By Kim Knox
Reprinted by permission
The discussion around the progressive water coolers has been centered around Chris Daly’s Progressive Conference on Saturday.
One blog, Fog City Journal even used its front page story to give a rehash of an article about a possible that ran on another blog, Beyond Chron about the Progressive Conference.
But the discussion should really center on the following -
We, the progressives of San Francisco, have known for the last three plus years that there was a mayoral election in November 2007. So why don’t we have a clear-cut candidate five months before the election?
Eric Mar reports on his blog, Educational Justice that he and Mark Sanchez will be speaking at the conference “sometime after 2 p.m.” But that’s all that we know about the speakers.
As reported on Beyond Chron, Matt Gonzalez has noted that he won’t be announcing his run at the conference (although he keeps the door wide open that he will announce at a later date about his candidancy for mayor. And as someone who worked on Gonzalez from the moment he announced in August 2003 to the day after he lost, it sounds to me that Gonzalez is running – he’s just going to throw his hat in the ring on his time schedule).
Gonzalez has been absent on the political scene for the last two years. Gonzalez didn’t even bother to attend the Milk Club’s huge dinner/fundraiser last week. The Milk Club is still being targeted for decertification by some traditional Democrats for having endorsed Gonzalez in the (nonpartisan) mayoral runoff three years ago. Gonzalez hasn’t show up to any of Bernal Heights Democratic Club’s events either – and they were the other Democratic club that risk thier charter to endorse him. You would think that Gonzalez would want to keep those type of friends in this very Democratic town, if he was seriously running for Mayor.
Another name that is touted as a front-runner is former Mayor Art Agnos who was defeated in 1991 for re-election. Agnos also hasn’t held an elective office in 16 years. Agnos won’t be attending the conference – so it’s unlikely that his candidancy for mayor would be announced on June 2.
That leaves Chris Daly who had difficulty winning re-election last year to the Board of Supervisors in one of the most liberal districts of the City. Granted – District 6 has gone through gentrification. But District 6 still has a larger number of progressive voters (and campaign workers) than almost all of the other 11 supervisoral districts (except for Districts 9 and 5).
Progressives, there will be a mayoral election in November 2007 and another one in November 2011. And here is another news flash – Newsom will be termed out in November 2011. (You heard it here first!)
A suggestion would be for the progressives to think strategically. (I know, I know – that’s not the progressive way.) It will be difficult without funds and in five months to mount a campaign to defeat an incumbent. Especially an incumbent who realized that even without a strong challenger, he had to have 1) campaign funds and 1) campaign shoe leather to win his re-election.
So let’s find a candidate who may not well-known but who can put out some new ideas and could bring a new set of workers/supporters to the progressive base. Let’s find a candidate who may have a chance of winning in 2007, but would definitely have a better chance of winning in the open field in 2011.
An example of how this works would the school board candidancy of Jane Kim. No one knew Jane Kim when she announced that she was running for school board two years ago with Gonzalez’ endorsement. Jane Kim lost in 2004 – but she came in first two years later with the name recognition that she gained in her first run.
So who do we know that we want to position for Mayor in 2011? Let’s give him or her some name recognition.
Is there anyone that we want to run for supervisor next year when the term limits will open spots in Districts 1, 3, 9 and 11? What about John Avalos, Eric Mar, Cecilia Chung, Robert Haaland, David Campos, Mark Sanchez and/or other progressives who are already looking at the 2008 supervisoral races? Or those who are looking at the 2010 supervisorial races such as Debra Walker or Rafael Mandelman? Let’s use this opportunity to increase their name recognition.
Or is there an important issue of Daly’s, Agnos’ or Gonzalez’ (or the others that I just mentioned) that would positively impact the lives of our community but that the press hasn’t been covering? We could use their candidancy to push that issue and use the momentum of that issue to keep a progressive majority on the board in 2008.
The Progressive Conference is a good idea. But there doesn’t appear to be enough planning, enough press and enough buzz to create a “revolution” that Daly is hoping to occur. Perhaps, the time at the Progressive Conference could be more productively used to create a strategy for progressive wins in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Kim Knox is the education writer for Leftinsf. A Green, Kim is also the Vice President-Political for the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the treasurer for the Richmond Democratic Club. She is also the Vice President for fund raising for John Muir ES, a public elementary school in the Western Addition. Kim ran for San Francisco School Board in 2006.
Photo by Charles Khalish