Examiner Endorsements: Board of Supervisors

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District 1

We endorse both Sandra Fewer and Jonathan Lyens to replace the termed-out Eric Mar for District 1 supervisor. A dual endorsement is unusual for us, but we were impressed with the experience and qualifications of both candidates and believe either would represent the Richmond well in City Hall. With ranked-choice voting, we urge votes for both candidates on district ballots.

School board member Fewer has pledged to preserve existing affordable housing while also building new units, curbing rampant car break-ins and re-envisioning public transit for the Richmond beyond the long-delayed Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project.

A Richmond District resident of five decades whose husband is a retired San Francisco police officer, Fewer said she would push for “measured and planned growth” in the area.

“We are a neighborhood, we are not downtown,” Fewer said. “Our growth needs to be planned, and it needs to be planned well.”

Lyens, president of the Board of the Richmond District Neighborhood Center and president of the FDR Democratic Club, has worked in the Mayor’s Budget Office, Department of Human Resources and currently with the Department of Public Health. “All too often, the underserved and marginalized communities are shut out of the political process,” he wrote earlier this year in an opinion article for the Examiner.

“We can’t have million-dollar giveaways when our vital city services are not fully funded, when we can’t provide enough shelter for our growing homeless population, when Muni still doesn’t run on time and when our shrinking middle-class families get tossed out,” he said. “San Francisco needs to get its priorities straight.”

If elected, Lyens vowed to make The City budget process more open and transparent. Lyens, who has also been blind since childhood, said his disability would help him fight to keep San Francisco open to all. In City Hall, he vowed to be “a voice for those who don’t have one.”

Endorsement: Sandra Fewer and Jonathan Lyens for District 1 Supervisor

District 3

Aaron Peskin’s one year back on the Board of Supervisors changed city politics for the better, holding city departments more accountable and tackling weighty issues at City Hall.

Peskin’s return to the District 3 seat, representing Chinatown, Polk Street, Telegraph Hill and North Beach — a post he held between 2001 and 2009 — also gave the progressive bloc a majority on the board for the first time in years, providing an effective balance of power to the mayor and his allies.

Peskin’s challenger, Tim Donnelly, a native of San Francisco who has for three decades worked as a building manager, said he would like to bring attention to crime, homeless and parking issues in District 3 — neighborhood priorities that Peskin agreed were important.

Over the past year, Peskin held up three accomplishments he says made San Francisco more affordable. He partnered with Supervisor Jane Kim to pass Proposition C on the June ballot, increasing affordability requirements for developers, imposed a moratorium on the conversion of single-room occupancy hotel units and co-sponsored legislation to increase regulation on short term rentals, over which Airbnb is suing The City.

As chair of the board’s Government Audits and Oversight Committee, Peskin is well-positioned to build on his promise to make government more efficient and combat waste as well as ferret out suspected wrongdoing, such as the recent hearing he called on the sinking of the 58-story Millennium Tower.

We support his re-election this November for a four-year term.

Endorsement: Aaron Peskin for District 3 Supervisor

District 5

Board of Supervisors President London Breed has done an impressive job representing the needs of her district, pushing for important issues like clean energy for San Francisco and presiding over the sometimes contentious workings of the board at City Hall. She deserves to return for a second term.

Breed, born and raised in public housing in the Western Addition, has shown independence and pragmatism during her first term on the board, emphasizing her advocacy for the many San Franciscans who have been left behind. As a renter, Breed said she has fought for tenant protections and understands what it’s like to live with the threat of eviction.

Breed has been a strong leader on pushing for neighborhood preference in housing, fighting evictions, housing homeless families, improving ambulance response times and improving Muni.

“The progressive policies in this city have, in some ways, neglected the low-income community,” Breed told the Examiner. “I don’t do this job in fear of losing it. I do this job to represent the community that raised me.”

Breed is challenged in the race by Dean Preston, a longtime housing rights lawyer and founder of Tenants Together, who brings good ideas and experience to the table on the issue of housing. We hope he continues to push for solutions to one of the major issues facing city residents — his contributions are needed in this city.

Breed’s more expansive record of fighting for a variety of vital issues for her district and for the city at large — housing, safety, transit, clean energy — make her the better choice.

Endorsement: London Breed for District 5 Supervisor

District 7

Supervisor Norman Yee faces a tough battle in his re-election bid as supervisor for District 7. His advocacy over the past four years for his west of Twin Peaks district has been lackluster and his leadership on the board has been weak, vulnerabilities his challengers are quick and accurate to point out.

The four candidates seeking to unseat Yee are all to the right of him politically, and all emphasize quality-of-life issues, car break-ins and property crime as the top issues they would address if elected.

Our endorsement goes to Joel Engardio, a relatively moderate and independent voice, who would be an ideal fit to represent the district and ensure its perspective and issues are well represented at City Hall.

