“Tale of Two Davids” casts Campos as the progressive hero

David Campos (foreground) had a good night in his first debate against Assembly opponent David Chiu.
Mike Koozmin/SF Media Co.

David Campos presented “a tale of two Davids” tonight [Thu/23] in his first debate with David Chiu in their race to replace Assemblymember Tom Ammiano in AD17, contrasting his solid progressive record against Chiu’s more pragmatic approach. Chiu reinforced the narrative by repeatedly touting his “effectiveness” and record at City Hall.

So the question that may decide the race is whether the corporate-friendly “jobs agenda” that Chiu has pursued with Mayor Ed Lee – an approach that is now triggering a political backlash as evictions and gentrification rage – is popular with voters. It wasn’t with the San Francisco Young Democrats, which sponsored the debate in the Main Library tonight and then voted to endorse Campos.

Campos brought the fire from the beginning, chiding Chiu for his chummy relationship with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and offering English and Spanish translations of the saying, “Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Chiu tried to focus on his record and political skills – “We need an Assembly person who is effective at getting things done,” Chiu said – but he seemed weary and thrown off balance by Campos’ well-delivered ideological jabs.

“I’m surprised as a tenant you would support the demolition of 1500 rent-controlled units at Parkmerced,” Campos said after Chiu identified with struggling renters. And when Chiu touted the condo conversion moratorium deal he cut, Campos said, “There doesn’t have to be a lobbying effort by tenant groups to get me to do the right thing.”

As Chiu listed his legislative accomplishments, Campos said it was important to “draw a line in the sand” against the powerful corporate interests that hold sway in City Hall these days. “ I have a different definition of effectiveness,” Campos said, criticizing Chiu for supporting Twitter’s $22 million tax break.

Chiu finally got testy and defensive, accusing Campos of also taking money from developers and corporations and with practicing divisive politics. “I do think the people in San Francisco are stick of these attacks,” Chiu said, and then indignantly offering, “I’m in nobody’s pocket.”

But Campos maintained both his narrative and his composure, calling Chiu out for crafting a watered-down alternative to Campos’ legislation requiring restaurants to comply with the Health Care Security Ordinance in paying for their employees’ health coverage and ensuring all surcharges tacked onto customers’ bill go to employees.

“You co-sponsored [the Campos legislation] then changed your mind when the Chamber told you,” Campos said.

When moderator Marisa Lagos from the Chronicle asked the two candidates whether they supported the deal that Mayor Lee cut with tech companies to charge $1 per bus stop for the “Google buses,” which the SFMTA board rubber-stamped this week, Chiu said, “I don’t think $1 per stop is enough.”

Campos pounced, citing Chiu’s support for the deal and quotes in a press release that the Mayor’s Office put out and his absence from the SFMTA meeting where Campos publicly called for a better deal for the city. “It’s one thing to say it here and it’s another thing to say it at City Hall,” Campos said, continuing the offensive by returning to Chiu’s sponsorship of the Twitter tax break, which disappeared from Chiu’s campaign page as the issue has turned toxic recently. “I think you know that was a mistake,” Campos said.

Chiu didn’t respond, choosing instead to actually emphasize the contrast between his insider role at City Hall and Campos’ identification with the activists. “I’m trying to work behind the scenes and get things done, he’s grandstanding before the cameras,” Chiu said.

Campos extended his “tale of two Davids” narrative, charging that there are two David Chius: the candidate first elected with progressive support in 2008, and the calculating politician who works with the moderates and the business community to advance his interests.

“Which David Chiu is going to go to Sacramento?” Campos asked.

Chiu tried to bridge the gulf between his progressive and pragmatic selves: “In 2008 I said I believed it’s progressive for us to be creating jobs and building housing.” In his closing, Chiu reminded the capacity crowd that there was a recession when he and Campos were elected the Board of Supervisors in 2008. “What we didn’t need at that time is discussion about ideology,” Chiu said.

Campos used his closing to return to the personal story he told in his introduction about immigrating from Guatemala with his family when he was 14, and seeing such hope and opportunity in the United States. “There is something happening to our city and country that we are losing what made us great,” Campos said. “This campaign is about taking our city back, it’s about protecting the heart of San Francisco.”


Certainly more left-wing than the average Lee-voting SF voter.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2014 @ 11:18 am

"Where they stand on fluff issues like nudity isn't important"

That wasn't the point.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 6:16 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

There's no indication of the commenter's gender so how would you know the person is a "he?"

Answer: You don't. You're just being chauvinistic, which is a common trait of right-wing trolls.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:05 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2014 @ 6:01 am

IOW, Campos uttered all the usual progressive platitudes and indicated zero ability to resonate on jobs, growth and other things that the majority want, as well as zero ability to work with anyone outside of progressive island.

