Breaking: Billionaire trying to buy 17th Assembly District race



By Tim Redmond

MAY 12, 2014 — I suppose it was inevitable – we knew there would be at least one Independent Expenditure campaign against David Campos, and we knew that Ron Conway, the billionaire tech mogul and pal of Mayor Ed Lee, would probably get involved at some point.

But now there’s an entirely new IE committee, called San Franciscans to Hold David Campos Accountable (listed headquarters – the law firm of Jim Sutton). The paperwork was filed last week, and so far, filings with the Secretary of State’s Office show only on donor: Conway’s wife, Gayle, who has contributed $49,000.

That’s about enough for one last-minute hit mailing. But the reality is that this committee will have all the money that it needs.

Conway did a similar IE to attack Christina Olague in the District Five race in 2012. Then, as now, the mailers will probably play on Campos’s vote against the mayor’s effort to expel Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi – but the real agenda is much bigger. Conway and the mayor don’t want Campos in Sacramento and don’t want to see him advance in politics because he didn’t support the Twitter Tax Break, demanded and EIR for the Google Buses, and talks about displacement in way that angers the tech community. (This blogger is at least completely honest in why some techies don’t like Campos – it’s about taxes, zoning, housing and other issues.)

If it were all about the Mirkarimi vote, then Conway and his cohorts would also be going after Sup. Jane Kim, who joined Campos in rejected the mayor’s ouster attempt. But no: Kim is getting a free ride in D6. See, she supported the Twitter Tax break and voted for the Google Bus Program. Oh, and she worked with the mayor to get rid of Angela Chan – who is supporting Campos.

I don’t know how this will play out. Campos has a lot of support in the local women’s community (he has, for example, the endorsement of the SF Women’s Political Committee).

). But I think it’s another sign that the race is tightening up (even Randy Shaw, who is close to the mayor, seems to be leaning in the Campos direction).

It’s fair to hold any elected official to account for his or her record, and the Mirkarimi vote was one in which Campos and Sup. David Chiu differed. There are plenty of other, and I don’t think Conway’s consultants will put out a piece attacking Campos for voting against the Google Bus Project – that’s not a political winner.

But the bottom line is that a billionaire who once vowed to take San Francisco back from the progressives is dropping late money into what will be a nasty attack campaign. Be warned.

  • Michael Smith

    The Conway funded hit piece against Campos arrived in the mail today, exactly as you predicted. And yes, it was all about Mirkarimi.

  • Robin

    Phone number for the Sutton lawfirm is 732-7700, for anyone who received the hit piece and would like to discuss it with them,

  • Jeff

    This is Koch Brothers/Karl Rove politics in San Francisco. Before the [un]Supreme Court threw out campaign contribution limits a generation ago, the ceiling for all spending in a Mayor’s race was $150,000. Now the one-percenters are dropping that much on one mailer. This is a daylight assault on our democratic process.

  • kim

    I am a constituent in Supervisor David Chiu’s district. When I received the ad claiming that the Ross Mirkarimi vote was one of Chiu’s accomplishments, I threw it in the recycling. What a waste of paper and dead trees.
    It is clear to me: there was not another “accomplishment” to fill the INCH of space on the campaign literature.
    I too was appalled and saddened by the Mirkarimi case. I am a feminist and a domestic violence survivor.
    However, after living in Chiu’s district, and making numerous phone calls for assistance over the last two years ranging from asbestos regulation in the building code to MTA to starting a community garden in Chiu’s district to taking a stand on the BART debacle–I found a lack of responsiveness (i.e. Inaction) from his office.

    How about filling the space on the ad like this: “Can’t seem to find another accomplishment, so bring up Mirkarimi–San Francisco voters are stupid anyway”.

    Reid Hoffman can give 5 million to Chiu. Their agenda is high tech and more of it.
    How dare you use women’s issues in this sleazy manner!

    David Campos’ record speaks for itself.

  • Robin

    David Campos is running an
    honorable campaign – he deserves our vote.

  • massesrasses Ryou

    I thank Mr Conway for the flyer and smeer. I most certainly will be voting for Mirkarimi and now Campos where I was sitting on the fence. Thank You.

  • con

    Got lemons…turn into your flyers for your windows…, big bingo markers work great. Bingo anyone?

  • Mr. Bubble

    I get it that journalists are not economists or financial analysts. But sadly, all of you are missing the most important story that’s right under your noses, and you’ll probably continue to miss it until long after it has happened. The venture capital-financed Bay Area technology industry is dangerously, dangerously overvalued, and the center cannot hold. It’s incredible that people who lived here just 15 years ago can’t recognize history repeating itself, but those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Or, to crib another quote, “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds.” Just as madness has once again overtaken tech speculators, it has also overtaken the speculators’ opponents, whose rage blinds them to their enemies’ greatest weakness. The laws of economics have not been repealed. As sure as the sun sets, this bubble, too, shall burst–maybe not this year or next year or the next, but the longer it inflates, the more certain it is to rupture. And when it ruptures, the carpetbaggers will leave, the landlords will slash rents, the luxury shops will shutter, and the city will return to its roots–just as it has over and over since the 1850s.