The sleazy money typhoon

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CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct inaccurate information.

 

The flood of money into the San Francisco elections over the past month is mind-boggling. We've never seen this level of independent-expenditure attacks in district elections. We've never seen an out-of-nowhere conservative candidate with no political experience at all spend half a million of his own money to buy a San Francisco Assembly seat. It could be a very ugly Nov. 6.

The most dramatic entry in the last-minute sewer-money contest is the political action committee just formed to attack Sup. Christina Olague over her vote to retain Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. San Francisco Women for Responsibility and Accountable Supervisor exists only to oppose Olague; Ron Conway, a close ally Mayor Ed Lee, has thrown $20,000 into the group, and his wife Gayle put up $49,000. Linda Voight, who is married to real-estate industry mogul and rent-control foe Thomas Coates, put up another $49,000. That more than $100,000 coming in during the last 10 days of a campaign and it's an unprecedented amount of negative money for a district race.

The idea that a tech titan and a big landlord would use the Mirkarimi vote in a hit-campaign is disturbing to a lot of people, particularly Ted Gullicksen, who runs the San Francisco Tenants Union:

Conway's committee attacks Christina Olague for supporting Ross Mirkarimi.  But really he is just using the issue of domestic violence as a tool to unseat a political opponent.  By doing so, he is cheapening the issue of domestic violence to further his crass political agenda of repealing rent control.

(Conway, in an Oct. 30 note, says he does not oppose San Francisco's rent control laws. Coates has put significant money into anti-rent-control efforts.)

It's also, apparently, payback from two of the mayor's money guys -- and it makes a screwy election even stranger. Particularly since none of the other prominent candidates in D5 are out there going after Olague on her vote and most of them probably would have voted the same way.

Conventional wisdom is that attacking Olague helps London Breed, who is the candidate the landlords have chosen (and spent $40,000 on). But nobody knows exactly what will happen when all the ranked-choice ballots are counted. John Rizzo has largely weathered the story of attacks from all sides and will be #2 on a lot of ballots. I think Julian Davis is finished, and more of his supporters will go to Rizzo or Olague than to Breed.

Still, it's entirely possible that the most progressive district in the city will be represented by someone who is likely to be more aligned with the moderates and conservatives than with the left.

Then there's Michael Breyer, who has now put more than $500,000 of his own money into the Assembly race against Assessor Phil Ting. Breyer's never done anything in local politics; he claims to talk about old-fashioned San Francisco values and hypes his family members from past generations who have been active in the community, but he grew up on the East Coast and moved here in 2002. But with that kind of money, the more conservative candidate has been able to bring the race close to even.

And if he can use his own fortune to top Ting -- who's been a decent Assessor and has long ties to the community -- it's going to be a bad moment for San Francisco politics.

 

 

Comments

Heads they win, tails we lose. Was Andrea Shorter that unforgiving when she was on Gavin Newsom's staff and his appointee to the Commission on the Status of Women back when Newsom was a sexual harasser who fucked his underling who happened to be his friend's wife and broke up their family?

Was shorter concerned with danger that this alcohol fueled predator posed to our city, who just happened to be her political patron, or do different standards apply when the political shoe is on the other foot?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

Shorter will say anything that the person who signs her paychecks wants her to say.

She hops from one non-profit to the next.

Don't trust a thing she says or a position she takes.

Does she actually have any thoughts of her own?

Posted by Patrick Connors on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:20 am

Yes. Olague is completely untrustworthy. I am amazed that someone with such a rich and well-documented history of betrayal still inspires hope and devotion at the SFBG. Tim and Steve have been trying for weeks to get the party started, but nobody seems to want to join in.

Anyone notice how Olague has completely adopted Thea Selby's messaging?

Most recent door-hanger:

"Hands down Christina Olague is the Progressive candidate who can truly represent neighborhood interests in District 5."

"Her loyalty has always been to the communities and commercial corridors of District 5."

Except, you know, you can always just go get the real thing. Without the believability problems and without the baggage. Thea looks to be the one to beat! Olague knows it.

Posted by Gust on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:48 am

Clearly Gust is aligned with SFPD--and Lee--and wants Mirkarimi ousted just as bad as they. Not for justice, of course, but rather to unseat a popular, capable, successful and EFFECTIVE local politician who stands supremely against corruption (that which the aforementioned deal in).