And that is "winning"?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 7:29 am

I never wrote that Campos "won the debate," although given that the organization that hosted it then voted to endorse him, one could argue that Campos did. Franky, I think most who know these two were surprised that Chiu seemed so off his game while Campos was so on his. But Chiu is tough and disciplined and I don't expect this debate to decide this race.

Posted by Steven T. on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 8:17 am

I'd expect Campos to do better with this audience. But who would do better with the far more important constituencies of the moderate majority who elected Ed Lee on a pro-jobs, pro-growth platform.

Campos is anti jobs and anti growth.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 8:24 am

SFYD has long been known to be filled with establishment Dem types -there's a mix that fluctuates, but it tends more toward the young consultant and political aide type, than the young activist type. Someone like Nicole Derse should be well on the left among a group like SFYD, and she's working for Chiu.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 9:19 am

probably more left-wing than the average voter. Just look at some of the DCC endorsements, for instance.

The big question for Campos is how does he engage voters who are not knee-jerk progressives? He can get away with not doing that in his district, but not elsewhere.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:54 am

There are plenty of right-of-center political groups... Plan C, Alice, Westside Democratic Club, some years SFYD. Campos must've done well to get their endorsement.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

right-wingers are rarer. Nobody credible stands for office in Sf as a right-winger. Even Farrell is just a MOR Democrat

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2014 @ 5:58 am

Up until sit lie.

"enforcing laws on the books directed towards the behavior od our golden hobo's is bad"

Around sit lie

"enforce laws already on the books"

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 8:21 am

"...behavior od our golden hobo's..." [sic]

You give nonsensical drivel a bad name.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 9:12 am

Yet you can't defend Campos and his fluid idiocy.

I would be happy to post under the Matlock name but your masters think otherwise.

Posted by guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

Much better, of course, to not work with anyone other than progressives, obviously.

Not sure how much influence such an attitude will get Campos in the much more moderate chamber in Sacramento.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 8:26 am

I was polled by phone by the campos group regarding support for him in the assembly.
The questions were ridiculously anti growth, anti jobs, and there was even a mention about how campos worked/would work? towards limiting the growth of tech companies in SF.
oh, and I guess he's gay?
Who cares, he's another progressive idiot

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 9:05 am

For most electeds, policy choices fall into rough thirds. At either end are policies the elected would always or never support. In the middle lie the policies that an elected can compromise on.

Not so for David Chiu for whom policy choices are determined by a state machine. There are three coin slots atop Chiu's state machine that appear to reflect those rough thirds. The supplicant drops a coin into one of the three slots, turns the crank on the side of the machine a few times, the gears whir and hum, and depending on the previous state of the machine, a coin of lesser value will drop out of one of the three slots. You never know where the coin will drop until you turn the crank on the machine.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 9:27 am

Campos is left with the leftmost third, and that's not enough.

Moreover, Chui can talk to both sides. Realistically how could Campos discuss anything with corporate interests? By painting corporations as the devil, he appears dangerous to the moderate majority who are pro-business and pro-growth.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:52 am

Assembly is just a holding position until he runs for the mayoralty of SF. It's a place where he wants to propose bone-headed legislation with no chance of passing either the legislature or the courts (extending voting rights to non-citizens is one of his favorites) and make long-winded speeches talking about when he was a little pupusa scuttling across the border, eagerly awaiting the great opportunities the US had for him. He's a broken record.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... yes, promises, no results, no hope. What else is new in SF or the supervisors? Go to youtube and type in Jason Garza ...then go to the David Chiu videos I have in regard to civili gideon when DPH https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cP3jCmJFRo&list=TLgPwQ7_GGXh8Yizc3Kk583...

Keep Drinking the Kool-Aid, give up all hope, and know you are next in these lies and deception ... what is the consequence?

Then go to http://myownprivateguantanamo.com/settle1.html to read the confession when the city broke the law ... apparently I do know of what I speak and also know the continuation of lies and bullshit.

Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who stated that he could not wait to see the day when every politician was strangled with the endtrails of every priest? False hope, false promises, no results and certainly no humanity or integrity ... what has changed?

Learn the GAMES, watch the INHUMANITY and know you are NEXT.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:00 am

You haven't, that's for sure. One trick pony.

Posted by Oliver on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

This is a great puff piece that is more political junk mailer than it is reporting. Steve, since you suck at being an editor, and your paper is going downhill anyway, and likely will be shut down in a year, why not go get a copywriting job with Stearns. He won't pay you shit but you are used to that now.

Posted by Phineas Brown's Cat on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:28 am

Your article failed to mention identity politics, which could be the key to victory.

Chui will get the Asian-American vote. Campos will get the gay vote.

