Your Superhyperlocal Analysis of 2014 Primary Election Results from Bernal Heights


We voted on Tuesday! (You did vote, didn’t you???)

As you might have heard, in the closely watched primarily battle to succeed [Bernal resident] Tom Ammiano for the District 17 State Assembly seat, D3 Supervisor David Chiu prevailed over D9 Supervisor [and Bernal resident] David Campos by five points citywide. (The two will face-off again in the general election in November.) Meanwhile, Prop B, which limits waterfront development, passed citywide in a 59% to 41% vote.

All politics is superhyperlocal, however, so what was the tally like for voters from Bernal Heights? And for different parts of Bernal Heights? For this, we turn to Neighbor Adam K., who just scored a truckload of Awesome Points by preparing this tidy package of Bernal Heights election data and analysis. Over to you, Adam:

I looked at just two votes: the Campos/Chiu race and the Prop B ballot initiative (concerning waterfront development).  I was interested in the Campos/Chiu totals mainly because of chatter in other posts about how representative of Bernal Heights Campos is or isn’t, and I was interested in the Prop B results because of chatter in other posts regarding development and growth issues.

The results might surprise some readers (or maybe just commenters) of Bernalwood, where the comments appear to skewer against Campos and against Prop B (or pro-development). But as I understand it, these results are pretty indicative of historical Bernal Heights voting patterns.  Interesting to me, considering its hot status as the “it” neighborhood, North Bernal skewers more left than South Bernal.

The quick take-away is that in this election, with about 25% of registered Bernalites voting, Campos beat Chiu 55% to 35%.  And Prop B won by a bigger margin, 60% to 35%.  The vote numbers are very close, with one deviation: it appears that some number of folks who voted for Prop B did not vote for either Campos or Chiu (Campos got less total votes than Prop B did, while Chiu got about the same number of votes as no votes on Prop B).

Here are the details:


Campos                         Chiu

North Bernal:              1330    (59.5%)           722      (32.3%)
Ballots cast: 2234, or 27.55% of registered voters

South Bernal:              1109    (50.1%)           864      (39%)
Ballots cast: 2212, or 25.31% of registered voters

Bernal Heights total:    2439   (54.85%)        1586    (35.7%)

Prop B:

Yes                        No

North Bernal:              1359    (60.8%)           772      (34.6%)
Ballots cast: 2234, or 27.55% of registered voters

South Bernal:              1284    (58%)              783      (35.4%)
Ballots cast: 2212, or 25.31% of registered voters

Bernal Heights total:    2643    (59.45%)        1555    (34.9%)

(Numbers in parenthesis are percent of total votes)

PHOTO: 2014 Primary Election Day in Bernal Heights, by Sarah Rogers

37 thoughts on “Your Superhyperlocal Analysis of 2014 Primary Election Results from Bernal Heights

  1. Quite Interesting. It does confirm that Bernal’s political orientation has not changed as much (yet) as it might appear from the very visible developments on the hill. David Campos does do a fair amount of constituent service, and has a well-developed network here and in the MIssion. If he didn’t win handily here, in his district, then he would be in big trouble.

    • I was tempted to out of snark but figured I shouldn’t waste a vote…

      And on a point raised indirectly by Adam, as a Chiu/Yes on B voter I can faithfully say that some of us really did “split” our ballots.

      • As a Yes on B voter, can you explain what you think this measure will accomplish that review by the Planning Commission, Board of Appeals, and Board of Supervisors would not?

      • Your question has an interesting premise. If you mean “can voters be more sophisticated about making planning decisions than professionals,” then the answer is obviously “no.” If you’re interested in why I voted Yes on B beyond the weird choice presented by your question, I’d be happy to let you know.

      • I wouldn’t say that’s the premise of my question, but, yes, I’m very interested in your reasons for supporting the measure.

      • No problem. Apologies for misunderstanding you.

        I’m pretty much a single-issue voter, and for me it’s natural habitat conservation and, in the case of Port land, habitat reintroduction. I think the way in which the western and northern SF waterfront is managed is an ideal worth pursuing in Port areas. The NPS and the Presidio Trust work to ensure that their portions of SF’s waterfront are preserved from development and maintained for a mixture of human recreational use and habitat for threatened and endangered species.

        The Port, understandably, needs to develop its land in rapid fashion in order to finance its capital plan. Its statement on Prop B produced for the Mayor’s office was pretty eye-opening. Without Pier 70, the Seawall lot development and some other projects going ahead, they’ll be seriously short of cash. This is a snippet of what the Port said (forgive me, I don’t have the link for their full report, I got this from Socketsite):

        “Public-private development projects represent nearly 43 percent of the total funding identified in the Capital Plan. While it is too early to determine the true impact of a voter MEMO approval requirement for rezoning of height on either of the two existing Port development projects or future projects, the need for voters to approve height increases will likely:
        1. Increase the risk profile of affected waterfront projects, and may increase the cost of developer equity for such projects, which could reduce public benefits, Port benefits or project revenues;
        2. Cause project sponsors to seek voter approval early in project planning to avoid spending too much risk capital before voters approve height changes; and
        3. Cause project sponsors to redesign projects at lower heights in order to increase the likelihood of obtaining voter approval, which could reduce public benefits and Port benefits or project revenues.”

