Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Milk club PAC snubs Olague in D5 supe race

District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague (seen at right) has a fight on her hands to secure the backing of San Francisco’s more progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.

Appointed by Mayor Ed Lee earlier this year to represent the left-leaning district, Olague had been president of the city’s Planning Commission and was a tenants rights activist. But she has drawn criticism from the the city’s political left with her stances on a host of issues, particularly around a zoning fight over a waterfront housing project and changes to the city’s ranked-choice voting system.

Those concerns likely cost Olague, the first out bisexual supervisor in the city’s history, the support of the Milk club’s PAC, which spent Saturday (September 15) meeting with candidates seeking the odd-numbered supervisor seats up for grabs this fall.

The PAC ended up recommending that the queer political group give a sole endorsement not to Olague but to Julian Davis, a straight man who on Friday temporarily stepped down as president of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center in order to focus full-time on his campaign.

Tuesday night (September 18) Milk club members will meet to vote on the endorsements. Like at the PAC meeting, candidates need to secure at least 60 percent of the ballots cast in order to win a sole endorsement. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in August, the Milk club revamped its endorsement tabulating process this year to address how to rank candidates in races where voters can choose up to three people, such as supervisor and mayor.

Milk members eligible to vote must score the candidates on a scale of zero through five, with five being the best score. If only one candidate receives 60 percent of the vote, they receive a sole endorsement.

But if more than one person reaches that threshold, then they will be ranked first, second or third based on the scoring system.

Club members admit there is still some confusion on  how the new voting system works. So it is not assured that the Milk PAC picks will hold once the full membership votes tomorrow evening.

If Olague is unable to flip the vote to her favor then it will be the second time she has failed to secure a major LGBT club’s endorsement. Last month the more moderate Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club snubbed her in the race and instead solely endorsed London Breed, executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex.

Speculation that Milk would not back Olague has swirled for months, so the PAC vote wasn’t much of a surprise. The real shock came in the PAC decision not to endorse any candidate in the open District 7 seat based in the neighborhoods west of Twin Peaks.

The most progressive person in the race is school board president Norman Yee, and it was speculated he would win favor with the Milk club. But last week he found himself having to apologize for his campaign altering a photo of District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who is running unopposed for re-election this fall.

Someone switched Avalos’ face with that for another man on a piece of Yee’s campaign literature, which caught the attention of SF Examiner political columnist¬†Melissa Griffin. The Milk club was a backer of Avalos’ run last year for mayor, and the Yee campaign’s misstep may have cost it support among Milk PAC voters.

The PAC also snubbed gay journalist Joel Engardio, who like Yee is also seeking to succeed termed out District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, considered the most conservative member on the board. Having said he would model himself after moderate supervisors like gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, Engardio had little chance of winning over the Milk PAC.

The Milk PAC is recommending the club give sole endorsements to Board President David Chiu, who is facing nominal competition for his District 3 seat, and to District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, who faces stiff competition from opponent businessman David Lee.

Both Avalos and gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos, also running unopposed, secured Milk PAC endorsement recommendations.


— Matthew S. Bajko, September 17, 2012 @ 6:41 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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