November 4 2015 Well the 2015 elections in San Francisco are over and it looks like it was a big night for tech billionaires like Ron Conway along with big developers, greedy landlords and AIRBnB who he backed. Measure F and lost.
In short, GENTRIFICATION won big last night. It will stay alive and well and contrary to what many would like to believe those victories garnered by gentrifiers didn’t happen because of the record millions that was spent. Measure F which would’ve allowed people to sue AIRBnB for illegal/unregistered listings didn’t lose because we saw commercial after commercial on TV every 5 minutes claiming the measure went ’too far’.
Measure I which would’ve put a stop to luxury condos in the historic Mission district didn’t lose because local politicians like Mayor Ed Lee opposed it on the behest of the developers who own and control him… It lost because in spite of the importance of these measures and the long term impact they will have on folks who are struggling day to day and in spite of all the attention nationally and locally they had, you still have 50-60% of the people who are eligible and registered to vote, stay home. You can look at the map precinct by precinct here if you think I’m lying: http://www.sfelections.org/tools/map_turnout/20151103/
In a recent interview, long time journalist Tim Redmond of 48 Hills said everything in yesterday’s election hinged on voter turnout..Whoever can turnout their people to pull the lever will determine direction of San Francisco Gentrifiers stepped up.. Those suffering under gentrification did not bring the numbers needed to turn the tide..
Now folks can get all philosophical and give all sorts of excuses about how both parties are controlled by the same people.. And how the system is corrupt and blah, blah, blah.. We heard it all before. It’s bullshyt with respect to this.. On the ballot were important Measures put forth by people in the community.. Folks organized, held massive rallies and marches and went down to city hall to pressure and demand that the city put moratoriums on luxury condos..
Supervisors looked out at the packed room filled with angry citizens desperately trying to hold on to their homes and community and sided with developers.. Organizers went back looked at a variety of strategies and took advantage of the citizen ballot initiative process which isn’t even available in many cities and states around the country.. They gathered the signatures, got the Measure on the ballot.. They didn’t get corporate funding, they were grassroots and understood the hard times many were experiencing, especially with seeing their homes snatched up, rents skyrocketing and in some cases, homes being burnt up under suspicious circumstances, would lead folks to taking a stand by going to the polls to reverse an egregious wrong.. It did not..and that’s sad.. That’s sad as hell..
One man (Ron Conway) via a company he has heavily invested in (AIRBnB) spent almost 9 million dollars to defeat Measure F.. People say corporations are evil. They say tech Companies are tone def and insensitive and vulturistic, the opportunity to smash directly was not taken. It’s not like folks are mass organizing to boycott any of the products like Facebook, Google and dozens more he has investments in, so why not hand a sound defeat via the polls?
In other election results we saw that the police and law enforcement had a big victory.. The rank and file in the sheriff department did not like long time progressive Ross Mirkarimi. At every turn the power elite in SF was looking for ways to upend him. They finally did it by convincing former deputy Vicki Hennessy to come out of retirement to run against him. She describes herself as a career cop who will no doubt do the bidding Mayor Ed Lee and the gentrifier class who came out in force at her victory party last night. She also noted that she in stark opposition to Mirkarimi when it comes to the issue of Sanctuary Cities.
Also former SFPD chief and now current District Attorney, George Gascon ran unopposed and got 98% of the vote. hence we should not expect any prosecutions of out of control police anytime soon…
If there is a bright spot in yesterday’s elections, it comes in the form of the district 3 race for supervisor. Ron Conway and the Gentrifier class put their money and hopes behind Julie Christensen. They went all out to defeat Aaron Peskin who about the business of reigning in tech companies and developers. Conway and his squad spent historic amounts of money on that race but in the end Peskin won. He changes the balance of power on the Board of Supervisors. If he sticks to his promises and his guns, Mayor Ed Lee will not be getting free passes and rubber stamps on all his development deals. Hopefully folks will find some political openings with Peskin on the board and be able to rock with them to turn somethings around..
The other bright spot is the coalition of people who came together to put Measure F on the ballot to reign in AIRBnB are going to regroup, retool and reintroduce it in San Francisco and in other cities.. If it comes to Oakland, folks had best be ready to ride for it or start looking for nice apartments in Modesto or Stockton..These developers and tech billionaires like Conway have lots of money and are willing to spread it around in an effort to smash.. Hence there will be more elected officials who take the money and run #staywoke