Letter to the Editor – SOAR Seeks Full Representation of Candidates
Editor, I was impressed with Thomas Pendergast’s July 2nd article, “New Group SOARs into the Richmond Political Arena”. As the article portrays, SOAR is a non-partisan group of Richmond District neighbors who were brought together because of frustration with the lack of action on issues facing the Richmond District. Below is a perfect example of why Richmond District residents don’t feel as though they’re represented. The Richmond District Democratic Club (an organization of 60 residents) has already endorsed a candidate – and they endorsed this candidate (Connie Chan) less than one month after the supervisor candidate filing deadline and without including two of the candidates on the endorsement ballot. They also excluded three candidates from their one and only debate prior to endorsing a candidate. And now, Ms. Chan, endorsed by the 60 people in the RDDC, can claim she is the “Democratic Nominee” for the Richmond. SOAR has gone out of its way to work with all the candidates to ensure they can attend the forums (each attended by hundreds of Richmond residents) – yet, Ms. Chan pulled out of tonight’s SOAR Public Safety Forum even though the date was changed multiple times to fit her schedule. It is concerning that the District’s Democratic Party endorsement doesn’t have the time to debate her opponents in front of an audience many hundred strong. Situation:
SOAR rescheduled 6/30 Public Safety Forum at the request of the Asian Pacific American Democratic Club and United Democratic Club due to a conflict with their supervisor candidate debate;
SOAR’s proposed alternative dates were rejected by Ms. Chan; SOAR then proposed a third date (7/9) and there was no objection to this date. 7/9 Forum date was confirmed with all candidates on 6/29 and reconfirmed July 6th;
Meanwhile, RDDC held their debate on 7/2 and followed it with an endorsement vote for Connie Chan:
Three registered candidates were missing from the forum and the ballot (Sherman D’Silva, Andrew Majalya, David Lee)
Candidate Majalya posted a complaint to RDDC about being left out of the debate and off the ballot;
Candidate Lee was also told at the last minute he couldn’t participate even though he is a registered candidate and a registered democrat
RDDC responded with a letter to their members with an overview of situation (Mr. D’Silva was left off ballot because he is not a registered Democrat, admitted mistake with Mr. Majalya); David Lee’s omission was not mentioned in the RDDC letter, in spite of David Lee being a registered candidate and a registered Democrat;
On 7/5, Two days prior Connie backed out of SOAR Public Safety Forum.
Why This Matters:
RDDC, with only 60 members, is not representative of the Richmond District as a whole; and yet, they are wielding significant influence in the outcome of the election through their ability to name the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party in the Richmond;
RDDC is not acting transparently and in good will given that they excluded multiple registered Supervisor Candidates from endorsement consideration even though they were registered candidates and registered democrats;
Ms. Chan is now the endorsed candidate of the San Francisco Democratic Club which is a compelling and important endorsement for District 1; the endorsement was made after the July 2nd event, less than one month after the June 9th filing deadline for Supervisor. Why did the SFDC make this endorsement before hearing from all the candidates?;
Ms. Chan’s forfeiting the Public Safety Forum is concerning to District 1 residents who worry that she doesn’t care about listening to or working with the nearly 300 members of SOAR;
SOAR was organized because of the frustrations many residents feel about “politics as usual” and lack of progress with homelessness, increasing crime, and shuttered storefronts; as a non-partisan group, SOAR is focused on educating the Richmond District public on the issues and understanding how each candidate plans to “Save Our Amazing Richmond”. This behavior by the RDDC is exactly the type of behavior that has brought district residents together to found SOAR.
Thank you for your consideration.