Chronicle endorsement of Chiu shows that perspective is everything

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Is flipping from progressive to moderate a good thing? It is if you're the Chronicle.
Keeney and Law

It’s no surprise that the San Francisco Chronicle today endorsed David Chiu in his race to replace Tom Ammiano in the California Assembly, given that Chiu and the Chronicle share a business-friendly neoliberal ideology. But what the Chronicle wrote in its endorsement reinforced progressive criticisms of Chiu and could have easily passed for an endorsement of David Campos if the paper was a bit more progressive.

“They really reinforced the arguments we’ve been making,” Campos told us this morning, saying he wasn’t at all surprised by the endorsement.

“First elected as a progressive, Chiu has proved willing to move to the center on various critical issues. He backed the Twitter tax break, which is rejuvenating a seedy stretch of Market Street, and opposed re-instating Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi after his conviction in a domestic violence case,” the Chronicle wrote.

Progressives have long felt betrayed by Chiu for courting their support and then siding with the so-called moderates (aka fiscal conservatives or neoliberals) to win and hold the board presidency and appoint Ed Lee as mayor. The Twitter tax break was also opposed by progressives at the time, criticism that has widened as people question why a wealthy company should get tens of millions of dollars in corporate welfare while driving up the cost-of-living for the rest of us and leaving the city facing big budget deficits. And Chiu’s vote to remove the elected sheriff from office for a misdemeanor criminal plea seemed like political pandering that would have set a terrible precedent for the city.

“Since taking leadership of the board in 2009, Chiu has helped dial down the personal rancor and policy triviality that kept Fox News and comedians stocked with material but distracted from the job at hand. He's also proved a productive legislator with interests spanning city finances, housing, and personnel,” the Chronicle wrote.

Being a “productive legislator” in a City Hall bent on catering to the interests of landlords, developers, and corporate interests isn’t necessarily a good thing, a point that Campos has been making on the campaign trail. Frankly, if right-wing Fox News isn’t finding legislation to mock in San Francisco then maybe we’re way off course. The progressive era that Chiu help usher out was one where wealthy corporations were asked to support their workers and the city.

It was when San Francisco required employers to provide health coverage, paid sick days, and a high minimum wage for their employees. These were all things The Nation recognized in its current cover story, “Power to the City: The progressive case for going local.”

And they were all things in San Francisco’s past, the era before Chiu came to power, and they were mostly things that the Chronicle opposed at the time. By contrast, The Nation wrote favorably of more recent progressive trends in America’s biggest and most important cities, such as New York City, Seattle, Boston, and Minneapolis, cities where leftist mayors are moving to address economic and environmental justice issues, the kind of thing San Francisco used to be known for.

We at the Guardian haven’t made our endorsement decisions for the June election yet, they come out next week. But when Chiu comes to meet with us tomorrow morning, we’ll have some hard questions for him to answer about the very same issues that the Chronicle finds so praiseworthy.   

Comments

... and then vote the exact opposite way.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

You really refuse to get it, don't you Greg? That kind of thinking is the reason why progressives consistently lose at the ballot box. Notice how the people and propositions that the Chronicle endorses tend to pass more often than those that the BG backs? That's because the Chronicle's politics are much more in line with the majority of San Franciscans than are the BG's.

You keep thinking that most people in SF think like you. They don't. Election results prove it over and over. And over and over and over and over...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:34 pm

Generally speaking, the SFBG has a better passage rate than the Chron.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:42 pm

Like backing a candidate for Mayor? BG hasn't backed a winner since Art Agnos. Sit/lie? Care/not cash?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

Actually, Guest, Greg is right. The Guardian generally has an endorsement record that is more in line with voters than the Chronicle, something that is proven true in election after election. Generally that we endorse based on progressive values and not trying to pick winners, that's a sign that San Francisco voters are generally more progressive than you seem to believe. One big exception to that is the mayor's race, where San Francisco voters do tend to pick the more moderate candidates, over and over again. Sit-lie and Care Not Cash (you're really going way back there, huh?) are two measures where voters sided with the Chron (and divisive brand of politics that spawned those measures). But more often than not, elections are more like the one in November, where voters agreed with the Guardian on Props B & C and repudiated the Chron. Frankly, given that the big money usually flows to the business-friendly candidates that the Chronicle endorses, one might expect voters to agree with that paper's endorsements more often, but they don't. 

