Developer-funded 8 Washington campaign spends $1.8 million pushing Props. B&C

The proposed 8 Washington project.

The developer of the 8 Washington waterfront luxury condo project and his allies have spent more $1.8 million this year pushing Propositions B and C, according to new campaign finance filings with the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs and Housing spent nearly $1 million in the latest Sept. 22 to Oct. 19 period, while raising $687,006 — bringing its year-to-date totals to $1.4 million raised and $1.8 million spent — and leaving the Yes on B&C committee $562,029 in debt.

But that “debt” is actually more like an investment considering developer Simon Snellgrove and his Pacific Waterfront Partners have contributed the lion’s share to this campaign, $1.1 million and counting, which is probably a pittance compared to the profits he plans to make on 134 condos that will go for around $5 million each.

By contrast, the opposition campaign, No Wall on the Northeast Waterfront, has raised $587,625 so far this year (almost half of that in the latest filing period) and spent $511,703 ($333,589 since Sept. 22), leaving the campaign with $88,553 in the bank as of Oct. 19.

Unlike the developer-funded campaign, whose only other significant financial support came from project contractor Cahill Construction, the opposition campaign was funded mostly by dozens of small contributions ranging from less than $100 up to a few $5,000 donations. Its only sizable checks came from Richard and Barbara Stewart of Stewart Economics, who live next door to the site and would have their bay views blocked by the 136-foot condo towers, which the couple has jointly kicked in $278,000 to try and stop.

For more information on 8 Washington and Props. B & C, read the Guardian's endorsements (No on C; and No, no, no! on B) or listen to the interesting debate that KQED’s Forum hosted this morning. And don’t forget to vote. 


The various dams on the Tuolumne are not sources, but storage devices (just as batteries are for electricity) to keep uneven seasonal run off upstream so that needed water volume can be kept consistent year round.

So getting rid of a dam gets rid of supply stability, not water itself.

But the question is important. What we need to do with water supply is the same as that which we must do for electricity supply; get and store more water from the sky, and also institute much more aggressive water conservation and recycling.

For example if San Francisco switched out all of its toilets with urban composting toilets, it would save at least 5 billion gallons of water per year.

Once we have extensive rainwater capture, water conservation and recycling, renewable electricity, and energy efficiency, to replace what the dam provides, we can and should shut down the dam.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

You'll have to pull my normal flush toilet out of my cold dead heads. Composting toilets! Dirty hippy

Posted by Bob on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

public power being the biggest issue for this city. In fact, I broadly agree with your view on this, and that probably hasn't happened before.

But a conflict is just a quandary plus emotion and self-rightesousness, you know?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

Public power would save San Franciscans about $200 million a year, so it is still an extremely important goal. I'm just more realistic about the political possibilities of pulling off a public power transition, when PG&E will fight it with a multi-million dollar smear campaign every time we try to pass it on the ballot...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

year IF it was the intent of public power to charge at cost.

But, at least the SFBG idea around it, was rather to continue to charge what PG&E charge, and use that profit to fund their favorite causes, which are mostly boosting pay and benefits for the city family.

I might support a non-profit energy supply. I would not support a for-profit energy supply company that was really just laundering the profits into the general fund for pork.

In fact, if the voter propositions had been for a non-profit power service, it might not have lost every time it was voted on.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

Are you new leftists capable of thinking systematically? As long as there are any worse sources of energy, replacing HH power with clean power means that a worse energy source was not replaced by clean power. You'd be trading clean HH power for dirty power.

Posted by Karl Marx on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

...if the dam were drained. So of course would all other valleys flooded by reservoirs.

This would also be the fist step in restoring local salmon runs and other major wildlife values below Hetch Hetchy and other dams.

The key climate crisis problem is near term tipping points that we will hit in the next few decades. If we don't rapidly reduce our emissions over the next couple of decades, we will likely hit those crisis points and bring on a climate disaster.

However, if we get our act together and avoid triggering catastrophic change by not tipping over those tipping points, then we can safely shut down dams a few decades from now.

This 'if' of course, is a very big 'if'...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

The average coal plant produces about 3 million MWh per year. At about 2000 lbs of CO2 emitted per MWh, that's about 6 billion lbs of CO2 annually.

HH reservoir has a surface are of about 2000 acres. At a generous 2000 lbs of carbon sequestered per acre per year, that's about 4 million lbs of CO2 sequestered per year.

That puts the value of HH as a carbon sink at less than 1/1000th of replacing a coal plant.

Eliminating dams should be the very last thing on your to-do list, not that any of them will get done anyway.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

Furthermore, dams are being shut down regularly.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

In the same way any campaign funded by the Koch brothers can be considered a "grass roots" campaign

Posted by Bob on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

Agnos was horrible in that debate on KQED. Unpersuasive. His solution is to build low income housing on that site instead?

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

it is easy for him to say that's what we should do.