Engardio, a former journalist, recently was a columnist for the Examiner and still contributes frequently as an opinion writer. As much as he often differs with the editorial position of this paper, his articles frequently provide insightful commentary on neighborhood issues and highlight deserving city residents that would otherwise go unheralded.

Engardio said, if elected, he would be an independent supervisor and bring more city attention to issues that matter to District 7, such as crime, affordability, housing and fiscal responsibility. “In the good times is when we should actually go in and maximize efficiency to figure out where we can save money and also put money away,” he said.

Engardio’s sound judgement, commitment to transparency in government and sense of fairness will serve The City and his district well.

Endorsement: Joel Engardio for District 7 Supervisor

District 9

Our choice to replace termed-out Supervisor David Campos in the Mission District is his legislative aide Hillary Ronen. Prior to serving with Campos for the past six years, she was an attorney with La Raza Centro Legal, advocating for low-wage and immigrant workers.

Ronen is a worthy successor to Campos’ work in the district, and she is running largely on a platform to continue his approach and policies. She has vowed to focus on affordable housing, homelessness and education. She said if elected, one of her priorities would be to make universal public prekindergarten a reality for San Francisco.

The Mission has been widely considered ground zero for The City’s affordability crisis in recent years with soaring housing costs, battles over new development, evictions, the influx of technology workers and the displacement of long-standing residents, many of whom are Latino.

Ronen blames the Mission’s crisis on Mayor Ed Lee and his allies for “short-sighted thinking and shutting out community voices and only listening to corporate voices — and their horrible negotiations.”

Ronen lists as her accomplishments Campos’ legislative victories, like regulating tenant buyouts, redress for tenants harassed by their landlords and free Muni rides for youths.

Joshua Arce, a community liaison with construction trade union Local 261 and Ronen’s main opponent, says the Mission can’t afford the extension of Campos’ policies that Ronen would bring. Arce, backed by more moderate officials, says Ronen is part of a failed status quo that has been unresponsive to district needs. We don’t doubt Arce’s passion for the district and many of his ideas are laudable, but we believe Ronen is the right choice.

Melissa San Miguel, an education consultant formerly with the National Center for Youth Law, is is a candidate in the race who we hope will stay active in local and citywide issues. A native of the Mission and the daughter of Peruvian immigrants, San Miguel hopefully represents the next wave of political engagement and leadership in the Mission.

“Members of the San Francisco political class have a history of ignoring the communities they purport to represent,” San Miguel told the Examiner. “The perception that this race is between Arce and Ronen, neither of whom grew up in this community, highlights this troubling dynamic. My whole family lives here.”

San Miguel said families like hers “deserve a voice at City Hall.” We agree, and hope to hear more from her in the future.

Endorsement: Hillary Ronen for District 9 Supervisor

District 11

The race to represent San Francisco’s diverse working-class neighborhoods bordering Daly City has been a tough and bitter battle between two leading candidates: Ahsha Safai, a political director for SEIU Local 87, the janitors union, and Kimberly Alvarenga, the political director of SEIU 1021, The City workers’ largest labor union.

There are many similarities between the two union leaders. Both say the southwestern neighborhoods have largely missed out on the prosperity enjoyed by other areas of San Francisco. They point to everything from storefront vacancies to poor-scoring parks in the neighborhoods like the Excelsior, Ingleside Mission Terrace and Outer Mission.

Safai, who worked for both the Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom administrations, including at the Housing Authority Commission, places some of the blame at the feet of outgoing Supervisor John Avalos, who, Safai said, didn’t do enough for the district during his tenure in City Hall.

“The general vibe in our district is that we are treated like the forgotten part of The City,” Safai told the Examiner. “Our commercial corridors are the only ones in The City whose tax revenues have gone down over the last five years.”

The two leading candidates in this race differ in many ways, in both style and substance.

Many of Safai’s positions fit within a more moderate alignment, while Alvarenga, a San Francisco native who worked for Tom Ammiano when he was an assemblyman, lines up with the more progressive faction. Their endorsements reflect that divide.

Safai said, if elected, he would champion universal prekindergarten, family-friendly policies and affordable housing for workers, and establish a district office to connect with neighborhood citizens. He said he would address trash and graffiti problems.

Alvarenga, for her part, promised to fight for safe and healthy neighborhoods, expand free universal preschool, support small businesses and responsible economic development. She said working families should have a voice at City Hall.

Both candidates have attributes that impressed us, but both also had enough drawbacks that left us unconvinced either were worthy of a full-throated endorsement. Safai brings ambition, energy and drive to his campaign that shows potential for real leadership, while Alvarenga has the experience and progressive platform that we admire.

No endorsement for District 11 Supervisor

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