Campos Concedes Defeat in State Assembly Race as New Day Brings New Opportunities

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The Duel of the Dual Davids has reached its conclusion, and there can be only one.

After a few days of nail-biting uncertainty, our D9 Supervisor and Bernal Heights neighbor David Campos has conceded to David Chiu in the battle for the District 17 State Assembly seat.

The Campos concession came via Facebook:

A few moments ago I called David Chiu to congratulate him on his win in the Assembly race.

As I write this my thoughts are with Supervisor Harvey Milk. Forty-two years ago Harvey made a similar call when he lost his own race for the 17th Assembly district by fewer then 4,000 votes. It was one of many races that Harvey lost, in fact he was only a supervisor for 11 months before his murder. And yet the message that is most associated with him is that of hope. Right now my heart is filled with hope.

This is a time of great change in our city. And through this campaign we have sent a powerful message that the people of San Francisco are alive, spirited, and ready to fight for our values and way of life. We made clear that we love this city, refuse to be pushed out and are a force to be reckoned with.

Hmm. That’s what politicians say at moments like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Indeed, the results of this election suggest the exact opposite.

Supervisor Campos carried the torch for San Francisco’s progressive movement. Yet this week, notwithstanding Bernal Heights, San Francisco voters rejected the whole slate of progressive-backed initiatives and candidates on the ballot.

Prop G, the so-called anti-speculation transfer tax, was soundly defeated. The Prop E Soda Tax fell flat. Prop I passed, in a rebuff to NIMBY turf-haters. And now, David Campos has also conceded defeat.

Bernal Neighbor Tim Redmond argues progressives fared badly because they were massively outspent by their fatcat foes. And in fact, that’s undeniably true. But it may not be the complete story either.

The language Campos used in his concession points to part of the problem. Yes, this is a time of great and difficult change. But professional progressives have chosen to address this change largely as a source of threat and menace. The structural limitations of that approach are now apparent, and there’s no reason to believe that its demographics will become any more favorable in the years ahead either.

So now David Campos has a few more years to hone his craft on the Board of Supervisors.

He might consider embracing all his constituents in District 9, instead of treating our new neighbors like an invasive species. And he might try introducing some innovative ideas to expand and rebalance the City’s housing stock, instead of waging guerrilla warfare on the fundamentals of supply and demand.

Or not… it’s up to him.

But David Campos isn’t going to Sacramento, so this is his opportunity to try something different right here in San Francisco.

PHOTO: David Campos, via 48 Hills

58 thoughts on “Campos Concedes Defeat in State Assembly Race as New Day Brings New Opportunities

  1. Todd – Very well stated. I supported Chiu because he was the superior legislator to represent us in the rough-and-tumble politics of Sacramento on the critical issues of good-paying jobs, quality education and affordable housing. I wish Campos a successful two more years on the Board and a promising political career afterward. Thanks, Todd. You are a blessed asset to our Hill. – Michael

  2. Or he might try not being an apologist for spousal abusers. His failure to hold Mirkarimi accountable is what cost him my vote. I’d have preferred his progressive agenda over Chiu’s more moderate one, but I swore I’d never vote for him again.

    • Agreed! I promised to never vote for him again too after he foolishly did not hold Mirkarimi accountable. I hope he realizes the consequences of that decision.

  3. This post is racist. It reminds me of some of the comments over at 48 hills about Campos’s “gang-member voter base,” only couched in less belligerent terms. Why foment racial division in Bernal Heights where it doesn’t exist?

    • Are you being sarcastic? If so you got a chuckle out of me…”This post is racist” you’re funny.

      If you’re serious I’ll refer you to this(racist and Nazi are interchangeable):
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

      “Why foment racial division in Bernal Heights where it doesn’t exist?” Is this directed at Campos cause that dude fomented some serious racial and economic division. His whole campaign seemed to be based on dividing people telling them how bad they have and that it is their new neighbors fault.

      – With a massive city budget you have two options, cut or grow. New condo developments helps create new taxes
      – New office buildings also help with city coffers it also creates more higher earning jobs in the city and these people want to live closer to where they work(increasing demand).
      – “BART and you’re there” public transit accessibility and better bike lanes make Bernal and Mission very attractive for someone who does not want to drive to work. Chinatown, Dogpatch, and Bayview will be major “gentrification” flashpoints in the next 10 years. You can thank in part the upgrades to the T Line for that.
      – The federal government giving money away at 0% artificially inflates prices as more people are able to buy. What happens to a market when you manipulate the price with free money…the price goes up as there is a glut of new buyers(demand).

