Peskin announces candidacy for SF District 3 supervisor seat 

click to enlarge Aaron Peskin
  • ERIC RISBERG/ap file photo
  • Aaron Peskin is reportedly set to run for District 3 supervisor, a position he held from 2000 to 2008.

UPDATE: As expected, Aaron Peskin on Monday officially announced his candidacy for District 3 supervisor. The original story is below.

Like Rocky Balboa coming out of retirement to fight a new upstart, a two-time city supervisor is expected to announce his third run for his District 3 seat.

Aaron Peskin is back in the ring.

The former supervisor is set to announce his candidacy for supervisor at a press conference Monday, at 11 a.m.

But why return now?

In an interview with The Examiner, Peskin said he was running because San Francisco needs its politically experienced leaders to step up.

"It's the best of times and the worst of times in San Francisco," Peskin told The Examiner. "I don't feel like I can sit on the sidelines, when I have experience fighting for decades for everyday San Franciscans."

District 3 encompasses Chinatown, NorthBeach and Telegraph Hill.

Peskin was elected to head the district in 2000 and 2004, and also served as board president.

Peskin said amending the Costa Hawkins act, a state rent control ordinance, would be a key tenet of his campaign.

Though the Board of Supervisors has no direct control over state law, Senator Mark Leno's rumored presence at Peskin's supervisor race announcement would suggest one route: using The City's political muscle to influence state legislators.

"It's very similar to Ellis Act reform," Peskin said. To change it, he plan to "let The City speak as one voice."

The candidate also wants to push for new developments to require a third of proposed units built be affordable housing, require new developments to pay more into public transit, for The City to preserve commercial space for nonprofits, and reform the recent Airbnb legislation.

A stalwart of The City's political progressive democrats, who are know for their left of left policies, the former supervisor is coming at a time of crossroads for his political faction. In 2000 Peskin was elected in a progressive sweep, as The City reacted to a perception of Mayor Willie Brown's allegiance to conservative downtown business interests.

Despite Peskin and former mayor Art Agnos' recent win with Proposition B, the progressives political influence has waned.

Moderates, which include Mayor Lee and a majority of the Board of Supervisors, hold much sway in City Hall.

But Peskin is not alone in his fight. He is expected to have strange company at his Monday announcement: Rose Pak, general consultant for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and noted power broker, among other Chinatown allies.

Certainly the choice to announce his candidacy in front of the Lee family household, whose infamous eviction sparked an outcry among Chinatown's most powerful political groups, is intended to send a message of priorities to the neighborhood.

It may also be a message to Mayor Ed Lee, whose recent appointment of Julie Christensen to the District 3 supervisor seat angered many in the community, who favored the appointment of planning commissioner Cindy Wu.

Christensen is likely Peskin's strongest opponent come November. But her early stumbles have allowed Chinatown opponents to paint her as out of touch with the neighborhood.

The Chinatown Community Development Center, one of the biggest political players in Chinatown, declined to comment for this story.

Pak, however, has been decidedly more vocal.

"The supervisor doesn't know jack shit about Chinatown," Pak told The Examiner for a story about Christensen. "She addresses us as lower class. What sensitivity would she have?"

Expect back room divisions between Chinatown and Mayor Lee to effect much of the public battle between Christensen and Peskin.

And expect Peskin to use decades of political muscle to win.

"We need to turn City Hall into an idea machine, he said. "And I've got a million other policy ideas."

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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