Posted by steven on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

I really can't wait until the new generation of San Franciscans - tech employees - become more politically active. The city needs someone like Ron Conway to organize a voter registration drive.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

That would be nice. In a just world, playing the hate game and stereotyping a class of people would backfire on progressives, but I don't think it will.

Despite all the hype, tech employees are just a small fraction of San Francisco population, 7 or 8 percent. (How they manage to be the cause of 90% of the city's problems, as progressives portray them to be, is a mystery.) In contrast, how many professional dependents are there? A ton. Not sure that techies will end up causing much of a ripple in the political scene. Hope I'm wrong.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

In reality there has been only one BOS race since 2010 where a non-incumbent endorsed by the SFBG won. Norman Yee.

Meanwhile Janey Reilly, Debra Walker, Rafeal Mandleman, Tom Kelly and John Rizzo were all endorsed by the SFBG and they all lost. Your endorsement couldn't even carry the Haight.

In the 2011 city wide races you lost 2 out of 3. You picked Mirkarimi but Avalos and Onek lost.

So I know it is easy to say that the SFBG endorsement value has "proven true in election after election".

It isn't true, of course. But is sure sounds good.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

Anyone can cherry-pick dates and races. The overall record speaks for itself.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

SFBG cannot claim to get elections right if they ALWAYS get the mayors race wrong

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

So 'the overall record' shows the electoral strength of progressive politics?

Really? One victory for Sheriff is 'the overall record'?

I love it when Progressives respond to data showing how wrong they are with baseless platitudes like 'overall record'.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

If progressive ideas and candidates are so popular in comparison to more moderate candidates and the moderate Chronicle, why has a progressive never won the mayoral seat in over 20 years? Please cite some more props that went the progressive way other than B & C (which few people really cared about with less than 25% of the electorate voting). And proposals that both the Chronicle and BG agreed on don't count.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 10:57 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 1:24 am

Steven -

Props B and C came out in an off year with less than 25% of the electorate voting. I wouldn't exactly call that a ringing endorsement of your ideas. And to be honest, most of the people didn't seem to care that much because to us, it was a battle between billionaires who wanted to make more money vs. millionaires who wanted to preserve their views. In other words, most of us didn't give a damn one way or another. But I would love to see your actual data that shows that on issues where the BG and Chronicle are split, SF voters tend to vote your way.

I also think you also misunderstood what I meant when I said backing a winner. I didn't say you should pick a candidate based on his chances of winning, but you pick candidates who are in line with your ideas and they consistently lose. Which means that most people don't believe what you do.

Electing the mayor is the single biggest referendum on what a city thinks. Mayors reflect their electorate. Mayors get elected because the majority of voters agree with their stances on issues. When was the last time SF elected a progressive mayor? Art Agnos. He was a one-termer whose administration crapped out and was most famous for "Camp Agnos". Ed Lee whupped the BG candidate because progressives refuse to acknowledge the plain fact that keeps slapping them in the face: it's the economy stupid. You focus on jobs, you win. All that touchy-feely stuff will always play second fiddle to me putting food on my family's table.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 6:06 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

wrong, such as the mayor's race, most obviously, and things like public power which the voters always reject

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

Steven and Greg -

I'm still waiting for the proof that the BG is more in line with mainstream San Franciscans than the Chronicle is.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

When we put a Nuclear Free Zone on the ballot for SF, Nov. 1987, the SFBG advised people to vote "No!" because it could never pass."

The main reason the BG called for a "No" vote, was because the NFZ was drafted mainly by people who were part of
Peace & Freedom Party, Paul Kangas, Steve Zelser, Pebbles Trippet, etc., Abalone Alliance, etc. who did
the hard work to put it on the ballot.
It was not a product of the DP.
The BG does not like anything that sounds Euopean, like the
solar feed in tariff.