      I didn’t hear any of this from Campos. He must be smarter than me…he did go to Haaaaarvard.

  4. “He might consider embracing all his constituents in District 9, instead of treating our new neighbors like an invasive species.”

    Todd, your blog is a breath of fresh air. Thanks for saying what many of us – especially perhaps mostly more recent arrivals to the city (I’ve been here several years now, but am undoubtedly still considered a “transplant”) – have been thinking. The wide success of Prop J, as compared to some other measures, proves that most San Franciscans can be on board with measures that address inequality in this city. It’d be nice if we could have a conversation about this that didn’t devolve into nativism and the standard SF scapegoating of “outsiders”. Hopefully next time, we’ll get to do that.

  5. TIM REDMOND is probably the main reason the Bay Guardian folded. Ranting and raving never solves anything. 48 — that’s forty-eight — years of the BG ranting against PG&E did nothing to bring public power to SF or control PG&E’s high rates and lack of maintenance of their gas and electric infrastructures.

    CHEVRON pumped millions of dollars into the city of Richmond to defeat Tom Butt’s run for mayor. But he as well as other progressives won the city council and all the progressive ballot initiatives won. So much for big money’s pull.

    No, what it comes down to is creating coalitions and unifying people around important issues, not screaming at people.

    Back in ye olden days, a guy named Richard Hongisto upset the SF political establishment when he ran for sheriff and won handily against a machine-picked longtime sheriff, Matthew Carberry. The people in city hall were ASTONISHED that a nobody could so easily take the election. But Hongisto had developed coalitions among all the disenfranchised that city hall ignored, got them out to vote, and won. By the time his successor, Michael Hennessy ran, the coalition was a well-oiled machine itself, and all Hennessy had to do was make quiet innovations in the jails and treat people with respect and he won over and over again, often without even tokan opposition.

    It’s about coalition building, NOT ranting and raving.

    • LOL…
      Wasn’t Hongisto the guy who sent thousands of cops onto the street to arrest every protester and general citizen walking around in The Mission during Rodney King? And then when he got heat about it from the gay press, wasn’t he the guy who sent police to steal all the copies of the paper and hide them in a police station? I think he was fired after less than 2 months on the job. Talk about building a coalition… against yourself.

  6. “Prop G, the so-called anti-speculation transfer tax, was soundly defeated. The Prop E Soda Tax fell flat.”

    I think you’re overinterpreting the results here. For the former, still nearly half of the voters (in a mid-term election with typical low, more conservative turnout) voted in favor of the measure. The latter measure drew a majority of votes in those same conditions. But for the earmarking of the revenue, SF would now have a soda tax.

    (For the record, I strongly opposed Prop G and supported E ambivalently.)

    I think the reasonable conclusion you can reach is that SF is a strongly liberal city which is deeply divided about how far to take that liberalism. I do think you’re right about the trend, though. As the city grows whiter and richer, the capital-P Progressive wing will lose influence. The irony is that these changes are in part due to the misguided policy prescriptions of these same folks.

  7. NOT ONE to let facts get in the way, people are grousing about hos SF is “getting more white”. And then there’s this entry: As of the 2010 census, the ethnic makeup and population of San Francisco included: 390,387 Whites (48.1%), 267,915 Asians (33.3%), 48,870 African Americans (6.1%), 4,024 Native Americans (0.5%), 3,359 Pacific Islanders (0.4%), 53,021 from other races (6.6%), and 37,659 from two or more races (4.7%). There were 121,744 Hispanics or Latinos of any race (15.1%).

    This is the highest percentage of Asians in SF in history. Or are Asians now officially white?

  8. I would dispute the notion that Prop H was progressive. NIMBYism isn’t progressive or conservative in nature. A vote against Prop H could easily be construed as a vote FOR the ability to have a lengthy public process conclude – in other words, for the city to have the ability to make decisions after hearing from citizens. If anything, that strikes me as a more leftist point of view. The environmental aspect of Prop H seemed tacked on, as if they’d started from the premise of not wanting the fields and then searched for reasons that might stick when thrown at the wall. Also defeated was the Menlo Park NIMBY Measure M, giving me renewed faith in humanity.

    Totally agree with Brandon on this: “I think the reasonable conclusion you can reach is that SF is a strongly liberal city which is deeply divided about how far to take that liberalism. I do think you’re right about the trend, though. As the city grows whiter and richer, the capital-P Progressive wing will lose influence. The irony is that these changes are in part due to the misguided policy prescriptions of these same folks.”

