San Francisco, two-party town

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

There’s not a lot of room in the center these days. Mayor Ed Lee has left this town so divided that we have two political parties.

I am increasingly coming to believe that San Francisco is now a two-party city – and oddly, we are seeing that reflected in the race to determine who will run the Democratic Party.

Republicans are almost entirely irrelevant in San Francisco (the last GOP office holder, BART Board member James Fang, lost his seat two years ago. There hasn’t been a Republican in any significant elected office in years). There’s a modest Green Party, which at one time counted among its members Sups. Matt Gonzalez and Ross Mirkarimi. Mirkarimi later became a Democrat…

But the real two-party system right now is between the progressive party and the Ed Lee/real-estate/tech mogul party. And this city has become so deeply divided that there is no room for anyone in the middle.

I give the mayor full credit for that.

In times of severe crisis, and this city is in a severe crisis, people don’t want to spend a lot of time on the nuances of political positions. They want to know – and they should know – whose side are you on?…

We used to get all sorts of candidates at the Guardian who come in and tell us that we should endorse them because they’d vote our position “most of the time.” That’s fine – you want people who think for themselves in public office, not people who just follow a script.

But when it’s more and more likely that the San Francisco so many of us care so much about is going to be gone in a few years, when the displacement of people and community-serving businesses and nonprofits has been unlike anything any of us have seen since the worst days of Redevelopment half a century ago, it’s hard to find compromise and middle ground.

That’s why there were so many 6-5 votes on the Board of Supes last year, before Aaron Peskin won and created a progressive majority. There are fewer 6-5 votes now, in part because it’s an election year and Sup. London Breed, who is facing a challenge from the left, has moved away from the mayor on some issues. (We’re going to see eight votes in favor of declaring a housing emergency, enough to override a mayoral veto).

But the board will be deeply divided again next year; we just don’t know who will be in the majority….

As I often say about class warfare, it’s not our fault: We didn’t declare the war. The one percent, the Republicans and Wall Street Democrats declared war on us. We’re just fighting back so we can survive.

The left didn’t create the division in this city; the mayor did that. Now people who can’t stand it anymore are responding… (more)

The degree to which some at City Hall have fallen is amazing. This week I realized just how bent the “newcomers” are on ridding themselves of us. I was shocked to learn of plans to remove old favorites such as the Swan Depot on Polk Street. Then I received a message from someone on Mission who told me every one is freaked over what the SFMTA did with that street. so… I wrote this OpEd:
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/stop-displacing-sf-businesses

 

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