San Francisco's Progressive Bullies
Our Progressive leaders abuse their power, bully staff and constituents, and undermine democracy
Leaders in San Francisco's Progressive wing have a long history of bullying, abuse, and illiberal behavior. From berating staff, to misogynistic comments, and even undermining the democratic process, there's a clear pattern of bad behavior from the Progressive elite. And they’re all enabled by the League of Pissed Off Voters.
Drinks and Democracy
This week two bombshells dropped in San Francisco: Supervisor Aaron Peskin finally experienced some consequences for over twenty years of bullying fueled by his alcoholism, and Jason Kruta, a San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America (SF DSA) member, was identified as the man caught on video allegedly stealing school board recall petitions (a misdemeanor).
Peskin's problematic potables
I am no stranger to Supervisor Peskin's bullying and drunken abuse. I can't go into much detail, but Peskin once used the power of his office to threaten to deny a critical permit for a friend's business if I didn't stop saying mean things about him on Twitter. He did this in the open with no fear of being held accountable. I didn't want to ruin my friend's business prospects, so Peskin succeeded at shutting me up for several months.
Friends and acquaintances of mine have received late-night phone calls from an excessively drunk Peskin, where he alternated between whining about people being unfair to him and threatening to deny permits or vote against bills unless he gets some special favors.
His abuse and corruption have been an open secret since he entered politics. You should absolutely go read Healther Knight's reporting on this: "S.F. Supervisor Aaron Peskin says he's entering alcohol treatment after complaints", and "Why did so many stay quiet about Supervisor Aaron Peskin's behavior?"
I wish Supervisor Peskin the best of luck in treating his alcoholism, and I sincerely hope he's not just seeking treatment as a way of deflecting criticism away from his bad behavior. And we must make sure that his allies, like Matt Haney, actually hold him accountable.
Stealing an election is OK when it's your side that does it
Jason Kruta made a terrible decision to allegedly steal several pages of signed petitions for the San Francisco School Board recall effort. Kruta is a member of the San Francisco Democratic Socialists of America (SF DSA), the League of Pissed Off Voters, and seems to be an active member of the far-left Richmond District Democratic Club.
It's completely unsurprising to me that someone so closely associated with the San Francisco DSA would attempt to steal an election. Their members have sent me death threats, called me a "right-winger" for expressing the controversial opinion that the US government should not, in fact, be overthrown or destroyed, and systematically sought to unseat every moderate Democrat in San Francisco.
It's a Progressive pattern of abuse
The culture of bullying pervades the Progressive faction of SF politics, and Aaron Peskin plays a key role in it. I remember one event I attended, in particular, when the United Democratic Club (on which I was a board member) was seeking to have our charter renewed by the Democratic Party. At one point in the meeting Kat Anderson, who was seated next to Aaron Peskin, jumped up and exclaimed that he was mean and a bully:
In one heated moment, Peskin allegedly called DCCC member Kat Anderson “stupid”[...]
She stood up and shouted, “You’re a mean man!”
Progressive Democrat John Avalos, who recently ran to reclaim his former position as District 11 Supervisor, has a history of misogyny and labeled former Supervisor Jane Kim a "femme fatale" after voting for his opponent. Kim was already quite familiar with Avalos's behavior:
Just 48 hours prior to this vote, this particular former elected and I had one of those quiet conversations about his past inexcusable behavior and angry tirades.
Let's not forget that Avalos cheated on his wife with his employee but hoped "that everyone will just give him a pass on this one." Turns out, almost all the Progressives did.
Another progressive supervisor, Dean Preston, frequently bullies his constituents on twitter, often kicking off a pile-on from his supporters. Being on the receiving end of a twitter mob incited by an elected official is an experience that pushes any reasonable person away, and makes them less likely to express themselves. This is a persistent illiberal force in our society that must be resisted.
During Preston’s reelection, his campaign manager and legislative aide, Jen Snyder, refused to accept the democratic outcome against the party endorsing him for Supervisor and instead yelled obscenities and flipped off the Democratic committee.
A dangerous web
On the surface, there may seem to be little connection between all of this, but there is a thread weaving it all together: The League of Pissed Off Voters. The League endorsed all of the elected officials I mentioned above, and Kruta is a member. They're the dark-money-powered influence network that enables bullies to thrive in San Francisco, but present themselves with a punk Gen-X aesthetic that claims to want change.
I have raised the warning flag about the pissed off voters many times, and I've suffered for it. The last time I published something about the league, they threatened legal action and got my Medium account suspended, and tried to get my Google account suspended as well. Ultimately, I relented and took it all down because the pressure was too much.
The League of Pissed Off Voters and their progressive allies will do everything they can to silence people exposing their patterns of bad behavior and bullying. We've seen it with Peskin's twenty years of abuse, Avalos's decade of inappropriate behavior, and Preston’s cyberbullying. And it's high time they were held accountable.
Note: I removed part of this essay that mentioned a couple private citizens, rather than elected officials of their staff.