Looking for an Alternative to London Breed? You Have Options — Technically
The ugly episode involving mayoral candidate Ellen Lee Zhou’s so-brazenly-racist-you-almost-can’t-believe-anyone-would-ever-think-otherwise billboard in SoMa has brought up a curious question: Is there any viable alternative to Mayor London Breed in the election that is now only 12 days away?
Breed, who took office as acting mayor after the death of Ed Lee and won a 2018 election to finish out his term, is cruising to a full four years in her own right. (In theory, she could be San Francisco’s chief executive until 2029, when she’d be termed out.) But with a mixed record on homelessness — for every genuinely courageous or even noble move, like standing up for the Embarcadero Navigation Center, there is a counterweight, like the gratuitously vicious encampment sweeps — plus iffy decisions like the Suzy Loftus interim-D.A. appointment, progressive San Franciscans may be casting about for alternatives.
Officially, Breed has five challengers: Ellen Lee Zhou, Wilma Pang, Joel Ventresca, Paul Ybarra Robertson, and Robert L. Jordan Jr. None of them is nearly as widely known as former Supervisors Mark Leno and Jane Kim, whose defeats in 2018 likely scared off any major challengers this time.
Brokeassstuart.com has made no endorsement in S.F.’s low-wattage mayoral race. (Neither did the League of Pissed-Off Voters, for that matter.) We’re not going to change that now. And let’s be frank: Breed could probably shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue — in the Inner Richmond, that is — and still win by double digits. But if you’re not a Breed supporter and you’re fishing around for a protest vote, you have options aside from writing in “Deez Nuts” or leaving it blank altogether.
SF Mayoral Candidates 2019:
Even if the horrendous billboard incident weren’t absolutely disqualifying, the Trump-supporting, pro-NRA Republican is probably a poor choice, just as she was last time. (Zhou ran for mayor in 2018, taking fifth place and garnering 3.8 percent of the vote.) A social worker, union rep, Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (N.E.R.T.) member, and Sunday school teacher, she is certain civic-minded, but her Twitter account reads like that of an incel in the Central Time Zone who hates San Francisco even though he’s never been here once. Her biographical submission to Ballotpedia uses troubling language about the city residents being “brainwashed” by the prevailing elite, and Zhou’s core beliefs are fundamentally at odds with the city she wishes to govern.
Fun fact: Zhou is a member of Morse Lodge 257, which meets in that Odd Fellows Hall building at the corner of Market and Seventh streets you’ve probably wondered about.
An opera singer and musician who’s run for office several times before, Pang seems to be a rather parochial candidate who’s in it largely for the safety of Chinatown seniors and to increase tourism to revitalize that neighborhood. “I run for everything,” she told KALW, unable to definitively list all her campaigns and going on to mention subsidized housing for families and training more Muni drivers as things S.F. needs. But with such a Chinatown-specific campaign, it seems like Pang might be a more plausible fit for District 3 supervisor. Which she actually ran for, in 2013. But as a performer, she can sing in French, German, and Cantonese.
Fun fact: Pang claims she once got ticketed for singing in Portsmouth Square without a permit.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (10/10)- Wilma Pang, whom the media has often dubbed a "perennial candidate" because of her propensity to throw her hat in the ring for local office, is on the ballot once again. This time, she's running for mayor in the November election.Pang, a Republican, has lived in Chinatown for the past 40 years, and ran previously for supervisor in 2012 and 2008 and for mayor in 2015. 2011 and 2007. Pang describes herself as, "Professor of music at City College of SF. Most recently, pioneered "Only in SF Chinatown," seven days a week of tradition Chinese Instrumental/vocal music on Grant Ave., Portsmouth Square and Broadway and Grant. A frequent TV and radio performer/commentator…."Pang is running at a time when , as one community leader stated anonymously, "“We have a lot of seniors in Chinatown but we are missing young people. How do we get them here?”Speaking on the issue of immigration, Pang stated, "I don’t think that’s an issue because in Chinatown there are some undocumented workers. You really need them. You can’t fill the lower-paying jobs with citizens. With picking strawberries, you really need people to do it. If you’re so strict on undocumented immigrants, how are you going to get workers?"On the issue of the legalizing marijuana, Pang said, "I say leave it alone because it’s college kids and I smell marijuana on their breath. What am I going to do, crack down on them? If it’s something that doesn’t cause a great harm … I’m not for it or against it. Smoking is bad for you and that’s legal…."On the issue of public transportation in San Francisco, Pang noted that, " We have simple ideas like putting more buses on Stockton Street. Or maybe light rail instead of subway. I don’t own a car and I’ve been taking Muni practically all of my life. You can improve Muni. I would say it isn’t 100% efficient, but we can do something to improve it…."Furthermore, "The Central Subway Project will construct a modern, efficient light-rail line that will improve public transportation in San Francisco. This new 1.7-mile extension