Downtown marshals its forces

By Tim Redmond

The folks who got their collective asses kicked in last fall’s elections also got the message — that their politics, their candidates and their messages aren’t working — and they’re quietly meeting to map out a new strategy to try to take back some seats on the Board of Supervisors in 2010.

A meeting earlier this week, convened by former SFSOS staffer Ryan Chamberlain, drew representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Committee on JOBS and candidates like Scott Wiener, a Democratic County Central Committee member who is planning to run in District 8.

“What we’re doing isn’t working,” Chamberlain told us. “The progressives are winning.”

So downtown is looking to build grassroots operations — and the message right now is “quality of life.” That means cracking down on homeless people, cleaning up the streets, more cops, probably a move toward allowing more condo conversions (homeowners tend to vote more moderate than renters, so these folks love the idea of having more owners and fewer renters in town).

Chamberlain wouldn’t give us a list of who attended, but one source familiar with the meeting told us the Chamber and JOBS were well represented. Wiener confirmed that he was there, but wouldn’t say anything else about the meeting. Sup. Sean Elsbernd told us he was invited, but couldn’t make it.

So let’s remember: The progressive victories last November were hard-fought. This is still a battle for the soul of the city, and the other side isn’t anywhere near ready to concede. In fact, the downtown guys have plenty of money and sophisticated political strategists and they’re lining up candidates.