Turnout light in SF; eyes on Wisconsin

Pub date June 5, 2012
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

My usual limited polling sample — my precinct in Bernal Heights — suggests what everyone pretty much knew: Turnout in San Francisco will be very low. Control of the local Democratic Party, and its endorsements, will be determined by a small fraction of the eligible voters.

On the national front, since the presidential primaries are long over and California has long been irrelevant, everyone’s looking at Wisconsin, where the battle to recall Gov. Scott Walker will have national implications. Walker’s trying to survive by blaming public employees for the state’s economic woes; since he ended collective bargaining, he said today, the state budget is running a surplus and property taxes are down.

If by some chance he’s thrown out of office — and it doesn’t look good right now — labor will have one of its greatest victories in years. If he becomes the first governor in US history to survive a recall, he’ll portray it as a confirmation that the public supports his attack on unions. The right-wing types have poured millions into this race — and if they get their way, a lot of labor folks are going to be asking why President Obama (who will be in San Francisco to raise money at Clint Reilly’s office building June 6) didn’t make an appearance in Wisconsin.

Labor came in big for the president in 2008, and this one is hugely important — and the White House has been entirely missing in action. And he may have to answer for it if Walker survives and GOP governors across the country take up the call and attack public-sector unions as the start of a larger attack on organized labor.

In California, I don’t care how much money the tobacco companies spent — Prop. 29, the cigarette tax, is going to win. And I think the term-limits measure squeaks through, too. Locally, we all know that Prop. A will lose under a barrage of Recology money; I hope Prop. B survives the strange last-minute money blitz.

We may not know for days how the Democratic County Central Committee races are shaking out. If it’s close, and control of the panel hangs on a couple of tight races, the absentee votes that get counted over the next few days will make the difference.

We’ll be posting updates all evening.