Candidates plan 2010 supes races
by Matthew S. Bajko
Election officials have yet to certify the results of the November 4 supervisor races, yet attention is already turning to who will run for the five even-numbered seats up for grabs in 2010.
Unlike this year, which saw a dearth of out candidates seek seats on the Board of Supervisors, the field is expected to be a crowded one in two years, with multiple openly LGBT candidates expected to battle it out in District 8, which covers the Castro, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park, and in District 6, which covers the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
Already, Building Inspections Commissioner Debra Walker pulled her papers November 19 to run in District 6, where Supervisor Chris Daly will be termed out.
"I had a commission meeting so I stopped by the elections office. Why not?" said Walker, an out lesbian and past president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. "You cannot raise money for 18 months before the election, but I am starting to meet with people. I am taking it seriously."
As for talk that outgoing state Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) would run for the seat, Walker said she spoke with the former supervisor prior to Election Day and was told Migden would not run.
"She directly told me she is not running in District 6," said Walker. "If my campaign was a strong campaign, she said she would be happy to support me. I would have to prove myself."
Both Deputy City Attorney Scott Wiener and Rafael Mandelman, current Milk Club president, have declared their candidacies in District 8 to replace openly gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who is termed out and plans to run for mayor in 2011.
Both told the Bay Area Reporter last week they intend to pull papers to begin the process in 2009. Wiener has moved to increase his name recognition in the neighborhood. Last week he was elected president of the Eureka Valley Promotion Association, the Castro's residential group.
"Yes, I am running," said Wiener, 38, a Castro resident for 11 years. "In 2009 I will form a campaign committee to begin raising money. I am not sure when I will do that."
Wiener dismissed talk that he sought the EVPA position due to his political ambitions, saying he was asked by members of the group to serve as president.
"It was not something I sought out," said Wiener, who has been an EVPA member for five years and served as secretary for the last year.
Mandelman, 35, is an attorney with McDonough Holland & Allen in Oakland and is a native of San Francisco. He expects to pull his paperwork sometime after the new year, as the race will likely begin to heat up among the candidates.
"I think Scott is a formidable candidate," he said. "The values I look for in an elected official and causes I care about I have total confidence that I would pursue those issues with more vigor than he would."
Also looking at jumping into the race is Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Prozan, who owns a home with her partner near the heart of the Castro.
"I am seriously considering it," said Prozan, who like Wiener is a past co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. "I am going to make my decision when the time is right for my family and for the community."
Laura Spanjian, who works for the city's Public Utilities Commission, is also contemplating a run. Another past co-chair of Alice, she said last week she has yet to decide.
"Right now, I'm f
Several other gay people mentioned as potential candidates in D8 include Alex Randolph, Mayor Gavin Newsom's liaison to the district and the LGBT community; BART board member Tom Radulovich, who lost his bid for the seat to Dufty in 2002; and Sierra Club executive committee member Rick Galbreath.
Galbreath served as campaign manager for Alix Rosenthal, the Oakland deputy city attorney who tried to unseat Dufty in 2006. She has said she is interested in running again for the seat.
On the list of potential gay contenders against Walker in D6 are Jeff Anderson, a Democratic Party fundraiser; AIDS Housing Alliance founder Brian Basinger; Entertainment Commissioners Jim Meko and Terrance Alan; and Democratic Party activist and blogger Paul Hogarth.
Of the other three seats up for grabs, the one most likely to draw LGBT candidates is District 10 in the Bayview and Hunter's Point where Supervisor Sophie Maxwell is termed out. The area has seen an influx in LGBT people due to its inexpensive housing stock.
Nonetheless, a gay candidate would have a steep hill to climb in order to win, said Bill Barnes, a former AIDS czar under Brown who resigned this month as chief of staff for state Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and is currently looking for work in San Francisco.
"There needs to be a whole lot of work to do before anyone who is openly gay or lesbian can run for D10," said Barnes, pointing to the rift among the city's black community over Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage amendment voters passed November 4.
He downplayed rumors that he intends to run for Maxwell's seat, saying he has not thought out that far.
"Two years is a long way off," said Barnes. "People will speculate. I wish I had an answer to make me seem less cagey. The simple truth is I am not sure what I am doing next."
One potential candidate is NTanya Lee, an out lesbian who is executive director of Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth. She lives with her partner, Ayoka, and son, Khalil, in the Portola neighborhood.
"A number of people have encouraged me to run and I've considered it, but I'm very committed to continuing the work I've begun here at Coleman over the last few years," wrote Lee in an e-mail.
The other two seats on the 2010 ballot will be the District 2 seat, where Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier is termed out, and District 4, where Supervisor Carmen Chu will be up for re-election. Chu won election this month to fill out the remember of her term, having been appointed to the seat by Mayor Gavin Newsom after Ed Jew resigned due to his lying about living in the district when he ran in 2006.