The sleazy money typhoon


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.




Everyone has to constrain their lives lest the constitutionally infirm presumption of guilt lead them to be informed on by a nosy neighbor and whisked off to jail, no questions asked.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 11:17 am

So sorry society is constraining you.

Posted by D. Native on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

Not bruising your wife is so bourgeois. Men of San Francisco! Control your women!

Just busting your balls, Marcos. I don't agree with most of most of your posts, but I do think this bruised-arm incident has been blown out of proportion.

Just my opinion.

Posted by snoozers on Nov. 05, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

Newsom sexually harassed his underlings. That the DA declined to prosecute does not make it any less of a crime than Julius Turman's beating the shit out of his boyfriend was a crime or that Ed Lee's perjury was a crime.

There was no complaint against Julian Davis, therefore there was no crime. Had there been a complaint against a progressive aspirant, what do you think that the DA would have done?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 5:45 am

...a crime, as other commenters helpfully pointed out.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

Yes...but couldn't Newsom's acts while in office considered official miscondcut? Especially his relationship with a subordinate City employee?

Posted by roflynn on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 4:26 pm


Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 8:19 am

So you stand with Sexual Assaulters and Domestic violence Abusers?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:31 am

No charges or convictions for domestic violence or sexual assault are on the record in either of these cases.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:39 am

Yet Marcos, Ross and Julian ADMITTED to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Progs condoning DV and Sexual Assault, just great what's the next trend progs will condone, kidnapping or beastiality?
The Progressive cause is done, put a fork in it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 11:58 am

They admitted to no such crimes. The progressive cause is done, but the fork was stuck in five years ago, the beast lumbered slower and slower over the savannah until it has just collapsed.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

Uh Marcos, are you calling Ross and Julian LIARS?
Ross did admit to committing an act of violence against his wife and Julian
Admitted to inappropriate sexual aggressive, flirting and touching his colleague.

No prob though, The progressive cause has tanked under less than dignified leadership and even less than dignified followers.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

All politicians bend the truth to the expediency of the moment.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

But then also appear to agree that it was inevitable.

Got it.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

One pled to misdemeanor false imprisonment, a nonviolent crime.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

...thing to do, dontcha know?

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:40 am

Selby's running a stronger campaign than Rizzo - I'd guess that she's the one to benefit here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

SFBG make up your mind, Olauge has betrayed all her progressive values, Olauge is a real true tested progressive (after the Mirk vote) I and many other people are confused, as you and Jones went on and on about how bad she was, now she is good, please!

Posted by guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

Politics and life are complicated. Olague voted the wrong way on some important issues, and the right way on others. She is neither evil nor perfect.

Posted by tim on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

Tim, I've supported all three of Olague, Rizzo and Davis since this spring, given the same amount of $ to each, and still believe that any of the three would make a fine supervisor.

I've been as mystified at the posture of some progressives towards Olague as I have been with the apparently coordinated polarity shift away from Davis. The political class clutches its pearls at conduct that is well within the norm amongst the general public as an example of its disconnect.

The previous Board of Supervisors allowed developer crapola like Rincon and Eastern Neighborhoods to pass, 8 Washington, while as undesirable, was only an issue because white people with resources could make it so.

The Guardian was under the thrall of the nonprofit housing mafia when this all went down and they had a dog in the fight, a very small toy poodle. Together, you all enabled the developers to take a big Great Dane crap on us.

Now you are under the thrall of other interests that have flipped a switch behind the scenes and changed the political progressive polarity. Of course, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, what am I thinking?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

I don't think this is the right standard for judging politicians. Neither evil nor perfect could be just about anyone.

I think, instead, you should look at things like past behavior, where the money comes from, consistency of principle. On all these fronts Olague comes up lacking. She has been anything but a straight shooter in her political life. She owes powerful people a great deal--and even now, in the middle of a fierce race where independence is everything, she has done nothing to put daylight between herself and them. The Mayor? Still endorses and not one word of even mild criticism from Christina. Rose Pak? Friends forever. And the development money has flowed freely. Why won't she go on the record with a friendly outlet like the Guardian? And who does she really represent? Has she shown any interest in getting to know the District? I don't think that's ever been important to her. She doesn't want to give voice to her constituents. She wants to sit in a room with the people who really matter and forge deals that then get imposed from above.

Are these the ways of a progressive? I'm honestly confused, Tim. I have no history with Olague. As a D5 resident I've been very disappointed by Christina Olague's performance. Why is there any reason to be hopeful? What am I missing?

Posted by Gust on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:35 am

...that she voted to reinstate the Sheriff and that she's the closest to a progressive who has a chance to win.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 8:21 am

Hortie also said Ross Mirkarimi had no chance to win his Board of Supervisor's vote.

