By Rafael Mandelman
The New Year has brought with it a set of political transitions and new beginnings.
After months of maneuvering by the Supervisors and their supporters and much prognostication by City Hall watchers about who would succeed David Chiu as Board President, it turns out that the new Board President is the old Board President. Chiu now becomes the first three-term president since John Molinari back in the eighties.
Early speculation had focused on District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim as potential successors to Chiu. Although Wiener did not win the top job, he did emerge from the process with the chairship of the important Land Use Committee and a seat on the Budget Committee. Wienerâ€™s star continues to rise.
Meanwhile, David Campos has generated quite a stir with his proposal to rename San Francisco International Airport in honor of slain gay civil rights icon Harvey Milk. I, of course, love the idea of travelers from across the globe passing through a permanent monument to Milk and the radical social and political changes that were symbolized and hastened by his life and death. Campos has long been a workhorse supervisor, quietly but diligently advancing a pragmatic reform agenda. The airport proposal, though, has certainly boosted his profile, which is not a bad thing for someone rumored to be considering a bid for the Assembly in two years.
At the Alice B. Toklas Club, Co-Chair Reese Isbell has wrapped up a successful two-year reign, and newly elected Co-Chair Ron Flynn will be joining Co-Chair (and former Milk Club President) Martha Knutzen to guide the Club through 2013. A deputy city attorney who worked on the Proposition 8 case and has previously co-chaired Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, Flynn also happens to be one of the nicest guys in politics. Alice is lucky to have him.
Over at the Harvey Milk Club, new President Tom Temprano is taking over from outgoing President Glendon â€śAnna Condaâ€ť Hyde. I first met Temprano working on the John Avalos for Mayor campaign and immediately knew I liked him. A popular party promoter when heâ€™s not agitating for social justice, Temprano is sure to maintain the Clubâ€™s focus on entertainment issues while also fighting hard for such traditional Milk Club concerns as affordable housing, immigrant rights and reform of our antiquated drug laws.
Tom has pulled together a great team to lead the Club, including vice presidents Annie Chou, Peter Gallotta, and Laura Thomas. As a former Milk Club president myself, I am hopeful this crew will be able to help the Club and the broader progressive community rebuild after the largely disastrous year (see, e.g., District 5 Supervisor race) that was 2012.
I was reminded of another former Milk Club president at my own swearing in as College Board Trustee earlier this month. Itâ€™s just over a year now since Michael Goldstein died way too young from complications of AIDS. As I mentioned at my inauguration, of the two of us, I would have thought that it would have been Michael â€“ formerly a student activist at City College â€“ who would have been elected to the City College Board. We miss you Michael.
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve got for now. Wishing you all success and joy in 2013.