Fact is, if developers do not build BMR homes as part of a prestige market-rate project like this, then the BMR homes do not get built.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

This is the problem, VOTERS, whats in it for them if Snellgrove wins and builds 8 Washington, again whats in it for them in Snellgrove loses and does not build 8 Washington,
win or loose there is not a lot in it for the average voter. If any thing they lean more towards having it built, as it brings jobs.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:28 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

That's an idiotic statement: $5 million condos add nothing to the supply of housing sought by 99 percent of San Franciscans, but they do help gentrify the city and increase demand by the wealthy for housing that some of us can actually afford. Ergo, higher rents, not cheaper rent. 

Posted by steven on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

what would happen if those same buyers start looking elsewhere in the city.

Then there's the 11 million for BMR homes.

Your view on this makes SF less affordable.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

Excuse me, but what funky, diverse and affordable neighborhood are you visting along the waterfront by the Embarcadero Center? Because during my lunch break today all I saw where the same rich white people living in the neighborhood who I always see walking around during lunch. $5 million condos are not going to change the atmosphere of that part of town, anymore than another multi-million dollar mansion would "gentrify" Pacific Heights.

I do agree that the city doesn't really need more luxury condos, but it could certainly use the $11 million in funds for affordable housing that the development will provide, along with the property taxes the new condo owners will pay, and the sales tax they will contribute on purchases made in the city eating out and shopping.

Also, if you are going to bring up gentrification, you should at least understand how and why it occurs. When the housing supply that wealthy people would want to purchase in more desirable areas is restricted (usually through the efforts of wealthy existing residents, such as the Stewarts), then the rich buyers start buying "down" into working-class or even somewhat deteriorated neighborhoods, which in turn gentrifies those areas and raises the rents and home prices and drives the working class and poor residents out.

Yes, if someone were going to build $5 million condos in the Excelsior, you might have an argument about gentrification. But, building luxury housing in luxury parts of town is exactly what the city should be doing to take the pressure off other neighborhoods--along with building more subsidized housing reserved for lower and middle income residents (and one way to do this is to collect fees form luxury housing developments, like the $11 million 8 Washington will pay).

Posted by Chris B. on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

Expect some serious ducking from Steven.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

I thought that was pretty funny when Steven said that the law of supply and demand was idiotic.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

It is more like they'd get a nice cabin in Aspen.

Or would people who can afford 8 Washington would otherwise purchase a TIC in the Mission after an Ellis?

Maybe they'd contribute to sprawl by purchasing a ticky-tacky tract home in the exurbs?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

The frustrated buyers here would go one step down the ladder. Those they displace would go down another rung. And so on until someone more affluent than you outbids you on an Edwardian in the Mission.

Less homes can never mean lower prices or rents.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

Is there any empirical evidence to support this wild assertion other than argument by "the waving of the hands" and appeals to the scriptures of theoclassical economics?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

scream for "evidence" and "proof" and "data". It's a cheap trick, and I do not necessarily blame you for resorting to it, but the fact remains that you are wrong.

Housing demand trickles down by price. If you had ever worked in real estate, you would know that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

When people are losing a debate, they often retort with "when people are losing a debate..." are an artifact of argument "by the waving of the hands" and appeal to theoclassical economic scripture.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

yet when others do the same, you demand "evidence" and whine about hand-waving.


Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:14 am

Again, that's not how supply and demand works, your strange belief that those who can't buy those $5 million condos are going to trickle down into my neighborhood in the Mission. Btw, Biotti, are you doing any banking services for this project? Most of its supporters seem to have a financial stake in it, so I kinda assume you're getting yours.

Posted by Steven T. on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:36 am

5 million dollar home will not buy a 500K TIC in the Mission.

But they will outbid someone in SOMA, who then outbids someone in Hayes Valley, who then outbids someone in Duboce Triange, who then outbids someone in the Mission.

It's like a waterfall. Each segment goes down one level, and the very bottom level end up with nothing at all.

Ask any realtor.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:51 am

Keep telling yourself that as your solutions keep making things worse

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 9:00 am

What I said is that building homes that I cannot afford isn't necessarily a bad thing just because I cannot afford one.

IOW, I do not have the envy bug.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 9:04 am

The comment above was directed at another comment.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 9:14 am

Marcos, read the news. Were you not aware how Mark Zuckerberg, a person who could purchase the entire 8 Washington development, bought a multi-million dollar home in the Mission? Why do you think the Mission has become gentrified? Is it really because rich folks liked the idea of living in a gritty formerly working-class neighborhood? No, it's because the merely affuent, as opposed to the very rich, were pushed out of the nicer neighborhoods by anti-development folks and city policies that strangled supply, so they started buying "down" in less choice places like the Mission until those neighborhoods became so chic and wealthy that now even the super-rich buy homes there.