I'm hoping there's a pattern developing here.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:07 am

I don't recall ever saying the Sheriff didn't have a chance at the Board. I believe I was worried all along that he'd be reinstated, but feel free to find where I said otherwise.

Backtracking a bit, I don't know what Davis's chances are at this point, especially given early voting and IRV. I probably should have written that many key players in the "progressive" "movement" believe he has no chance, hence the hilarious return to backing Olague.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 10:06 am

Tim, you have apparently leapt headlong into irrelevancy, and simply want to make sure everyone knows it. So be it. Time will tell for sure.


Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

but then Tim & SFBG lost all credibility some time ago.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 4:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

nice try though.

Posted by guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

Seriously. All this hot air over an Assembly seat which is a reliable Democratic vote and a supervisor's seat which represents 90,000 people and matters only in the insular world of the San Francisco left. The Guardian is now gaga over Adachi when they couldn't stop trashing him and his his attempts to control pension costs back in 2011. Ridiculous.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

Two key progressive organizations have stuck with Davis, the Harvey Milk Club and SEIU 1021. The membership of these organizations know local politics and understand campaign dynamics.

It would be helpful to know how Olague feels about critical issues facing San Francisco, instead of basing a SFBG endorsement on the fact she got a bitchy text message from Tony Winnocker after her Mirkarimi vote.

What are her specific plans for CPMC? Will she again try to repeal Rank Choice Voting (should Mar lose, she'd be the 6th vote)? When it comes to protecting human services will she fight or be a blank check for police and fire overtime? Is full disclosure of community benefits prior to any future tax concessions a requirement for her? Does she now back a moratorium on all new $1 million plus condominiums as a way to make up for 8 Washington?

Olague has provided no answers to any of these substantive questions.

These are only a handful of questions progressive voters should know specific answers to. Instead this paper is being whipped into supporting Olague by turning Breed into one of the 4 horse people of the apocalypse, without Olague making any substantive commitments for progressive votes. Basing an electoral decision on fear is a proven way to get nothing in politics.

Here is a recent clip of the D5 supervisor:

I can understand why the Guardian would support Rizzo now but doing Olague seems like a choice for folks who are emotionally invested in just having access to power for its own sake rather than standing for something.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

Is there anyone who is allowed to suggest a moratorium on condos > $1m without being taken out by the for profit or non profit developers?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 5:47 am

thousands of man hours trying to influence the election, but it's not OK for a few people to donate to a cause they believe in?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

that 1.3 million dollars were spent by ed lee to attempt to lynch ross mirkarimi. now lee and gascon and the stung city attorney's office are trying to make a new law called the "gotcha ross" law to keep the sheriff from doing his job. I suggest that Mr. Gascon remedy the woeful record of the DA's office in prosecuting genuine domestic violence cases..the second lowest rate in the nine bay area counties... what a bunch of poor losers and poor administrators

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:10 am

Gascon could not be bothered with applying the same set of rules to all irrespective of their standing with The City Family.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:32 am

This reminds me of Barbara Kaufman freaking out that Gilbert F. Criswell was running for D6 supervisor after embezzling $13K from Easter Seals and trying to pass a law barring those so convicted from the ballot. Of course, Kaufman had no problem serving with convicted car thief Billy Maher because...wait for it...Maher played ball with the City Family.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:20 am

I would like to clarify that SEIU has made a triple endorsement in District 5 -- Davis, Olague, and Rizzo. We recommend voting for these 3 candidates in no particular order. We are very concerned about the real estate money that is now flooding District 5 and have begun our own small effort to highlight this.

Meanwhile, SEIU Local 1021 continues to prioritize our efforts for Eric Mar in the Richmond and for Prop. A to save City College.

Posted by Chris Daly on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 8:02 am

Thank you for letting me know the three candidates that I will NOT be voting for.
London Breed, Thea Selby and Julian Davis it is!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:24 am

I will be voting for Davis, Rizzo, that order.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

Chris Daly for President 2016!!

Posted by guest on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... wow, San Francisco Women for Responsibility & Accountable Supervisor ... oh, really? Did any of these HIGH MINDED, SOCIETY CONSCIENCE and EXTREMELY CONCERN persons ask about the "Official Misconduct" cases against FOUR (4) supervisors? ( ) and go to case # 11048. Now please don't tell me that they DIDN'T know as I have consistently posted on this website ... especially during the Ross witch hunt.

Does responsibility and accountability only regard THEIR INTERPRETATIONS and SPINS? It is a question I believe any sane reasonable person would ask. What about a responsible and accountable MAYOR or City Attorney or District Attorney?