  9. This blog does such a terrible job at political commentary. It’s a great neighborhood blog that gives a lot of space and exposure to a diverse crowd, but the political commentary is so conservative, fearful, and isolationist. Each time I read something like this, it makes sense to me why most of the neighborhoody comments devolve into some form of conservative nimbyism.

    “That’s what politicians say at moments like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.”
    What are you talking about? What’s not true?

    “The language Campos used in his concession points to part of the problem…. a source of threat and menace.”
    Where in Campos’ statement do you find that? Because he talks about fighting for his values? Don’t politicians always talk about fighting for things? Don’t we all know that the moment you stop fighting for things you get steamrolled by inertia and corporate interests?

    The ridiculousness of your segue aside, do you ever think for a second that maybe a large portion of people who don’t have a huge blog presence feel threatened by the change happening in SF?

    What are your values? How about you state them here? I’m not sure avoiding fearful imagery is actually a value.

    “instead of waging guerrilla warfare on the fundamentals of supply and demand.”
    Why is it guerrilla warfare Todd? Because he’s latino? And are you really trying to tell us that supply and demand is “fundamental”?

    If anything is fearful, reactionary, and lacks subtlety, it’s this blog entry.

    • I totally agree. Bernalwood is a great digest of neighborhood events, but once one pieces together its scattered commentary on real estate development and city politics over the past several years, one can’t miss the neo-liberal ideology that the blog’s founder never explicitly owns up to. This is just the state of the political scene in this country, unfortunately. A sizable number of liberal Democrats who came of age during a certain era (i.e. the Clinton administration) allowed their sense of economic justice to become warped and subsumed by the Reagan revolution, so that now we have a population of people in the US that refers to itself as liberal or progressive without realizing that economic justice is a fundamental component of progressivism. Religious or irreligious, it’s hard to deny Pope Francis’s comments about large segments of the first world having made a God of money and the “free” market. What this country needs is the kind of spiritual awakening that has occurred periodically throughout American history (i.e. the 19th century progressives, the Beats/Hippies, the first Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries) so that we can begin to care for the least among us once more.

      • “without realizing that economic justice is a fundamental component of progressivism”

        As far as I’m concerned, economic justice is at the center of progressivism. The problem is that the middle class (what’s left of it) sees this justice as falling on their backs, when the reality is that “our” middle class money (once a part of our economic justice) has moved into the bank accounts of the wealthiest people. The class war was fought and the wealthy won.

        Until you can monetize caring for people, capitalism is always going to win. It’s impossible for citizens of the US to collectively empathize with one another, due to the lack of homogeneity among the citizens. Our diversity is supposed to be our greatest strength, when in reality it’s our greatest weakness.

      • Perhaps others share the same goal of economic justice but disagree about the best means of accomplishing that? One does not need to believe that the market is best for deciding all outcomes to recognize that policies which fail to account for individual incentives will fail. It’s curious that so many who believe that we can tax negative behaviors out of existence refuse to accept that the same forces by which that is accomplished are in effect in other segments of the economy.

    • it’s a mainstay of noveau-riche mindset to play the victim.
      insinuating that campos’ language treats anyone as a threat and menace… laughable.

      the silver lining in all of this is that Chiu and his employees-of-airbnb-as-consultants writing his room “sharing” regulatory legislation crap will be in Sacramento more often now, so hopefully Campos can attempt to enact legislation for the goodwill of all citizens in the city.

  10. San Francisco used to be one of the most progressive cities in the country. Could the infusion of “transplants” be changing this? Just a thought.

    • If you disproportionately define “progressivism” in terms of contempt for transplants – as some SF progressives seem to do – then yes, that could be changing with more transplants. Surprise.

      • People once moved here in large part because they could be themselves here, and it was affordable. These people came to be how SF defined itself.

        Now people move here because it’s a great place to live. Progressives assume it’s such a great place because of them, yet their ideology is incapable of preserving the desired cityscape – money always wins over ideology.

      • The affordability is the prime mover here, I think. I wouldn’t claim that my knowledge of SF history is comprehensive, but it seems like we view through rose-colored glasses the history of the city’s embrace of the people who moved here to be themselves.

      • It’s not at all about contempt for transplants. San Francisco is a city of transplants – all the great achievements and the reputation of this city rests on SF’s history as a magnet for folks who decided to make a go of it here because they couldn’t do so anywhere else. The issue is rather that a certain kind of resident who recently arrived seems to callously disregard a) the city’s heritage; and b) the plight of those lower/working class people whose lives are being dislocated and whose possible livelihoods helped make the city that we love. Dispossession is frequently bandied about (as it is in this blog) as some inevitable law of nature, but this is transparently ideological. Instead, co-existence ought to be our rallying cry: a co-existence that is achievable through political action founded on an empathetic response to one’s fellow human beings.

