The trouble with compromise

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"It takes no compromise to give people their rights... It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression." -- Harvey Milk

OPINION As I sat in the audience at the Jan. 23 San Francisco Young Democrats meeting and watched the first debate between David Campos and David Chiu in their race to represent San Francisco's 17th Assembly District, I was disturbed to hear the words "compromise" and "consensus" come out of David Chiu's mouth more often than the words "eviction" and "displacement."

During the debate, a line in the sand was drawn by the two candidates: Campos was on the side of the underdog, a voice to the voiceless; and Chiu, by his own admission, was all about compromise and "getting things done."

Don't get me wrong. True compromise can be a good thing. Unfortunately, what has been coming out of City Hall, from both President Chiu's Board of Supervisors chamber and the Mayor's Office, hasn't been real compromise. It's been a wholesale selling of our city to the highest bidder. The only thing that our leadership's compromises have yielded is a compromised San Francisco.

Compromise gave corporations millions of dollars in tax breaks and it has forced nonprofits and small businesses out of our neighborhoods. Compromise has not resulted in any substantive action to curb Ellis Act evictions, instead serving to green light the building of luxury condo towers throughout the city. Compromise has allowed queer youth shelters and our parks to be closed to the people who need them as a last resort, as our bus stops have been opened up to billionaires for little more than pennies.

Chiu's compromises have cost this city dearly. His compromise with developers on Parkmerced will lead to the demolition of 1,500 units of rent-controlled housing. His compromise on Healthy San Francisco allowed restaurant owners to continue to defraud consumers and to pocket money that should have gone to health care for their employees. His compromise on Muni killed a much-needed ballot initiative that would have resulted in an additional $40 million for the agency — a ballot initiative that he originally co-authored.

Please forgive me if I am fed up with compromise and am demanding actual leadership from my representatives.

Now is the time to stand with people of color, with members of the LGBTQ community, with our youth and elders, with artists and with small businesses, all of whom are being forced out of our city.

Thankfully, we have another choice. Sup. David Campos has shown that real change comes not from compromising your values but standing up for your principles. His legislative accomplishments include providing free Muni for low-income youth, protecting women's right to choose at the Planned Parenthood Clinic, and preventing teacher layoffs at our public schools.

Campos has demonstrated that he, not Chiu, is the right choice to follow Tom Ammiano's footsteps to Sacramento. Ammiano, who had 13 of his 13 bills signed into law this past year, is the perfect example of the success that can come from leading with your principles and not compromising your integrity.

San Francisco needs a leader representing us in the capital. Successful victories in reforming the Ellis Act and closing the Prop. 13 tax loophole will take a leader who can stand up to landlords and corporations, not a compromiser who will sit down at the table in a backroom with them.

That is why I will give my all to make sure that David Campos is our next representative in Sacramento. Pardon me if I refuse to compromise.

Tom Temprano is president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.

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