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San Francisco Elections Director John Arntz, local news outlet Misson Local “oversees one of the few San Francisco departments that clearly fulfills its core mission,” says his contract will not be renewed despite his stellar performance. Reason? It does not fit the city’s “racial equity plan.” I think we know what that means, right?
In a 4-2 vote on Wednesday, the city’s Board of Elections voted to grant Arntz a new term in the position he has held for 20 years.
He may have legal recourse. https://t.co/Nger2Et4zK
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) November 22, 2022
Election Commissioner Cynthia Dai, one of the “no” votes, spoke loudly: it wasn’t about behavior. It was about skin color (emphasis mine):
“Our decision was not based on your performance, but after two decades, we wanted to take action on the City’s racial equity plan and give people an opportunity to compete for a leadership position,” said an email from commission president Chris Jerdonek to Arntz. “We also wanted to allow sufficient time for a fair and just process and conduct as extensive a search as possible.”
If you’re John Arntz, that doesn’t necessarily seem fair or just. This step was taken despite the Commission repeatedly saying that Arntz was a formidable leader:
In 2021, the Election Commission wrote to the mayor that “San Francisco has one of the best elections in the country, and we believe that this transparent process has allowed us to continue to improve our elections.” In 2020, he praised him “for his incredible leadership…”
Outrage came quickly, even among other city officials:
The members of the Election Commission are tasked with ensuring free, fair and functional elections and must act in the best interest of the city and district. The decision to remove John Arnz after 20 years of impeccable leadership is a dereliction of duty for the Commission. https://t.co/fiQ7Na3xaK
– Superintendent Catherine Stefani (@SupStefani) November 22, 2022
Brad, the mayor of London, thought the decision was ill-advised, writing: “Instead of working on key issues to rebuild and rebuild our city, this is a good example of the unfair politicization of a key part of our government that works well for our constituents.” this city.”
Even his own employees supported Arntz:
All 12 managers in Arntz’s department, unbeknownst to him, wrote to the commission ahead of schedule, asking them to reassign him. Their submission was ignored and it appears that their letter was not received at Wednesday’s meeting.
City Attorney David Chiu was among those outraged by the decision:
I think some people have forgotten the history of this department.
Before Director Arntz, we had five directors over many years, ballot boxes floating in the bay, and a strong distrust of city elections. Many of us are secretive.
It’s hard to see this as anything other than racial discrimination. Arntz has been invited to reapply for the job, but one can imagine he won’t feel good about his prospects when it looks like they’re going to give him the boot after 20 years of successful service.
Sometimes I think we’re going backwards, not forwards, on racial issues in this country. In San Francisco, it looks like they’re publicly saying they kicked this guy out for one reason: the color of his skin. This is, of course, Dr. It was not the type of world Martin Luther King envisioned in his “I Have a Dream” speech.
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