Bay Guardian’s Steve Jones Responds; More on District 6 Supervisor Race; Libertarian Thinking …

by on October 6, 2010

To the Editor:

When Jane Kim was still district shopping and we had a casual conversation at a bar one night, I suggested that she consider running in District 4 rather than District 6. And the reasons I gave was that Carmen Chu has been a terrible and conservative Supervisor who has little connection to the district and no real record to speak of, yet it looked like she was going run unopposed, which she did.

Given that Jane is a progressive school board candidate with strong citywide name recognition — the same point you made in today’s column — I thought that she could win the race and expand the progressive majority on the board, which would be huge for the progressive movement. And that made more sense to me than challenging a strong progressive candidate in a strongly progressive district [i.e., Debra Walker] and setting up the divisions that we’ve seen play out since then, with your misleading column being a prime example of why that was bad for the progressive movement.

I never mentioned race or even thought about that as a factor — after all, Jane is Korean, not Chinese — as you have accused me of. And this is all stuff that I would have told you if you called or showed any interest in seeking the truth about what happened, or you could have checked with Jane, whose campaign your political writer Paul Hogarth is working on, hanging door signs and whatnot.

Also, given your stated belief that we’re not supportive of Jane and taking our cues from “the progressive machine,” you might be interested to read our actual endorsements when they are posted tonight. Sure, straw man arguments are fun, but the truth is usually a bit more complex.

Steven T. Jones
City Editor
San Francisco Bay Guardian

EDITOR’S NOTE: In today’s issue, the SF Bay Guardian endorsed Debra Walker as “far and away our first choice” for District 6, and that Jane Kim “parachuted in to challenge an experienced progressive leader she has no substantive policy disagreements with.” The paper went on to endorse Kim for second-choice, because “we’re setting aside our concern over Kim’s ill-advised move and suggesting a strategy that is most likely to keep the seat Chris Daly has held for the past 10 years from falling to downtown control … While we’re sympathetic to the Walker supporters who would prefer that we not give Kim the credibility and exposure of an endorsement, the reality is that she’s one of two leading progressives and would be better on the board than the remaining candidates.”

UPDATE: Jane Kim disputes the characterization that she was “still district shopping” when they had the conversation in question. “I had already declared that I was running in District 6,” she said.

To the Editor:

Re: “In District 6, Jane Kim Takes On the Machine,” Ms. Kim is an outstanding candidate. Rejecting her candidacy because she is Asian American would be racism, wouldn’t it? And that wouldn’t be kosher in San Francisco, nor would it reflect well on so-called “progressives” or declared representatives of the Democratic Party in the San Francisco Bay Area. It seems that, once again, racism has reared its ugly head. And that’s uncouth, in 2010!

Anh Le
San Francisco

To the Editor:

While this article makes some decent and interesting points, let’s look at substance instead of these opportunistic campaign labels. While Debra Walker has broad support among elected and community leaders across the city and in diverse progressive circles, she is NO machine — she is an effective and independent political leader who has worked hard in District 6, and city-wide, on an array of progressive concerns: rent control, affordable housing, anti-displacement, fighting evictions, leading balanced development that doesn’t gentrify … and much more.

That’s the substance. And unlike the author’s biased hit on my candidate, we’re running a strongly positive campaign focused on the issues on the ground that matter to people in the district.

Christopher Cook
Communications Director
Debra Walker for Supervisor

To the Editor:

I wonder why there is the glaring omission of at least a mention of James Keys, a clear front runner in the D6 race. If you want to talk about someone being outside of the machine, he at least deserves a mention, if not an entire article. He is not beholden to special interests or political ideologies. He is endorsed and supported by Chris Daly (shouldn’t this even get him a sentence?).

James Keys represents the interests of the most marginalized District 6 residents more explicitly than any of the other candidates and he has gained the support of people on the street more effectively than anyone else in the Tenderloin. Just walk around and ask people who they trust and support, and you will find that there is wide support for Mr. Keys. If you want a candidate that will stand up for the survivors of the economic and housing crisis locally without being controlled by either the so called progressive machine, the real estate industry or their business minions, then James Keys clearly is the candidate of choice.

I appreciate the article, but it just makes me wonder why James Keys was left out. Will you be writing an article about him before or after the election?

James Chionsini
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Not all libertarians are so hard core as to eliminate basic government services like the Fire Department. Police, Fire, Roads, basic infrastructure we all rely on. I’ve got no problem paying for that. It’s all of the other stuff I’m opposed too. Frankly, is this any different than if a tornado destroyed his home and he didn’t pay for homeowners insurance? Insurance is there for a reason, to help protect against large losses such as having your home burn down.

Michael Simpson
Albuquerque, NM

To the Editor:

This is hardly a case of Libertarianism gone nuts, but a textbook example of what many Libertarians are trying to reform or prevent. The county had created a monopoly it then failed to provide. The adjoining city did offer fire services for a fee, but according to the homeowner screwed up the billing. And remember there is no obligation for fire services to be provided even if paid for by taxes to begin with.

In contrast, Libertarians have been working to re-focus fire action on prevention, on removing legal blocks to and helping professionalize volunteer fire departments and promote removal of legal blocks to private departments that would be legally responsible and automatic provision through homeowner services. For other Libertarian work see:

Ralph Swanson
St. Petersburg, FL

To the Editor:

The story about the firefighters was covered on Keith Olbermann’s show on October 4th. Olbermann cited this as the most frightening example of ‘a la carte’ government as espoused by the right wing ‘free market purists.’ What next? Stand by and watch as someone’s raped and murdered, because they failed to pay their ‘police insurance’ premiums … Talk about “Atlas Shrugged”! Ayn Rand worshippers run amok!

Randy Fleming

Beyond Chron
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San Francisco, CA 94102
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