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UncategorizedPolitics on Tuesday: The Milk Club, the soda tax...

Politics on Tuesday: The Milk Club, the soda tax — and the myth that the Campos campaign is “broke”

And this has what to do with the Campos-Chiu campaign?
And this has what to do with the Campos-Chiu campaign?

By Tim Redmond

AUGUST 26, 2014 – The big fuss of the week, to the surprise of the leaders of the Harvey Milk Club, is the assault on the club by both the soda tax campaign and the campaign of Sup. David Chiu.

The Chron’s Heather Knight reported that the club had decided not to endorse the soda tax – and allowed the spokesperson for the soda-tax campaign to allege that this was a conspiracy to raise money for the Milk Club slate card to promote Chiu’s opponent, Sup. David Campos:

Maureen Erwin, campaign manager for the pro-soda tax side, said, “Harvey Milk’s name and legacy was bought and sold at the Milk club. … With only $20,000 in the bank, I believe it was Campos’ last-ditch, desperate play to remain relevant in the Assembly race, selling out his community’s health and the legacy of a civil rights hero to win an election.”

The Bay Guardian managed to dismiss a lot of the swirling rumors around the Milk Club and the ABA ($300,000? Really?), but also quoted Nicole Derse, who works for Chiu, as saying

Do you really think it’s a coincidence David Campos is broke and needs a vehicle to fund his campaign?

It’s interesting: Right after the vote on the Milk Club endorsements, I happened to be talking to the club’s co-president, Laura Thomas, about another issue, and we were musing on the Prop. E. vote. See, Thomas supports the soda tax; Tom Temprano, who shares the club leadership with her, opposes it. And they both agree that, either way, it’s not the club’s priority this fall — as far as initiatives go, the Milk Club is all about the anti-speculation tax.

Temprano writes for 48hills. I’m friends with all of these folks. And I honestly believe that the Milk Club was split – not by money but by an ideological disagreement about sales taxes. It doesn’t seem to me that the soda tax is regressive; nobody needs sugary drinks. (As a nonprofit, 48hills doesn’t endorse candidates or initiatives, but my personal feelings about this measure are no secret.)

But Temprano, like other friends of mine in the Milk Club, had strong feelings against the measure long before the ABA gave the club a dime.

And for the head of the soda-tax campaign to insult Campos – who voted FOR the tax, and was the sixth vote to put it on the ballot – is a bit tone deaf.

Here’s the much bigger issue: Everyone involved in this theory is operating under the assumption that the Campos campaign is out of money. Not true; not even close.

The Chron reported about a month ago the Campos was down to $20,000. Which was accurate at that moment – the Campos campaign spent most of its cash on the primary.

But the campaign is hardly “broke.” Campos told me he has raised $200,000 in the last couple of weeks, and is on target to bring in half a million by Election Day. That won’t beat Chiu’s numbers, but it’s hardly “broke.”

“We have already raised $700,000, and that’s far more than most people ever expected a progressive could raise in this race,” Campos said.

And with all due respect, the Milk Club card – even if it’s funded by the ABA – isn’t going to be the deciding factor in the Assembly race.

The Milk Club’s No on E gives the soda industry (which is not my friend) some precious credibility on the left, which make a big difference in that campaign (passing the tax requires a two-thirds vote).

But Chiu vs. Campos? Not so much. The club will have enough money with or without the ABA to send out its card, which will be of some help to Campos – but most of the Milk members and allies are voting for Campos anyway.

I get it: The supporters of the soda tax want to undermine the credibility of a prominent political club that went the other way. But making this about Campos and Chiu is just silly.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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14 COMMENTS

  1. candy ass liberalism has finally met its match – you push regressive taxes on the poors and enforce a Rwanda-like income disparity, your hatred of the middle class is legendary.

    Go fuck yourselves, you’re the losers, your aging voter base is either dying or leaving due to the rents, the tech libertarians are taking over and YOU ARE FUCKED.

    Sucks to be you, loser. You even lost due to a coup by Steve Jones to the corporations. My GOD it must be sad. And in a year the Guardian will be gone because the Corporations that own the Guardian Plantation won’t suffer more losses when the SF Weekly is a lot better.

    You served a false god. you ended up with NOTHING. GO TO HELL, LOSER.

    and you were the white liberal suggesting if the Chinese took over SF would be more “liberal” HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA WHAT A CANDY ASS PIECE OF SHIT YOU ENDED UP TO BE!

    D

  2. Interesting. In that case, he should have disclosed his conflict of interest and, ideally, recused himself from all debate and decision-making.

  3. Temprano owns a bar. He’s be paying far more in soda taxes than any individual soda drinker. Perhaps he doesn’t want to raise his own taxes?

  4. The Castro is both the most white neighborhood in the city and has the least percentage of children, for fairly obvious reasons. It’s also very affluent.

    So getting the Club to consider poor and non-white children is never going to be on their radar screen. They have to cater to their affluent white constituency, and they probably drink organic wheatgrass juice, artisanal fair-trade coffee or hand-crafted beers. not soda or Bud.

  5. jch, I have no idea why Rachel thinks we should pay more attention to some diseases than others based on race. I’m not aware that any doctors think that way.

    Her statement strikes me as somewhere between bizarre and racist.

  6. ” And they both agree that, either way, it’s not the club’s priority this fall” Glad to see the Club members hate children; especially children with lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Maybe they can join forces with some other hate groups?

  7. By all means, raise taxes and give it all to Phil Ginsburg and the corrupt Big Parks and Rec department that will use the money to fund six figure salaries and rip off the taxpayers. Your “programs” to help the childrens will do nothing to actually do something. But yes, give Phil his money so his money making empire can get him elected Mayor. Good job, “progressives”.

    Losers.

  8. Are you trying to argue that we should spend more on illnesses that affect non-whites and so spend less on illnesses that affect whites more?

    Why do you wish healthcare to be discriminatory in that way?

  9. Yes, all will be revealed in time. Let’s put this in a bigger context – the millions Big Soda spent to defeat soda taxes in Richmond and in southern California; the paid “Community Organizers,” etc. It’s all in their playbook. Why should we be surprised if Big Soda spends their Big Money this way in SF? Don’t be fooled; stay vigilant.

  10. first, I really appreciate your personal feelings on the soda tax – it has surprised me that this isnt a slam dunk issue for all progressives, though of course many do support taxing sugary bevs to fight diabetes and other chronic health issues that disproportionately affect low-income people of color and increase the cost of public health programs.

    second, I hope you’re right that this Milk Club thing is just a silly tempest in a teapot. But we shall see when the ethics filings come out in early October. Or maybe late Oct, if the ABA is really crafty.

  11. Chui won 10% more votes than Campos in the primary. It’s reasonable to assume that almost all the GOP votes in June will go to Chiu. And even in SF that’s not nothing – about 10% of SF voters are registered Republicans. Not usually enough to make a difference but in a close race – absolutely.

    Campos is toast and I don’t believe his funding is anywhere close to six figures, even though I don’t blame his for trying to talk up his war-chest.

    Chiu will walk it in November.

    Sam is taking no position on the soda tax. I oppose taxes but sometimes grant an exception for a tax on the terminally stupid.

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