of Muni’s T Third Line will provide direct connections to major retail, sporting and cultural venues while efficiently transporting people to jobs, educational opportunities and other amenities throughout the city. With stops in South of Market (SoMa), Yerba Buena, Union Square and Chinatown, the Central Subway will vastly improve transit options for the residents of one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the country, provide a rapid transit link to a burgeoning technology and digital-media hub, and improve access to a premier commercial district and tourist attraction. Construction is currently underway and the project is scheduled for completion…."According to Pang, "One must think i am crazy for being a "marathon" runner? Why? I am pushing 80 and what is more important in life than having money? Which i think most people are obsessed with money and equate it with success and status I feel i am blessed with happiness, good health and respect by genuinely help the most needy population which City Hall overlook their cry-the limited English speaking merchants and the monolingual seniors hang out at Portsmouth Square as their living room all day long. About ten years ago, I organized musicians, singers with my own money to entertain them. They truly appreciate my act of compassion. As for merchants, I hear them and will speak up and bring attention to City Hall which non profit organizations as not a priority to help them. I did write proposals asking for help but no one responded to my plead. Again, I am still continuous to spend my own money. Does any one really care?"When asked why she should be mayor, Pang noted, "I am a very experienced person. I think I’m a good person because I’m a professor and I see things differently. I see the glass as half full, not half empty. You have to put faith in people. There is hope…."According to her website, the nonprofit organization, A Better Chinatown Tomorrow (ABCT) is dedicated to, "A Better Chinatown Tomorrow focus on beautifying the neighborhood with music and performance on the streets of Chinatown. From alley to the park, you could see these musicians playing…."- Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc###
Posted by Sfnewsfeed.us on Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Here’s someone with some progressive ideas. Using revenue bonds, Ventresca wants to see public transit become free, and make S.F. carbon-neutral in 10 years’ time by opening solar farms on publicly owned land outside the city. (Hey, bashing PG&E in 2019 is like running a pro-motherhood campaign.) Telling KALW that he wants to see guaranteed shelters for the unhoused — some might be tents in parks, though — along with substance-abuse treatment for all who want it, he seems like an empathetic person. But his remarks about “Manhattanization” around Golden Gate Park, however, sound like a rehash of 1980s density panic mixed with a possible dog-whistle to NIMBYs who really, really don’t want that former McDonald’s on Haight to become housing. Showing a dispassionate, wonky side, he calls Donald Trump an “abomination,” noting that the president’s climate-change denialism is probably his worst fault. Oh, and he’s a retired administrative analyst for SFO, and for the Aging Commission before that.
Fun fact: Ventresca wants to convert the Presidio to a second United Nations, this one focused on reversing climate change.
Paul Ybarra Robertson
Finally, someone with a campaign website that looks like a real person made it! Unfortunately, this particular website is filled with all-caps phrases like “NO NEIGHBORHOOD NAVIGATION CENTERS,” and “LET’S TAKE OUR PARKING BACK.” (To be fair, it also has pictures of him as a teenager.) An ex-Marine and ex-mailman with an M.A. in counseling from USF, Ybarra Robertson is also a pro-car, anti-bike lane populist, relating a sort of talk radio-lite appeal to the harried commuter in all of us — sometimes with rather purple prose. On the subject of potholes, he writes, ”Like Jack the Ripper they lurk in the dark to rip the tread from your tire and like a vampire they lie in wait to sink their hardened, sharpened, inches thick, asphalt teeth into your tires.” He even wants to cut $100 million from the homeless budget and reallocate it toward repaving all city streets in four years. Hey, Harvey Milk won a seat on the Board of Supervisors by railing against dog poop, right?
Fun fact: Ybarra Robertson had just arrived in San Francisco when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. He was in an elevator on the 12th floor at that very moment.
Robert L. Jordan Jr.
Between his comparatively common name and nonexistent online presence, we really struggled to come up with much information on Breed’s fifth challenger. The Chronicle quotes Jordan as a “street minister, [who] describes himself as “a hard worker with no ego. I think this is my year.” In 2010, CBS spoke to a 63-year-old Robert Jordan who filed paperwork for the forthcoming election and said, “My name is Robert Jordan, I sing, I’m running for mayor of San Francisco” and whose resume included “stints as a professional boxer and a security guard, though when he launched his campaign, he was unemployed.” In his candidate statement in the city’s official voter guide, Jordan cites rat removal on the 300 block of Eddy Street as one of his accomplishments, and claims responsibility for the city’s first Asian-American mayor (Lee).
Fun fact: Assuming these Robert Jordans are the same person, he has wanted to run for mayor ever since touring City Hall as a student, in 1958.