SF Voters Back Chiu, Prop B

by on June 4, 2014

San Francisco voters want to approve certain waterfront projects, but the more progressive sector of the city voting in the Campos-Chiu Assembly race favored the candidate who took no position on the issue.

To nobody’s surprise, San Francisco’s Prop B won easily yesterday, as roughly 60% of voters sought to empower themselves by gaining veto power over waterfront projects exceeding current height limits. As I wrote in my election predictions, I do not share the doom and gloom scenarios of many Prop B opponents because 1. The initiative has a strong chance of being struck down by the courts and 2. Voters will approve the Pier 70 project in November.

Those who read far too much into the 8 Washington defeat last November will no doubt claim Prop B’s victory reflects voter backlash against development. But this analysis would have meant that David Campos would easily defeat David Chiu, as their Assembly district likely included a greater share of Prop B supporters than the city as a whole.

So rather than a referendum on development, Prop B was a referendum on voters seeking more power for themselves. Such initiatives almost always win, as those who don’t care about voting on development projects are also less likely to vote.


When it became clear that David Campos and David Chiu would square off in the Assembly race, few gave Campos much of a chance. Yet a combination of factors, particularly sharply increasing rents and Ellis Act evictions and Campos’ unifying of the gay electorate, put the D9 Supervisor in a position where many believed he would finish first on June 3.

But as I referenced on Monday, signs of intense enthusiasm for a candidate can send misleading messages about the breadth of their support. And as we look at the results thus far, with Chiu ahead by double digits, the June race ended up pretty much where it was expected to be a year ago.

Chiu raised over $800,000 for this race, with another $259,000 (and likely more) raised by independent campaigns attacking Campos. Campos raised $500,000.

That’s a lot of money for a raise that won’t be decided until November.

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

More Posts

Filed under: Bay Area / California