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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Former S.F. Democratic Chair Accuses Peskin, Daly of Orchestrating 'Smear Campaign' In Elaborate Ploy to Consolidate Grasp of Local Party

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 4:30 PM

[image-1]Former San Francisco Democratic Party chair Scott Wiener laid it all on the line and accused Supervisor Chris Daly of using his race for party regional director vs. August Longo as a red herring to allow Daly and Aaron Peskin to tighten their grip over the local Democratic party. Naturally, both Daly and Peskin rejected this charge.

The moderate Wiener -- who was ousted as head of the Democratic County Central Committee last year in a charged, 18-16 vote in favor of Peskin -- said he doesn't believe Daly cares one whit for the duties of regional director: "I don't know what he'd do as regional director. He already has every opportunity in the world to do Democratic party organizing as an elected member of the Central Committee."

Instead, Wiener says Peskin and Daly hope to knock the

moderate, John Burton protege Longo out of his automatic spot on the

Central Committee. Daly would then take that seat and Peskin could

appoint a like-minded ally to fill Daly's old slot. To this end, Wiener

accused Daly and Peskin of threatening Longo that they'd smear him by

bringing up his criminal past if he didn't step down. Wiener linked a

Tuesday letter rehashing Longo's many brushes with the law written by San Francisco Democratic Club President

Jonathan Wright -- a longtime friend and ally of Daly's -- to this

threat. Wright denied taking any direction to pen his letter and Peskin and Daly denied

giving it.

Longo claimed that both Daly and Peskin had threatened through intermediaries to smear him if he didn't quit his post. The regional director said Peskin

relayed the message to him via a prominent local female politician --

he declined to say who -- that Longo could resign his spot on the

Central Committee and keep his position as regional director -- giving the progressives one more reliable vote. Longo said that, if he declined to resign, Peskin threatened to "dirty me


Peskin denied making this call (though he said he has called soon-to-be state party chair John Burton and asked if there was any way to accommodate both Daly and Longo) -- and Daly has repeatedly told SF Weekly that he hasn't been spreading word of Longo's criminal past. And while Wiener said that a number of one-vote margins in recent Central Committee endorsement votes spurred Peskin to orchestrate this elaborate power consolidation, Peskin summed this up as "a nice theory, but it doesn't work."

One vote "doesn't make a difference. It's not close between the liberals and the moderates. Some people want to make believe it is -- but the vote for chair was a close vote and does not reflect the ideological composition of the pie," Peskin continued. "Look at the [lopsided] vote for immigrants' rights on March 25. That is more reflective composition of the committee."

Whatever the case, both Wiener -- a Longo man -- and Longo predicted the incumbent will win Saturday's vote -- by a lot.

"Unless I am crazy and the people helping me on my campaign are crazy, it's such a lopsided vote that even if I lose a third of it, I'm going to win," Longo said. "There could be 10 to 15 percent [of the Democratic party voters] who may not [know about Longo's felony convictions]. But it's no secret. If people bring it up, I discuss it with them." 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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