D9 Supervisor Candidates Square Off in Bernal Heights

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The political hopefuls competing to become the next District 9 Supervisor convened last Thursday night, as the Bernal Heights Democratic Club (BHDC)  held a candidate endorsement forum at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.

Our current D9 representative, Supervisor David Campos, is termed-out this year, and five candidates seek to replace him. They are:

  • Joshua Arce: 40, a pragmatic progressive with close ties to the labor, nonprofit housing, and environmental movements.
  • Iswari España: 42, a training officer with the San Francisco Human Services Agency.
  • Edwin Lindo: 29, A Bernal resident and Bernal Height Neighborhood Center board member who is also active with the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club.
  • Hillary Ronen: 40, A legislative aide to David Campos and his chosen successor, backed by the progressive establishment.
  • Melissa San Miguel 29, a former policy manager with the National Center for Youth Law and former MissionLocal reporter

Reporter Joshua Sabatini from the San Francisco Examiner attended the BHDC endorsement forum, and he proclaimed Ronen and Arce to be the front-runners. Here’s how he described Ronen’s pitch:

Ronen says she is part of a larger movement to preserve the progressive majority bloc on the Board of Supervisors, running for one of the three open seats this November with termed out progressive supervisors.

She has secured the sole endorsements of the traditional progressive candidate backers like Service Employees International Union 1021 — the government employee’s largest labor union — and the California Nurses Associations, Unite Here Local 2 and former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

Ronen blames the Mission’s crisis on Mayor Ed Lee and his allies for “short-sighted thinking and shutting out community voices and only listening to corporate voices — and their horrible negotiations.”

For the past six years, Ronen has served as an aide to Campos. Before that she was an attorney with La Raza Centro Legal, a group which advocates for low-wage and immigrant workers.

Arce, for his part, presented himself as a coalition-builder:

[Arce] said he voted for a measure last November that would have imposed a moratorium on market-rate development in the Mission. The measure, Proposition I, was opposed by real estate interests and developers, and lost at the ballot.

Arce condemned Ronen as part of a failed status quo unresponsive to district needs. “It’s not progressive to talk about meeting the needs of our community, but not returning phone calls or emails,” he said.

“People look at the Mission as being at a crossroads,” Arce said. The path forward, he added, is “working with communities and not only that but bringing people together.”

Arce frequently used the pronoun “we” during the interview. He prides himself on a political style he describes as forging unconventional coalitions to achieve policy wins.

Assembly member David Chiu, Supervisor Scott Wiener and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are among those endorsing Arce.

By the end of the night on Thursday, the Bernal Heights Democratic Club overwhelmingly endorsed Hilary Ronen — an outcome that basically pre-ordained, given the close ties that exist between Supervisor Campos’s office and the BHDC.

The general election for the D9 Supervisor’s race will take place on Nov. 8, 2016

PHOTO: D9 Supervisor candidates at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, March 10, 2016. From left to right, Melissa San Miguel, Hillary Ronen, Edwin Lindo, Josh Arce, and Iswari España. Photo by Emma Chiang for the San Francisco Examiner

19 thoughts on “D9 Supervisor Candidates Square Off in Bernal Heights

  1. Sorry Ms. Ronen, you might be the best qualified for the position but if you are a Campos protégé then I can’t vote for you.
    I just want to know who is going to build the highest number of units to the highest heights? I know this is counter intuitive as someone who owns their home, but this is not a village, it’s supposed to be a world class city.

    • You’ll get it with Arce, Ed Lee’s protege. Last I checked he had some $65K in contributions from building and trades unions, whose members will profit handsomely if the building boom continues.

    • Hillary Ronen has pledged to build 5000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years and to build up wherever possible, the most ambitious pledge to date. Campos focused more on important city-wide issues than local district issues. As his chief of staff for the last 7 years, Ronen has learned how local politics works, and aims to diverge from Campos’ city-wide lens and instead work tirelessly to address the major issues affecting District 9 itself. Arce is backed by real estate interests and would continue policies that end up pricing out middle and lower class families in the district. Ronen will fight for the culture and long-term residents that have made District 9 an amazing place to call home.

    • What exactly does it mean to be “world class” to you? ignoring homeless constituents? choosing corporate greed over community development?
      And yes, youre right, if you own your home, that is a PRIVILEGE that you should be well aware of.

      Also, David Campos and Hillary Ronen are two individuals who fought tenaciously to protect tenants rights and vulnerable communities in District 9. To pejoratively denounce Hillary Ronen as “Campos’ protege” is to undermine all the valuable work she has done for the district 9 community.

