About the GPCA Organizing Resources Take Action Elections and Candidates Issues and Platform Latest News Home
Green Focus home
 




[ SUBSCRIBE ]  

Inside Green Focus

  Latest Issue
Elections & Strategy
Green Issues
Local Greens
Elected Greens
Opinion & Reviews
News Clips & Letters

About Green Focus

 
Subscribe
About
Submit Articles, Photos, Graphics
Advertise
Link to Us
Fall 2005 (current) [PDF] [HTML]

Back Issues

  Fall 2005 (current) [PDF] [HTML]
Summer 2005
[PDF]   
Spanish Version [PDF]
Spring 2005
[PDF]
Winter 2004
Fall 2004
Winter 2003
Fall 2003
Summer 2003
Spring 2003

Matt Gonzalez Elected President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors

In this issue:

Matt Gonzalez Elected President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Behind the Bipartisan Drive Toward War in Iraq: The Council on Foreign Relations
Greens explore running anti-war candidates: Panel examines incumbents' records
It's time to vote Green
Editorial: Greens look at the presidency; no easy answers
Traditional ladder to electoral success is questioned
Unlikely Candidate, pt. II
Nader: Roots of a green champion
Excellent health care, coming soon to California
The Land is Our Mother: Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement
Letters to the Editor
News Clips
Gonzalez presides over the largest legislative body every headed by a U.S. Green. 'At the end of the day, people want city services, accountability and an honorable debate by elected officials who don’t abuse the public process to gain ideological advantage.'

by Mike Feinstein

In a suspenseful seven round contest on January 8, Matt Gonzalez—the only Green Party member of San Francisco’s 11 member Board of Supervisors—was elected Board President. San Francisco is now the largest U.S. city or county (pop. 776,000) to have its legislative body headed by a Green. But perhaps even more impressive was that it happened in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans four to one and Greens eighteen to one.

Board President is the second-most powerful political position in city government after Mayor, with the ability to set agendas, determine committee memberships, and otherwise affect legislation.

Gonzalez succeeded outgoing Board President Tom Ammiano, who stepped down after two terms. Facing off against Gonzalez were Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Sophie Maxwell, who shared seven votes between them for six rounds, while Gonzalez held onto four. With a minimum of six votes necessary to win, and with a potential stalemate looming, Peskin released his votes on the seventh round, leading to a 6-5 Gonzalez win. Board members then re-voted 11-0 in order to make it unanimous.

Gonzalez credited his election to his non-partisan commitment to openness and honesty in government. “At the end of the day, people want city services, accountability and an honorable debate by elected officials who don’t abuse the public process to gain ideological advantage.” Illustrating this point, Gonzalez was nominated by Tony Hall, the Board’s most conservative member, who said “Gonzalez is a man of integrity and intelligence, who will carry out his responsibilities fairly and impartially.”

Gonzalez’s election marks the growing strength of San Francisco Greens, who make up 3% of the city’s registered voters, three times the state average. In November 2002, Green gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo received 15.5% of the city’s vote and finished second, ahead of Republican Bill Simon. In the same election, Sarah Lipson became the first Green elected in a San Francisco citywide race, joining Marc Sanchez on the city’s seven member Board of Education (Sanchez reregistered Green after being elected in 2000.)


Supervisor Matt Gonzalez  (photo: Kara Wood)
In 2001, Gonzalez and the Greens led to victory a ballot measure to institute Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV) for city elections. IRV will be used for the first time in this November’s mayoral election—a race in which Gonzalez may play a influential role since two of the leading contenders, Tom Ammiano and Gavin Newsom, are Boardmembers and will need Gonzalez’s aid to promote and pass their legislation.

This November Gonzalez also hopes to place on the ballot a measure for a citywide minimum wage of between $8.25 and $8.75. Facing a devastating budget deficit as high as $300 million, he also plans to continue the fight, led by San Francisco Greens and others, for public power. Public power would be the city’s biggest potential new source of revenue and would make it easier for the city to pursue renewable energy while insulating it from the market manipulation by large energy corporations.

For more about Matt Gonzalez, see www.sfgov.org/site/bdsupvrs_index.asp?id=4638 and www.mattgonzalez.com


> Green Focus Home
> Subscribe to Green Focus