I guess they couldn't find a suitable restaurant in San Francisco, so Willie Brown and Sup. Jane Kim will be hosting a $5,000-a-table fundraiser Oct. 3 for an Ed Lee independent expenditure committee at The Kitchen on El Camino Real in Millbrae. Officially, the invite is from the Committee for Effective City Management, which is trying to raise big gobs of unregulated cash to promote Lee. It reads:
Please Join the Committee for Effective City Managment in honoring Mayor Willie Brown and Supervisor Jane Kim for their dedication to advancing accountability in government.
Yes, that's right. Willie Brown, the least accountable politician in modern San Francisco history, a mayor who didn't even allow his staff to take notes in meetings for fear someone could demand them under the Sunshine Ordinance, and a supervisor who won't talk to her critics (us, for example) are being lauded for "advancing accountability in government." In Millbrae. To help Ed Lee get elected mayor of San Francisco.
When I called the person who is listed as a contact for tickets, Melanie Lok, and introduced myself as a reporter, she hung up on me. I called right back and she didn't pick up the phone.
The treasurer of this here committee is my old friend David Looman. I called him and asked him about the Millbrae event, and he didn't know anything. "My job is to make sure that we have a contract and an invoice for all vendors, or I'm not writing any checks," he said. Who is the head of the committee? Francis Wong. "I communicate with him only by email," Looman said.
The fact that Looman -- who has been very involved in Asian community politics over the years -- doesn't know Wong except as an email contact (and other Asian political leaders we've spoken to say they don't know him either) suggests that Wong hasn't been very active in city politics. There's a Francis Wong who gave $100 to the Progress For All (that is, the Run Ed Run committee) on June 23, 2011, and he lists his occupation as "accounting, Friendster." We found what appears to be a facebook page for him -- or at least, for a Francis S. Wong who worked at Friendster -- suggesting that he's a tech guy. I've emailed him but I haven't heard back.
That's the thing about these i.e. committees -- they can be set up and operate with nowhere near the scrutiny that normal campaign committes get. But they can raise a buttload of money. And Brown and Jane Kim are helping them do it.
Shop local, Ed. Shop local.