John Fullerton, Measure P, and Irony (Updated)

Just had to share this little tid-bit from John Chiv’s blog yesterday.

Mr Fullerton said is going to wait to make a statement until he sees the vote count by precinct to see how he did in the fourth ward.

I guess John is operating under the mistaken understanding that Measure P takes effect retroactively.  John, it doesn’t.  You may concede without knowing the break down of the Fourth Ward.

Although I agree, it will be very interesting to watch that breakdown because going forward we will all be paying attention to the votes in a candidate in their ward alone.

For the record, here is the total votes, again via Mr. Chiv’s blog…

Austin Allison: 4,925
John Fullerton: 3,999

This is from Mr. Fullerton’s Facebook page on the day after the election.  Has he conceded yet?  John F.?

OK, I am 520 votes down and somebody asked if I was conceding. Hell no ! There are some 2,000 or more absentee ballots still to be counted I heard and I won’t concede as long as there is a mathematical chance.

Those that know me know I am relentlessly optimistic and positive and I never give up. I ran a positive upbeat campaign because that is the way I am.

Funny thing is, my opponent supported Measure P (the True Ward measure) but I won big in the fourth ward.

I wonder how Mr. Fullerton would describe the victory in the at-large vote?  Congratulations again soon to be Council-Member Elect Austin Allison, and Happy Birthday!


Eric Kirk commented on the irony of both candidate’s position on a  true ward system here.

The reality here is that if John Fullerton wins and Measure P passes he would have a much easier time winning reelection in the 4th ward the next time around as the 4th is one of the more conservative.  Austin Allison would have a much harder time.

So basically both candidates are taking positions on the measure which is against his interests.  That says well for both.

So much to be cynical about in elections.  Just one point of light worth mentioning.

I like that positive thought.  I also like Eric’s take on Measure P with a bit of SF history added to boot.  I’m adding this b/c my brother and sister-in-law had a pretty big win themselves for a progressive candidate in their SF district this passed November.  Hooray for small “d” democracy!

From Eric Kirk’s Sohum Parlance from 10/20/2016.

For Eureka residents.  I’ve always supported district elections wherever I’ve lived.  It was a major fight in San Francisco for years as the Feinstein/Willie Brown machine tried to maintain a lock on what we progressives referred to as “downtown interest control.”  San Francisco had passed district elections in the 1970s resulting in the election of progressives like Harvey Milk, Carol Ruth Silver, and not-so-progressive Dan White (the last Republican to be elected to office in San Francisco).  When the latter killed the former and Mayor Moscone, so many people fell for the argument which read basically, “See what happens when you have district elections?”  So SF did without district elections throughout the 80s.  Then the ill-advised term limits were passed statewide and Willie Brown found himself out of the Assembly and running for Mayor.  He thought he had a lock with a majority.

And then something remarkable happened.  Supervisor Mabel Teng, who had been a Maoist a couple of decades before, had been selling out and schilling for “downtown interests” for years, all of the sudden had a bout of conscience.  She flipped her vote (As cameras flashed, Brown acolyte Carol Migden walked across the chambers after the vote and lit into Teng who held her ground nicely) and SF now has district elections and a fairly progressive Board of Supervisors despite the Google takeover.

District elections were originally proposed by the Progressive Movement of the early 20th century as part of a list of reforms to break up municipal power monopolies like Tamany Hall.  There has been enormous resistance from conservative forces to the point where Catholic figures speaking along the lines of McCarthyite Bishop Fulton Sheen argued that the push for district elections was communist inspired and nuns were deployed to encourage public prayer against them in the 1950s.

What district, or in this case ward, elections do is to bring the power of politics to the neighborhood.  Eureka has a hybrid system right now.  You represent one ward, but the rest of the city gets to select your neighborhood representative for you.  Among other issues, this means that the west side is misrepresented by a council member who lives there (that is the sole requirement), but does not represent the ward’s aggregate interests or values.  Ironically, the same may be true if Austin Allison wins in the 4th ward this fall as it is probably the most conservative of the wards.

It means a candidate doesn’t have to spend a lot of money on media.  It means s/he must walk the neighborhoods, hold ward meetings, and actually be in touch with the wants and needs of the neighborhood.  It means large donors have less influence.  And it all but guarantees ideological diversity on the City Council.


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