We’re knee-deep in November 2018’s election, with candidates busy campaigning for the seats of supervisor for Districts 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10. Some aspiring politicians, however, are looking far, far ahead: Dean Preston pulled papers from the Department of Elections Friday for the District 5 supervisor race, which at the moment, isn’t scheduled until November 2020. In an interesting twist, he also is running as a democratic socialist.
“It’s not like there’s a box to check,” Preston told SF Weekly. “But I always have been. You don’t do anti-speculation, anti-displacement tenant rights work for nearly two decades without seeing up front and very clearly the failures of the unchecked market. These are not new views for me, but what is newer is the inspiration from Bernie Sanders’ run and the growth of the local Democratic Socialists chapter.”
When asked about his campaign, Preston told us he plans to take a similar approach to 2016, holding meetings with district residents to learn what their key concerns are.
“The key thing I did in the race last time and intend to do again is a really high level of engagement with district residents, and really getting ideas from the district. This has not been the case in District 5 for the past few years, and I think would be a big change welcome by everyone,” he says.
At the moment, Preston doesn’t know who his competitors will be. Mayor-elect London Breed has yet to announce who she’s selecting as her replacement for District 5, but as her inauguration is next Wednesday, we expect that news to break soon. Whoever she chooses will no doubt be running against Preston for the seat during the next election.
But, we did receive an interesting tip: Vice President of the San Francisco Board of Education Stevon Cook’s personal website, which was shut down from July 2017 until very recently, now features a new landing page showing him speaking at a podium in City Hall and a fresh About section with a map of District 5.
And as for when that next election is… Well, we’ll see. Although it’s scheduled for November 2020, once Breed officially surrenders the seat, it’ll be shifted back to November 2019. There are rumors in City Hall that progressives will call for a special election to bring it forward to June.
District 5, for the unaware, is a diverse collection of neighborhoods smack in the middle of the city. It consists of Fillmore, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, Lower and Upper Haight, the north of the Panhandle, Cole Valley and the Inner Sunset. And Preston isn’t new to campaigning for this district; he ran against Breed in 2016, and considering he was challenging an incumbent, gave an impressive performance, coming in with 48 percent of the vote.
Central to Preston’s prior campaign was tenant rights. He’s the founder and executive director of Tenants Together and led the campaign to get Proposition F, which gives renters the right to an attorney when served with an eviction, on the ballot for this past election.
Preston’s already received endorsements from Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Aaron Peskin, and Jane Kim; former District 5 Supervisors Matt Gonzalez and Christina Olague, Democratic Party Chair David Campos; former Assemblymember Tom Ammiano; and former Mayor Art Agnos.
Jennifer Snyder, who ran the successful effort to get Prop. F passed, will be running Preston’s campaign.