Negative Campaigning Update


By Savannah Blackwell, SFProgressive.com Editor



A robocall from Democratic County Central Committee Chair Leslie Katz accusing district five candidate Ross Mirkarimi of playing fast and loose with his party membership apparently went out to some district five voters yesterday.


And then today, Supervisor Matt Gonzalez endorsed Robert Haaland. He had previously only endorsed Mirkarimi.

As for the kerfunckle over the DCCC’s slate mailer, the plan to get the slate mailer committee to order new mailers for voters in districts one, five and seven (where the party had endorsed more than one candidate), was dropped due to lack of time and funds.


Meanwhile, Pat Lakey, the district seven candidate who got the DCCC’s second place spot in that race, has formed a new organization affiliated with the Democratic Party in response to the controversy over the DCCC’s printed slate card.


“District 7 residents are tired of these shenanigans,” Lake said in an Oct. 28 press release. “They don’t want campaign flyers about petty squabbles. They want solutions.”

--Email SF Progressive Editor Savannah Blackwell at savannah.blackwell@gmail.com

November 01, 2004

Barnes Protests Cobb

A good-natured confrontation between Democratic supporters of John Kerry and Green backers of David Cobb went down at the corner of Frederick and Stanyan this afternoon.


Longtime Green Party organizer Susan King was hosting a party rally/press conference with Cobb as well as U.S. House of Representative write-in candidate Terry Baum, and Pat Gray, who is running on the green ticket against Congressman Tom Lantos.

Her efforts brought out Bill Barnes, a member of the local Democratic County Central Committee, who is also running for the D5 seat. Barnes arrived at the front steps of King's home (where the green group was due to speak), along with about half a dozen supporters and Democratic party faithful.


Sign count: King and the greens slightly edged out the dems, with eight campaign signs pushing either the Cobb/La Marche ticket or King for supervisor to seven featuring "Kerry/Edwards."

Barnes told the SF Progressive he considers the race in California too close for any progressive Democrats to risk casting their ballots for Cobb.


"We live in a state where Kerry is only ahead by single digits," Barnes said. "This election is too important for people to vote for Cobb or Nader."


Cobb reached out towards Barnes and pledged to work with progressive Democrats after the election to push for reform of the national electoral system.


"I hope you agree that we have the right to participate," he said. "The solution can't be to restrict the voice of the green party. The solution has to be to change our voting system. Let's hope we can follow in the lead of San Francisco, so progressives can work together in 2006 and 2008."

Haaland on the Attack

It certainly was a predictable move.


Most election analyists agreed that if local Democratic Party committee member Robert Haaland wanted to try and pull out a win in the race for district five supervisor, he would have to attack frontrunner Ross Mirkarimi.


And so it’s happened.


Even more predictably, the hit is one many of us anticipated Haaland would use against Mirkarimi: the latter’s status as a member of the Green Party.


  Hence, we see these orange flyers circulating around the district over the weekend declaring, “It must be Halloween Watch Out! Greens are dressing up as Democrats!” The piece says it was paid for the San Francisco Democratic Party.


Apparently Haaland and local Democratic Party chair (and Haaland supporter) Leslie Katz have decided to play the party card.

Mirkarimi’s offense, according to the flyer, is that he showed himself shaking hands with former president Bill Clinton in a mail piece aimed at Democrats.


What’s the big deal here? It’s true Mirkarimi worked for Clinton’s advance team in 1997. So he’s got credability in party politics beyond just the greens. Barry Hermanson, a green party member who ran for district eight supervisor in 2002, pointed out the obvious reason for the mailer: given the relatively low percentage of green voters in district five, any green would have to appeal to progressive democrats in order to win.


“Hey, green party members aren’t numerous enough yet. We need progressive Democrats for us to get into office,” Hermanson told the SF Progressive.


According to the San Francisco Sentinel’s account of the two’s comments, Katz and Haaland are accusing Mirkarimi of trying to closet his green identity (unlike, as he apparently pointed out at a rally yesterday of the local democratic party organization and the Harvey Milk and Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Clubs, Haaland -- who is open about his identity as a transgender). They say he’s trying to imply that Clinton has endorsed him in the local supes race.


But that’s ridiculous. Nothing in the mailer states that.

Instead, it relays the message that some local democratic leaders, such as Art Agnos and Terence Hallinan, have seen fit to endorse the green Mirkarimi. It does not imply that Mirkarimi is a green or that Clinton is one of those who offered official support.


The caption under the photo of Mirkarimi and Clinton specifies, “Ross working with President Clinton’s advance team, 1997.”

But this mailer was apparently enough to provide the impetus Haaland needed to go negative. Making such a move directly contradicts the stated principles of the District Five Collaborative, in which Haaland participated.


Haaland, from what we hear, is quite worked up over the matter. We’ll put out a call and see what he has to say.


For now, we’ll let Hermanson, who’s a nice, mellow dude, tell the story of how Haaland handled the issue over the weekend:

“I was walking down (Haight) street and I ran into Tommi Mecca…and Robert was handing stuff out,” Hermanson said. “He came over and started getting all upset about this campaign piece.


I guess the one with Ross shaking Bill Clinton’s hand. I guess if it were up to me, I wouldn’t use a picture of me shaking someone’s hand unless I knew that person was going to vote for me or had endorsed me. But nowhere on there does (Ross) say he’s got Clinton’s endorsement.”


Apparently, the Democratic Party hit isn’t the only one Haaland’s campaign is making.


Hermanson added that one of Haaland’s volunteers came over to him, and “got all excited” saying that since Mirkarimi had purchased a tenancy-in-common several years ago, he was therefore, “anti-tenant.”


“That’s what they’re out there saying,” Hermanson said. “At least that’s what some of the volunteers are saying – that Ross is anti-tenant. I find that unfortunate, because it’s not true.”

Hermanson said he found Haaland’s level of agitation over the matter unsettling.


“ I hope someone can try to help Robert enjoy the last couple of days of the campaign. Hopefully, he’s able to put on a different face. Up until now, he’s been very positive.”

  Email SF Progressive Editor Savannah Blackwell at  savannah.blackwell@gmail.com


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