There’s something novel about San Francisco’s elections — their storylines generally fall between frightening scripts by Stephen King and those futuristic nightmares of George Orwell.
And that is to say their results stay with you, sometimes for 10 years or more, which is why it’s important for voters to pay attention to the small details so they can avoid the kind of cloak-and-dagger balloting for which the City by the Bay is famous.
Next Tuesday, voters will head to the polls (hopefully) to decide a number of issues great and small. Yet it’s especially noteworthy because it’s the first stage of two elections this year that will arguably shape The City for the foreseeable future.
And if you’re one of those people who values moderation, reason and common sense, that is why the landscape is potentially scary and why this is arguably the most important election in San Francisco in years, in large part centering on a relatively obscure city organization known as the Democratic County Central Committee.
If you like to bet, you should place odds that Mayor Gavin Newsom will be the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor and has a strong shot at winning the job outright in November. If that happens, San Francisco will get a new mayor this year, one picked by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, whose ruling majority is now so liberal it supports legalized prostitution, immigration policies that are in direct violation of state and federal laws and has at least one member, Chris Daly, who is against a city bond to rebuild police and fire stations because he dislikes police and firefighters.
Several members of this so-called “progressive” block are termed out this year and their replacements will be elected in November. And it is that group that will select the new mayor and, if Kamala Harris wins her bid to be state attorney general, the next district attorney.
And like them or not, Newsom and Harris have been, by San Francisco’s extreme standards, moderate in their views, which is to say, they’re sane. And that brings us directly to the DCCC.
A few years back, the local Democratic party organization was the object of a coup engineered by former Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the aforementioned Daly that rid the group of many of its moderate members and replaced them with like-minded ultra-liberals, several of which were elected to the Board of Supervisors in large part because of the support of the DCCC, which controls slate mailers, raises money and otherwise does everything in its power to increase its power.
And it’s actually ironic that Peskin, Daly and others who were elected to the board to combat the (former mayor) Willie Brown “machine” back in 2000, have built themselves their own engine, and it’s been doing a pretty fine job or running over its opponents.
“The DCCC is a political machine in every sense of the word,” said political analyst David Latterman. “If Newsom and Harris leave, there will be no moderate political leadership left in San Francisco.”
And that means if the leaders of the far left take over the mayor’s office and the board, you’ll be pining for the days when Dianne Feinstein ran a centrist city and corporations such as the Gap and Bank of America were not considered evil. That was a time when San Francisco still had a middle class, most of which has been driven away by the city’s increasing hostile policies towards families — just ask Fairfield’s own Chris Daly.
So while the politics of the takeover of the DCCC are too vague for most voters, its membership is clearly important. And while I don’t endorse candidates, I care passionately about San Francisco, and others that do should watch their ballots and scorecards very carefully next week.
If you need guidance, there are several respected groups that carry election endorsements worth checking out, including the websites for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, the City Democratic Club, Plan C, and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
Or you could just wait for the slate mailers to arrive next week and cast your fate, and San Francisco’s, to the wind.
But we’ve already tried that.