Folks who move to 8 Washington, likely already have a "nice cabin in Aspen." They want to have a place in San Francisco, and they will get it one way or another, and the less supply you give them in luxury neighborhoods, the more likely they will continue to push into working-class and middle-class neighborhoods, until one day those neighborhoods become so trendy that a tech billionaire buys a second home in them, too. The more folks like you push policies that put a squeeze on housing supply, especially in the "nicer neighborhoods," the more you simply help to push gentrification across the city.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 10:08 am

Painfully obvious. (And well stated.)

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 10:42 am

sergeant in Vietnam who said

we had to destroy the village to save it?

you guys are just, so smart, it's literally painful to watch you think....

Posted by blkjdoi on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

Where do you get the $5M number from? That seems quite high to me. What will be the average apartment size?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 12:13 am

They might prefer a new luxury waterfront condo, but they would have no problem doing a Zuckerberg and buying a house in Mission Dolores and gutting it.

Build it and not only is there less demand, but there are the affordable units that will be built with the set-aside funding.

No brainer.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

Come on SFBG, surely you are smarter than this?
I love how you trip over yourselves responding to the truth and just dig yourself deeper into the hole.

Posted by Bob on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

Boston Properties has given $125,000 to No Wall on the Waterfront and the Stewarts have given over $400,000.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

Boston Properties has given $150,000 after giving an additional $25,000 last week.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

Clearly climate change and sea level rise is not the least bit of a concern for the proponents of the proposed 8 Washington project or any other "luxury designer homes" (ugh) on the waterfront. And I take it that earthquakes are no longer a concern either and that area of the city is landfill.

I see all the ugly-looking---who the fuck designed those?---over-priced stacked glass boxes called "luxury designer residences" being built in Upper Market so it's good to know that we no longer have earthquakes in Upper Market. I remember what the Financial District looked like after the 1989 quake.

I guess the smug eliti$t$ think their Denial will protect them in coming years.

One "luxury designer condo" building near me already opened has 1980's outdated track lighting on the ceilings and the siding on the building is done poorly (it's not even...looks like a rush job and tacky...they will likely have water problems with that during the rainy season). That building has been open for 3 months now and most of that overpriced building is still empty including the bottom level retail space with a big "Leasing" sign on the building which has been up there for months now.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 4:01 am

bleatings of the green mob.

While the building regs for new construction is very resilient to earthquakes - it's older buildings that have the issue there.

What you are really saying, of course, is that you cannot afford these new homes but see that lots of other people can. That would annoy me to, if it were true for me, but it isn't.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:16 am

So to sum up:
The laws of supply and demand are idiotic
A single very wealthy elderly white heterosexual couple living in the golden gateway condos essentially funding a ballot proposition in solidarity with boston properties is considered progressive democracy.

This paper has so much in common with the tea party its incredible!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:52 am

And SFBG is the equivalent of Fox News.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 9:03 am

Steven wrote about the Stewarts: "the couple has jointly kicked in $278,000".

That is 2013 alone. In the very next column on the filings they are required to provide the cumulative total. Which is listed on the form as $442,100. (216.6 for Barbara and
225.5 for Richard).

I don't think that includes the $80K that they paid for signature gatherers to put the thing on the ballot in the first place. Steven couldn't mention that here because it didn't fit his agenda but the journalists who have covered the story have all written about it. On a previous comment someone used a $500K figure and Steven promptly 'corrected' him.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

"San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs, and Housing" says what is wrong with this whole enterprise. When Mayors Newsom and Lee shill for the project, it almost sounds like a public park is being built with public housiing as incidental. When in fact this is an oases for the wealthy on the waterfront. In fact these are $5 million units with miniscule park space and no guarantee that the park space will be accessible to the public.

While it is true, the developers will be making a contribution of $11 million for affordable housing, this is still nothing but a high rise for the wealthy.

And I don't even want to know why Mayors Newsom and Lee are shilling for what is essentially private development.

When the developers come back with a lower height, and with a guarantee that the park space will be public in perpetuity, then I'll be thinking they are acting in good faith. Untill then, this is housing for the wealthy pusing their weight around. What I see with the archtectural renderings is a con job fishy as any politician.

Posted by StevenTorrey on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

AKA the politics of envy.

AKA class warfare.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

Why else do they hoard almost all the money and aren't satisfied until an even greater percentage of it goes their way?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

We don't hoard money. Our money is at work making it possible for you to make a living doing easy work for a few hours a day.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

You just defend them on the internet. When they don't need you anymore (actually they don't need you at all), so forget about it.

You've already been cast off. They hate you too. You just think you are one of them. They laugh at you as you focus your ire downwards rather than at them where it belongs.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

known. the wealthy give a lot to charity, volunteer, get involved in churches and charities. They also provide employment and housing for others.

All the left want to do is legally mug those who are more successful than they are.

The wealthy do not "hoard" anything. They build prosperity for themselves, others and for society.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 27, 2013 @ 4:34 am

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