  11. To me, it’s not who was more progressive, but the fact that as a “supervisor” of our district I never felt any sense of ownership from Campos’ office, and by extension, Campos himself.

    Every time that I called there to talk about something in the neighborhood, I ended up getting a phone number to call at DPW or whatever department theoretically would be involved in the situation, but never any offer to help at all. In fact, it was the opposite. I could have gotten the same information from 311.

    As a working civilian, it would take an inordinate amount of time to navigate the city bureaucracy when in fact, the Supervisors are in the same building and know many of the people that work there and they have a staff. Why can’t they contact the various departments and look into it? What is the point of having district supervisors, or aldermen/people as they might be called, if they don’t take ownership of the neighborhood that they are responsible for?

    Anyway, as it happened more than once with his office that I decided to vote for the other candidate.

    • Completely agree. I, too, experienced a lack of any interest or help from Campos and his team when I called his office on an issue dealing with my neighborhood. I think sometimes our Supervisors are too interested in attracting media attention on matters relating to the national discourse, rather than attending to the more pedestrian needs of their constituents. While I certainly applaud their advocacy on the key issues of our time, I do expect to be listened to when I reach out.

      • Spot On!
        Maybe if you were a transvestite and called Campos under an assumed name you could have gotten a call back…..always seemed to me that he was most interested in procuring rights for illegals and restricting rights from law abiding citizens. Hope he does minimal additional damage to our local politics now that he has heard the voice of the people.
        Happy to send someone to the Assembly (with better sensibilities) to replace Ammiano.

        Yep the times are changing and with the changing demographic it appears our democracy is working!

      • “Maybe if you were a transvestite and called Campos under an assumed name you could have gotten a call back…..always seemed to me that he was most interested in procuring rights for illegals and restricting rights from law abiding citizens.”

        This is wildly offensive.

      • I too exchanged emails with Sup. Campos regarding a civic matter. He referred me to his staff to schedule a meeting there was a brief exchange then the staff member went radio silent, the meeting never happen.

        He comes across as more interested in making headlines and getting on camera more than any another priority. He just blows dog whistles and his flock goes running.

  12. What a load of BS… Are you high, a liar, or so blinded by your hatred for Campos that you failed to get basic information correct?

    Lets look at some of your statements:

    “Supervisor Campos carried the torch for San Francisco’s progressive movement. Yet this week, notwithstanding Bernal Heights, San Francisco voters rejected the whole slate of progressive-backed initiatives and candidates on the ballot.”

    Campos carried many neighborhoods outside of Bernal by significant margins… The Haight, Mission Castro to name a few. He lost by a few points against a huge amount of money. Not exactly a kick in the ass. The minimum wage discussion (J) was initiated by progressives and a compromise measure was put out to voters with progressives working diligently for it. The fact that it won by so much shows how in many ways progressives have actually moved political discourse into completely mainstream thinking… When Matt Gonzalez put it on the ballot in 2003 (think it was prop L?) to raise it incrementally to what it is today, that was won by a much smaller margin with a much tougher fight against the capitalists of that day. Beyond this, the transit bond (A) won as did the Childrens Fund (C) as did prop K (watered down by the mayor but still a progressive statement on housing) as did others that had more or less unanimous support.

    “Prop G, the so-called anti-speculation transfer tax, was soundly defeated. The Prop E Soda Tax fell flat. Prop I passed, in a rebuff to NIMBY turf-haters. And now, David Campos has also conceded defeat.”

    First of all these aren’t in any way under a progressive umbrella. Not 1 progressive supervisor supported stopping the fields at beach chalet. Many people on both sides of the political spectrum were all over the place. I feel like if you were against the astrotuf, you would accuse Campos (who is actually on record supporting it) of bending to a narrow cabal of special interests of latino soccer players. Same goes with the Soda Tax (which Mar and Weiner worked on together). Prop G was a progressive measure but failed not only because it was outspent something like 20 to 1 but also the way that it was worded on the ballot made it sound terrible.

    “The language Campos used in his concession points to part of the problem. Yes, this is a time of great and difficult change. But professional progressives have chosen to address this change largely as a source of threat and menace. The structural limitations of that approach are now apparent, and there’s no reason to believe that its demographics will become any more favorable in the years ahead either.”

