Today, I am announcing that – with regret, and after months of consideration – I do not plan to be a District 6 candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2010.
It was not an easy decision to make, because there are many reasons for me to run. I have worked in the Tenderloin and South-of-Market area for almost ten years, and am passionate about the community – and doing what’s best for San Francisco. I know what organizing can do at all levels of government, and that decisions made by elected officials matter. I have been a tireless advocate for the poor, but could also effectively bring together the diverse constituencies of District 6. I also believe I would make a better Supervisor than the current candidates, and – with the right campaign – had a credible shot at winning.
But there are two reasons why I’m making this decision – which are mostly personal.
The first is financial. Not the fundraising, although that’s a daunting task. More simply, running a serious campaign requires a full-time commitment – which means quitting your job months before the Election. If I had substantial savings, a working spouse or lower living expenses, that would have been doable. But last year, I bought a Tenderloin studio condominium (with a down payment assistance from the City’s first-time homebuyers’ program.) My monthly expenses are high, and my non-profit salary means that I live paycheck to paycheck. I’m not at a point in my life where I can go without income for an extended period.
The second is my lack of enthusiasm for this race – at this time. Despite being passionate about what’s at stake, and attempts to hype myself about running, I could not get excited about doing what I needed to do to win. My question was – do I want to spend the next 18 months asking people for money, shaking hands with every voter in the District and talking with leaders to run a viable campaign? The answer became apparent to me two weekends ago at the California Democratic Convention. I was in my element organizing and speaking out, but I wasn’t focused on what was necessary to promote my candidacy.
I just couldn’t bring it all together right now. If it was May 2007 – and the District 6 race was still three years away – I probably could and would run. But it’s May 2009, and it’s time for me to really decide what’s best. I want to focus on my job, my personal life and the political work I do every day to push for change at all levels of government. I know I play a role in what’s going on, and I’m having too much fun to leave. I want to be more effective at pushing change, and thought running for District 6 in 2010 would be the way.
But running for office isn’t a job … it’s a calling. Right now, I’m not getting that call.