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

Supervisor Elsbernd calls Mandelman “most dangerous” candidate running for the board this year

During last night’s debate among the District 8 supervisor candidates, local attorney Rafael Mandelman told the audience that District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd would not be on his list of potential interim mayor candidates because the supervisor has called him the “most dangerous candidate running for supervisor this year.”

Asked if he has indeed said that about Mandelman’s candidacy, Elsbernd told the B.A.R. in an email Thursday, September 23 that he has characterized him in that manner because of Mandelman’s flip-flopping on his Muni reform initiative Measure G.

“I have done so because he has proven himself to be consistently inconsistent. First, he was opposed to Proposition G, the Fix Muni measure, as he stated in his labor council candidate questionnaire; then, he took no position on it as an elected member of the DCCC; and, now, I hear he is telling some audiences he is supporting the measure,” wrote Elsbernd. “What has changed? Does he tailor his answer to his audience? Or do his convictions simply change with the times?”

Elsbernd added that, “Regardless of the explanation, elected officials should have the integrity and courage to stand by their convictions rather than stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.”

He said he has no problems with his colleagues on the board disagreeing with him, but does take issue with elected officials who do not stick to their convictions.

“As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I have a great amount of respect for members with whom I disagree, when they are able to articulate their position, when that position is grounded in their personal principles of governance, and when they have been consistent in these principles.  Supervisor John Avalos is a perfect example of someone like that,” wrote Elsbernd. “I believe members, or potential members who are unable to demonstrate clarity in their thinking or who simply pander to an audience are poor contributors to the Board, and, therefore, to the City. Rafeal [sic] strikes me as someone who would fall in that category more than any other candidate across the City. As such, his potential election is most concerning to me.”

Mandelman was asked about his changing stance on the Muni reform measure at the debate. The main purpose of Measure G, dubbed “Fix Muni Now,” would strip language out of the city’s charter that guarantees Muni drivers are the second highest paid in the nation compared to their counterparts at other transit agencies.

He acknowledged his position on Measure G has evolved over the last year, going from opposing Elsbernd’s measure while the board discussed putting a different measure on the ballot to supporting it after that alternative failed to emerge.

Nonetheless, he did criticize Elsbernd’s proposal as being “too punitive” toward the drivers and questioned if it would be enforceable.

“There are problems with the Elsbernd measure. Now that the Board of Supervisors’ alternative is not on the ballot, I am presented just like any other voter with an imperfect ballot measure and I have to decide yea or nay,” said Mandelman. “Given the fundamental question in that ballot measure – should drivers’ salaries be in the charter or not – I think they probably should not be. But I don’t think taking them out will dramatically change the world or dramatically improve Muni.

“I would have far preferred a broader reform,” he added.

All three of the other candidates in the race – Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Prozan; Deputy City Attorney Scott Wiener; and business executive Bill Hemenger – have endorsed Measure G.

— Matthew S. Bajko, September 23, 2010 @ 2:50 pm PST
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