District 3 Supervisor Julie Christensen and challenger Aaron Peskin, along with their supporters, were out in full force in the community today, from Chinatown to Polk Gulch to North Beach and beyond.
Both candidates got started early, saying they were up before dawn to get a jump on things. We started with a stop at the polls in the Gateway Apartments, which historically has one of the highest voter turnouts in the city. "It's not a big election, so it's been kind of slow," said precinct inspector Benay von Husen. "If we're slow, you know the rest of the city is falling asleep."
Von Husen said the poll at Gateway is busy not only because its voters tend to be highly educated and engaged, but also because of its convenient location in the FiDi. "You get a lot of foot traffic dropping off absentee ballots," she said.
While there, we ran into Golden Gateway Tenants Association (GGTA) President Bill Hannan. "I think the D3 supervisorial election was fiercely contested. I predict the results will be close," he said. "I certainly hope Propositions A and D will both pass."
Hannan said he supported Peskin—understandable, because the GGTA was founded on the platform of protecting rent control after a previous landlord fought against it, and Peskin is in favor of protecting and expanding rent control. The GGTA is also vehemently opposed to 8 Washington, which Peskin also opposes.
Sarah Colborne and Bill Hannan.
From there, we met up with Christensen and some supporters on Polk and Sacramento streets. By that point, they'd been in the area a while, and soon decamped to Broadway and Columbus Avenue. We then connected with candidate Wilma Pang, who stopped in to a senior center in Chinatown to say hi to a friend and then walk in North Beach. "My task is done and I feel good about it," she said, explaining that she believes her candidacy brought more attention to the needs of Chinese seniors.
Li Xiao Zeng and Wilma Pang.
Walking around North Beach, many corners were populated with supporters holding signs for the candidates. The former Piazza Market, which will become a new Mama's restaurant and Lil' Mama's community market in 2016, is serving today as the headquarters for Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, which provided a cadre of Christensen supporters.
Vince Sanchez, who has been overseeing the approvals for the new restaurant and market for his brother, is a vocal Christensen supporter. "While I certainly want her to win, I think it's too close to call," he said. "Maybe 400 votes one way or another might separate it." He said he'd been unscientifically polling people who'd been stopping in, and it was running just about even.
Christensen and Mason Lee.
Across the street at Columbus and Vallejo, we ran into Planning Commissioner Cindy Wu, who was holding a Peskin sign. "I think what's important for the next supervisor is tenants' rights," she told us. "It's making sure people in D3 can stay in D3 and be part of the community." She added that building more affordable housing and protecting existing housing stock from being converted to short-term rentals or being demolished was also important.
We met up with Peskin in Washington Square Park; he said he'd been up since 4am. He'd criss-crossed the district already, and was heading back to Chinatown for a march.
Peskin and supporters.
Meanwhile, several dozen supporters and some media—including a reporter from the New York Times—had gathered at Christensen's headquarters at 241 Columbus Ave. Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Katy Tang were there, too. Lee mentioned he'd appointed both Christensen and Tang: "I always surround myself with smart women," he said.
He also told the crowd of mostly Chinese supporters that it's their right to vote and "they should vote for things they believe in," adding, "We believe Julie Christensen will be the best supervisor for District 3."
Christensen, Lee and Tang.
Both Christensen's and Peskin's supporters are hosting viewing parties tonight, for those who want to be a part of the scene. Christensen's party begins at 8pm at Monroe (473 Broadway), and Peskin's begins at
5pm 8pm at Club Fugazi, the Beach Blanket Babylon building (678 Green St.) However, definitive results aren't expected tonight, and could take as long as a few days to come in.
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