Unless there is a burning, divisive issue, I don't choose my elected officials on the basis of a specific issue or a select picking of votes. I want someone in office who is thoughtful, will sort though the pros and cons of particular bills, come up with a vision for the city (state, nation), tell me about that vision, and do the work of making detailed policy. I will vote for men and women whose vision is in concert with mine and whose feelings on what government should be doing are relatively in tune with my own.
I like public officials to be smart, not self-aggrandizing, honest, and understandable. They don't need to vote on every issue the way I would. But, when they do vote in a way I would not, they need to be able to have a story of how their vote is reasonable. I don't have to agree with their rationale, but they need to articulate one.
I have only seen Bevan Dufty in person one time, and that was in a crowd of about 30 people. But, he was extremely impressive. He was knowledgeable about every bill and rumor he was asked about. He had answers to arcane complaints. (Q: Why are there so many wet mushy areas in the grass at Dolores Park. A: Bevan knew the number of sprinkler heads in each part of the park and what the Parks Department said about their problems in getting their personnel to address the swamp.)
He was also humorous and present as a human. He sounded like a nice guy who works from before 8 until after 8, visiting with constituents, attending meetings, standing for photos, and doing general gripping and grinning.
Even when he was personally attacked by a radio/TV personality Pete Wilson, Bevan avoided raising the testosterone level and instead won the day with quiet civility.
I wrote him about a constituent issue about three months ago. I received an email response sent from him personally the following Friday or Saturday at 8 pm.
In short, Bevan is the kind of low-key, focused person I trust to represent me in a legislative body like San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. His record is free from the grandstanding of other supervisors, and he seems amused by both himself and his colleagues.
One opponent attacked Bevan for trying to take the fun out of the Castro by muzzling the Halloween celebration. The shootings that occurred this year despite the extra cops and damped-down level of the party makes Bevan's questioning sound prudent if not too moderate.
I don't know else I expect from a Supervisor. The claim that Bevan is against fun simply stinks of demagoguery to me.
The same opponent is backed by a couple of conservation groups. I could not discover from her campaign materials why they backed her. Frankly, I am not sure what issues "conservation" groups rate our city Supervisors on. Giving up our Hetch Hetchy water supply? Not building more sewers? I need to know if their endorsements are to mean anything to me. "Conservation = Liberal = Good"? That's not any more persuasive than "Republican = Patriotism = Good".
While this one opponent is saying that Bevan isn't pure enough a conversationalist, partier, liberal, I have also read blog comments tagging Bevan as "part of that extremist left wing element".
Huh? No. That's just wrong.
Just reading the SF ballot shows that Bevan aligns himself with the moderates, Newsom, Chamber of Commerce-types. He didn't sign on to the far-out election propositions other Supervisors put on the ballot. You could think that Bevan is not liberal enough for you -- I'd disagree, but it is a valid position. Calling him part of the far-out liberals is unsubstantiated bitching.
Other bloggers have suggested that Bevan and his friend timed the delivery of their baby for October for political reasons. Geeze! He's talked about wanting to be a father for a long time. Medical help was involved. Still, I don't think we get to know what number attempt at fertilization this was and what month they started trying. Geeze!
I am sure that Bevan has disappointed people. Reasonable men and woman do that, especially when they suggest complex solutions to complex problems. Those solutions don't package well in media minutes or on telephone pole slogans.