    Seriously, what are you talking about? Threat and menace to whom? How have you been threatened? Who is menacing you? Have you called the police. All he said was that he was going to continue to work with the people who rallied around his campaign to continue to push for what they fought for (a more equitable city). That is a threat? Oh yeah, you were really threatened that Campos was trying to steal part of Bernal heights and annex it to a group of big bad powerful latino men in the mission. I forgot about that for a second. I guess if I was that paranoid I would feel threatened too.

    He might consider embracing all his constituents in District 9, instead of treating our new neighbors like an invasive species.

    Here I am just confused if you are making this up or what. Although you frequently trumpet this, you have never provided evidence that Campos hates the new people in our neighborhood. I challenge you to back this statement up.

    And he might try introducing some innovative ideas to expand and rebalance the City’s housing stock, instead of waging guerrilla warfare on the fundamentals of supply and demand.

    Your undertones of racism aren’t lost on many of us.

  13. I agree. Campos was so busy grandstanding that he forgot about the basic responsibility of a supervisor which is offering constituency services. God bless the drag queens and their Facebook accounts, but how about getting the city to clean my street? Brought it up with him in person and with his office, never even got a reply. Thanks for the help David.

  14. Campos and Chiu had similar voting records. It’s not clear whether it will make a difference which one is in Sacramento. Those who are fans of Campos should be happy to have him as a representative for the next 2 years, and that our district will be able to choose his successor, rather than having an incumbent appointed by the Mayor.
    Progressives and liberals have much to celebrate with the vote to raise the minimum wage to $15. Unlike symbolic efforts like the 8 Washington vote, a big increase in the minimum wage can improve many lives.
    Accusing Todd of racism for his mild critique of Campos is off base. It’s quite possible to critique Campos, or Chiu, or the Mayor without racism as motivation.

      • Unfortunately that’s wrong, Lisa. The definition centers around the tactics used (look it up), and when you use the term in a baseless way that makes no mention of the tactics that constitute it being “guerilla” style warfare, then it’s pretty suspect.

  15. Todd, I think you have spent too much time reading David Chiu mailers. David Campos is one of the most inclusive, empathetic and considerate people I have ever met who holds elective office. He is absolutely nothing like the caricature you paint of him. Have you ever tried to actually work with David on solving a problem in the neighborhood? Based upon this post, I seriously doubt it. I am one of the “newcomers” of whom you speak, and David has been nothing but helpful to me in trying to improve things in our district.

    (For some of the other commentators: Calling a supervisor’s office to make a complaint about something you want fixed does not get much done, supervisors are helpful when you yourself are putting in your time and your effort to do something constructive, and you want help or coordination from the city. Supervisors are legislators, not administrators. They don’t have a magic wand that they can waive to resolve things that you don’t like, that is not how our district has been improved by the people who have actually worked to make things like park renovations, Chavez calming, crime prevention, school improvement, tree plantings, utilities under-grounding, etc. actually happen.)

    • Campos did nothing to support calming Ceasar Chavez Street. That was the neighbors, Supervisor Wiener, his Aide, Andres Power, and Cristina Olea at Public Works. Campos is divisive, Machiavellian and a bully. He would not help San Francisco in Sacramento.

    • (re: your second paragraph above) I am definitely putting in the time to let them know about something and giving them my contact info for any follow-up.

      I do work full time and I am not volunteering my weekends to landscape the the city-owned property that their (DPW) contractors tore up to bare dirt when replacing a sewer pipe (that already had trees, wild flowers and grasses on it before their work). I am not volunteering to straighten the streetlight (nor could I) that was installed incorrectly at a crooked angle from the beginning.

      These were just two (2) instances that come to mind when calling Campos’ office that I was given the DPW number and told to follow-through, which I did and nothing happened even though some contact was made with them (which also happens during business hours, so that means taking time of from your work). Exactly how many phone calls does the citizen need to make, how many times – and how much bureaucracy does that person need to navigate for these kinds of issues?

      So what you are saying is that unless I am “friends of the urban forest” or part of a neighborhood group that will actually do the volunteer work, I shouldn’t expect anything as a citizen and a (property) taxpayer. Sorry, the supervisors should be about making the city work. The supervisor is our contact for the city administration, when we need something besides 311, police or fire.

  16. Some irony about the whole Campos vs the newcomer elite idea. Campos is part of the newcomer elite. (Definition of an SF newcomer: someone who arrived here after you.) Campos arrived in SF in the late ”90’s, fresh out of Stanford and Harvard Law, and is married to another Harvard lawyer. They live in a neighborhood of million dollar homes, with a household income that likely exceeds that of the typical Google bus riding techie. The newcomer elite are a diverse bunch politically, if not in socioeconomic status.

