written January, 2007
Once upon a time, there was an active Democratic Club in our neighborhood. It
came about like this. Back in 1987, Assemblyman Art Agnos of Potrero Hill was
losing badly in the polls to then-Supervisor John Molinari in the San Francisco
mayor’s race. Then, with the strong support of neighborhood activists in
collaboration with other progressive groups, Agnos surged forward just before
the election to win the race. Potrero Hillers, galvanized by their grassroots
success and wanting to maintain the momentum, formed Potrero Hill Democratic
The club’s activities included guest speakers, and candidate forums where local
hopefuls vied for the club’s official backing. Those endorsements proved
powerful: In the1990 election, the club had the highest endorsement success rate
of any organization in The City. Club members worked on campaigns, and
registered new voters. They produced the popular “Potrero Hill 94107” t-shirts.
They had a newsletter, and annual holiday parties. They worked to make our
community a better place by participating in such activities as Christmas in April
(now called Rebuilding Together San Francisco), helping to repair and renovate
the homes of low-income, elderly and disabled residents.
But then, people moved on, or moved away, and eventually the enthusiasm
dissipated and the energy ran out. By 2000, a depressing year in many ways for
Democrats, the Club was officially dead.
But now it’s 2007, and change is in the air. Positive change. Democrats have
regained control of Congress and with it their voice on the governmental stage,
with our very own Representative Nancy Pelosi starring as Speaker of the
House. And, of course, there’s the 2008 presidential election in the wings. The
excitement is palpable down to the local level. The time is right for neighborhood
Democrats to reactivate their commitment to the true party of the people.
Potrero Hill Democratic Club is rising again. The first organizational meeting was
held January 8 at the Neighborhood House. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel,
the group examined the original club bylaws, augmenting and updating as we
went along. We are much indebted to Mauri Schwartz, first president of the
original club, for digging up a copy of this essential document, and to original
members Jim Firth and Marc Simon for their encouragement and enlightening
comments at the meeting.
The reanimated club will continue to promote active participation in the electoral
process, and to emphasize outreach to all parts of the community, education,
and community service. As Democrats, we will make visible, tangible
contributions to our community year-round.
Meetings will be at 7PM, the first Tuesday of each month at the Neighborhood
House. At the next meeting, Tuesday, February 13, we will approve the new,
updated bylaws, take nominations for officers, and hold elections. All positions
are up for grabs: President, First Vice-President (Program Chair), Second Vice-
President (Political Action Committee Chair), Secretary, and Treasurer. Please
join us and run for something – or nominate someone else!
Regular membership is open to all registered Democrats residing in Potrero Hill,
Dogpatch and immediate environs (exact boundaries to be agreed upon at the
next meeting). Annual dues are tentatively set at $25, but no one will be refused
for lack of funds. Associate (non-voting) memberships are available to people
who live outside the geographic boundaries or are not eligible to vote.
You are invited to get involved. Help strengthen the political influence of Potrero
Hill by adding your own voice. Remember: Democracy is not a spectator sport.