Don't attack Olague because she had the presence of mind and a penchant for justice in voting not to oust our sheriff. Unlike many of her fellow supes, Olague DOES NOT stand with the city's CORRUPT, that is the PD, Ed Lee, big business and big, fat wealthy real estate. . .and let's not forget the equal-minded posse of attorneys that makes everything they do look real legal-like!

Or perhaps I'm mistaken and Gust is just a good, old-fashioned homophobe. . .or racist.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

Clearly Gust is aligned with SFPD--and Lee--and wants Mirkarimi ousted just as bad as they. Not for justice, of course, but rather to unseat a popular, capable, successful and EFFECTIVE local politician who stands supremely against corruption (that which the aforementioned deal in).

Don't attack Olague because she had the presence of mind and a penchant for justice in voting not to oust our sheriff. Unlike many of her fellow supes, Olague DOES NOT stand with the city's CORRUPT, that is the PD, Ed Lee, big business and big, fat wealthy real estate. . .and let's not forget the equal-minded posse of attorneys that makes everything they do look real legal-like!

Or perhaps I'm mistaken and Gust is just a good, old-fashioned homophobe. . .or racist

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

Sloppy, Tim. Your bias is evident. Davis is still by far the strongest candidate in D5. You are playing right into the hands of Rose Pak & Willie Brown and tearing the progressive community apart. Please stop.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

There's NO way the SFBG, Avalos, Kim, Agnos, Campos, Olague and Mirkarimi were going to let an African American, Julian Davis get close to getting D5. They definitely went through the motions, but the payback Olague got for her reinstatement of Ross clinched her support from all the hypocrites.

Now, I see the SFBG is attacking London Breed, the other African American running for D5. My measly vote will definitely go to her, the progressive machine needs a tune-up.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:13 am

Knowing or unknownly you have helped London Breed take D5

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

More of the fallout from "Progressives" wasting political capital on someone who pleaded guilty to DV. Now people of diverse political persuasions are unified in their anger. I wouldn't be surprised if the repercussions continued for years.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:05 am

Progs fighting Progs.
Thanks Ross.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:14 am

Since 2010, Ron Conway has contributed $970,790 to city candidates and ballot measures and political committees.

Most of it came this year. So far (and who's counting) he and his family have given $626,000.

As the Business Times reported as recently as May 11, 2012:

"When Conway was honored last month by the Commonwealth Club as a "Distinguished Citizen," he told the audience that "whether or not it's appropriate," he wanted to revisit comments he made in 2010 before the Bay Area Council, a business group, in which he said "we must take our city back" from "progressives."
"I said, 'We are going to take our city back.' And guess what, Ed Lee got elect-ed mayor, and we have taken our city back," Conway said."

We are just pieces on a playing board they own.

Posted by CitiReport on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

She is a politician's politician--a real Willie Brown cookie cutter. I'm of the belief that Olague was funded by the establishment as a weak prog in order to fail. Enrique Pearce is running her campaign into the ground while raking in the consultant cash. Meanwhile, London slips through the back door.

Posted by William Jennings on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

I am Christina Olague and I approve this message.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:16 am

I guess the Guardian likes Willie Brown appointees so long as they're white and male.

Lest we forget, John Rizzo became a player by way of being appointed by Willie Brown -- to the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority, a body designed to privatize public land with the promise to generate revenue for the park, but which actually has served only to pay off its private investors. At some point it handed its reins over to a public/private partnership whose proceedings are not public whatsoever (though the CFO's embezzling $3 million managed to make the news).

The Concourse Authority was supposed to reflect the concerns of environmentalists as well as the billionaires who wanted to invest in (and reap dividends from) the parking garage under the Music Concourse. One of the original members was Marilyn Smulyan, who very quickly recognized it as a sham and resigned on principle. Rizzo stayed to represent himself as the loyal opposition, casting votes that were completely worthless because they would never actually interfere with the billionaires.

When a real environmentalist actually did something to stop the Authority's repeated violations of the law, Rizzo did spring into action! A nominal Green at the time, he worked the Democratic endorsement machine to support a proposition to render this environmentalist's lawsuit moot (and stick her with the legal bill).

