Race to become SF’s next mayor heats up years early


The hottest election race of the San Francisco political season is underway — the 2019 mayor’s race.


Didn’t we just elect Mayor Ed Lee in 2015? (Who, might I add, was handily showed up in votes by Broke-Ass Stuart, Amy Weiss and Francisco Herrera: the 1-2-3 Replace Ed Lee coalition).

Well, yes, of course. But with the now-declared victory of state Senator-elect Scott Wiener, the political players can begin moving across the chessboard once again.

Supervisor Jane Kim, Wiener’s erstwhile opponent, was long-rumored as a mayoral candidate should she lose to Wiener. That’s in flux, but still entirely possible, according to our eyes and ears on the ground.

As it stands, a few in the know say she perhaps has the best chance against the outgoing Sen. Mark Leno, who is also rumored for a mayoral run. When one insider was asked if they thought Leno would instead angle for Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s seat in congress, the reply was easy.

Mayor of San Francisco is a far more plum gig than serving under a Donald Trump presidency.

Fair enough.

Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu and a handful of others may also toss their hats in the ring, but we’re told they haven’t put out the feelers to the expected deep-pocketed individuals yet, signaling they’re perhaps playing wait-and-see with Leno. A smart move, as Leno’s name-recognition places him as an immediate mayoral front-runner.

Which brings us back to Jane. Though she lost to Wiener, the fact that she came out with as many votes as she did after an onslaught of negative attacks, particularly among Chinese voters, actually may show her strength in a mayoral run.

It’s Jane’s to lose, should she seek it.

And that’s not all. District 8, which includes the Castro among other neighborhoods, needs a new supervisor once Wiener sails off to Sac-town.

Names for Mayor Lee’s appointment to the seat have floated at many outlets (including the San Francisco Examiner): Alex Randolph, a City College of San Francisco board trustee; Francis Tsang, a former mayoral pressman; Conor Johnston, an aide to Board of Supervisors President London Breed, and Dan Bernal, a staffer for Pelosi, are among the top names mentioned.

One outlet mentioned Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards, but On Guard calls bunk on that — Richards skews more progressive and is an unlikely mayoral pick. He’d probably run for District 8 on his own and be a formidable opponent, too.

And Bernal pulled out of the D8 appointment considerations, which he announced on Facebook Monday.

But the real threat moderates are seeing in District 8 is the progressive CCSF trustee Rafael Mandelman, who ran against Wiener in 2010.

Mandelman was refreshingly frank: “Normally, this would be about the time when people running for that spot would think more seriously about it and have conversations. I’m thinking more seriously about it and having conversations,” he said.

So in the calculus of who runs for District 8, we’re told, the mayor has been advised his choice really comes down to two candidates: Randolph and Johnston.

One may be 100 percent behind the mayor all the time, we’re told, but the other might be behind the mayor 80 percent of the time and show “independence” — but, crucially — have a more substantial chance of beating Mandelman.

The mayor tends to make picks based on loyalty. We’ll see if he holds true to that soon.

* * *

SF “BARF” founder Sonja Trauss lodged her foot in her mouth something fierce last week. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve an environmental appeal that would delay a 157-unit development in the Mission, in what Mission Local called a “stunner” of a vote.

Supervisor David Campos said he was originally planning to vote against the appeal — until he heard what he called “hateful” comments from Trauss.

And what did she say? Essentially, that long-time San Franciscans who decried newcomers were displaying the same hate we’re seeing nationally against immigrants.

Poppycock. Trauss has it bass-ackwards.

We Latinos can’t shed our brown skin. And many immigrants often flee horrific circumstances, like gang warfare and death, to our shores. We welcome them to our sanctuary city as a bosom of safety.

Being a “tech” newcomer is not in any universe similar — they come to our flavorful, beautiful city, seeking money. Cash. Valuations, in the billions.

I’m sorry, but working at a tech “unicorn” is a choice, not a state of being. You can shed your tech industry as easily as you shed a pair of shoes. We can — and should — judge people for buying a home or renting one, when it contributes to a climate of eviction for others.

Sonja’s “Trump” argument is not just lazy thinking, it’s genuinely insulting to immigrant communities.

* * *

I practically came of age reading newspapers in San Francisco and despising (almost) every word San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius put to the page.

Not just because I oft-disagree with him — I am, for instance, a genuine fan of conservative columnist Debra Saunders, though I disagree with her — but because the man punches down. He’s inked more derisive words about homeless people than anyone in this city.

I honestly think he’s fostered hate that led to harm of real people and that is sad.

So when Nevius announced his retirement, I whooped for joy and slapped together an online countdown timer until his impending “adios.” (Ten days, 14 hours, zero minutes and five seconds as of this writing!)

In my excitement, I texted Kelley Cutler from the Coalition on Homelessness, another “fan” of Nevius’ work, to show her my clock.

She replied, “Check out what’s on our website …”

And wouldn’t you know it: The coalition already had a nearly identical timer, counting down to Nevius’ exit on its website.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Chuck.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter.

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