  17. Pretty good analysis of just some of what was wrong with the Campos campaign and how he and his team operate in general. I wish to point out that Campos needs to stop invoking Harvey Milk’s name and legacy and start making his own lasting legacy. The Campos concession statement is part of what killed the Bay Guardian and keeps progressives leaders from not just expanding their base but looking beyond the base.

    I am so sick of Campos using Milk to advance his career. Sure, he’s inspired by Milk, but the effort to rename SFO for Milk, at a time when Campos hadn’t held a hearing on the eviction epidemic in the Mission, sucked up all the political oxygen for weeks, maybe months.

    Instead of focusing symbolic airport b.s., Campos should focus on getting the LGBT homeless shelter open in his district, four long years after he first took interest in it, He could also finally keep his public promise to open a bricks and mortar store for the Tamale Lady.

    It’s interesting to read comments from others who’ve approached Campos’ City Hall office for assistance with district matters and been told to go somewhere -anywhere – else for help. I thought it was just me who got the brush-off from the staff.

    In the summer, when I was campaigning to have the pigeon poop and litter cleaned up at the 16th Street BART Plaza, I approached Campos aides at City Hall and was told to call 311. Silly me, I thought they would be keen to show he was on board to make the plaza sanitary for all, but that was not the case.

    Says a lot about the Campos assembly campaign that they stuck to campaigning at the 24th Street BART Plaza and avoid 16th Street Plaza altogether.

    Oh, when the Campos folks wanted to get out of that comfort, they hooked up with the Yes on G folks and the Milk Club to campaign on Saturdays at . . . Milk Plaza in the Castro. Did they stage ANY outreach days in Chinatown or on Polk Street?

    Sure, I held my nose and voted for Campos and don’t much like Chiu but I’ll give him credit for one thing. His campaign office was waaaaaaaaaaaaay out of his comfort zone and base in Chinatown. Chiu’s office was in the Castro.

    I’m just saying . . .

  18. The descriptions of San Francisco politics always make me smile. The entire spectrum of city politics is contained in one tiny sliver of the far left wing. Even the ‘moderate’ candidates are, and let’s be very fair to them, marxist-leninists.

    It’s remarkable that any moderate democrat from anywhere else in the country would be seen essentially as a cross between Dick Cheney, Alan Greenspan and Donald Rumsfeld here.

    So hearing a really fierce debate between politician who are practically identical – converged on this narrow strip on the bleeding edge of the far left wing – is genuinely funny.

    I’m no blue dog – I’m a genuine moderate Dem – but I do think all of our progressive concerns should supplement crime policies that keep families safe in their beds and economic policies that foster business growth, not replace them.

    Oh dear Lord and don’t get me started on the CCSF candidates! No wonder they lost their accreditation!

  19. I had to break my response into two parts because this part deserves its own space.

    Calling this post racist is degenerate and ignorant. It cheapens the word and disrespects everyone who has ever been victim to actual prejudice of any kind. You have lived a privileged and insular life, or else you do not comprehend the importance of language, if you think anything said here constitutes racism. The forgiving part of me hopes that you live a fortunate enough life that you never encounter actual prejudice.

    The next time someone is a victim of racism and receives even slightly less justice than they deserve because the world is a little more numb to the word, you will be to blame.

    I know you will not accept what I am saying now, which is why I don’t even feel the slightest need to construct a more detailed argument. In a just world, which this is not, you would one day come to realize what a sad and despicable lie you have said about another human being. You would feel even worse because you couldn’t claim no one told you.

    Pathetic and inexcusable. You make me ashamed to be from the same city.

    • Yes, this part deserves its own space, but only inside your own head.

      “You will be to blame.” “I know you will not accept what I am saying.” These kinds of anti-conversational non-starters are ridiculous. I see you’re talking to yourself again.

      Also, some forms of bias can be implicit.

  20. Another circular firing squad of so-called Progressives. Who needs the Right when the Left can kill itself quite handily? Some of the comments here could serve as textbook examples of how to prevent useful dialogue, hurt your own cause, and repel your audience.

    What could possibly be accomplished by opening with an angry and dismissive attack? Does anyone actually believe that tactic will change a single mind? You can’t browbeat someone into agreeing with you. Can you describe a situation where someone likes to be told “I know better than you; therefore, my opinion is more valid and I’m angry you can’t see that?” It might help to occasionally have a calm discussion with someone who doesn’t think exactly the same way you do. Have a conversation where you passionately and seriously argue the “other” side. It won’t taint you. If your beliefs are true, they can stand up to scrutiny.

