Editorial: The Chronicle Recommends Ma for state Assembly
San Francisco Chronicle
ON THE ISSUES, the differences between Fiona Ma and Janet Reilly are relatively small. In fact, they even agree about the three matters in which they most disagree: the death penalty, homeowner rights and high-school exit exams.
Reilly flatly opposes the death penalty, while Ma supports it "to see justice done" in certain heinous cases in which there is no doubt about guilt. Reilly wants to amend the Ellis Act to peel back the ability of landlords to evict tenants for condo conversion; Ma would prefer to preserve the act as a way to promote home ownership while finding other ways to buffer the effects on tenants. Reilly embraces the exit exam as a way to assure rigor and standards in public schools; Ma opposes the use of such tests as a condition of getting a diploma.
Beyond that, no major-policy differences have emerged between the two Democrats in the intensely competitive primary for the 12th Assembly District, which encompasses the western half of San Francisco and northern edge of San Mateo County.
Despite the platform similarities, the Ma-Reilly race has become one of the most intense -- and expensive -- legislative primaries in California this year.
Ma is the relative veteran of San Francisco politics, joining then-Assemblyman John Burton's staff in 1995 and serving on various boards and commissions until her election to the Board of Supervisors in 2002.
Reilly, a former broadcast journalist and public-relations executive, has proved to be a formidable candidate. She has done her homework on the issues and is very good at articulating them.
This race comes down to a choice between a candidate with a world of promise and a supervisor with a solid track record in elective office.
In our view, that gives the edge to Ma. Experience in local elected office is a great asset for a new legislator in Sacramento. As a supervisor, Ma has first-hand knowledge of the impact of state decisions on city and county budgets and operations. Also, there is nothing like a stint on the San Francisco supervisors to test a politician's temperament and ability to balance competing interests.
Ma has been a voice of reason on a board that all too often lacks it. She has shown a commitment to social-justice issues as well as the legitimate concerns of businesses that produce the jobs and tax revenue that expand prosperity. She gets our endorsement in the District 12 Democratic primary on June 6.
(This article appeared on page E - 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle)