Editorial: Mar for supervisor
in District 1
San Franciscans living in odd-numbered supervisorial districts will head to the polls in November – or begin casting ballots in early voting next month – and their decisions could reshape the board. On balance, however, we're satisfied with the work the board has done and in this first set of recommendations, will stay with the status quo.
An important position shared by all of these endorsed candidates is that they have committed to backfilling any federal cuts to Ryan White AIDS funding. In this time of decreasing federal monies, this was an important question that we posed to the candidates.
District 1, which includes the Richmond, is one of three very competitive races this year and we're sticking with current Supervisor Eric Mar. Since taking office four years ago, Mar, a straight ally, has been a solid vote on the board for LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. He is also devoted to his district, and discussed with us his record in bringing green jobs to the area, as well as his record in job creation evidenced by small businesses along Clement Street.
"I want a livable, healthy economy for the city," Mar told us during a recent editorial board meeting. "My record makes it better for everyone."
Mar has worked with the small business community and merchants' associations to pass legislation allowing for more active and attractive storefronts, renovation of existing buildings, and protections against formula retail in District 1. He has legislation that would ease old zoning laws to allow for more food establishments and manufacturing in different areas.
He plans to introduce legislation this month – Good Jobs, Healthy Communities – that might help independent grocers convert from cigarettes and liquor to healthier foods and provide incentives for landlords to fill empty storefronts.
Regarding public safety, Mar worked with the police captain, residents, and merchants to develop a merchant watch following reports of armed robberies.
Mar said that he is an independent supervisor who studies things carefully. And he's not afraid to take a stand, even at his own expense, as he did when he authored legislation to ban children's toys in fast food meals and was the subject of jokes on late night talk shows. That Happy Meal ban, he said, helped change the culture in a time of mounting childhood obesity rates. "McDonald's and Burger King made major changes," he noted, citing the addition of apple slices and removing French fries as a default menu item.
"I do feel like we made small progress and I think we raised the issue among parents," he said.
We believe that Mar has been an effective leader for his district and is deserving of a second term.
District 3 – David Chiu
Another steadfast ally of the LGBT community is current Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. He faces opposition from three little known challengers and we recommend him for re-election.
Four years ago, Chiu won with backing from progressives. But over the years he has forged an independent path, angering some along the way, while building bridges with other factions. He has been a steady leader of the board, noting that the tenor among supervisors began to change in 2008.
"I'm happy with the progress we've made," he said of changes at the board. "It has improved in our ability to provide leadership."
Chiu, an attorney who's worked as a criminal prosecutor, civil rights lawyer, business founder, and neighborhood leader, has worked alongside communities to deliver results for District 3's neighborhoods and the entire city, he wrote in our questionnaire. "We've created thousands of jobs by reforming our business payroll tax, bringing projects like the Exploratorium, cruise terminal, and America's Cup to our waterfront, and cutting red tape and unnecessary small business fees."
In District 3, Chiu is working on increasing City Hall's attention to nightlife issues, noting that in the past year crime at or near popular night spots is down.
In short, Chiu brings a collaborative attitude to the board that is much needed.
District 9 – David Campos
Since winning office four years ago, Supervisor David Campos has worked hard for his Mission district and for the LGBT community, of which he is a part. It speaks volumes that no one filed to run against him in his re-election bid, making this an easy recommendation.
Campos has worked with the board's other out members, Scott Wiener and Christina Olague, to tackle challenges faced by LGBT seniors. This year, the trio worked to establish an LGBT senior task force, which will soon begin meeting.
Another effort that Campos has led is the creation of a shelter for homeless LGBT people. That project, however, has taken longer to develop, due to permitting and other issues. But Campos is unwavering in his advocacy for the homeless – youth and adult alike – and called a hearing specifically to address the horrendous conditions in the city's shelters, and how LGBT people are often targets of harassment and discrimination in them.
Campos sees public safety and job creation as key issues in District 9. In our questionnaire, he pointed out that there are now more foot patrols in the district, and officers receive better training as they interact with the district's very diverse community, which includes LGBTs.
In terms of job creation, Campos worked with District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell to pass legislation that gives small businesses tax breaks that had previously only been available to large companies like Twitter.
Campos has been an effective supervisor who deserves another term.
District 11 – John Avalos
District 11 Supervisor John Avalos became the progressive standard-bearer following his second place finish in last year's mayoral race. He, too, is running unopposed for a second term and has our endorsement.
A straight ally, Avalos has long been a leader of issues impacting the LGBT community. Since moving to the city in 1989, he has helped San Franciscans improve their lives and transform their communities. While on the board he has championed historic local hiring legislation and passed protections for tenants in foreclosed properties. His real estate transfer tax brought in over $50 million in new revenue per year, helping balance the city's budget. This year he is working with Mayor Ed Lee to pass the gross receipts tax (Prop E), which would generate $12 million in revenue.
Avalos will continue to work on these and other issues, such as affordable housing; the collapse of the housing market has led to many families losing their homes to foreclosure in District 11, which includes the Excelsior. He is a strong supporter of the Housing Trust Fund (Prop C).
Avalos has done an excellent job representing his district and deserves another term.
To view the complete list of B.A.R. endorsements, click here: www.ebar.com/downloads/2012_endorsements.pdf.