    The candidates were not Gingrich and Pelosi. They were Chiu and Campos. To a random observer from east of the Mississippi, they are the same person. Why does choosing one launch a war?

    I already made my case about this in another thread, so just the summary, in case anyone still considers alternate viewpoints: There is nothing progressive or liberal about wanting to pass laws which exert control over the bodies of other humans. That a majority of San Franciscans believe it is acceptable to legislate dietary habits shows how far we have gone off the rails.

    Also, not that Bernalwood needs me to defend it, but I don’t believe it ever claimed to be a political blog. Making brief observations and offering up some general thoughts shouldn’t lead to an assault by angry protestors desperately searching for something to angrily protest.

    I consider myself to be… I don’t even know what word isn’t ruined… “Liberal?” and it needs to be said: comments like some of the ones here HURT THE CAUSE. They stop progress. They don’t help. You will never win whatever it is you are so apoplectic about if you can’t win here. If you don’t know why you aren’t winning, look in the mirror.

    In as far as I share any of your goals, and in the name of practical, real-life efforts to make the world a better place, could you please be quiet, please?

    • At least in part, you’re indulging the same tendency toward hyperbole. Taxing soda is not legislating dietary habits. Everyone would still be free to consume as much soda as they want, it would just cost them $.24 more per can.

      • Brandon, I admit I can hyperbolize (?) with the best. But I don’t believe I am here. Consider:

        1) It was legislation. An ordinance passed by our legislative body or by public referendum is legislation, right?

        2) Prop E sought to control peoples’ dietary habits. If the tax was intended to (discourage? reduce? change?) the consumption of a food (which sugar and fizzy water are), then it is intended to control dietary choices. Otherwise, what is the point? Control doesn’t have to mean eliminate. It means have a measure of influence over something. Anti-choice advocates can’t ban abortion. One alternative tactic: make it more expensive. (Yes, the analogy isn’t perfect…)

        (Believe it or not) I’m not a complete idiot. I understand the good intention behind wanting people to eat well and be healthy. But “well” and “healthy” are subjective. I can name dozens and dozens of edibles that are more unhealthy than soda. Do you see what I’m saying here? If it is okay to tax soda, why stop there? If you eliminated sodas, childhood obesity wouldn’t end. That’s fuzzy thinking.

        Many terrible trends in history started out with the best of intentions. One of the things I thought I liked best about the “Left” was our belief that people should be allowed to control their own bodies, with only very rare exceptions.

      • Taxing sugary drinks isn’t controlling anyone. If anything, it’s taking the government’s thumb off the scale. We subsidize the production of corn to make HFCS and we have tariffs to keep the price of domestic sugar artificially high. Soda is artificially cheap because of government policy.

        The government uses the tax code to provide positive and negative incentives for all sorts of behaviors. The soda tax wasn’t my favorite piece of legislation, but it was hardly the abandonment of liberal ideals. Do you really believe that raising the price of a can of soda by 24¢ controls people?

      • Yes. If it doesn’t, what is the point of it?

        Seriously. Take a second and think about the simple logic of it. Incentive. Influence. Encourage. Discourage. Those are all synonymous with control. You want to tax sodas because increasing the price of sodas makes fewer people drink them. You want to cause people to drink fewer sodas. You want to control the consumption of a food. Because it is this year’s favorite whipping boy.

        I don’t know how else to say it.

        When they eventually get around to taxing olive oil, honey, peanut butter, jelly, prosciutto and cheese (all of which are, oz per oz, more “unhealthy” than soda), I’ll try to make my “I told you so” dance a short one.
        ______________________________________
        Regarding your first paragraph:

        1) Subsidies and tariffs are different from taxes. You know that, right?
        2) Yes, the government uses taxation as a disincentive (aka “control”), as in the case of cigarettes and alcohol. But not with food (as far as I know). Because the ingestion of food is subjective and personal.
        3) This is off the point, since it doesn’t involve sales tax; but are you criticizing government for making high fructose corn syrup cheap and sugar expensive? Isn’t that contradictory?

        Also, HFCS is just the latest boogeyman. Actually not even the latest. Gluten is the latest. It is a neverending historical cycle: there are always a couple of foods that are the root of all evil, and a couple that will make you live forever. It is hilarious just how susceptible we are to food fads…

        We should tax nutrition “journalism.”

        Cheers!

      • “Incentive. Influence. Encourage. Discourage. Those are all synonymous with control.”

        No, they are not.

