Bernie meets the Mission; SF Democratic Party’s ‘dirty trick’ to endorse early

In a single day, Bernie Sanders reached more of San Francisco’s communities of color than Hillary Clinton has in years. Sure, Clinton secured the nomination (so says the Associated Press), but she’s only ever used San Francisco as a Golden Gate Piggy Bank.

Bernie, on the other hand, walked through Chinatown (flanked by state Senate candidate and Supervisor Jane Kim) and shook hands with local merchants on Monday. Bernie also toured the heart of our turbulent struggle with gentrification: The Mission.

“I know the scientist Donald Trump is in California,” he told more than a hundred screaming (fawning?) supporters at City College of San Francisco’s Mission Campus. He roared, mockingly, that Trump “concluded” the drought doesn’t exist and that “climate change is a hoax!” His rebuttal to Trump earned him cheers.

More cheers rang when the ornery Vermont senator touted California’s surge in Latino voter registration. He knew his crowd.

Bernie then took a lively stroll down Mission Street, met by throngs of cheering supporters. One Latino man practically glowed as he told me, hand still outstretched, “I think this is the only time I’ll get to shake the hand of a presidential candidate.”

Sanders also lambasted “corporate media” for parroting meaningless political gossip and not covering corporate dollars propping up his opponents’ Super PACs.

So as he walked down Mission, I tried to ask him his thoughts on the real estate and tech money flooding our sleepy little Democratic County Central Committee, the arm of the corporate S.F. Democratic Party.

Emphasis on “tried.”

“That’s good!” he told me, smiling, when I introduced myself as an S.F. native and columnist covering progressive San Francisco issues. But when I asked about the DCCC, he grew flustered.

“You’re trying to ask me a complicated question,” he said, “while I’m shaking all these hands.”

Fair enough, Bernie. Fair enough.

Supervisor David Campos was slicker than I, and found the time to get Bernie to pose with the “Reform Slate” of candidates:


* * *

Speaking of the Dee-triple-Cee (DCCC) — and, boy, am I looking forward to not speaking about the DCCC — its real estate backers are holding onto political power by the skin of their teeth.

Sensing defeat in today’s election, the “moderate” majority at San Francisco’s Democratic Party board is throwing an electoral Hail Mary.

Supervisor endorsements are coming early this year. Way, way early.

Usually endorsements foster bare-knuckle, political brawling come August. Now, however, Mary Jung, Alix Rosenthal and other moderate DCCC members are calling for candidate endorsements for San Francisco supervisors on June 15 — a whopping two months early.

Jung is a lobbyist from the SF Realtors, and somehow, appallingly, also chair of the DCCC.

Today, she may lose her seat and control of the board. Hence the scramble.

(If you’d like more background about the money pouring into this race, check out this episode of KALW’s Your Call, featuring yours truly and a reporter from The Intercept. Shout out to Your Call host Rose Aguilar for covering local politics.)

I’m gonna take a wacky, wild guess here, that moderates will endorse District 1 candidate Marjan Philhour, District 9 candidate Joshua Arce, District 7 candidates Joel Engardio or Ben Matranga, and perhaps District 11 candidate Ahsha Safai.

A newly elected progressive DCCC would likely spurn all of those candidates.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin told On Guard, “It’s a slap in the face of the voters.”

Matt Dorsey, one of the few DCCC members not up for re-election, said, “If you want Exhibit A for what’s wrong with the Democratic Party, this is a dirty trick that would make [Republican senator] Mitch McConnell flinch.”

Jung’s DCCC ally Tom Hsieh pointed out, “We’re within the rules.”

Indeed they are.

This is not technically an early endorsement, which would require a 60 percent vote of the DCCC. Filing deadlines were rolled back to June from August in 2012, by the progressive bloc of the Board of Supervisors.

Of course, even last year, the DCCC voted to endorse Julie Christensen in August.

“When Aaron Peskin uses an arcane rule out of the charter at the Board of Supervisors, he’s considered brilliant,” Hsieh said. “Now all of a sudden, we’re considered something else.”

Hsieh is trying to match Peskin’s cunning. Imitation is certainly the sincerest form of flattery.

* * *

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants you (cue dramatic finger pointing) to join him in potential voter fraud — at least, that’s what this political ad is touting.

In an online Facebook campaign ad for the Realtor and Ron Conway-backed DCCC moderate candidates, Newsom campaign-people wrote the DCCC is “important but obscure,” so “Join Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in voting for the following for Democratic County Central Committee.”

Word choice is so, so crucial: “in voting.” You see, Newsom can’t actually vote for the dang DCCC, because he’s registered to vote in Marin County.

Both the County of Marin Elections Department and San Francisco Department of Elections confirmed our good ol’ oil-slick haired Lt. Gov. was last eligible to vote in San Francisco in 2011, and has voted in his new home of Marin ever since.

Gavin’s real advice to voters? Vote for corporate Democrats, even if you (legally) can’t.

* * *

Don’t forget to vote. Just don’t. No excuses. If you don’t vote, and you were eligible, you hereby give up all right to complain, kvetch, or otherwise grumble about Ess Eff.

For those who like to party/election watch: Moderate Democrats are gonna boogie down Scott Wiener-style at Blackbird, and Progressive Democrats will kick it up Jane Kim-style at The Oasis.

Follow the San Francisco Examiner on Twitter @SFExaminer or Facebook for live updates.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each Tuesday. Email him at

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