Olague's challengers say incumbent not representative of District 5

Olague's challengers say incumbent not representative of District 5

The supervisorial election in the Haight, Fillmore and Western Addition is not just about neighborhood issues, but a rallying cry against The City’s direction.

District 5 is the most progressive of San Francisco’s 11 Board of Supervisors districts, and the officeholder has traditionally championed left-leaning causes.

Seven challengers are gunning for incumbent Christina Olague, the former planning commissioner whom Mayor Ed Lee appointed in January to serve out Ross Mirkarimi’s term.

While Olague comes from the progressive movement, she is perceived by critics as having betrayed those roots by supporting Lee. Her opponents say she represents the interests of Lee and allies such as former Mayor Willie Brown and Chinatown’s Rose Pak, who have helped her amass a campaign war chest. They point to her support for the 8 Washington St. luxury condo development and a failed effort to reform ranked-choice voting.

But Olague likens herself to predecessors such as Matt Gonzalez.

“I see myself as a progressive leader,” she said, adding that her priorities include reducing violence, improving public housing, increasing commerce along Divisadero Street and addressing minority graduation rates.

Voters are faced with a field of passionate challengers, including London Breed, executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex; Julian Davis, president of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center board; Daniel Everett, an attorney and KUSF disc jockey; Hope Johnson, a former member of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force; Andrew Resignato, director of the San Francisco Immunization Coaltion; John Rizzo, president of the City College of San Francisco board of trustees; and Thea Selby, a businesswoman and neighborhood activist.

Olague defends her vote in favor of 8 Washington, likening it to progressive support for the Rincon Hill development. “I thought that the community benefits were really on balance with other projects that had been approved in the past,” she said.

But Davis pulls no punches.

“She is highly compromised by her appointment, by her connections with the special interests backing the mayor,” he said.

Davis, who has the endorsement of many prominent progressives, vows to “keep San Francisco affordable and inclusive in years to come.” He denounces Lee for policies that “focus on the economic development interests of the power elite.”

Such criticism of the mayor and his appointee unites many of Olague’s opponents.

“An appointee appointed by an appointee is not the best person to represent the interests of District 5,” Selby said.

A businesswoman, mother and head of a neighborhood merchants group, Selby casts herself as “the boots-on-the-ground candidate” who truly represents her neighborhood. She vowed to represent small businesses and campaign for safer and more vibrant city streets.

Although the candidates have different personalities, their positions on many issues are similar. They condemn the direction of the Recreation and Park Department, support CleanPowerSF, would strengthen rent-control laws and oppose the Park Merced development.

The outspoken Breed, who grew up in the district’s public housing, has raised the most money in the race. She cited her fundraising and organizational skills, vowing to focus on public safety issues.

“I am now going to the funerals of kids whose parents I played dolls with,” she said.

Rizzo cited his experience and track record tackling tough issues on the City College board as useful in bringing financial accountability to city departments.

“The city budget is out of control,” he said. “Management is the place to look. I think there’s millions in management.”

Resignato touted himself as the health candidate, vowing to preserve The City’s history and diversity and “double-down on being a transit-first city.” Johnson cast herself as an anti-politician willing to hold the powerful accountable, as she did on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. Everett could not be reached for comment and has not reported any contributions.

One difference among the front-runners is whom they would back for board president. Olague’s first choice was Supervisor Jane Kim. Selby’s top choice was current board President David Chiu, while Rizzo opted for Supervisor David Campos. Davis said Campos or Supervisor John Avalos. Breed opted for herself.

How the candidates stand on various issues

The candidates for District 5 supervisors are a progressive lot, with campaign contributions reported during their most recent public filing being the biggest source of difference.

Candidate Contributions* Sit-Lie Preferred board president? 8 Washington ParkMerced Tax reform
London Breed $123,924 Yes London Breed No No Yes
Julian Davis $10,997 No John Avalos/David Campos No No Yes
Hope Johnson $601 No David Campos No No No
Christina Olague $101,635 No Jane Kim/David Campos Yes No Yes
Andrew Resignato $2,575 No John Avalos No No Yes
John Rizzo $19,888 No David Campos No No Yes
Thea Selby $42,708 No David Chiu No No Yes

*All contribution amounts were reported on or before September 17.

Source: SF Ethics Commission and Examiner reporting

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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