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