OPINION: Why political money should be a top issue in the mayor’s race

By Larry Bush : 48hills – excerpt

Hidden money seeks to control SF politics

Pay to Play belongs at the top of the issues in the mayor’s campaign if for no other reason the hundreds of thousands (soon to be a million plus) that pour into independent expenditure committees to elect or defeat candidates.

What do these big-money donors want, why do they think they can get it, and how will they get it?

Point one: the past is not prologue. Once, we could track the source of funds going to a candidate, and it could signal what the candidate didn’t say him or herself. Tobacco money, casino money, realtors, energy companies, and others were flashing signals.

Point two: officials now have many routes for money to play a role beyond direct contributions. Well-heeled backers pick up airfare, hotel and travel expenses for officials. Corporations banned from making campaign contributions instead give in response to a candidate’s request, often to pay for the official’s own project. In the past eight years or so, more than $22 million flowed at the request of the mayor, various supervisors and others. Often it came in checks for $1 million or more. Officials sometimes establish nonprofits, and the next mayor could pay for a big-time inaugural with that money.

Some officials and many donors don’t want you to be able to follow the money, or even for you to know if they are meeting with money men and women.

Contributors hide through a thicket of committees, sending money through one that then goes to another that in turn pays into a third or even a fourth. Ann Ravel, past chair of the FPPC, sued over that tactic when unnamed sources poured millions into a California ballot fight — but we couldn’t get to the first original before it flowed through back channels….

That’s what is at issue in this election: a status quo that we can see rewards those with the most and requires those with the least (including middle-income residents) to pay the share that others aren’t paying… (more)

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California Apartment Landlords Dump Properties Ahead of Rent Control Vote

By Laura Kusisto : wsj – excerpt

Investors, housing advocates gear up for a fight, expected to spend tens of millions of dollars on campaigning

A push to expand rent control in California is sending a chill through the state’s apartment industry, prompting more investors to sell properties or hold off on buying.

Ben Lamson, whose family owned just under 100 apartments in the Inland Empire area in southern California, said he has sold about 70 units and is in contract to sell the remaining ones. He is taking all the money and investing it in properties in the Las Vegas area, he said…

“These renter groups are starting to speak out and say, ‘These rents are ridiculous.’ They’ve gotten more organized than they ever have been,” he said. “I started getting a little freaked out or a little scared or concerned [that] this could really happen.”.

In late April, a coalition of housing advocates said they submitted some 595,000 signatures, more than enough to get a measure on the ballot in November to repeal Costa Hawkins, state legislation that prevents cities and towns from imposing rent control on buildings constructed after 1995 and on single-family rentals.

Both sides are gearing up for a fight and are expected to spend tens of millions of dollars on campaigning… (more)

The threat of returning rent control decisions to the local governments by repealing  state controls seems to be having some effects already.

Campaign trail: Leno, Kim issue joint endorsement ad

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

For the first time in history, two major San Francisco mayoral candidates are running a serious, all-out ranked-choice voting strategy—and the outcome of the election will test whether that system works.

In a press conference this morning, and a newly released ad, the two candidates appeared together to call for a fundamental change at City Hall….

“This is an historic moment,” Kim said. “We need to stand together if we believe in change.”…

It’s no secret that RCV could determine the next mayor; in fact, it’s likely that the second-place votes of the third-place candidate will decide the election…(more)

This is not the first time this strategy was tried. The 1-2-3 concept was introduced at a cakewalk at City Hall in 2015. And we have the video to prove it.

Joining ranks is a no-brainer in the world of ranked choice voting. Look at the number of dual endorsements. It is important to choose at least two if not three candidates. To better understand how ranked choice voting works and why teaming up makes sense, watch this video from ABC 7 News: San Francisco has been using ranked choice voting since 2004. Here’s how it works.

 

This campaign has brought out some important information, raised good questions, stretched the candidates in new ways, and introduced us to some new ideas that we hope will inform the next Mayor, regardless of who that is. Pretty much everyone agrees on the goals. They just differ in their methods to reach them. May the best candidate win!

Why the cops get a raise without accountability

By Tim Redmond : 48hils – excerpt

An obscure 1990 law, that passed with a lot of progressive support, forces the city into a very bad deal that lets the POA keep blocking reforms

An arbitration panel has decided that the San Francisco cops don’t have to back off from their efforts to delay or block reforms and will get a nine percent raise anyway.

The decision undermines the position of the mayor, the supervisors, and many of the city’s communities, who have been frustrated by the Police Officers Association and its constant resistance to reasonable changes in department policies(more)

How many obscure laws have been passed that tie the hands of our elected officials?  How do the citizens take back control of our city from the rogue agencies that are out of control and appear to be beyond the ability of our elected officials to regulate or even review?

With election day looming, donors pour millions into California governor’s race

By Ryan Menezes and Maloy Moore : latimes – excerpt

A small field of contenders hoping to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown in November has raised nearly $70 million. Here’s what we know.

Who’s raised the most?

Gavin Newsom, whose donors range from Silicon Valley to Hollywood, has maintained a lead throughout the campaign. Asian American business leaders have contributed large sums to John Chiang, while Antonio Villaraigosa has largely depended on the most wealthy. John Cox, who has done well in recent polls, has given more than $4 million to his own campaign… (more)

 

Editor note: San Francisco mayoral race

By Audrey Cooper, Chronicle staff  : sfchronicle – expert

On Thursday supervisor and San Francisco mayoral candidate Jane Kim made public a series of written questions posed to her by a Chronicle reporter after several attempts to reach the candidate by phone had failed. After they were answered, the reporter and her editor concluded that they had asked questions based on incorrect information and, as a result, no story was written. However, those written questions were inappropriately worded and insufficiently researched. They failed to meet the journalistic standards of The Chronicle(more)

Good to know the Chronicle pulled the story. Let us hope this is below the journalist standards of all our local media. When I read the questions I was immediately suspicious of a hack. This came on the day that Trump admitted he lied, and some campaign literature arrived in the mail, making very strange claims. I don’t trust anything I read or see unless there is a lot of consistent data to back it up.

 

SF needs a mayor who will tax, spend, and regulate

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

City-Hall-Chessboard

A new life-size Chessboard has appeared in front of City Hall as a reminder that old-fashioned political strategies can work as well, if not better, than money, media buys and sound bites. Sim City does not exist in the real world, people do and people vote. Regardless who wins, new games will begin after the June 5 election. photo by zrants.

Consider a short list of the realities facing our next mayor:

The social/economic/cultural transformation of the city through unchecked hyper-gentrification caused by a development policy that has, at its heart, maximizing speculative real-estate profit at the expense of existing residents and the businesses and activities that serve them…(more)

A local-government public sector dominated by bureaucrats, policies and programs that see “facilitating the market” as the primary goal of government…

An alarming under-investment in our urban public infrastructure …

A growing assault on local democratic government specifically aimed at San Francisco led by, at the state level, real estate speculators and their legislator allies seeking an end to “local control”…

The rapidly growing re-segregation of our civic life involving the toxic brew of race and income inequality,..

Given these realities, the June 5th election for mayor has the unmistakable feeling of being a directional election defining San Francisco’s future… (more)

The tax and spend part will be a matter or who is taxed and how the money is spent. There is a growing resentment of government overreach into citizens’ lifstyles and pockets that runs counter to government priorities that appear to favor more government employees and larger tax bases to support them. Workers and consumers, overwhelmed by the load now, are being asked to sign onto more debt. They may balk and repeal some of the taxes. At least one recall is in play now. More could follow.

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