Let’s Not Squander the Next Four Years
Fellow Progressive San Franciscans, we had a great
win in this past election, maintaining our majority on the Board of
Supervisors. Let's not squander it.
I suggest that we immediately begin by identifying
two or three accomplishments that San Franciscans would really appreciate,
accomplishments that would improve the quality of their lives, that could
be achieved in twelve to eighteen months, — that would cause them to point
proudly to their Progressive political leadership and say, "These folks
I think that many of us are getting burned out by the
endless cycle of elections in which we are underfunded and understaffed.
Our opponents will pour even more money and more mendacity into the next
round of elections. They never give up. That is the nature of power and
However, I believe our victories in this election
have handed us a reprieve — a second opportunity to make this truly a
progressive city; to get way out in front of the SFSOS crowd; to render
Donald Fisher a speck in our collective rearview mirror. In order to avoid
squandering this opportunity, we must produce.
I think it's unrealistic for us to expect Ross,
Chris, Tom, Aaron, Jake, and Gerardo to get organized and do something
together that will make San Franciscans sit up and take notice. They need
our help and support to give them confidence. They need our help and
support to make it happen.
So, I suggest that we start by identifying
objectives, a strategy, and a plan that excites not just progressives but
a large segment of the entire community. The only way I know of
accomplishing that is by somehow getting a lot of input from a lot of
people so that ultimately it's their plan, not ours.
I propose as the first step that we do a lot of
informal polling: find out what people want.
For example, a friend suggested we work on protecting
neighborhood integrity. Then two other friends who ride bikes a lot said
they think that the bike lanes on Valencia have done an enormous amount to
create a neighborhood feel on the Valencia corridor. Is there an effective
solution to be derived from those two insights? And, if so, should it be
one of the two or three things that we commit to making happen in the next
12 to 18 months?
I urge anyone interested in this approach to ask
other people what would make the quality of their lives better. And then
listen. Don't try to persuade. Just listen. And make sure you understand.
And then report back to me — Charles Kalish at
I'll volunteer to keep the information flowing and categorized.
Or we could think much bigger and create a citywide
meeting that allows a lot of people to be involved in one space using
modern techniques for consent or consensus building.
Or something in between. Or totally different.
Whatever we do, let's not blow this opportunity.