Cast your vote for San Francisco

Don’t let di­ver­sity turn into harm­ful divi­sion

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - OPINION - By Frank M. Jor­dan Frank M. Jor­dan is a for­mer mayor of San Francisco.

As we ap­proach the June 5 spe­cial elec­tion for mayor of San Francisco, it’s time for a re­al­ity check about the health of our great city — the qual­ity of life, the dan­gers of di­vi­sive­ness, fear of the un­known, and the fu­ture of our neigh­bor­hoods.

The elec­tion is not some ex­clu­sive test of ide­ol­ogy.

It is not a con­test to de­cide which San Francisco will pre­vail over an­other San Francisco.

Our mayor must be will­ing to meet with all sec­tors and es­tab­lish a strong com­mon ground for united ac­tion.

The new mayor must unite busi­ness, la­bor and the neigh­bor­hoods.

The in­com­ing mayor must forge con­sen­sus among the neigh­bor­hoods, among white, African Amer­i­can, Latino and Asian res­i­dents, and among straight, gay, les­bian and trans­gen­der com­mu­ni­ties.

The mayor must es­tab­lish a strong com­mit­ment to all San Fran­cis­cans.

First, let me com­mend in­terim Mayor Mark Far­rell for his pro­fes­sional de­meanor and sin­cere fo­cus on a va­ri­ety of issues — sen­si­tiv­ity to the neigh­bor­hoods, fis­cal ac­count­abil­ity and crit­i­cal qual­ity of life pri­or­i­ties. He de­serves our thanks and sup­port dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time.

As mayor, my goal was al­ways to pro­mote com­mu­nity pride. There are many trea­sures in this city — its cli­mate, the great views and the majesty of its bridges. Its great­est trea­sure, of course, is the rich­ness of its di­ver­sity. Eth­ni­cally, cul­tur­ally, re­li­giously, po­lit­i­cally, this is one of the world’s most ex­cit­ing and cos­mopoli­tan cities.

The di­ver­sity that makes San Francisco unique and gives it such char­ac­ter and strength must be guarded. Ev­ery day, as San Fran­cis­cans, we must pro­tect against the dark in­tru­sions of in­tol­er­ance and in­dif­fer­ence that mark so many cities. Prej­u­dice and fear al­ways smol­der at times of un­ex­pected change or when dif­fi­cult choices must be made.

We are a city that prides it­self in open­ness, liv­ing life on our own terms, re­newed op­por­tu­ni­ties and cut­ting-edge po­lit­i­cal poli­cies. We must not turn the pos­i­tive of di­ver­sity into the neg­a­tive of divi­sion. San Francisco is not a lib­eral city or a con­ser­va­tive city. It is not a city of di­vided camps and hos­tile forces.

It is one city.

At only 49 square miles, San Francisco is unique in its size. The prob­lems in one area — whether chronic home­less­ness, lack of af­ford­able hous­ing, un­re­li­able Muni trans­porta­tion, pub­lic safety issues or park­ing and traf­fic grid­lock — are con­cerns of all ar­eas.

A mayor’s po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy should be based on faith in the wis­dom and good­will of the peo­ple. It should not be far left or far right. It should be lib­eral in its com­pas­sion for those who are less for­tu­nate. It should be con­ser­va­tive in its be­lief that we can­not squan­der our re­sources or tax this city into sub­mis­sion. It should be lib­eral in its be­lief that gov­ern­ment must serve all San Fran­cis­cans. It should be con­ser­va­tive in the con­vic­tion of our found­ing fathers that all men and all women are cre­ated equal.

Dur­ing my life­time of pub­lic ser­vice, I have vis­ited ev­ery neigh­bor­hood and trav­eled ev­ery street, and I know the value that’s placed on com­pas­sion, un­der­stand­ing and in­clu­sive­ness. A guid­ing prin­ci­ple comes from Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln in his sec­ond in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, that ours should be a gov­ern­ment with “char­ity to­ward all and mal­ice to­ward none.”

We are all faced with a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion on elec­tion day. My con­cern is that we cast our votes in the best in­ter­est and true spirit of one city. We must not gal­va­nize stereo­types that pits one half of the city against the other.

We all must reded­i­cate our­selves to an even greater San Francisco in the fu­ture.

Car­los Avila Gon­za­lez / The Chron­i­cle

The crowd lis­tens to the can­di­dates dur­ing a Chron­i­cle-spon­sored may­oral de­bate fea­tur­ing An­gela Alioto, Jane Kim and Lon­don Breed (Mark Leno was un­able to at­tend) last month.

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