I shouldn't say that Rizzo's votes were *completely* worthless, because they did at least succeed at making HIM look good. The head billionaire patted him on the head and gave a generous donation to his campaign for the Community College Board, where he shows up at every meeting to watch the whole thing going bankrupt.

When does the progressive part begin, exactly?

Posted by Jym Dyer on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

Olauge was not a good follower, she broke ranks and put her own interests first by voting to allow Mirkarimi to keep his job in the hope that she would be able to keep hers. Christine can't make a correct call, as now per the article in todays examiner a female IE has been formed to stop her being elected as the D5 supervisor with over $100,000 being raised so far to do so. Christine Olauge has the title the queen of flip flop, the question on every ones lips is what way will she turn next?

Posted by guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

Sisters are doing it to themselves.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

Guess you are the perfect patsy. This is funded by men. Republican men. Republican men who don't live in the district. A few women as window dressing. You might even call them victims of male dominance.

Posted by CitiReport on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

Victim of male dominance, like Eliana?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

Silly to quote Gullicksen & the Tenants Union without pointing out that Davis is still the robust #1 choice of the TU in a tenant-dominant district. Olague voted for 8 Washington and will vote for future bad developments against tenant interests; Davis was "tried" (more like lynched) shamefully in your pages—suspiciously close to election time—and never had the benefit of any appropriate legal proceeding. Bay Guardian, at best you're being duped, and at worst you're blatantly talking out of both sides of your mouth. How can this unprofessionalism be taken seriously?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

Bbbbbut she reinstated Ross, we must support her.
Without a Domestic Violence Abuser as our Sheriff, being the bestest Sheriff he can be ever. No other DV abuser can be Sheriff the way Ross can and we must pay her back for her vote for our DV Sheriff. It is very progressive.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:21 am

Tim,

Congrats on becoming apart of the machine! You have no idea what the voters think. After all this nonsense it has become clear that the guardian has fallen into the trap of machine politics. You state that "Still, it's entirely possible that the most progressive district in the city will be represented by someone who is likely to be more aligned with the moderates and conservatives than with the left". The only reason this is possible is because of you supporting the moderates! Please stop making this possibilty a reality.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

The "progressive" "movement" has been just as machine-based as the "machine" it's seeking to replace in power. The fact that there are individuals and nuanced positions that don't fit the paradigm is a constant source of vexation.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

All kinds of good reasons to oppose Olague. Like Rizzo, Thea Selby has run a strong positive and independent campaign. She has deep support in the district--as well as the Guardian's endorsement--and will get lots of ones and twos and could easily wind up on top. Both Breed and Olague would be terrible for D5. And I don't quite get why the Olague torch burns so bright at the Guardian.

Posted by Gust on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

Don't let these conservatives jerk your chain. Julian was framed, just like Ross.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

...a new definition of the word "framed." Both admitted doing what they were accused of, all or in part.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

It is very simple, Gavin Newsom was not framed when he fucked his underling who was the wife of his friend, effectively sexually harassing all of his employees and breaking up their marriage and consigning their child to a broken home.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 8:23 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

as a matter no doubt whatsoever; Newsom was Ruby Rippey Tourke's *BOSS* when he diddled her. Subsequently, in order to make everything quite smooth for the parties concerned, he approved an exception to clearly established city policy to permit her to take extensive paid time off so that she wouldn't sue the city for sexual harassment. That cost us tens of thousands of dollars.

Ross shoudn't have grabbed Eliana's arm either -- and not to diminish that in any way -- but finagling city benefits for your victim so as to preserve your tattered political career is a far more serious crime in terms of breach of the public trust.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

...but I'm not sure that violating city policy is the same thing as committing a crime. Newsom should have resigned over what he did, though, which is what he and Mirkarimi have in common.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 10:13 am

There are laws on the books that criminalize creating a hostile workplace environment and imposing quid pro quo on underlings. The DA enforces those laws according to whether the perp is a member of the City Family in Good Standing or whether s/he is a progressive.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 10:28 am

Not that what Newsom did was appropriate etc. I have vowed to never ever vote for his sleazy ass ever again, but sexual harassment, is generally not a crime. It is something that is actionable in civil court, but it is not prosecutable provided that it was between two consenting adults- which in this case it apparently was.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 11:14 am