        So the choice for me as a voter is: do I allow the Port to keep operating under their existing capital plan, or by voting for Prop B do I basically force them to adopt a different plan where habitat remediation becomes more of a priority for them in the long run (this assumes that such remediation has smaller long-run costs than rehabilitating infrastructure that has historically been used for Port operations – a safe bet I think).

        In other words, as a voter that cares primarily about habitat and who wants to see the eastern SF waterfront look more like the northern SF waterfront, Prop B gave me (and those who represent my interests) the leverage to get the Port to do more of what we want. If you’re a voter who has a primary interest in dense housing and commercial development, then B is a real PITA.

        I get that there are trade-offs, and I’m not opposed to density per se. Increasing density along existing transit corridors would be wonderful for SF, and that includes Bernal. I’m not wedded to our existing 30 foot limit. But along the waterfront where there is a great opportunity to convert largely derelict land to native habitat, I want that leverage with the Port. I’m glad we got it.

        Thanks for asking the question, and thanks to Todd for giving us the opportunity to share our views.

      • Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It’s an interesting perspective that I hadn’t heard before. It seems like a bit of a bankshot politically, but who knows? My intuition is that developers will maximize density within existing limits rather than go to the voters.

        One way of the other, I guess we’ll find out.

      • I actually think your intuition is correct, we’re likely to see existing limits pushed to the hilt. That would bum me out, but that’s the law. I’d take Pier 70 and Seawall in a heartbeat if they offered me an eastern Crissy Field in exchange. I’d even campaign for it. But as you mention, pretty unlikely.

  2. Thank you for the data breakdown – very interesting.

    I always wonder whether the folks voting to restrict development are doing so out of rational self-interest (property owners looking to restrict supply to increase the value of their homes) or economic ignorance (leftists believing that blocking profit-seeking developers would somehow miraculous benefit the poor, rather than have the opposite effect).

    Also: If Campos wins the Assembly race in November, would Mayor Lee then be the one to appoint Campos’ successor as D9 representative on the Board of Supervisors?

  3. Adam, did you happen to note the percentage of registered Bernal voters who voted on Tuesday? Turnout citywide was abysmal.

  4. Phew!
    For a minute there I thought Sutrito would be razed and a Rincon Tower South built with 48 new stories and its own Eye of Sauron!

  5. For folks who want to go deeper into these numbers or the other races/initiatives on the ballot, the numbers can be found here: At first I started to tally the numbers for each precinct in Bernal, which would have been a real pain, until I discovered that at the end of each list of precincts the report breaks the numbers into the neighborhoods. Hence, “North Bernal” and “South Bernal” totals.

  6. Very killer data Adam K!

    Its also interesting to note that as this discussion was started in relation to an issue in Precita Park, the voters there seem to have not been that bothered by the Calle 24 resolution. The 3 adjacent precincts to Precita park voted overwhelmingly for Campos on election day, just a few days after the noise about the Calle 24 resolution.

    Precita Precincts on election day:
    7926- 73% Campos 27 % Chiu
    7927 68% Campos 32 % Chiu
    7928 72% Campos 28% Chiu

    • That’s a bit of a leap. It’s hard to imagine that there are a ton of Calle 24/Precita single-issue voters.

  7. Thanks Adam K! Love that you took the time to share the superhyperlocal results. I will officially eat crow on my previous post that the Campos/Chiu race would be “very close” in BH. Campos won handily.

  8. My wife just pointed out to me that the word is “skew,” not “skewer.” Thanks, all, for not calling me out on that in your comments. But that did get me thinking about my statement that North Bernal skewers/skews more left than South Bernal — I’m not sure that’s really demonstrated based on these numbers. It was really just the Chiu/Campos vote that showed a significant difference between north and south; the Prop B vote was essentially the same. There are probably lots of reasons that can explain Campos’s 10% drop and Chiu’s gain of 6% north to south.

  9. So, all of you Campos haters that passive-aggressively stack the comments on Bernalwood – you are far and away the minority in VERY PROGRESSIVE Bernal Heights. And even in this low turnout election, when moderates like you all do far better. So phooey on you. Maybe if you’d done something besides nastily post as your only political activity, let alone worked as hard as we volunteers for Campos, Chiu might have done better. Buts that’s how you see community politics. Sit on your asses, never attend any community activities and complain that you’ve never “seen” Campos because he hasn’t visited you personally at your house. Would it ever occur to you to actually do something to improve Bernal? So suck lemons, you pseudo-yuppie progressive bashers. In my experience, you don’t even speak for newly arrived Bernal folks.

    • Well, we were discussing the incredible support that Sup. Campos has earned in Bernal Heights. And yes, he did lose by 2850 votes out of 58,000 cast in the district. He’ll win handily in the NV general election. And yes, I am angry. I will place far less importance on the whiny, often anonymous, lazy, ill-informed and apathetic posts that you Campos – and progressive – haters make here on Bernalwood. You clearly don’t reflect let alone represent the opinions of Bernal residents.

  10. I don’t think Prop B will limit necessarily development. It just puts development decisions in the hands of the voters rather than city planners. Voters have a way of often (but fortunately not always) voting for whichever side has poured the most money into the race and bombarded them with the most propaganda. City planners do what the politicians require them to do. Prop B does not solve the problem of greedy developers who don’t care what damage they do to the natural habitats along the waterfront or anywhere else, nor the problem of the lack of affordable housing. Those of us who care about these problems haven’t won much of anything with the passage of Prop B.

  11. Pingback: Your Hyperlocal Analysis of 2015 Election Results from Bernal Heights | Bernalwood

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