        I look forward to your advocacy of repealing gas taxes because they are tyrannically controlling car owners.

      • Is it possible for you to differentiate between “food” and “not food?” We aren’t talking about gas. I’d be happy to talk about any of those things, in another setting.

        My argument relies on a basic underlying assumption: It is crossing into a new territory to levy a sales tax on food. Especially a targeted, behavioral tax.

        What I have been trying to discuss is whether or not it is wise to cross that line. You can say it is fine to begin selectively taxing food. (55% of San Franciscans would agree with you.) Or you can say it is not fine to do so. But if you can’t or won’t acknowledge the basic assumption, then there is no need to discuss the issue further.

        Either way, I wish you well and thank you for replying.

      • Okay, let’s stick to food. We tax food in restaurants. We tax some foods in grocery stores, but not others. We tax the hell out of alcohol.

        Should we remove all sales taxes from all food and drink?

      • The primary purpose of taxes is to raise revenue. “Sin Taxes” are levied to control (or whatever word covers incentive and disincentive, etc.) behavior. But they also raise revenue.

        “In California grocery stores, unprepared food items are not taxed but vitamins and all other items are. Ready-to-eat hot foods, whether sold by supermarkets or other vendors, are taxed.” (Wikipedia) The philosophy being that the basic fuel of life should not be taxed, especially since sales tax is the most regressive form of taxation. It hurts the poor more than everyone else. Restaurant and prepared food are subject to sales tax because food is a necessity, but having others prepare it isn’t. If you can afford a restaurant, you can afford the tax.

        So, no, I don’t think we should remove sales tax from the narrow segment of food which is taxed. There are no foods subject to “Sin taxes.” Alcohol is an intoxicant, and therefore subject to government control.

        Which brings me back to soda. There is nothing inherently “wrong” with soda. Nothing that hundreds of other food items don’t share. Like all food, it can be unhealthy if consumed inappropriately. Should we look at the thousands of items in a grocery store and decide we want to abandon our principle of not taxing food? If so, why should we start with this one particular subcategory of food? And where do we stop? Who will get to decide what other foods get taxed? Will we vote on every one?

        The reason I feel this is important is because it is the first step down a slippery slope. It is too easy for those of us who aren’t poor to blithely dismiss 24 cents as “nothing,” But there was a time in my past when 24 cents mattered, and I won’t forget that.

        I feel I’ve hogged my share of bandwidth and run out of things to say about this. I’m clearly in the minority, but I rarely have the urge to tell other people how to live, much less legislate it.

      • It seems like the sins of not cooking from scratch or being too busy to cook tonight are okay to tax…

        Not everything is the first step on a slippery slope. Soda is junk. Enjoyable junk! If a tax discourages the consumption of it, the affected people are not harmed. It is not the basic fuel of life. It’s not a necessity. If a current consumer of soda can’t afford the 24¢ per can, then they can’t afford the can in the first place.

      • Sugar is absolutely our fuel. Sugar and water could not be more central to life. You may choose not to accept that basic fact of biology, but it is true. It is also true that there are many kinds of sugared soda that have more vitamins and nutrients than fruit juices and many solid foods. The sentence “soda is junk” is just false, no matter how many times you say it. “Some sodas are junk” might be true depending on definitions. I feel silly trying to fill in gaps in science education. I won’t argue it further.

        When your wish comes true and you are deciding what is good for me to eat, could you at least not tax honey or chocolate? I know honey has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup, but I really do use it in moderation, despite how much I love the taste.

        And chocolate, well… that would just be cruel. Yes, it is highly poisonous (to cats and dogs) and triggers migraines in people like myself, and contains caffeine-like alkyloids that make it mildly addictive, but I love it anyway and manage to self-regulate.

        The rest of it… you win!

        Come, tell me how to live…

      • *sigh* Yes, the body breaks down food into sugar. So, had I said that sugar is not the basic fuel of life, your condescending “lesson” might have been warranted. But I said soda is not the basic fuel of life.

        I sense an opportunity for you to help all of us shake loose the shackles of our science ignorance. You should write a nutrition book for us dumbs: The Soda Diet. I’m sure you can find funding for this quite easily.

  21. Also, if anyone wants to read a fascinating, entertaining, humorous, SCIENCE-BASED book about the human digestive system authored by a Bay Area resident who is not trying to push a diet or lifestyle; who is, in fact, very encyclopedic regarding the past and present craziness and wonderment surrounding the human alimentary canal, read “Gulp” by Mary Roach. You won’t be able to put it down. And you will, hopefully, be less susceptible to the food fad machine.

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