Sexual Harassment is a violation of the law and allowing the top official of San Francisco, the one that appoints 4/3 of the Police Commission and who selects the Police Chief to remain as an elected official should have been repugnant. That it was not, sets the standard for hypocrisy in government and slays the legitimacy of anyone who worked for, was appointed by or apologized for Newsom's conduct when they go after others.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 11:29 am

Quote me the California Penal Code that shows that it is a crime.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

Are you suggesting that sexual harassment is not illegal, that it is okay for powerful men to use their position of power over women for their own sexual gratification?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

Seriously though- there is a difference between something that the DA can prosecute you for and put you in jail for- i.e. rape, sexual assault, etc. and something that you can be sued for- i.e. sexual harassment. In my opinion it is never okay to do something like sexual harassment, but as of now, you cannot go to jail for it.

As disgusting and sickening as having an affair with your friends wife who is also an employee, if it was consensual- and I have never seen an allegation that he forced her to do it, then it wasn't a crime.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

You have no idea what went down, but since the perp was a white male authority figure, naturally you'd take his story at face value even though the power imbalance is is palpable.

Apparently women can indeed use their power as well, especially if they are Members of the City Family in Good Standing, as Joanne Hayes-White did to her husband, drunkenly beaning him twice with a pint glass while the kids looked on, breaking up her family as well.

Your strain of feminist not happy until a family has broken up.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

And neither were you so it seems hard to see how you want a prosecution, especially without any hard evidence- like say a videotape.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

where in the California Penal Code it is defined as a crime.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

I don't know why I'm wading into this, but sexual harassment is a tort (civil) not a crime. In California, most civil claims are brought the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

see criminal sexual battery.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

claim to understand that sex between Newsom and his city-paid employee "apparently was" consensual while having a history of supporting the overreaching prosecution of Ross Mirkarimi for an arm grab.

A man has a right to hold his wife. I don't mean to be facetious here or to suggest that Ross didn't overstep the bounds of proper action by grabbing Eliana's arm -- even though it must be said that his action didn't demonstrate an intent to cause an injury -- but the whole prosecution of Ross for domestic violence, etc, etc, that he eventually settled by pleading guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment demonstrates a very aggressive stance on the part of the DA. This same aggressive stance is nowhere in evidence regarding your bland assessment of realities of workplace harassment.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 11:49 am

No a man does not have a "right to hold his wife". No person has ANY right to hold another person. EVER. The only circumstance that I can think where one person has a right to hold another is when a person is being arrested. To say such implies that said holding can be done against the will of the person being held. That is simply not true. A WIFE- or husband for that matter- has the RIGHT to consent to being held or to tell the spouse "No I don't want to be held now-" or ever again.

Of course, the simple fact that you think a man has a right to hold his wife clearly demonstrates the level of your maturity and thinking. Just above neanderthal. No wonder you love Ross so much.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 12:56 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

What my alleged virginity and my calling you out for being a knuckle dragging caveman have to do with each other, I have no idea. Starting to think that you equate sex with power. Icky. very Icky.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

You must not have had any ongoing relationship during your adult life and if so, any relationship you might have had must have been rooted in bourgeois propriety, bereft of any passion. Equating what happened on NYE to domestic violence, a man beating the shit out of a woman, is just plain crazy.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 5:30 am

Because any true passionate relationship apparently involves some level of violence. Sick. Get a Clue, there are many different types of domestic abuse, just live there are different levels any types of child abuse and elder abuse.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 10:47 am

And I bet that you're comfortable with the nanny state, overruling the adult parties to the relationship, making the calls as to what conduct is and is not legitimate in a relationship.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 11:24 am

That we want to protect the abused from their abusers. Because you know abused people are always completely capable to getting out of bad situations on their own with zero help. No need for a helping hand there at all. Because abused women, complete with black eyes, and bruises NEVER EVER recant their statements to the police unless it truly never happened- they just originally lied to the police and really hit themselves or slipped in the shower.

Posted by D. Native on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

So because some small subset of people find themselves in DV trouble, everyone has to constrain their lives to accommodate legal protections for those few?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 6:19 pm
Posted by D. Native on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 10:13 am