Without as MUCH regard for the FOUR supervisors found guilty by the Sunshine Task Force (Ministry of Sunshine) ... let us see HOW responsible and accountable they (SF Women for .....) will be. Will there be a march, an inquiry, a newspaper article, more spin about their interpretation of concern and morality ... only to sit by and claim WHAT in regards to the FOUR supervisors ... they were responsible and accountable? Yes, the SWORD of VICIOUSNESS masquerading as RIGHTEOUSNESS cuts BOTH ways ...
Enjoy the FANTASY, MISLEAD and NON ACCOUNTABILITY. Do NOT expect more from city ... go to to see HOW the city TREATS responsibility and accountability ... just LIP service as I believe is the case here with this.

Please prove me WRONG ... SF WOMEN ask about the supervisors and ethics to proceed ... I guess delayed JUSTICE for the VICTIMS while the witch hunt was on will have to do ... will the CITY ATTORNEY be as VICIOUS to the supervisors at ethics as they were with Ross? Will the DA ask that they "WALL THEMSELVES OFF" if they ( the four supervisors) have what he (DA) deems as conflict of interests (just as he deemed no investigation or perjury by the MAYOR?) Stay tuned ...

Oh and by the way if the WOMEN are so concerned ... might I suggest following up with the defunct Sunshine Task Force (not heard cases since June 2011) for HOW can you have Responsibility and Accountability if there is NO PROCESS ???

Oh and please DEEPLY concerned SF WOMEN go to and find the "NURSE RATCHED" letter sent to me that was sent to ETHICS as Official Misconduct ... since the RULES are now different and changed for ROSS ... will the WOMEN ask that the case be re-opened? Yes, Justice does not only apply in selective circumstances ... how responsible and accountable would that be?

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 8:16 am

D5 is so divided, a write-in candidate will soon be the front-runner.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 9:29 am

Basically showing her true colors and complete ignorance of issues facing renters, Breed is all over facebook telling anyone that will listen that she is a friend of renters, rent control and that she will even work to extend rent control to buildings built after 1979. This shows what she obviously doesn't know: Costa Hawkins (state law) prevents rent control in buildings post 1995. If she cared in the least about tenant issues she would know this because it is a HUGE deal to people who care about this issue.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

that it will NEVER be extended to buildings built after 1979 or to single-family homes. EVER. Ted Gulicksen's wet dream will not come to pass in California.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

That's great that you think that but London Breed is arguing otherwise and I'm just pointing out her lack of knowledge on the issue that she now claims to be a huge champion of.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

That's the essence of her statement.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 30, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

@Marcos, Ross and Julian if you say something many, many times does not make it real, even though you want it so badly to be true. Reality is reality,
Stop living in your head, the voices you hear are not real.

Posted by guest on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 10:53 am

He really seems to have a problem keeping his hands off women. I said it before - it was widely known amongst his class at Hastings that he was aggressive and overly-sexual with women and didn't like to take "no" for an answer.

This is terribly sad. My heart just breaks for someone like Julian who just cannot seem to understand proper boundaries.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

and par for the course, I might add. whenever someone comes forward, another person with an ax to grind is sure to pile on. do you recall the woman who accused RM of manhandling her during public comment, then later admitted that she had never met Mirkarimi? how about christina flores who wrote him a sick poem vowing to get even? nothing like a very public case to bring out the usual psychos.

Posted by your heart bleeds on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

nor "unsubstantiated" because it happened in front of her then-boyfriend and Julian admitted it. You need to look up those dictionary definitions before using them to smear the brave women who are speaking up against predatory males like Julian.

Now - you seem familiar with Jules. How's he doing now that almost every woman he's objectified and manhandled is coming forward? Is he repentant or defiant? I'd say the latter looking at his angry statement to the SF Weekly. I'm concerned for poor Julian - he seems close to becoming totally unhinged. This saddens me - we really need to heal and it should start with Julian.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

To me, it just shows that the powers that be are really, really afraid that Julian Davis could win. I think Davis said it best in his response to Joe Eskenazi...


I want to clarify that when you called me yesterday you did not tell me what you were calling about and I did not receive a call back later in the day. I am not going to comment further about anonymous uncorroborated attacks coming from your publication a week before Election Day.

Voters I talk to in the streets are intelligent enough to see past the politics of personal destruction. Their concerns are real—a more affordable city, improved public transit and a better climate for small business, to name a few. Your readers would benefit from substantive reporting on these issues and on how the candidates differ on them.

Julian Davis

Posted by Jill on Oct. 31, 2012 @ 2:15 pm