Ex-Mayor Art Agnos supported the Nuclear Free Zone.
It passed by 3 to 1.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

And total bullshit.

Your head-in-the-sand routine gets so old, lol. I'm sure you'll point to some school board election or random ballot measure Progressives are getting by, but on the elections that actually matter SF has clearly swing away from the Progressives and to the Moderates. The SFBG wrote an entire article about this for chrisssakes.

For as stupid as your are - and you are jawdroppingly stupid - you're even more dishonest.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

And the Guardian shoots itself in the foot again, giving its "opponents" face space to boost their name recognition.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

Chui can talk to a broader range of people and knows how to compromise.

Campos, if elected, will be ignored.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 8:54 pm

That's a terrific photo of Chiu and his smiling face.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

Yes it is a good photo but I don't recall many such pictures of a smiley-faced Mr. Chiu. Sometimes you get a visceral feeling about someone and to me Chiu's always seemed overly ambitious in an underhanded way. His career so far bears me out. The elitist and Chronicle's endorsement serves as further corroboration because they're sneaky too.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

Steven writes:

"The Twitter tax break was also opposed by progressives at the time"

Which is bizarre because here is an op ed piece by Ross Mirkarimi explaining his advocacy for the tax break on stock options:

http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/S-F-tax-exclusion-would-target-pre...

There are two components of the tax break; the part relating to stock options that Mirkarimi was pushing is by far the major component. It is approximately $53 million out of the "$56 million in corporate welfare" that the SFBG misleadingly states. Endlessly.

The other part of the tax break was on payroll taxes. The Progressives did not support it but it only amounts to about $3 million.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

"We at the Guardian haven’t made our endorsement decisions for the June election yet, they come out next week." Anyone want to bet against them picking Campos? C'mon. I'll give you 100-1 odds.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

A-hole Campos. He is a complete dick to City Staffers - just go to a BOS meeting and you will see what I mean. Condescending, belittling and just plain arrogant to city staff, in order to make him look better. What a Dirtbag.
Plus, he will never pass legislation at a State level. Hell, he has sponsored virtually none at the city level.

Posted by Richmondman on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

Is this bizarro world or something? Take everything you said and think exactly the opposite, and you'll have a pretty good picture of the man. He's sharp as a tack, incredibly effective, and a genuinely nice guy. We can't do much better in Sac than David Campos.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

He really hit the ball out of the ballpark on that one!!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

Campos passed free muni for kids (the one that Google is paying for).

What else?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

But wait! He's going to turn Calle 24 into a protected Latino Land Fun Park!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 6:00 pm
Posted by Greg on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:24 pm

because Ellis is a state law that says that cities cannot meddle with it

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:42 pm

You're just showing how hateful you are toward gays if you oppose this Campos idea.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 8:34 am

Campos is divisive, polarizing, extremists and on the fringe of what most California voters thinks,

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

and everyone knows it. He hits the progressive g-spot on every issue and he plays identity politics (gay, Latino and fat) better than anyone else. Chiu, who'd be a raving leftist anywhere outside the Haight, is considered by the Guardian to be evil incarnate.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

Shorenstein, the local Chamber and the usual suspects that usually oppose progressive Democrats are lined up behind the neoliberal corporate lackey in this race.

Chiu is left wing light when its pays and conservative when that suits him. Who knows who will show up in Sacramento.

Posted by GuestMax on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 4:38 pm

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/park-fence-enclosure-draws-mixed-...

“The proposal, which has the support of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who represents the area, was developed by the Nob Hill Association... Greg Galanos, chairman of a park committee for the Nob Hill Association...”

September 12, 2013:
Greg Galanos contributes $500.00 to the David Chiu for Assembly 2014 Campaign
November 13, 2013
David Chiu writes letter supporting creation of Huntington Park fence, Greg Galanos’ project
December 26, 2013
Greg Galanos contributes $3,100.00 to the David Chiu for Assembly 2014 Campaign
March 5, 2014
Greg Galanos contributes $4,100.00 to the David Chiu for Assembly 2014 Campaign

http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1360422&s...

http://sfrecpark.org/wp-content/uploads/Item-7-Huntington-Park-Playgroun...

