Photo by the Bay Guardian

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The San Francisco Bay Guardian published its Best of the Bay edition today, and the Mission’s supervisor, David Campos, made the front cover as one of eight local heroes.

Campos was praised by the Guardian as a strong advocate for the immigrant community, but it should be noted that he transcends the one issue.

He’s been described as being on the ball even with issues that don’t directly affect residents of his district — not something you can say about all the supes. He’s a practical guy who asks tough questions of city officials, and he and his staff are known for scrutinizing city contracts to make sure the city gets its money’s worth.

A couple of months ago Campos told Mission Loc@l that he had heard second-hand that contractors and city agencies have become more careful with their contracts since he took office in 2008.

The discussion Campos had with David Chiu about an earthquake bond at a Board of Supervisors meeting in June sums it up best. These aren’t the actual quotes, but rather an excerpt from San Francisco Examiner columnist Melissa Griffin’s interpretation:

“David Chiu: The big one is going to hit us any day now, so let’s get this done. Everyone agrees this is a good idea, even the mayor.

“David Campos: I see that more than $60 million here is designated for ‘critical firefighting facilities and infrastructure.’ We can’t get more specific than that?

“Project Manager Charles Higueras: We need $400 million to fix all our firehouses, but we’re going to do the best we can with that measly $60 million and hit up the voters again in five or six years for the rest. Our environmental approval prevents us from telling you exactly which firehouses will be fixed.

“Campos: The environmental approval is keeping you from telling voters what you’re doing with more than $60 million?

“Higueras: Yes.

“Campos: Bullpucky. I’ve never heard of such nonsense.

“Campos: Is there anything we can tell the voters about this $60 million for firehouses?

“Higueras:Yes, tell them it’ll be used to fix 10 to 12 firehouses. We just don’t know which ones.

“Campos:Good enough.

“The measure passed 9-1, with District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly voting ‘no.’ That was the final stretch before putting a $412 million bond on the ballot.”

When Campos inquired about the $60 million, the project manager and the fire chief were surprised and perplexed that someone would actually ask them about how the city was going to spend the money.

Matt Smith of SF Weekly put it best in his description of Campos’ role in investigating whether companies were trying to cheat the city:

“I found this odd: boring, good-government exercises don’t win points for San Francisco politicians. Here, they make their bones denouncing developers in neighborhood protests.”

In an interview for a story in the Potrero View on the District 10 supervisor’s race to replace Sophie Maxwell, DeWitt Lacy, who is seen by one influential district organization as the alternative candidate that’s not “downtown” or “labor,” told a reporter, “I am like a David Campos.”

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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  1. Ask Campos what he has done to keep MUNI fairs low. Have you ever seen people sneak onto the bus through the back door? Trouble is the cops can’t ask for ID anymore when issuing a citation b/c Campos wants to protect the illegals. Tell me, how does one issue a citation without a checking an ID?

  2. Pick on fire fighters and cops? When we look at the city’s payroll, almost all of the people who earn over 100,000 a year fall under those two departments. Almost none of them live in San Francisco, and I am glad that we have someone who demands a little bit more equity, and does not immediately submit to police hegemony. He was on the police commission for years, and is pretty knowledgeable about what kinds of policing are effective for our communities.

  3. Great. He picks on the fire department and is proud of how much the cops hate him (the latter is a quote from when he was running for office). He may be doing some good with other developers, but he still looks like a poser to me.