the videos.”

As for District 5, neither politico claimed to fully understand the complex variables that shaped the race.

“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.”


Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

That's your (biased) opinion. That's not what polls say.

Posted by Non-Troll Human on Nov. 09, 2012 @ 1:11 am

"Sups. Jane Kim and Scott Wiener are the likeliest contenders, but anything could happen."

Well I can take a guess which one that will be. The current Board seems to have their heads firmly planted in Wiener's upper colon. He's running for mayor and has been since he became supervisor, unfortunately. Any prudish/conservative/right-wing thing he dreams up they vote for. So I would imagine that the conservatives/merchants in D8 will launch a campaign to have their "savior" Wiener as board president...before he runs for mayor. Ugh. JFC!

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

"Any prudish/conservative/right-wing thing he dreams up they vote for."

For example:


Supes Committee Unanimously Approves Nudity Ban
The board's City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee voted 3-0 to send the ordinance to the full board.

The article is at SFAppeal.com.

The spam filter would not allow any links at all, not even shortened urls. Ugh.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 1:44 am

cancel each other out, and the board is pretty much the same. You ever get tired of pretending it's all ok?

Now speaking in *San Francisco political terms*, Breed is so far to the right of past D5 supes Mirk and Olague. And in D7 Crowley is pretty close to his predecessor Elsebernd. Plan C endorsed Crowley for goodness sakes.

This city's political dynamic has shifted dramatically in 10 years.

Posted by guesty on Nov. 07, 2012 @ 8:33 pm


The Guardian staff likes to live in Denial by pretending it's all okay (or will be).

"This city's political dynamic has shifted dramatically in 10 years."

Yes, the City is moving to the right as fast as it can, unfortunately. The right-wing/conservatives like to disguise it/camouflage it and call it "center," or that vague word "moderate" (which no one can define... and the term is just bull shit), until the right-wing's agenda is fully in place here. It's similar to when a racist denies being racist. No, we're not moving to the right while we are.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 07, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

Only in SF- would someone like Crowley and Breed be considered a sign of the City moving to the far right. Crowley is big in Labor from pete's sake. Is the City moving towards the Center? maybe- but it is still pretty far to the left of center and certainly the likelihood of it being truly conservative is highly unlikely in my life time.

Posted by D. Native on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 6:03 am

so perceives people like Breed as "right wing". It's ridiculous.

What the voters really did is register their disgust that Ross is still Sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 7:04 am

Typical right-wing Denial.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

Really, on the issues that matter to progressives, is Breed "so far to the right" of Olague? Olague voted for 8 Washington, while Breed supported the Bayview and TI redevs. Sure, Breed was for sit-lie, but that's the only issue I can think of where she's "to the right."

And honestly, how someone like Breed can be considered "right wing" still boggles my mind. Only in San Francisco...

Posted by Hortencia on Nov. 09, 2012 @ 7:58 am

I know that it is difficult for some people to think in more than one dimension, but try it some time. There are various aspects to politics, each can be viewed as running from left to on which individuals can place themselves along a spectrum.

By San Francisco standards, the moderate Democrats as they call themselves are to the right on many issues, including social and economic issues.

It is not like just because one supports same sex marriage that one gets a total pass for social or economic conservative positions. Is Breed Michelle Bachman? Of course not, but her economics and social policy are to the right of San Franciscans, especially D5. She won the race because progressives fumbled the ball due to unforced errors.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 09, 2012 @ 8:24 am

I just want my TIC to get converted to Condo where I live with 2 kids. I voted for you Señora Breed! Congratulations. Now Did I say that I bought a TIC and want it converted to Condo to refinance and pay less interest rate in my mortgage?
Muy Thanks

Posted by hispanico renteria on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 6:13 am

Progressives on the way down, with Ross and the Guardian leading the way. The Guardian is a powerless, limp pamphlet, corporate owned, still losing money, and providing no news, just hot air from over 40 white men who smoke too much dope. Ross is an egotistical wife beater, and Campos and Avalos are too self involved to care about the movement.

I'm glad. My only regret is those dipshit Realtors don't back progressives because every time Jim Fabris and the idiots at the Realtors get involved in a campaign, they ensure its loss.

Posted by Steve Cant Tell The Truth on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 9:01 am

On To The Ross Recall!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 9:19 am

Reality is slowly setting on the nation's right wing.

Wait, good news for Mitt Romney! New Rasmussen poll has him up 3 over Obama!

Posted by Greg on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

“That's what me, Steve, and David were saying here tonight,” Haney told me, calling for an end to the adversarial style of practicing politics. “Our values are love and compassion.”

I find it laughable that Steve Ngo is preaching an end to adversarial politics. If you've ever attended or watched a CCSF Board of Trustees meeting, you'll see that he is really combative with anyone who disagrees with him-- including faculty, staff, and other Trustees-- he is the LAST person for other progressives like Campos and Haney to team up with if they are serious about a kinder, gentler political arena. Ngo very well may have those values that Haney mentions above, but in his role of Trustee he acts like a bully. It's actually pretty effective, but he shouldn't pretend to be all "Kumbaya" when he's really "Mama Said Knock You Out."

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

Norman Yee is extending his lead over FX in the first choice ballots, and while the seconds are still favoring FX after IRV, only 100 votes separate the two now. Another set of ballots like todays, and Norman Yee may be ahead in the IRV.

A lot of labor people went hard for FX, but I kind of hope Yee pulls it out. I like his speech to the Milk club - you know, the one the rightwingers hated and used in their commercial. He's no raging progressive, but I think he's all right. Anything's better than that empty suit we have now in that district. Glad his candidate lost.

Interestingly, Latterman hemmed and hawed when saying that Breed will win, but he showed no hesitation in declaring that FX has it. Not if it keeps going this way!

Posted by Greg on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

I've seen F.X. in action, and think he is a decent guy. But if he wins, we are going to have a -very- tough time fighting destructive corporate development projects in San Francisco.

(And we're -already- having a tough time.)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

A lot of labor people were really rooting for FX. But while neither is a "machine" candidate -already a good thing in and of itself, FX seems fundamentally more conservative. I just can't see him making the kind of speech Norman Yee made to the Milk Club where he put in a plug for the rights of sex workers! FX had the endorsements of Plan C, the POA, Feinstein, the realtors, even the Republican Party! Sure, some progressives went for him as well, but some of these are "deal-breaker" endorsements for me. Norman Yee... the Republicans specifically warned people not to vote for Norman Yee. He must be doing something right!

Posted by Greg on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

Only 29 votes so far. But the trend is in the right direction.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 10, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

Also from this author