Here it is. After quickly distilling the list down to a small group, then a smaller group, then settling on three candidates, I have my ranked choices.
#3 - David Chiu
I really really wanted David to be higher. He has super enthusiasm and is great in a small crowd, getting the group to drink the koolade. He's bright. His positions are mostly palatable. There were hints of him being politically opportunistic, but over the last couple of weeks he blew the doors open. First, he led a resolution in support of the Central Subway, as is. I've pointed out many flaws, including some that are largely ignored by the advocates. He probably could have left this issue alone for now, but he plowed ahead, despite the logical evidence that the project is flawed enough to basically be another J-Church, dumping hearings on future City leaders on how to fix a project even more physically challenging.
But today he really puzzled me. John Avalos offered a resolution supporting #occupysf to the Board. Scott Wiener had apparently worked closely with John to modify the language to produce a resolution which Scott felt more comfortable with, and many changes went in through that collaboration, but there was a "good faith disagreement" on wording over the use of force by the police. Wiener then offered the amendment for a vote. It passed 6-5, with David Chiu being the swing vote, saying that he expected the resolution to pass either way but that he wanted not a majority but a "supermajority".
Voting for the amendment - Wiener, Farrell, Chu, Chiu, Cohen, Elsbernd. The amendment passed. Of that group, only Wiener, Chiu, and Cohen voted for the amended resolution. At least one of those votes was required for passage. Chiu asserted that the resolution would pass no matter what, so we can assume he would vote for it. So he voted to add the amendment to get the votes of Malia Cohen and Scott Wiener (assuming they would not vote for the resolution without the amendment). Why bother?
The positions of the various supervisors are clear. The only *actual* difference from having the extra 2 votes would be to make the resolution veto-proof, but even then Wiener or Cohen could defect. And even then, it might be better (politically) to drop a 6-5 vote on Mayor Lee's desk and press him in public to sign or veto the resolution. Running up the score is meaningless, there is no Board of Supervisors BCS poll. To me, it just felt like he was trying to split the middle on the resolution, which to me is an insult to Avalos. Take your position and vote on it. I disagree with Wiener on this one but respect his position more than Chiu's.
Nonetheless, the people behind him in the fray have shown a lot less integrity or skill - his intelligence and position on key issues for me like Livable Streets gets him my #3.
#2 - John Avalos
John is very personable. Not as energetic as David, he is more subdued. Often that shows a person of great thought who speaks only when it's important. I don't really see that here - frequently Avalos seems a little out of his element when I watch the Board meetings. However, I do see him as being someone with absolute integrity and definite positions on issues. He has strong positions on issues that are important to me - livable streets/transit/bikes, social justice. I probably think he would be too far to the left on some issues regarding housing - I prefer to subsidize lower income people into an open market than to try to artificially control the market with rent control, I think that's a better way to produce more housing stock and get everyone into it. Somehow I think how he would work with the board would produce a balanced government - I don't see him as being a controlling Mayor like Newsom was, so having a variety of viewpoints going into City governance with a rudder that steers away from corruption would be palatable. I'm not quite sure exactly how this would turn out - so in the end the fact that I know with Avalos that we'd have a strong voice for our streetscapes wins out.
#1 - Dennis Herrera
There was no doubt Herrera would end up on this slate somewhere. He is the most obvious foil to Ed Lee at this point - I think an Ed Lee victory would be disastrous. But ranked choice voting left me the ability to put him downslate. Nonetheless, I think Herrera should go first anyway. Herrera also has presence like Chiu, but does not have the record of being politically expedient. He's been through a lot of battles as City Attorney. Our bike ride with him on SF2G showed him to be a good listener and he'd be reasonable on bike/ped issues. The biggest specific plus is that he's cracked open the pandora's box of the Central Subway and could force us to look at the project again and get some much needed improvements, and would be more likely to push for transit improvements in the corridor that would happen sooner. The discussion we had with him on this subject did not reveal him to be a transit wonk, but if he's willing to open the door that means we can be in the discussion if and when the project gets reviewed. His election would certainly be a nominal referendum on the project - as it is currently designed.
I actually have less to write about Herrera than the other two, because he's basically just solid, and I think that's what the city needs right now. The other two have a lot of positives but have nits that can be picked on. Herrera is a solid, good guy, and I would be satisfied if he wins. The same holds true of Chiu and Avalos.
The only other candidate I would specifically say I would be not upset about is Jeff Adachi. The absolute worst case amongst the likely winners would be Ed Lee - corrupt and controlled by the Machine. Leland Yee is interesting but he just reeks of political opportunism which turns me off. Dufty is absolutely Supervisor Pothole and has done me some great personal service in the past, but completely butchered the Noe Valley Plaza fiasco. And on and on.
There you have it
The Devil made me do it
2 days ago