OAKLAND MAYOR HAS TO COME IN SECOND & THIRD

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Posticker Sig revisedCall those recent poll numbers on Oakland Mayor Jean Quan (32%) mixed. While ahead of declared candidates – Professor Joe Tuman (22%), Councilmember Libby Schaaf (18%) and Commissioner Bryan Parker (10%), Oakland’s first APA mayor is not picking up second and third ranked votes for the Nov. 2014 election bid to win a second term.  In her 2010 victory, crucial second and thirds from Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan propelled Quan to victory. The poll, done byDavid Binder for the Jobs and Housing Coalition, an East Bay business group, surveyed that Quan would only pick up 7 percent of voters in a second round. That could be deadly to her like her main opponent in 2010 – ex-State Senator Don Perata who led among first choice votes but was denied second and third place votes that Quan received. Also it could dictate strategy for Quan for the 2014 campaign. Does she swing left to recoup 2010 Kaplan votes supporting Quan on second and third ballots. Or, if she’s alienated them (see below), does she shift stances to pick up votes from relatively moderate candidates….

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

FRIEND OF MY FRIEND: Is her enemy? The same poll surveyed voters with an undeclared Kaplan (26%) and found her leading. Quan dropped to second (20%) followed by Tuman (17%), Schaaf (15%) and Parker (6%)…Quan shed 12% of her support with Kaplan in the race. Not surprising given Quan owes her 2010 victory to Kaplan’s ranked votes. It does demonstrate that Quan’s lead is “soft” and vulnerable. No matter what, Quan has to coalesce with someone to build the second and third choice votes to attain a majority or plurality for a first place finish. If she’s caught in no-man’s land (or no-woman’s land) without seconds or thirds, she’ll be the 2014 version of Don Perata…
TIMING OF POLL: As last week’s column (See “Potstickers” 12/26/13 at tinyurl.com/mm2l5nl) speculated about the interestingly timed release of San Francisco mayoral election polling, the poll was publicized near the end of December – in time for a Dec. 27 story in the Bay Area Newspaper Group. Quan used the story in an e-mailed solicitation on Dec. 30 for bucks before the December 31 deadline to report the latest 2013 contributions at the end of January. Certainly the polling is good news for Quan in rekindling reluctant contributions after bad polling in 2013. It does pose questions about the Jobs and Housing Coalition preferences as to where they stand in the mayor’s race. The poll was conducted November 11-13 – six weeks before the Dec. 27 story. If released right away, publicity generated about her improved mayoral prospects would help with fundraising. Being released around Christmas buried the story and minimized any fundraising and morale benefit for Quan partisans given potential donors either would be out of town or tapped out after holiday gift spending…
RUN TOM RUN?: Political history almost repeating itself as Assemblyman Tom Ammiano emerged as the left’s best bet to take on Mayor Ed Lee in 2015 (Ammiano loses 42%-33% to Lee in “Potstickers” 12/26/13 at tinyurl.com/mm2l5nl). The same Ammiano won a miraculous write-in effort in 1999 to take on Willie Brown under similar economic conditions – rising evictions, less affordable housing, non-profits being displaced and scapegoated tech (dot-coms in the 90s and social media in ‘13) having free rein in the city. However, the SF political shift happened over two years. In 1999, Willie Brown shifted from the left to the political center in time for re-election – picking up, for example, overwhelming support of the APA community and the SF Republican Party and handily beating back Ammiano’s insurgency 57%-43%. But a year later, Brown could not forestall district elections reversing a citywide elected and appointed board of his allies favoring him by an 8 to 3 majority into a 9 to 2 anti-Brown majority with Ammiano as board president…
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RE-RUN ED, RE-RUN: An Ed Lee strategy looks to be in the works for 2015 re-election assuming a challenge from a candidate on the left like Ammiano. With moderates and conservatives likely in his camp, Lee has to siphon some support like labor from the left’s candidate by appealing to voters on housing, education and living wage issues….
SCHOOL HOUSES AND HOUSES: In the closing weeks of 2013, the Mayor and Ammiano in the State Assembly took stances in discouraging Ellis Act evictions, a pinprick in resolving SF’s affordable housing issues (See “Potstickers” on 12/5/13 at tinyurl.com/l93ghzx). The mayor’s focus is and has been primarily on housing supply (passage of the Housing Trust Fund in 2012) including public pronouncements to build housing on surplus school and community college property. There’s a mayoral triple play for constituencies here – the mayor builds more housing while schools and college students (APAs make up at least two-fifths of SFUSD and City College) and their parents reap the benefits of development for their Great Recession devastated budgets. Teachers benefit with more instructional resources and opportunities to live in less expensive SF housing thru the Teacher Next Door Program under the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. A housing package for teachers in the SF schools takes a pillar away from an Ammiano mayoral candidacy, considering he’s the first openly gay teacher, a politician who’s historically won support from teacher unions, except for 1999 in his run against Mayor Willie Brown…
WAGE RAGE: Also on Mayor Lee’s platform for 2014 is examining an increase in the city’s minimum wage from $10.74 (as of Jan. 1) to $15.00 per hour, which would be major steps closer to a SF “living wage” that should be $12.83 per hour for one adult, $19.17 for two adults and far higher with kids according to an MIT analysis. Ammiano had also pushed for a living wage at, for example, non-profits contracting with the city in the late 1990s….
TELL IT GOODBYE?: Last regular season SF pro football game at the ‘Stick last month – 49ers against Atlanta Falcons. San Francisco may not have to wait 53 years (how long the Candlestick has existed) for the 49ers to return from Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. Consider what happened in Atlanta…After only 20 years, the baseball Atlanta Braves are vacating for a suburban field in 2016 and tearing down the 1996 Olympics centerpiece renamed Ted Turner Field in 1997. Why? Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority refused to ante up for $350 million in capital and fan improvements already compromised regional rapid transit access…The Niners undoubtedly will sell out their pigskin cathedral for 2 preseason and 8 regular games, up to 2 postseason matches and an occasional Super Bowl. However, the challenge will be to develop and generate revenue from the surroundings (like the baseball Giants and pro hoops Warriors want to do on the SF waterfront) for some of the 350 remaining days in the year to payoff and generate a return on nearly $1 billion in principal and the interest on that principal…
MISS ME?: Email Samson Wong at potsticker@prodigy.net and  follow him at Twitter @SFPotstickers

About the Author

Veteran columnist has appeared in up to 450,000 households weekly in the SF Independent, Examiner (2000-04) and AsianWeek since 1996. As Editor-in-Chief (2003-07), AsianWeek and Samson received wide recognition from the California Legislature, New American Media, League of Women Voters, GLAAD, Organization of Chinese Americans, SPUR and APA civic groups. Thru the SF Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, SF Elections Task Force and Chinese American Voters Education Committee, Wong helped boost APA influence from 25,000 in the 1980s to over 50,000 voters by the early 1990s.