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    Endorsement Season

    zoeAs many of you may know, I was elected to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) two years ago. This is the governing body of the party in our county, responsible for registering voters, endorsing candidates and ballot propositions, organizing phone banking and precinct walks, getting out the vote and occasionally passing resolutions expressing the position of the county party on a variety of topics and policies.

    We are now halfway through our four-year term, and I am proud of all that we have achieved over these past two years under the leadership of Mary Jung, our chair. In celebration of our accomplishments, the local Democratic Party is hosting a party on August 20th at 6 PM at Laborers Local 261 located at 3271 18th Street. I think there will be a dunk tank and I think a certain Bay Times columnist might volunteer to sit in it if enough readers come out! So please join us—tickets start at $25 and all proceeds go to support our staff and internship program.

    As we approach the fall election, the DCCC and local political clubs interview the candidates and representatives of the various ballot propositions (both for and against) and make endorsements. August is typically endorsement season, after the filing deadlines and before Labor Day weekend. There are a few snoozers out there—unopposed incumbents who are shoo-ins, like Jeff Adachi for Public Defender, Carmen Chu for Assessor/Recorder, and Katy Tang as District 4 Supervisor.

    There are other supervisors facing opponents, but conventional wisdom is that the incumbents are overwhelming favorites: Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener. District 10 is a little bit more interesting because Supervisor Malia Cohen will compete for votes with Tony Hall, a fairly well known figure in our city, but odds still heavily favor the incumbent in this district.

    That leaves the race to replace Assemblymember Tom Ammiano in Sacramento and the state and local ballot propositions as the most interesting contests this fall. “The Davids,” Board President David Chiu and Supervisor David Campos, are seemingly everywhere as they compete for our votes. David Chiu has a head of steam entering the fall, having bested Campos by 4% in the June primary and a campaign account flush with cash. Personally, I am supporting David Chiu. He has, in my humble opinion, accomplished more in his time on the Board than almost any other supervisor (except perhaps the Castro’s very own Scott Wiener), and has the collaboration and leadership skills to represent our district well in the state Assembly. As for ballot initiatives, I will save my summary for the next column. Let’s just say there are lots of them and they are asking for a lot of money. Topics so far range from funding public schools and Muni, to taxing sugary beverages to whether some soccer fields should be grass or artificial surface. Stand by for that analysis!

    At the state level, the most hotly contested office in the June primary was (of all things) Controller. Not the sexiest job in the world, but critically important as the individual serves as the Chief Fiscal Officer of California, makes sure the State’s $100 billion budget is spent properly, helps administer two of the nation’s largest public pension funds, and serves on 81 State boards and commissions.

    The top two candidates from the June primary get to advance to the general election this fall. The race for that coveted second place spot dragged on for weeks after the election, as the absentee and provisional ballots were counted and Democrats John Perez and Betty Yee were neck and neck. In the end, our local shero, Betty Yee, eked out the victory by the closest of margins—481 votes out of 4 million votes, or by one one-hundredth of one percent! If you don’t think every vote counts, you are sorely mistaken. This contest demonstrated that quite effectively! Betty Yee now takes on Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin this November. One thing is for sure: there will be a woman overseeing our money in Sacramento come November!

    In closing, I’m honored to share that I have been recently appointed to the San Francisco Library Commission. Our city’s library system is one of the best in the country. I look forward to sharing more about my experiences on the commission in future columns. Until then, make sure you return your overdue books!

    Zoe Dunning is a retired Navy Commander and was a lead activist in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She currently serves as the 1st Vice Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, as a San Francisco Library Commissioner, and as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club.