Peskin and Kim: The Splash Brothers of SF Politics

by on December 10, 2015

Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim

The most talked about play in the Warriors win over Indiana this week was the 2-1 fast break when Steph Curry passed up an open shot and sent the ball to Klay Thompson who downed a three pointer. It was the Splash Brothers at their best. It also reminded me of what I observed earlier that day at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting in the dynamic between Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim.

Peskin’s thoughtful opening remarks repeatedly highlighted Kim’s past successes. Instead of trying to act like the Board leader in opposing the 30 Van Ness deal to be voted on later that meeting, he made it clear that he was simply building on Kim’s prior work at getting greater housing affordability with both 5M and the Giants.

Peskin and Kim are the Splash Brothers of San Francisco politics (yes, Splash “Siblings” is more accurate given the gender differences but brothers is the stronger analogy). And continuing our Warriors analogy, Sunny Angulo, Kim’s former staffer who left to work on Peskin’s D3 campaign and now is one of his aides, plays the Draymond Green role.  Just as Green helps Curry and Thompson facilitate the Warrior’s offense, Angulo is the perfect intermediary for assisting Peskin and Kim’s collaboration on issues before the Board.

Peskin as Distributor

Aaron Peskin spent eight years on the Board not as the shooter in key situations but as the distributor. He gladly handed off credits and victories to fellow Supervisors, which is why his peers kept electing him Board President.

Peskin once had Chris Daly as the perfect teammate. Now he has Jane Kim.

The new District 3 Supervisor is in a perfect situation. Kim has become an affordable housing juggernaut and the go to Supervisor for big affordable housing deals. Peskin can assist Kim’s negotiations while ensuring that she gets full credit.

With Kim running against Peskin’s longtime political rival Scott Wiener, you can be sure that Peskin will be constantly getting Kim the ball in a position for her to score.

Board President London Breed proved early in the meeting that she already understands Peskin’s ability to move issues. Acknowledging her support for Julie Christensen in the D3 race, Breed expressed a willingness to collaborate with Peskin. She then joined Peskin and Kim in the 7-4 vote rejecting the city deal to sell 30 Van Ness (opponents believe they can strike a new deal with greater affordability).

This will be the first of many votes where Breed joins the progressive Board majority. She knows that D5 voters will be carefully examining her votes as she seeks re-election next November, and does not want to be defeated from the left.

Upcoming Affordable Housing Votes

Peskin joins the Board as it confronts several affordable housing issues. Topping the list is revising Prop C to raise the city’s inclusionary requirements above 12%. The affordable housing bonus program should reach the Board by March, and Kim’s two proposed ballot measures—raising the real estate transfer tax on properties over $5 million and increasing the hotel tax—both have potential housing impacts. Add in the new deal needed for 30 Van Ness and Peskin and Kim will be quite busy in the months ahead as they push to get more affordable housing in San Francisco.

Ironically given his support for Julie Christensen, Mayor Ed Lee will be a big beneficiary of the Kim-Peskin collaboration. After all, getting developers to increase affordable housing furthers the mayor’s goal of creating 30,000 new or renovated units, with a third being affordable.

And whereas pre-Peskin developers would expect the mayor to help stop efforts to increase affordable housing requirements, now everyone knows that Peskin and Kim will be cutting the only deals that can win Board support (and with Breed trying to make up for her Divisadero rezoning without an inclusionary boost, she will be a frequent 7th vote on affordable housing issues).

Peskin and Kim both like getting deals done.  It’s not fair to hold them to the  Warriors high standard, but their emergence as the Splash Brothers of San Francisco politics is good news for everyone frustrated with the city’s ongoing housing crisis.

Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond Chron



Randy Shaw

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron and the Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which publishes Beyond Chron. Shaw's latest book is Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America. He is the author of four prior books on activism, including The Activist's Handbook: Winning Social Change in the 21st Century, and Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century. He is also the author of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime and Resistance in the Heart of San Francisco

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