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    Reflections on Election 2016, Remembering Agar Jaicks and Leno’s Victory Lap

    MandelmanReflections on Election 2016

    Unfortunately, dear reader, I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage. You see, as I write this column, in the final week of the 2016 campaign, I don’t know how the story turns out. I know that Nate Silver’s projections of a Clinton victory seem distressingly contingent; and closer to home, I know that an unprecedented deluge of special interest money has poured into our State Senate race and the local Board of Supervisors and ballot measure contests. But I do not know (as you should by the time this is published) whether Clinton in fact pulled it off, whether she had any coattails at all in the congressional races, and whether all that money spent on our local elections succeeded in stamping out the flames of reform that found their kindling in Aaron Peskin’s upset victory over the mayor’s appointee in District 3 just one year ago.

    One thing I do know about the election, regardless of the results, is this: In 2016, at every level of government, from the Presidency to the California Senate seat to San Francisco’s State Senate seat to the BART and Community College Boards to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, we saw amazing women (and often, women of color) stepping up to run for elected positions they probably should have occupied long ago. These contests were insanely tough, but whether they won or lost, in each case they ran strong campaigns, campaigns of which they should be proud and for which we should all be grateful. Thank you Hillary, and thank you Kamala, Jane, Lateefah, Shanell, Sandy, Hillary (Ronen) and Kimberly. Win or lose, you changed our politics for the better and, I am certain, will continue to do so.

    Remembering Agar Jaicks

    I ran into Agar Jaicks’ daughter Lisa as I was campaigning on Church Street in Noe Valley a couple of weeks after he died at the age of 93. His was, she assured me, “a life welllived.” The former Democratic Party Chair and longtime Democratic Party activist’s contributions to San Francisco’s civic and political life were tremendous, and those of us who love this town are very much in his debt. Honoring Agar a few years ago on the occasion of his 90th birthday, his good friend Nancy Pelosi spoke of “Agar and [his wife] Diana and their Haight Ashbury neighbors, Jack and Jane Morrison and Sue Bierman,” as people who “stood on the progressive front of important San Francisco battles, from stopping the central freeway that would destroy San Francisco neighborhoods and Golden Gate Park neighborhoods to fighting unrestricted downtown development.” Now only Jane is left, still doing what she can to promote our causes even at the age of 96. Drive up Woodland Avenue before any election, and you will see her windows still covered in the campaign posters of the season’s great progressive hopes.

    Leno’s Victory Lap

    Leading up to this year’s election, our termed out State Senator Mark Leno has been enjoying a well-deserved victory lap, being celebrated at events throughout the City for his years of service on the Board of Supervisors and then in the State Assembly and State Senate. Over the last few months, Livable City, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Horizons Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have all celebrated Leno’s many and various legislative accomplishments at their big annual events, and those are just the ones that have crossed my radar; there have surely been many others. Of course, I am particularly grateful for Leno’s unflagging support for City College, without which it is doubtful the institution could have weathered the last several years, but Leno’s work to save City College is just a small piece of his Sacramento résumé, having won major victories in the areas of worker’s rights, economic and social justice issues, LGBT civil rights, and a host of others. Leno’s a class act, a mensch as well as a great public servant, and we can only hope that he will find ways to continue to serve. As many have noted, San Francisco is, after all, long overdue for a queer mayor, and Leno is the obvious choice.

    Save the Date: The LGBT Center will be celebrating our fifteenth anniversary and the re-opening of our remodeled building on April 8. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to be able to serve on and lead the Board of a community institution that does so much good. We’ll have lots to celebrate in April, and I hope you all can make it!

    Rafael Mandelman is an attorney for the City of Oakland. He is also President of the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees.