Mayor Ed Lee's committee gives $10,000 that it doesn't have to the 8 Washington project UPDATED

The debt-ridden Mayor Ed Lee for San Francisco Committee is supporting Props. B&C
Tim Daw

Mayor Ed Lee presents himself as a model of fiscal responsibility, but the Mayor Ed Lee for San Francisco Committee that he controls has recently been spending big money that it doesn’t have, including more than $10,000 that it has recently given to the Yes on Propositions B&C campaign, according to campaign finance filings.

The Mayor Ed Lee for San Francisco Committee, a general purpose committee that Lee and its Treasurer Kevin Heneghan are jointly responsible for, made late contributions of $8,666.66 on Oct. 29 and $1,667 on Oct. 30 to San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs and Housing, Yes on Props. B&C, which supports the 8 Washington project. Lee’s committee also made a $4,333.34 contribution to the Yes on A campaign on Oct. 29.

The Lee committee’s contributions are actually small potatoes for the Yes on B&C campaign, which is spending more than $2 million to have voters green-light the project, most of it coming from the developer, Pacific Waterfront Partners, which kicked in late contributions of $450,000 on Oct. 28 and $250,000 on Oct. 24, bringing its total to about $1.8 million.

But what’s interesting about the Lee committee’s donations is that the final pre-election statement that it filed on Oct. 24 showed that it had just $1,208 in the bank and $26,886 in outstanding debts — most of that to Oakland-based EMC Research for polling it conducted during the Sept. 22-Oct. 19 period.

Neither Heneghan nor Lee responded to our calls for comment, and Lee doesn’t have any public events scheduled between now and election day on Tuesday, so details on this intriguing bit of deficit spending and what kind of polling work the mayor’s committee was doing remain a mystery. [UPDATE 11/5: Lee's office deferred to Heneghan, who just emailed us this response: "As you know, political committee report filings are a snapshot in time. The Mayor Ed Lee for San Francisco ballot measure committee has received additional contributions since the most recent report that will be appropriately reported. All activity through the committee in support of ballot measures endorsed by Mayor Lee will continue to be appropriately reported as well." We asked Heneghan whether he would disclose the donors, and we're waiting to hear back.]

The Mayor Ed Lee for San Francisco Committee hasn’t reported raising any money this year, unlike last year when it raised about $400,000 from some of the city’s biggest establishment players, including Lennar Homes ($35,000), Committee on Jobs ($30,000), San Francisco Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth ($25,000 in basically a pass-through from venture capitalist Ron Conway), San Francisco Association of Realtors ($20,000), and the city’s police and firefighters’ unions ($10,000 each).

But how exactly could the Mayor Ed Lee for San Francisco Committee give $10,000 to the Yes on Props. B&C campaign if it didn’t actually have the money to cover the checks?

When we asked a source at San Francisco Ethics Commission about it, at first he was puzzled, and then he told us that while the committee is required to report late expenditures that it makes before the election, it isn’t required to report late contributions that it receives. That we won’t find out until its Form 460s are due Jan. 31, 2014.

So who really paid for Lee’s contributions to the Yes on B&C campaign, as well as more than $20,000 in polling work that Lee’s committee paid for? And what will our mayor do in return for the people who are digging his committee out of its debts?  



A mayor with a 65% approval rating who was elected on a pro-growth platform is entitled to encourage a pro-growth project, especially one estimated to provide the city with 350 million in tax revenues in the future.

Posted by anon on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

Of course you are, you do work for the guy, right? BTW, would you care to cite the source for this 65 percent figure that repeatedly tout? And since you seem to have the inside scoop from the Mayor's Office, maybe you can also share some of the poll results that his committee commissioned. 

Posted by steven on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

else where and i imagine that an ace investigative journalist like you would have no problem tracking that down. Since he won with 60% in the runoff and appears to be popular, the 65% is in any event highly credible.

And no, I do not work for the Mayor. I simply admire the pro-jobs, pro-growth policies that are so popular with the voters.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by lkhjsf on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

haul out those dimes and nickles quick, 'caused this round won't last long

this round is called Behind The 8 Ball Washington!

Posted by ukdj on Nov. 03, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

cultivate your remaining dimes and nickles and make them multiply for the next round (by using them to set up lemonade stands and such)

see you at the next skee ball arcade!

Posted by upibcdh on Nov. 03, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

The Chronicle reported on a Chamber of Commerce poll that showed a 65% approval:

But Steven will dismiss that one because, you know, the CofC is biased and hence has no credibility.

There was also a KPIX commissioned poll that put Lee's approval rating at 61%:

I have a feeling that it doesn't matter how many polls validate the 60% electoral victory. Lee's popularity doesn't jive with Steven's agenda so he can't accept it. Cut the poor guy some slack.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

If the Chamber of Commerce had any polls favorable to their side on Props B and C, they would've released them.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

It's essentially a squabble between two sets of wealthy folks.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 03, 2013 @ 11:28 am

not dog races

pitting neighbor against neighbor

should be known as the Chamber Of Commerce Klan

with obvious apt results

Posted by uk on Nov. 03, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

When the CoC shills are saying that they don't have a dog in a race where they're clearly supporting one side (developer vs. SF residents), then it means they see the handwriting on the wall. Now it's just about how they spin the loss.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 03, 2013 @ 11:53 pm

people want development, even if not this particular development.

You know very well that this is only on the ballot because of some wealthy people who do not want more neighbors.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 6:47 am

Where is the polling that indicates that most people want more development?

We can tell that you're pulling crap out of your ass because your crap smells like ass.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 8:31 am

over SF. Dozens of them including the massive second tower at Rincom.

Are you telling me that most people do not want more homes?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:00 am

No candidates ran for office promising to entitle more condo towers. They would have lost if they had. They ran for office promising more affordable housing for the middle class.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:06 am

growth, pro jobs, pro development platform.

No candidate would win election if they promised to build no homes. That really would make homes unaffordable.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:21 am

those mayoral candidates said those things to get the financial and get-out-the-vote support of the developers and building trades unions

Lee's big selling point to the average voter was his posture of bringing civility to government

he also got some traction with his pledges to bring the tech industries to san francisco

voters could care less about development, and oppose it almost every time it comes to their own neighborhoods (even when it is a good idea)

Posted by upkjlsd on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:46 am

freeze Sf in time like some hippie theme park, or because they are kneejerk NIMBY's. But even those who might say they do not want to see unlimited development still love it when new stores open like Target or WholeFoods, or when the new ballpark opened with all the amenities in that area. Or when an employer in a new building hires them. Or that perfect new condo becomes available to buy or rent.

People may oppose specific projects, but they certainly do not oppose all new projects. Developments comes with a pro-growth, pro-jobs city government.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:02 am

there is no evidence whatsoever that most san franciscans are pro development

they are not

they almost always fight it when it comes to their own back yard

but they don't really care much or notice when development comes to someone else's neighborhood

this is the reason mayor's like newsom and lee run on vague pro development platforms (with no specifics) - so that they have developer money and building trade unions behind them without alienating voters

but when in those campaigns did either mention a specific development project?

they didn't - because they know that it could be political suicide, specifically because san franciscans are so development and change averse

i guarantee you, if ed lee had specifically campaigned with a message that he was going to bring wal mart to the city, he would have lost by a landslide

Posted by upkjls on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:33 am

any reasonable voter infers from that that there will be new development. And since he easily won against the obviously anti-development Avalos, 60-40 or so, then it seems clear to me that most voters want that.

I'd agree with you that most people are NIMBY's, but that is precisely why we do not let voters usually decide these things, but rather have professionals decide them.

Take the two Rincom Hill towers. At 50 and 60 floors, they are huge, but that area is so nondescript that it really doesn't negatively affect anyone, and in fact those slender towers are aesthetically pleasing as well as providing hundreds of homes, and some 30-40 million in BMR housing.

That's the future. The question is whether you want to be a part of it?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:47 am

please get your arguments straight

first you argued that san francisco voters are clearly pro development

now you are claiming that the voters don't know what is good for them and need to be forced to do the right thing by a small cabal of elites

which is it?

Posted by upmnjxhdvj on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:08 am

Voters want development but want it in someone elses back yard.

Why else do we continue to elect pro-development mayors?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:20 am

and funding determines at least 9 out 10 elections

Posted by upmnjxh on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:38 am

Because they've bought off the progressives.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:47 am

Maybe you'd be happier in another nation?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:59 am

Increasing the supply of housing makes housing more affordable.

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

and that reducing the supply of homes somehow magically makes them cheaper.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:33 am

shows that we do not in fact have a supply shortage at all and that your comment is complete bullshit

landlords are creating the supply shortage artificially so that they can gouge tenants for the highest rents possible

building yet more units will not impact that manufactured shortage in any way whatsoever

Posted by upkjlsd on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:00 am

How does that "gouge" anybody"?

Now, I understand that some property owners would rather leave a building vacant than deal with rent control. That makes perfect sense. But that costs them money, obviously.

The question you should be asking yourself if why are the very same laws that were supposed to help tenants actually hurting tenants by suppressing supply?

Anyway, new units would never be hoarded because they are exempt from rent control anyway.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:13 am

30,000 units in a city with hundreds of thousands of units, isn't that many

but it is enough to create a false housing shortage in order to drive the rents in the city sky high

the profits made off of those sky high rents more than overcompensate for any losses from the vacant units

if this were not true, no landlord would ever leave a unit vacant

so this artificial shortage ploy is why a very small percentage of particular units are left vacant

certainly not out of some of some aversion to rent control

clearly a landlord with a rent controlled building will make more money with it full than empty

your oft repeated inane argument that it is somehow financially beneficial for landlords to leave rent controlled buildings empty is utterly laughable

Posted by upk on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:59 am

You say that 30K units is "small" but then you claim it distorts the market.

Otherwise you are agreeing with me that it costs money for a LL to leave a unit vacant, and it certainly isn't some vast conspiracy among LL's to drive up rents.

In fact, the vast conspiracy to drive up rents is actually rent control, which leads to hoarding of units by long-term tenants, which in turn contributes to a low vacancy rate and therefore higher asking rents.

If we abolished rent control tomorrow, those 30K units would come back on stream and the asking rents for vacant units would fall.

LL's are scared of being stuck with a "low rent lifer". That's a problem because only Ellis fixes that, and that is more costly even than leaving a unit vacant.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:18 am

If rent control were abolished tomorrow, on Wednesday there would be 50,000 eviction notices sent out to San Franciscans.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:36 am

That's exactly what we have with condos.

Posted by anon on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:55 am

Without rent control, a landlord could simply increase rent to evict a tenant.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

Without rent control, a landlord can only raise the rent to market, and not to any level they want. Otherwise the increase is deemed to be a constructive eviction, which is illegal if eviction control remains.

The experience in Boston, when rent control was repealed, was that protected tenants did see increases, but rents on vacant units went down, partly because units held off the market came back on, and partly because developers started building more units.

More important, the market became more normal, liquid and friendly, and much of the LL-TT animosity you see in SF just went away.

Of course, Gullicksen would have to find yet another city that still has rent control, but then you hate non-profits anyway, right?

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Posted by Claude on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:10 pm

high prices

30,000 units is small enough to not be that large an expense and still drive up rents, especially when we consider that it is indeed rent controlled units held by large firms that are most likely to be held vacant (because the expense of holding them vacant is lower)

(the rest of your post is too repetitive and dumb to respond to)

Posted by upmnjxh on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:36 am

But that is an effect, not an intent.

There are 30,000 reasons why those 30,000 units are vacant.

Oh, and large corporate landlords own larger buildings. Most 2-6 unit buildings are owned by small landlords. Rent control hits the little landlord much more than the big landlord, because one bad tenant makes a big difference.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:57 am

He did this because he had a lot of turnover, leaving just one tenant in place. So he held off doing anything while he paid off that last tenant. Now he can re-rent all untis at market or, more likely, sell with vacant possession.

No conspiracy. Just good business sense.

Posted by anon on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:37 am

A lot of turnover would mean constant market rate rental which would not push down the value of the building.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:50 am

Even if a property buyer wants to be in the rental business, he would much prefer to buy a vacant building because then he can control who lives there. Much better to choose a tenant than inherit one, for all kinds of reasons.

So vacant rental buildings are worth far more than occupied buildings, at least if they are rent-controlled.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

A new car is often a great deal more expensive than a used model, BUT these cars are typically in better condition than their used counterparts john mayer
concerts consequently, rising mortgage defaults have forced those same banks andmortgage brokersto tighten their lending standards,
making it harder to acquire home financing.

Posted by john mayer concerts on Aug. 05, 2014 @ 7:26 am

have to do with the public desire for development?

new development is going up because the developers want it and the building trade unions are desperate for it

and both are heavily pressuring the city government to build it

this has nothing to do with the desire of the public, which is to keep the city the way it is and not ruin it with too much new development

Posted by upib on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:10 am

If they do not sell, then you are right.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:22 am

the fact that there is a potential buyer for any given housing unit has absolutely nothing to do with what most of the public wants

people seeking homes because they are moving to the city or want to live somewhere else in the city are a tiny subset of voters (especially in light of the fact that new people moving into the city and buying those units aren't even san francisco voters yet)

if you are going to deign to debate us

can you at least come up with arguments that are not blatantly stupid on their face

you are a tedious ass

Posted by upkjlsd on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:51 am

as the incoming knowledge workers that our economy needs.

And people most definitely want new homes to be built - any candidiate who promised to build no new homes would not be elected.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:03 am

please don't make a tedious ass of yourself by making blatantly inane comments...

Posted by upkjl on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:35 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:48 am

my resort to telling you what an ass you are is simply a signal to you that the "debate" has become too stupid to continue

this because your last post raised an utterly inane argument that mayors promising not to build housing would not win elections (something which no mayoral candidate would ever do and which has almost nothing to do whatsoever with whether voters support development or not)

so telling you what a fucking idiot you are had nothing to do with my perception of whether i'm "winning" or not

and everything to do with the fact that you are an insufferable moron and have nothing cogent to contribute

hence continuing to "debate" with you is utterly pointless

(now by all means post another inane neanderthalic response so that you can magically prove yourself the winner by simply being the last one to post)

Posted by upmnjxhdv on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 11:21 am

Fortunately economically illiterate commie would be gerontocrats like you are a dying breed in Frisco

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:15 am

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