Thursday, September 16, 2010

Political Campaign Snapshots 3: District 6 Candidates' Forum on Housing

Debra Walker, a candidate for San Francisco Supervisor this November, opened her campaign headquarters on Market Street near the corner of Sixth, which certainly is the epicenter of the downtown District 6.

I dropped by on Sunday afternoon to deliver a few Michael Nava for Superior Court signs, and a charming trio of volunteers welcomed me and said that Debra was at a candidates' forum at the Main Library a couple of blocks away.

In the Turkish restaurant across the street from the library, Glendon Hyde aka Anna Conda was fortifying himself before the two-hour event.

The lightly attended forum was sponsored by a consortium of nonprofit groups that are would-be and actual power brokers, including The Housing Rights Committee, The Central City SRO Collaborative, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, and La Voz Latina.

Only seven of the 14 candidates had been invited, leaving out my friend Harold Brown for instance who actually lives in an SRO, and this practice was defended by Richard May in the comments to a smart article about the forum written by the Tenderbloggers above (click here.)

Here's an excerpt from Mr. May's comments (updated info: not pictured above, this was a different emcee):

"I was the moderator for this event and also one of its principal organizers. I want to make it perfectly clear that if we could have invited every registered candidate we would have – even though in my opinion it would have been a disservices to the public to give voice to what can only be characterized as fringe candidates. Candidates whose only motivation for entering the race was a self serving interest of seeking name recognition and who have no interest in winning let alone governing.

For the sake of full discloser, I need to make it clear that you (the writer of this blog) and myself have never met.

Had you had the privilege of meeting me you would NEVER question my integrity by insinuating I choose to invite only those candidates that I or my associates liked. FOR THE RECORD – BEFORE ANY CANDIDATES WERE INVITED, I personally consulted with the nationally recognized ALLIANCE for JUSTICE organization to ensure that our criteria was both fair and legal. SIR!"

The candidates who made the Richard May/Alliance for Justice cut were, from left to right, Glendon Hyde, James Keys, Jane Kim, Jim Meko, Theresa Sparks, and Debra Walker. (Elaine Zamora was also invited but didn't attend.). If you're interested in seeing more, click here for a link to video of the event.

Jim Meko (above) and all of the other candidates onstage, with the major exception of the lightweight James Keys, would probably make a decent supervisor. I saluted them for trying to make a difference while fleeing into the beautiful sunshine of a September afternoon before the dreary speeches began.


auweia said...

yeah I noticed those comments by May too

the video link you posted is just one of five...I have all five of them here

btw, central City SRO is also a non profit, part of tenderloin Housing Clinic, and also subject to the same rules about political partisanship

Zzzz said...

Not exactly sure why Richard decided that the author of the article was male, when really evarels is female. Too busy getting in an uproar to notice the details.

Civic Center said...

Dear auweia: I'l change the link to the more expansive one with all the videos. Thanks for the update. Dear Hudin: Richard May's comment rang a few alarm bells for me, just starting with the fact that his written English was so awful.

Unknown said...

I loved the verb 'to take umbrage'

Civic Center said...

From an email sent by h brown:

I've lived in the Tenderloin for nearly 30 years
and I've never heard of the guy who took time out from his moderating to insult me and other candidates who didn't "make the cut". He further noted that he'd spent more of his 501 (c) 3 money consulting some national legal eagle firm that assured them that they had a perfect right to reject myself and other candidates. That's not true.

Again, here's the law:


nonprofits state that "voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that: (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.,,id=141538,00.html

Here's the recommended procedures for getting around people like me.

Unknown said...

Its very interesting that H Brown defends his right to have open forums and then does not show up. I LOVE H Browns spirit and the fight he has brought to the idea of opening forums to all voices. It would mean more if he showed up and shared his 2 cents to the room. Especially since he is one of the people who opened this particular forum up to everyone and even had a name card and place waiting for him.

Civic Center said...

Dear Anna Conda: I love h brown's spirit (and intelligence) too, but you don't always necessarily want him to show up.