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    Win Kim, Win!

    1-Photo-Columnist-Mandelman_Rafael_housesZ (1)Congratulations to District 11 Supervisor candidate Kimberly Alvarenga, who managed on September 29 to (for the second time) deny opponent Ahsha Safai’s bid for the endorsement of the local Democratic Party. It had been a significant and unexpected boost for Alvarenga back on August 17 when she blocked Safai’s first attempt to win the Party endorsement. Although a majority of the members of the Democratic County Central Committee elected back in June (including me) support Alvarenga, the “ex oficio” members—that is, the Party bigwigs who hold seats on that committee by virtue of holding a State or Federal office—have almost all lined up behind Safai, and going into the August meeting everyone knew the vote was going to be very close.

    In fact, it couldn’t have been closer, with the Committee deadlocking 15 to 15 and thus not making an endorsement in the race. When Safai’s supporters subsequently started agitating for a re-vote at the September meeting, a lot of folks speculated that he must have managed to flip at least one member and would be walking away with the coveted endorsement. And as it became clear that night that Norman Yee would not be showing up—Yee had been part of the narrow no-endorsement majority in August—many of us assumed Safai had the thing wrapped up. But, after hours of public testimony (most from supporters of Alvarenga urging the Party to stay out of the contest and leave it to the voters of District 11 to decide), School Board member Rachel Norton (a Safai vote in August) now voted against revisiting the endorsement vote, thus dashing Safai’s hopes for the endorsement.

    Needless to say, the Alvarenga supporters on the Committee and in the audience were pretty ecstatic. As the endorsed candidate of the District 11 Democratic Club, and with the strong backing Supervisor Avalos, Kim looks to have a strong chance of winning in November. And how sweet it would be to see District 11, comprised of neighborhoods once represented by Dan White, elect a queer Latina mom to the Board of Supervisors. For folks with a little spare time between now and November 8, Kim’s office is located at 4458 Mission Street; drop by and lend a hand.

    More Kim, Please!

    I don’t believe it’s possible to do justice to the artistry of the drag makeover of District 6 Supervisor (and State Senate candidate) Jane Kim executed by Juanita More and Glamamore on October 1 at the Powerhouse. It has to have been the most delightful political event I have been to this season, maybe ever. I am supporting Jane because she has always supported me (even in 2010 when I supported her opponent Debra Walker in the District 6 race that year), because she’s a champion of poor and marginalized people, and because I trust her to fight for a more just world, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that she makes one fierce drag queen.  That night made me (and a room full of other delighted screaming queers) love Jane and Juanita even more than we already did!

    What Were They Thinking?

    Speaking of that State Senate race, what is up with Equality California? I have long admired and supported the group’s advocacy for the rights of LGBT Californians. But I was puzzled by the group’s decision to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into attack ads targeting my new favorite drag queen Jane Kim.  I can certainly understand their endorsement of Wiener—after all, he’s gay, she’s not, and representation matters—and I can understand spending money to promote his candidacy.

    But why savage a strong progressive who always has been, and will also be, excellent on LGBT rights? Indeed, there are plenty of folks (including folks in the trans community) who argue that Kim is the stronger candidate when it comes to the “T” in LGBT. Equality California’s decision to hit Kim this year reminded me of the 2011 mayor’s race, when the Victory Fund chose to spend resources attacking Dennis Herrera, of all people; you remember, the City Attorney who fought for same-sex marriage all the way up to the Supreme Court? Yeah, that one. I love Equality California and Victory Fund, but I don’t love it when they spend our resources and credibility attacking our friends.

    Now Vote!

    It’s a long ballot, dear readers, but as I have tried to explain in past columns, there are a number of extremely important candidate races and measures on that ballot. So, yes, please do make sure to vote for Hillary and Kamala, but then keep voting all the way down the ballot. If you care about City College, make sure to vote for Prop 51 (school bonds that will help finance desperately needed improvements at our campuses), Prop 55 (renewing the Prop 30 income taxes that have been critical to funding operations at schools and community colleges across the State), Proposition B (the City College parcel tax extension) and Proposition W (Jane Kim’s transfer tax on high end real estate to fund Free City College). Vote No on the nasty and ill-conceived Props U, P, Q and R (see my September column if you need to know why). And vote for strong progressive women locally as well as nationally: Jane Kim for Senate; Sandra Lee Fewer, Hillary Ronen and Kimberly Alvarenga for Supervisor; Lateefah Simon for BART Board.

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