      You’re right, she’s the best qualified — maybe you have a problem with a female candidate asserting herself in a leadership position and it’s more palatable for you to denounce her as a mere “protege”,but that won’t change the fact that she’s committed to ensuring that San Francisco remains a community of the people and not a community that excludes its own people.

      • How is owning your own home a privilege? My wife and I worked hard to be able to purchase a house in San Francisco, we earned it. It’s not a privilege and we don’t owe anyone a damned thing for it.

        Also, saying that the commenter “may have a problem with a female candidate” only exposes your own disgusting bigotry. I agree with nsfw that Campos has failed his constituents, I won’t support anyone he endorses, regardless of gender.

      • @Unfed. Are you joking? Owning a home is absolutely a privilege. You probably don’t believe in white male privilege either.

      • What you two are arguing about is semantic-based. If one works hard and does all the right things financially, they can enjoy the PRIVILEGE of owning a home, this is something that everyone can do if they do all the right things to accomplish this goal.

        Not to be confused with being born to PRIVILEGE is like being born with a silver spoon in your mouth (i.e. Donald Drumfp)

      • nsfw said he doesn’t like her because he doesn’t like Campos. Wherever did you get the idea that you could judge that to be a case of gender bias? What a joke of a post that was.

  2. I don’t think any of them are suitable for the position. Anyone who votes for a moratorium on new market-rate building is out of touch and out of their mind.

  3. What is a “pragmatic progressive”? Is Ed Lee a pragmatic progressive? If so why is he always at odds with progressive members of the BOS?

  4. Arce is backed by Ed Lee and real estate interests. He was appointed to the DCCC by Mary Jung, one of the chief lobbyists for the San Francisco Association of Realtors. He has received over $70,000 in campaign funding from construction unions and others who want to build luxury apartments and offices in District 9 , construction that ends up pricing out the middle and lower class families that have lived in the district for decades. Ronen has pledged to build 5000 units of affordable housing in 10 years, the most ambitious pledge to date. She wants to build up as well wherever she can. Through socially-conscious policy goals like these, she can both address the housing scarcity and enable lower and middle class families to remain in the neighborhood they have loved for decades.

    • Thanks for chiming in. I’m not familiar with the detail of Ms. Ronen’s 5000 affordable units in 10 years pledge. I’m guessing you are? If so, how does she plan to do it? She’s either proposing 100% BMR housing for those 5000 units (unrealistic), or maybe a 50% BMR requirement (tough but doable) on new construction? If the latter, then that’s 500 net new units of market rate housing in D9 every year for the next decade.

      That sounds like a lot more privileged white yuppies (and their attendant eating and shopping establishments) than the progressives would prefer to see in this part of town. Trade-offs, trade-offs…

  5. I don’t disagree with you. In fact, I think Arce calling himself a “practical progressive” and Lappin lapping it up is a joke. This article wasn’t an exercise in journalism, it was a slam again Hillary Ronen and David Campos. It was clear where Lappin stood when he got into a shouting match with Campos at a neighborhood crime meeting that Arce organized and Lappin promoted on Bernalwood. This was one week before another crime meeting planned at the Bernal Heights Community center. Neither one of them particularly distinguished themselves. Arce and Ronen wisely kept their mouths shut.

  6. I had a great conversation with Campos 8 years ago when he first ran during a slow morning at the Alemany Farmers Market. I know my way around public policy and politics and appreciated some of Campos’ policy proposals to help middle class families stay in Bernal. Guess what? He didn’t execute on any of those plans. In fact he went in the opposite direction by thwarting new construction in his district. I wouldn’t trust Ronen to do any better.

  7. There is nothing “pre-ordained” about a BHDC endorsement. I have participated in many endorsement meetings over the last 20 years, and outcomes are not predictable. Debate is thoughtful but robust, and minds are frequently changed during the discussion. BHDC is the most independent and least pre-wired endorsement in San Francisco politics.

  8. It’s difficult to believe in the true pragmatism of a candidate that calls themselves “progressive,” while still embracing short-sighted policies amidst the rampant homelessness thats grown even more ambitious with gentrification. Arce’s advocation for this 5-year plan that will only set aside 176 units in the housing pipeline for homeless families is uninspiring. It’s frankly a fruitless plan in comparison to the 5,000 units Ronen is in pursuance of amidst 10 years. Ronen’s legal and legislative experience working with Campos affirms her capability to resolve these realities of mayoral failures to listen to public outcries. Mayor Lee’s affinity for Arce is copious enough for me to vote Ronen in – the city demands enlightened pioneers like Ronen to achieve a future with affordable housing.

  9. Ironic that “Progressive” supervisors are hell-bent on blocking any signs of progress.

    Isin’t there anybody else that wants to represent our district besides these five “progressives”?

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