Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Online Extra: Political Notes:
SF Young Dems endorse
Campos for Assembly


Assembly candidates David Chiu, left, and David Campos faced off in their first debate last week, which was moderated by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Marisa Lagos, center.
(Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland)
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The San Francisco Young Democrats endorsed gay Supervisor David Campos for Assembly following the first debate in his race against his colleague, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.

The endorsement gives Campos a boost toward securing the state Democratic Party's backing in his bid for the city's 17th Assembly District seat, currently held by gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), as the club's delegates to the state party convention that will decide whom to endorse are now pledged to Campos.

The 75-minute-long debate Thursday, January 23 was notable more for the attacks the candidates lodged at one another rather than any concrete proposals or legislation they would pursue if elected to the state Legislature. They both did call for the minimum wage to be increased to $15 an hour and pledged support for the state's troubled high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Considered the underdog in the race, Campos was the first to lob criticism at his opponent. During his opening statement he said the race is not only about a "tale of two Davids" but also class=usercontent>"a tale of two David Chius."

Stating that their differences "are stark," Campos painted Chiu as being more interested in the interests of the chamber of commerce rather than small business owners and tenants.

A few minutes later, Chiu shot back that he is "proud of my record delivering for tenants and affordable housing."

They argued over who had done more to address the city's "affordability crisis," in the words of Chiu, and who has done more to protect renters and low-income workers.

"With this David there doesn't have to be a lobbying effort at City Hall on behalf of tenants to get me to do the right thing," said Campos.

Chiu countered that he has been able to accomplish more for tenants while on the board and questioned Campos's ability to pass legislation in Sacramento.

"We need people to hammer out consensus," said Chiu.

They both came out each other for their votes on two high profile housing developments in the city. Chiu criticized Campos for voting against the redevelopment of both Park Merced next to the San Francisco State University campus and the Hunter's Point shipyard.

"Campos voted against tens of thousands of units that we are building today," Chiu said, noting that the shipyard development includes the remodel of a public housing site.

Campos, in turn, attacked Chiu for supporting the plans to demolish hundreds of rent-controlled units at Park Merced, insinuating that he has not done enough to call for the construction of affordable housing in the city.

"I don't think the creation of luxury housing would have made things better. It would have exacerbated the problem," said Campos.

Both candidates continuously dodged directly answering the questions posed by the moderator, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Marisa Lagos. Several times she pushed them for more specific responses to no avail.

They failed to name the legislative committees they would want to serve on in the Assembly and sidestepped answering who they would want Mayor Ed Lee to appoint to their seat if elected. They were in agreement that the city charter should be amended so that voters get to decide how to fill a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors instead of the mayor.

Campos did say he would like to see a woman named to his seat; Chiu said he would hope his successor shared his opposition to the controversial 8 Washington project along the waterfront that voters rejected last year.

Asked what LGBT rights legislation they would pursue, neither listed any specific policy proposals they have in mind. Campos pointed to protections for the transgender community as a main focus for him.

Overall, he said it was important to have a "queer voice at the table" and of the importance to elect an LGBT person to the seat, which has had out representation since 1996.

"When I get to Sacramento not only am I going to be a good vote but I am going to be a leader making sure we push forward the rights of every LGBT person in this state, especially the transgender community," said Campos. "The transgender community has been stigmatized for so long, we as society need to make that a priority, and that for me will be a key priority in Sacramento."

Addressing a question that is sure to shadow the candidates through Election Day, Chiu said he would follow in the footsteps of past straight legislators, such as longtime Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and the late state Senator George Moscone, both of whom served as mayor of San Francisco, who championed LGBT rights.

"Whoever is elected, I believe, will be the most outspoken advocate for these issues," said Chiu, adding that, "it is important for the community and the movement to have straight allies in the trenches fighting the fight."


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Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 861-5019 or

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