I suspect that whoever gets the moderates on board will win. And that'd be Chui.

Posted by Guest Lecturer on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:39 am

Most gay people have little-to-no interest in Campos' wealth expropriation plans or his interest in extending voting rights to illegal immigrants. Campos can count on the Latino vote - that's for sure and the hard-left are in his corner but every other segment is up for grabs. Once his schemes come to light, as well as his relatively light record on the BOS (on issues other than getting his favored constituency - illegal immigrants - free shit) he's gonna look a lot different than he does now.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

As they typically invest in property and do not want the real estate boat rocker by those who seek to confiscate wealth for ideological reasons.

Just look at the way marcos sold out as soon as he bought his condo.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

but typically when faced with a choice of a hard left and moderate Dem they chose the moderate - like Scott Wiener over Rafael Mandleman.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

have been finally resolved, then gays may find their nesting nature and real estate interests better served by the right than the bleeding heart whiners on the left.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

Mandelman = Hard Left? LMFAO!

Posted by marcos on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

Yes, the gay community has already become more conservative. The opposite of what they were really. it's Crazy.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

"Campos will get the gay vote."

LOL. I'm sure the same gay community that voted for conservative Wiener will vote for Campos. Not likely.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 6:44 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

See my other post higher in the thread explaining why that is enough, and why I think he will do better than Avalos.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

Of course, Campos is the more liberal of the two liberals. What does "progressive" mean anyways? Chiu is quicker to sell out and compromise his values, if indeed he has any other than electoral success. But his charge of hypocrisy against Campos for taking real estate money is true. Just as true is that Chiu is happy to take the same sources of funds.

I wish one of these careerist politicians would have the guts to stand for something, which, of course, is impossible under the umbrella of the Democratic party. An open Socialist won office in Seattle. Why not here? I've heard Avalos (our greatest "progressive" hero) at public events talk about a "system change", but he can't say the "S" word in public.

However this primary turns out, either one of these guys will vote identically in Sacramento. I live in Campos' district, so I suppose it would be better for me personally if Chiu wins so I don't have an Ed Lee machine picked Supervisor to replace an upwardly-mobile Campos.

Identity politics are a distraction even if they will play an important role in this virtually meaningless electoral joust. Until then, see you in the street.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:08 am

that he seeks to impose on society, if elected.

But I see a politician's job is more to listen to his constituents and hear what they want, and not to impose his ideas on them.

IOW, a politician needs to listen more than talk. And I haven't seen anything to indicate that Campos can do that. I've never seen him change his mind in the face of overwhelming opposition, for instance. Chui will make compromizes to get something done. Campos will just yell to an empty chamber.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:23 am

than the present corporatist "democracy" we now endure. I am encouraging honest debate rather than euphemistic electoral kabuki theater.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:43 am

Mock pragmatism all you want but I just cannot see Campos having the range and flexibility to negotiate and compromize.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

agreeing with you is "socialist" which has a interesting set of beliefs.

While not agreeing with you is 'corporatist "democracy"'

You define what people are, or what your strawmen are, and then claim victory.

Posted by guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

Don't bother with him. He's just a paid troll by the illegal alien/socialist/progressive/anti-tech cabal. Who else would have time to spend all day on here making comments that are so communist?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2014 @ 5:03 pm

order me to post here so that you respond. That way, they are gathering information on your internet habits and finding vulnerabilities in your financial accounts.

Keep commenting. Just don't be surprised when all your liquid assets find their ways to Pyongyang and Havana.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2014 @ 7:17 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 26, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

I think he was just trying to mirror how Greg, marcos, and some other hard core progs on here swear that people are getting paid by the mayor/google/twitter/realtors/corporations/etc. to actually post comments here.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 27, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

Where is your evidence that a city that elected Ed Lee 60-40 over Avalos would want a socialist representative?

If SF voters wanted a "system change" they would have elected Avalos, and they were not close to doing that.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:31 am

Because of fear of negative political consequences, Avalos constrains himself from using the word "socialism" in public.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 11:40 am

even in it's most lefty spots, notwithstanding that isolated victory in Seattle and that whack job Congressman from Vermont.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 12:03 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 12:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

not members of the Senate, are commonly called congressmen (people). Have you ever heard a reference to a Senator as a congressman? Ever?

Can't admit an error, really? Now run off to beat your dog or your wife. Or just beat off.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:21 pm

how many elected members are there in Congress.

Clue. The answer includes the Senate. If you didn't know that, you would have failed the citizenship. Welcome to america.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

No one refers to a Senator as a congressman. Not even you, except in error or in a desperate attempt to avoid admitting a mistake.

Gotta run. I want to write letters about NSA overreach to Congresswomen Feinstein and Boxer.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

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