The Effort to Recall Mayor Ed Lee Has Begun
Guest Post by David Carlos Salaverry
Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition and SF Green Party members have launched a Recall Lee Now petition. We’re hoping all activists, progressive organizations, pissed off San Franciscan voters and all others uneasy with the direction the City has been going in will join what will be political fun of the highest order… and possibly a watershed event in San Francisco.
There are many reasons to Recall Lee Now. Edwin Lee is a very pleasant man with a wonderful smile and an even better moustache. But he also fronts for a political machine— long entrenched— that is ripping the guts out of the San Francisco so many of us know and love. We’re after the shadow government—the urban regime—that Lee is merely the grinning face of.
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Who is that machine? It’s Willie Brown, the “baldies” Steve Kawa, Tony Winnicker and Paul Henderson. It’s the city attorney Dennis Herrera and Republican-In-Drag supervisors like the WTF team of Weiner, Tang & Farrell. It’s the housing developers of SFHAC, the realtors of SF Realtors Association. It’s the tech venture capitalist Ron Conway and his allies; it’s AirBnB, Uber and the rest. It’s the SF Chamber of Commerce and BOMA. Basically, the machine is everyone making a killing destroying our existing San Francisco and erecting a “hip” San Ramon in its place.
Is this progress? We say, “Hell no.” Is it inevitable? HELL NO! Who says we have to become the whitest city in America by 2025, the current trend line? Who says we have to become the home of global one percenter cash “invested” in empty luxury apartments. Who says we can’t remain truly diverse, socially and culturally innovative and just a little bit weird?
We date stamped our petition with the Department of Elections last week and will attempt to file it Tuesday, May 31. Yesterday, in response to our proponent petition, the Department of Elections sent us a generic letter signed by Campaign Services worker Gregory Slocum. In a phone conversation with Slocum, he said that his superiors (unnamed) had reviewed his letter (see below):
On Tuesday, we will present a demand letter that our filing is processed as being valid. If they still say no, our lawyers will get a court order to force the filing. We believe and will assert that a) Herrera’s interpretation of the Charter is in error, b) that saying we must wait till July makes a 2016 recall impossible, c) that Herrera’s interpretation was made in collusion with a corrupt administration to thwart our constitutional right to recall.
Our Recall Now petition is generic. Its 11 short paragraphs cover as many issues and bases as possible within a 200 word limit. We will not negotiate away our effort, we are in it to win it. We will mount a well-funded, city-wide campaign that is intentionally inclusive.
We want West Side and moderate voters who are as unhappy as Mission activists with the direction the city is going in. We want Libertarians and Republicans repulsed by decades of corruption and fiscal malfeasance. We want tech workers paying $3K to $5K for rent who aren’t cool being the shock troops of displacement. We want the Chinese-American community as fed up as Rose Pak has been with this mayor, who began as a housing activist but who has turned his back on the community. And we will appeal to tourism, hotel and other business interests uneasy about the destruction of the very special appeal of our city.
We will also make a strong moral case about SFPD violence against black and brown communities, against rapid gentrification in the Mission, Bayview, Castro, Haight, that is forcefully removing people of color, immigrants, artists and the poor and against the brutal targeting of homeless communities.
Can we pull of this broad coalition? We have to. Can we get the 60K signatures to get on the ballot and then win a recall against the millions of dollars that will come against us? We must. For the sake of the City of Saint Francis and all it still represents.
Get out your rubber pitchforks and prop torches, your metaphorical barrels of hot tar and sacks of feathers and come to our press conference-filing on Tuesday, May 31 at 4:30pm at the Department of Elections in the basement of City Hall.
Speak to our videographers and TV news crews about why you’re unhappy with Mayor Lee and the direction the city is going. Talk to reporters. Sign the petitions and activist commitment lists we’ll be circulating. Go upstairs afterwards to the Board of Supervisors meeting and make a spirited public comment.
Get involved! It’s your city. It’s our city. Still. We have a beautiful collective vision for San Francisco, but we can’t launch until we evict the corrupt gang that has run our city for too long.