Sound familiar?
"Federal corruption charges against state Sen. Leland Yee, accused of soliciting campaign donations from undercover agents who sought political favors in return, put new light on donations he received while voting on legislation affecting his contributors."

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-money-behind-leland-yee-...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/park-fence-enclosure-draws-mixed-reactions-from-nob-hill-neighbors/Content?oid=2742635

“The proposal, which has the support of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who represents the area, was developed by the Nob Hill Association... Greg Galanos, chairman of a park committee for the Nob Hill Association...”

September 12, 2013:
Greg Galanos contributes $500.00 to the David Chiu for Assembly 2014 Campaign
November 13, 2013
David Chiu writes letter supporting creation of Huntington Park fence, Greg Galanos’ project
December 26, 2013
Greg Galanos contributes $3,100.00 to the David Chiu for Assembly 2014 Campaign
March 5, 2014
Greg Galanos contributes $4,100.00 to the David Chiu for Assembly 2014 Campaign

cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Committees/Detail.aspx?id=1360422&session=2013&view=late1

sfrecpark.org/wp-content/uploads/Item-7-Huntington-Park-Playground-and-Fence-Attachment-E-Huntington-Park-Support-Letter-120413.pdf

Sound familiar?
"Federal corruption charges against state Sen. Leland Yee, accused of soliciting campaign donations from undercover agents who sought political favors in return, put new light on donations he received while voting on legislation affecting his contributors."

latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-money-behind-leland-yee-20140403,0,1645248.story#axzz2y2PMsLrq

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

To me, the best representation of a Guardian endorsements is the fact that they endorsed Leland Yee as a choice for Mayor last election - even though the Guardian recently wrote they knew at the time that Yee was corrupt.

Posted by Kristin on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

In 2011, the SFBG endorsed Avalos for mayor (1st choice), then Herrera (2nd choice), and Yee for 3rd choice, with much hesitation and pinching their noses. "A classic lesser of the evils." "Yee has a very mixed record." "Yee makes us nervous." "He's the best chance progressives have of keeping the corrupt old political machine out of City Hall — or he's a chameleon who will be a nightmare for progressive San Francisco."

http://www.sfbg.com/2011/10/04/endorsements-2011?page=0,3

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 5:55 pm

that The Guardian endorsed someone they felt could turn out to be an absolute nightmare? And did?

We're supposed to take their election endorsements seriously after that debacle? What. A. Joke.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

It's not their fault. It is Ranked Choice Voting which, almost be definition, means that you have to 'vote' for someone that you are indifferent about at best.

Of course, the SFBG and Progressives are the ones who managed to foist RCV on us, so they have nobody to blame.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

No one forces you to make 3 choices. The only difference is that you do get 3 choices, whereas with runoffs you pick between two people you don't like.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:28 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

It meant that they thought he had a chance of being better than Ed Lee and the Willie Brown machine, but not nearly as good as the their top two choices, Avalos and Herrera. They explained their hesitation very clearly, so that you could form your own opinion. That's all.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

If they knew he was corrupt, why didn't they just back another candidate? Or even better, why didn't they just tell people they like just Avalos and Herrera and to leave the third slot blank?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

No one knew just how corrupt he was back then. He just seems fishy.

The Democratic party's official endorsement was Avalos, Herrera, and no 3rd choice. That would have been better, and seems like the SFBG came close to that, but they decided to give Yee a chance for the 3rd choice, which rarely amounts to anything anyway. It's a small difference, and not enough to go gloating about how stupid the BG was, as commenters have been doing every time the BG wrote about Yee since the scandal broke.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

And SFBG were a mile off endorsing the landslide victor, and so SFBG cannot claim to be in tune with the majority of people in the city.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 1:26 am

That's a whole different issue, and not unique to the Guardian. The Democrats endorsed Avalos mayor, and the Chron endorsed Chiu.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 8:17 am

Yet they haven't called a mayoral race right in 30 years

Posted by Guest on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 8:35 am

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