It’s just a few days before early voting begins on Tuesday, and mayoral candidate David Chiu decides to pay a Saturday visit to the Mission District.
“Good morning,” he says to the bus driver as he boards Muni just outside his southeast headquarters on Mission and Appleton streets.
“Hi, I’m David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and I’m running for mayor,” he says to a passenger.
“Lo siento, yo no hablo inglés,” says the passenger. Oops, Chiu is no longer in Nob Hill, his home district. No worries, Chiu is prepared. “Hola, me llamo David Chiu,” he says as one of his campaign workers steps in with perfect Spanish to sell his candidate.
“Next stop, 24th and Mission,” the driver announces to all.
“That’s us,” says Anthony Valdez, a member of Chiu’s campaign team.
As Chiu steps off the bus, he notices an elderly lady struggling to get through street vendors, solicitors and others to catch the bus.
“Do you need help, ma’am?” he asks.
Chiu helps the lady carry her cart to the front entrance of the bus in time to board.
That done, Chiu starts campaigning northward on Mission Street. For the next two hours he’ll shake a lot of hands and try to convince voters that, as a son of immigrants and someone who has “fought hard for immigration and businesses,” he should be mayor — or at least one of their top three choices on the Nov. 8 ballot.
He makes his pitch on Mission Street, a corridor where a lot of stores have John Avalos signs in their windows.
Avalos, District 11 supervisor, has received 22 percent of his campaign contributions from the Mission — roughly $28,105. That’s more than double Chiu’s $11,055 from the neighborhood.
On Mission Street, Chiu stops at a small grocery store and introduces himself. Can he put up a sign?
“We can put it right here next to the John Avalos sign,” says a campaign helper.
As the field workers follow through, Chiu moves on to the next business. Wait. There’s a Chiu sign staring out at Chiu. He stops.
“Hi I’m David Chiu, the guy on your sign. I just wanted to thank you for supporting me.”
“Papa! Papa! Look who’s here,” a young girl yells to her father, the owner of the photo shop.
“Hi, nice to meet you!” says John Lang, attempting to speak English.
“Thank you for supporting me,” says Chiu.
“We like you…my friend says to me you’re a good guy, so we like you,” Lang says.
Chiu thanks him and continues on. It’s not entirely Avalos territory, after all.
Over the next several weeks leading up to the elections, Mission Local will follow the mayoral candidates as they campaign in the Mission.