Probably because they knew I would be there anyway, I was asked by the San Francisco Young Democrats to be the moderator for a series of debates among candidates for supervisor seats. Thus far, we have hosted a forum for candidates in districts 6 and 10. (We’ll be doing one for District 8 on Sept. 22.)
On Monday, I also moderated a Distract 6 debate sponsored by the South Beach/Mission Bay Merchants Association.
Obviously, I love the moderator gig. It’s fun to get to know the candidates and be in a room full of fellow wonks who ask excellent questions. If you haven’t been to a debate yet, here’s some of what you’re missing:
The San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee recently voted on whether to endorse certain candidates and ballot measures. The committee’s decisions go out into the world as the Democratic Party’s slate card, one of the most influential in The City.
In recent years, a majority of people elected to the committee have been progressives, which has meant endorsements for candidates that have helped to maintain a progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors.
Last week, I joined a million other people in violating city fire codes by piling into a tiny room to watch the committee vote.
Here’s a peek at the candidate-endorsement drama:
District 2: Janet Reilly won the committee’s endorsement by a landslide. Current District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, running for re-election, had this to say about the vote: “That’s lovely. The Politburo has spoken.”
District 4: Supervisor Carmen Chu is running for re-election unopposed, so everyone basically elected to endorse her candidacy. You know who didn’t? Supervisor David Campos, who pointedly abstained. I wonder if this will make things awkward at the City Hall holiday party?
District 6: A number of progressive candidates are running for this seat. The committee can endorse more than one candidate, but only Debra Walker got the endorsement. The room was in a tizzy of whispers and text messages about how committee Chairman Aaron Peskin, who’s supporting Walker, must have engineered the solo endorsement, leaving other progressives like Jane Kim, Jim Meko and Glendon Hyde off the list.
A group of public employee unions are suing to keep the pension reform measure championed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi off the November ballot.
The lawsuit is rather technical and alleges that people who signed the petition to put the measure on the ballot were not provided with the full text of the proposed law, that the summary of the initiative shown to people who signed was different than the one submitted to the Department of Elections, and that ballot measures are only allowed to address one subject, but the pension measure changes pension, health care and union bargaining rules.
The suit also argues that changing employee contribution rates deprives them of property without due process of law.
This all may sound scary, but Adachi’s people aren’t too concerned.
“I’m confident that we will prevail,” said Darcy Brown, who’s managing the campaign for the pension reform measure.
The lawsuit has been referred to Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn, who ordered Elections Director John Arntz and Adachi to respond to the union’s complaint by Monday. I asked some fancy attorneys about Kahn and they tell me that he’s fair and efficient. Given the importance of this issue and the fact that the November ballots go to the printer Sept. 1, fair and efficient sounds like exactly what we need.