The third round of preliminary results is out, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Ed Lee won re-election by a long stretch, and Supervisor Aaron Peskin snatched a victory in District 3 by more than 1,000 votes, shifting the balance in favor of progressives at the Board of Supervisors.
Voters also approved a $310 million housing bond, with more than 70 percent voting in favor. The Mission moratorium and tighter regulations on short term rentals, however, failed. The Mission saw about average turnout district-wide, at some 30 percent, with residents preferring almost 2-to-1 to vote in-person on election day rather than through mail-in ballot. Overall turnout as of Tuesday night’s last tally sat at just under 30 percent, though many precincts had turnouts well over 40 percent.
Though Lee will return for another four years, more than 40 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of alternative candidates.
“I don’t care what they say in City Hall, the fact is that tonight you had more than 40 percent of San Franciscans saying no to Ed Lee,” said Supervisor David Campos. “I’m very proud of what happened tonight.”
“Elections are a numbers game. Sometimes numbers hurt,” said former state assemblymember Tom Ammiano. “Sometimes you feel like putting gasoline all over City Hall. But we have a bright future, it’s not just a matter of politics, it’s a matter of morality and a matter of heart.”
Some 57 percent of voters decided against the Mission moratorium, Proposition I, while 55 percent voted against Proposition F, which the homesharing giant Airbnb spent $8 million to defeat.
Proponents of both measures and alternative candidates took the losses in stride, vowing to push ahead on their issues in the future.
“Are we getting ready to give a concession speech? Absolutely not,” said former supervisor Christina Olague in an “anti-concession” speech just after the third round of result came in. “This is just the beginning of the movement.”
Proposition I campaign leader Gabriel Medina pointed to the thousands who voted in favor of the moratorium as a sign that the plight of the Mission had struck a chord city-wide.
“Right now I see 55,543 people that want us to continue this fight,” Medina said, referring to the number of voters who voted in favor after the third round. “We’re delighted that 55,000 people, 43 percent, sees the change that one neighborhood is going through.”
“We absolutely have to continue to fight these projects,” Medina added.
“We’re building up our base, our power,” said Eric Arguello, head of the merchant’s association and cultural organization Calle 24. “No one expected us to collect signatures, no one expected us to raise money.”
Chris Cook, a volunteer with the Prop. I campaign and a 24-year Mission resident, was worried by the no vote.
“It’s worrisome to think that the city would vote this down,” Cook said. “This is something we can do to save our community from the next round of devastation. But win or lose, we have to keep fighting.”
For development proponent Sonja Trauss, founder of the Bay Area Renters Federation, what was worrisome was the possibility of the moratorium passing.
“When it was announced that it was definitely getting on the ballot I just had the worst sinking feeling, because win or lose, we all lose,” she said. “This election could have been something where something was executed or finished, but instead they wanted to make a pause to make a plan and they didn’t even get a pause.”
Over at El Rio, Richard Purcell explained his reasons for voting against the moratorium.
“I’m new to the city, but I sympathize with people’s struggle,” Purcell said. “But I voted against it because I felt it was too fascist. The government has to stop every development? It doesn’t make sense to me when we need housing.”
Limo driver Jonathan Chaot agreed.
“I am completely against Proposition I. Why is this proposition isolated to one neighborhood?” he wanted to know. “People are complaining about high rents and evictions … but we need housing. It’s simple economics. You take away the supply, the demand goes up.”
Voters approved the creation of a city fund to support legacy businesses, under Proposition J. By the second tally, the measure had moved ahead from a nearly neck-and-neck tie to almost 55% approval.
“The city of San Francisco spent millions of dollars giving tax breaks to corporations,” said Supervisor David Campos. “What Prop. J shows is that we are saying if we can do it for the corporations, we need to do it for our local small businesses.”
“I’m a small business owner, so I’m really happy to see Prop. J go through,” said Chris Hollleran, the Director of Operations of Queer Lifespace in the Castro. “There’s virtually no protection for small business in the city. We provide mental health services to the community … Businesses like that need to be protected.”
Maria Hamre, who works in tech, said she expected the Lee lead.
“As much as you root for the underdog, I knew Ed Lee would kill it,” she said. She also noticed some apathy among her coworkers. “I work with the largest constituency in the city right now and they just don’t care. I went in to the office today and they all have their cushioned jobs…Nobody was talking about the elections.”
Her friend Catherine Clobuck, a high school teacher, mused on alternative uses for campaign finances.
“There is so much money behind Prop. F, why can’t that be spent on education?” she wanted to know. Then she added, “Some of the kids I work with live in the Mission, they are 16-year-olds talking about how they don’t recognize their neighborhood.”
Meanwhile, mayoral candidate “Broke-Ass” Stuart Schuffman reflected on the purpose of his run.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t win the run for mayor … I know, it’s a surprise,” he joked. “What started here the past few months is a movement of people fighting for their fucking city.”
His girlfriend Ashley Lauren Dickensen, also watching the results at El Rio, agreed.
“It’s not about winning, it’s about making noise,” she said. “People like Stuart can bring issues like income inequality to light. What running against Ed Lee means is that even the smallest people can have a voice.”
Tom Temprano, who ran for City College board but fell behind Alex Randolph, echoed Schuffman.
“Harvey Milk ran four times before he finally won,” he said. “Which means there were three nights where Harvey Milk stood on stage and things didn’t go quite his way. That means, you haven’t seen the last of us.”
Ed Lee: 56.7%
Francisco Herrera: 14.86%
Amy Farah Weiss: 11.59%
Stuart Schuffman: 9.48%
Kent Graham: 4.74%
Reed Martin: 2.44%
A: Yes—73.49% No—26.51%
F: Yes—44.94% No—55.06%
I: Yes—42.65% No—57.35%
J: Yes—56.71% No—43.29%
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported quotes from voters at Virgil’s Sea Room. In fact the reactions came from a gathering at El Rio. The story has been corrected.