David Chiu has drawn critics while occupying middle ground 

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu may have ruffled the feathers of some prominent politicians, but he has survived to run for another term as representative of Chinatown, North Beach and other northeastern neighborhoods.

Click on the photo to the right to see pictures of all of the candidates in the District 3 race.

Back in November 2008, he was elected to the District 3 seat as a progressive with the blessing of his mentor and predecessor Aaron Peskin. But over the years, the relationship soured. By 2011, Chiu was seen as a deserter when he was re-elected board president, with the backing of moderates, as part of his unsuccessful strategy to become mayor.

But he remained politically relevant by casting himself as an independent voice while performing this ideological dance. Most recently he has led on progressive issues such as helping to defeat changes to the ranked-choice voting system or opposing the 8 Washington St. luxury condo development.

The one-time business owner and Small Business Commission member isn’t facing any well-known opponents in his re-election bid. But that doesn’t mean he won’t endure a few rounds of punches.

He is being opposed by architect Joseph Butler, former movie producer Marc Bruno and music teacher and perennial candidate Wilma Pang, all of whom he has out-fundraised by a significant amount. Chiu reported having raised $147,000 in campaign donations as of July — the most of any candidate in all six November supervisorial races.

Butler, who has qualified to receive public financing, criticizes Chiu on a number of fronts, including claiming that Chiu is simply “job shopping” and may run for state Assembly in 2014.

There are some stark policy differences between the two. Butler opposes the Central Subway project and November’s $195 million parks bond. Chiu supports both.

Butler is endorsed by Jon Golinger, a chairman of the influential Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood association, and is an ally of Peskin, both of whom have grudges against Chiu.

Challenger Bruno, who once worked for Fox Searchlight films in Los Angeles, criticizes Chiu for not listening to his constituents when it comes to issues such as North Beach merchants’ concerns over the Central Subway project.  Bruno has sued The City over the project, although he says he supports it overall.

But Chiu said he shares the merchants’ concerns and had been working toward a resolution with city officials — at least until the lawsuit halted those talks.

Bruno agrees with Chiu on many substantive issues and said his gripes are often a matter of style. But he offered one standout proposal, telling voters he would cut his salary in half and hire a fourth legislative aide if he is elected. He said he would offer one of those positions to the Golinger. Supervisors’ salaries this fiscal year are $105,723.

As board president, Chiu has led on numerous issues. He points to his work improving Muni with efforts like all-door boarding, cracking down on violence associated with nightlife, changing The City’s budget process to better address deficits and fostering an improved business climate by helping to reform the tax structure.

“Working in every single corner of the district, I have delivered,” he  said. “And I want to continue to do that.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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