District 10 the “Wild Card” at Tonight’s DCCC

by Paul Hogarth on August 11, 2010

Tonight, the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) will make its endorsements for November, at 6:00 p.m. at 209 Golden Gate Avenue. With an official “stamp of approval” from the Democratic Party comes resources for candidates, and – of course – the crucial slate card. It’s the ultimate insider’s game, where candidates for Supervisor who sit on the Central Committee are favored to win. But District 10 is the “wild card,” where no candidate has an “inside track” as a DCCC member – and there’s no clear frontrunner. And with last-minute endorsements coming from DCCC Chair Aaron Peskin and State Senator Leland Yee, what happens tonight will be anyone’s guess. I went to Bayview last night for a District 10 candidate’s forum, to check out the field. And a few DCCC members also showed up as well, perhaps to make a last-minute decision.

The race to succeed Supervisor Sophie Maxwell has been fluid, and machinations over who will get the DCCC endorsement is only the latest in a race with no front-runner.

If you only look at how much each candidate has raised, the top three contenders in District 10 are BART Board member Lynnette Sweet, former Newsom aide Malia Cohen and Potrero View publisher Steven Moss. But other candidates have a grassroots following and a more progressive record that DCCC members will support. Chris Jackson proved his vote-getting ability on the College Board, Tony Kelly has a land use activist base in Potrero Hill and Eric Smith has the endorsement of ACCE.

And each of the wealthier candidates revealed traits last night that would not impress Central Committee members. Sweet proudly said that she brought Lennar to Bayview as a Redevelopment Commissioner in the 1990’s, and suggested that Willie Brown be appointed interim Mayor if Newsom wins Lieutenant Governor. Moss, who has been endorsed by SEIU-UHW, touted Sutter Health’s Cathedral Hill project – which community groups oppose – as why San Francisco will be the “international center for health care.” And Cohen flubbed what should have been a softball question – “what’s your plan for land use in District 10?” – by offering no specific answers.

Meanwhile, the more progressive District 10 candidates fared better at the debate. It was clear that Chris Jackson has run for public office before, as he appeared most comfortable giving the stump speech response to questions. Eric Smith cited his work on biodiesel (“I’m probably the only candidate who has removed toxic waste in Hunters Point”), and talked about making schools in District 10 “the hub of activity.” And Tony Kelly had the best line of the debate – when he said: “I didn’t work in theater not to understand irony.”

With no clear frontrunner in District 10, whoever gets the Democratic Party endorsement tonight will receive a larger boost than Supervisor candidates in other districts. Because while other races have a clear favorite for the DCCC nod, District 10 is anyone’s guess.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a private citizen, Paul Hogarth supports Eric Smith for District 10 Supervisor – who is also a long-time columnist for Beyond Chron. Hogarth plays no advisory role in Smith’s campaign.

Filed under: Archive