BOS politics might shift again as progressives fight to reclaim ground lost to moderates in 2010 

click to enlarge See the end of the article for a list of supervisor candidates in the 2012 election.
  • See the end of the article for a list of supervisor candidates in the 2012 election.

Come November, moderates could gain two seats or progressives one seat as San Francisco politics remain in a transitional state.

In 2010, the board moved in a moderate direction, marking an end to the progressive majority that had reigned since 2000. The moderate tide could continue to gain ground this year, but when it comes to district elections and ranked-choice voting, incumbents have been unbeatable in past races.  

The City’s more left-leaning political faction is fighting to at least maintain its political ground by protecting supervisors John Avalos and Eric Mar from upsets. Moderates appear vulnerable in District 7, with no incumbent in the race since Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is termed out.

The deadline to file to run is Aug. 10, but the major matchups are set and campaigning is in full effect.

For example, the moderate political group Plan C recently sent out this message to members: “We must ensure that usually moderate District 7 doesn’t slip away to one of the ‘center-left’ candidates poised to replace Sean Elsbernd. We nearly won swing District 1 last time, and have an opportunity to win that district back in November.”

On the progressive side, Mar is seen as the most vulnerable incumbent. He was elected four years ago by a narrow margin and is facing sharp criticism from challenger David Lee’s campaign over leadership and effectiveness in District 1.

“How can you call yourself a progressive when no progress has been made?” said Lee’s campaign
consultant, Chris Lee.

Chris Lee added that the neighborhood remains plagued with empty storefronts.

“There has to be a sense of urgency of getting the job done,” he said.

Mar, however, said empty storefronts are a citywide problem because of the economy. He said he remains busy working “to address the merchant-corridor issues,” such as ensuring storefronts are kept clean and exploring zoning changes.

District 11 incumbent Avalos is fresh off an impressive showing in last year’s mayoral race, having come in second, and he can promote the success of his local-hire ordinance. Avalos is facing off against longtime labor organizer Leon Chow, who hopes to capitalize on the Asian vote.

In District 5, Mayor Ed Lee’s January appointee, Christina Olague, might appear to be a shoo-in, but don’t say that to determined challenger London Breed, who was endorsed by Attorney General Kamala Harris, San Francisco’s former district attorney. Breed said Olague is in “on-the job training.”

Businesswoman and mother Thea Selby is on the hunt as well. She said District 5 appreciates “independent progressives,” meaning those not beholden to anyone but voters in the district.

Board of Appeals member Mike Garcia is among the candidates in the open field for District 7. He is campaigning as the only true moderate running in a moderate district. Garcia faces tough challengers in F.X. Crowley, a popular labor leader who has the support of the San Francisco Labor Council, and Norman Yee, the president of the Board of Education.

As an incumbent and president of the Board of Supervisors, David Chiu is the odds-on favorite in

District 3. But Jon Golinger, head of the influential Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood group, is thought to be plotting a run. Golinger denied that, but said he is actively encouraging people to challenge Chiu on several fronts, including Chiu’s support of the Central Subway.

Golinger also said a campaign issue could be whether Chiu can deliver in opposing the controversial 8 Washington development.

District 9 Supervisor David Campos appears to have the least competition.

Supervisorial candidates

Races for posts on the Board of Supervisors are on the November ballot. The deadline to drop out or file to run is Aug. 10. Here are those currently in the running:

DISTRICT 1: Richmond, Golden Gate Park

  • David Lee: SFSU lecturer of police science, small-business owner
  • Eric Mar: current officeholder

DISTRICT 3: Chinatown, Polk Street, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf

  • David Chiu: current officeholder

DISTRICT 5: Fillmore, Western Addition, Haight, Panhandle

  • London Breed: African American Art & Culture Complex executive director
  • Daniel Everett: attorney
  • Gil Francis: retired
  • Daniel Landry: small-business owner
  • Andrew Resignato: nonprofit director
  • John Rizzo: S.F. Community College trustee
  • Christina Olague: current officeholder
  • Thea Selby: small-business owner

DISTRICT 7: West of Twin Peaks, Park Merced, Mount Davidson, Lake Merced

  • Andrew Bley: professional geographer
  • Joel Engardio: journalist-filmmaker
  • Lynn Gavin
  • Glenn Rogers: landscape architect
  • Robert Squeri: nonprofit director
  • F.X. Crowley: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 16 business manager-secretary
  • Mike Garcia: arbitrator
  • Norman Yee: education consultant

DISTRICT 9: Mission, Bernal Heights

  • Benjamin Castaneda: entrepreneur
  • Tommy Gallegos: Realtor
  • Alexander Mondares: hairdresser
  • David Campos: current officeholder

DISTRICT 11: Excelsior, Ingleside, Outer Mission

  • John Avalos: current officeholder
  • Leon Chow: SEIU-UHW external affairs director

Source: Department of Elections

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