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Photo by Luke Thomas

By Tim Redmond

OCTOBER 30, 2014 – A new poll done by David Binder and Associates puts Sups. David Campos and David Chiu dead even in the state Assembly race, Campos told me today.

Binder’s a top-level pollster who has worked for candidates like Barack Obama, so it’s likely the Chiu campaigns polls are showing roughly the same thing:

It’s a toss-up – and it all depends on who comes out to vote.

That supports my suspicion that the Chiu camp is pulling out all the stops – and Chiu’s more unsavory supporters are throwing in hundreds of thousands of dollars – to try to slow down what is clearly a pro-Campos trend.

(The latest funny business – the Chron by mistake posted an early draft story that predicted Campos would lose, and Malia Cohen would defeat Tony Kelly in D10. If that turns out not to be the case, it will be a Dewey Defeats Truman moment.)

My mailbox was full of about a dozen fliers today, and about the same number yesterday, a lot of them about the Campos-Chiu race. But I think it’s a little late for last-minute hit mail; both sides have made the case to the voters, and most people have decided how to vote – and the election will be won or lost by the side that gets its voters to the polls.

 

As the race winds down: Chiu pissed off quite a few tenant and neighborhood advocates when he cited the late Ted Gullicksen as a supporter of his Airbnb legislation and said that Gullicksen “is here in spirit” at the signing of the bill.

It’s true that Gullicksen met with Chiu in the early days of drafting the measure, and that he pushed to make sure that the rights of tenants were included in the bill. But by the time the Chiuhad finalized the measure and it was before the Board of Supervisors, Gullicksen was among the leaders of a broad coalition that opposed it.

It’s kind of creepy to invoke the image of a recently dead person for political purposes, but it happens all the time. In this case, though, Chiu was more than a little off base.

Dale Carlson, who helped put together the anti-Airbnb coalition, told me that he found it “a little disingenuous” for Chiu to invoke the spirit of a person who wasn’t on his side.

Sara Shortt, director of the Housing Rights Committee and a longtime close friend of Gullicksen’s, put it this way:

David Chiu’s invocation of Ted Gullicksen as he signed the Airbnb legislation is beyond the pale. Inferring that someone supports your efforts in order to boost your own credibility who can not refute the claim because they died a week and a half ago?! That is a new low.

And what’s worse is that Ted very plainly did not support this version of the legislation. This is well documented in statements to the press and attendance at rallies up until a few short weeks before he died.  Chiu is tainting the reputation of a well-loved housing hero whose community is still in process of grieving.  This is cheap, disrespectful and hurtful to all of us who knew and loved Ted.

The one thing that David Chiu got right is when he said “Ted was there in spirit.” Undoubtedly, he was. In the hallway protesting!

Chiu still insists he isn’t talking to me, so I can’t get his side of things. Too bad.

 

Some survivors of domestic violence went to the Board of Supervisors last week and waited several hours for general public comment. They wanted, Trisha Fogleman told me, to tell Chiu how upset they were with the use of domestic violence issues as an attack on Sup. David Campos.

I wasn’t there, Fogleman told me that Chiu stepped out of the room before the comment took place. You can see the tape of the meeting here; the comments start at 3:45.

Fogleman said that “billionaire bullies are exploiting people like me” who have been victims of domestic violence.

Again: Not there. But here’s what Fogleman posted on Facebook:

Today a group of DV survivors went to the SF BoS meeting to have our voices heard. I will post my speech in the comments.

Unfortunately, David Chiu was not present for our words. He left, then re-entered a different door, seemed to stare at our group like he was counting, and left again.

It was very emotional for me. To have the President of the Board absent for those minutes of public comment felt like a slap in the face.

As luck would have it, we were still in the hallway a bit later when he was returning to the chambers. So of course I confronted him. I said “I was so disappointed that you could not be there for our presentation.” He said he had a meeting. Uh huh. Which lasted just a little before and a little after our talk but ok. I then asked him to his face to please stop using DV in his quest to get elected. He started making excuses that it’s the independent group, which made me interrupt him and snap “I’m not stupid, I know how it works. You can ask your friends publicly to stop”. And I went on to bring up the $725k that’s been spent on perverting the facts of the case. He went on to say that he has a very good record on DV. I again ask him to get his friends to stop and I tell him very firmly that “I never want to see another ad like that in my mailbox”. He said when the other side stops attacking him he will consider it. I said “no that’s not how it works- stop using us because it’s the right thing to do. Be the bigger person”. I’m so angry.

I repeat: I was not there. And Chiu won’t talk to me (too bad). But it makes me wonder once again: Is the Ron Conway attack really going to backfire?

 

I spoke to state Sen. Mark Leno tonight. He is, as various reports have noted, thinking seriously about running for mayor. Most likely against Ed Lee.

Let’s ponder this for a moment.

Leno is a really popular politician. Part of that is just the way of the political world – San Francisco supervisors who go up to Sacramento and become state legislators often get the benefit of less local press coverage of their every foible. But much of it is real – Leno’s a hard worker who has been very effective in the Assembly and Senate, he’s friendly and accessible (amazingly accessible). He’s made a lot of friends and very few enemies in town.

Mayor Lee was really popular a year ago, but the intensity of the tech takeover of San Francisco – and all of the impacts that have followed – is alarming not just a small group of tenants and progressives but a broad swath of the city.

Airbnb has become a flash point – but the problem goes much deeper. Lee has done everything to encourage tech jobs and new development without much of any consideration for the obvious, predictable costs, including widespread evictions, the loss of blue-collar jobs, and the pricing out of nonprofits.

Leno told me that he’s getting calls all day long, and that everywhere he goes people are talking to him (and not just the Usual Suspects) asking him to get in the race. And he’s considering it.

No question, Leno would be formidable. In fact, I think he’d be formidable enough that Lee would have to wonder if he wanted to take on the fight.

The mayor never intended to be mayor, and he’s got a great pension, and it would be sad to go out of the job a loser. Maybe he decides that if Leno runs, he won’t seek re-election.

Of course, the Ron Conways of the world will push Lee hard, and since he did what Willie Brown and Rose Pak told him to do the first time around, maybe he’ll do the same.

In which case: A battle for the ages.

Leno has a lot of ties to the city’s progressive movement, and made a lot of friends with his fight against the Ellis Act evictions. But historically, the left has had mixed feelings: Many progressives supported Harry Britt over Leno in his first state Assembly race, and others stuck with Carole Migden when Leno challenged her for state Senate.

Today, though, he could wind up with the support of much of the left. He’s a clear alternative to Lee. He’s honest and open, and not owned by the tech world.

But that would require another step. Leno would need the support of outgoing Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

Leno and Ammiano are friendly colleagues in Sacramento (although they were not always close, and right now, Ammiano is working hard to get Campos elected to his seat – without the visible support of Leno).

Ammiano ran for mayor  in 1999, and it’s fair to say that a lot of the progress that’s been made on the left in this town came out of that campaign. He’s a hero to much of progressive San Francisco, and for good reason. He’s also far from ready to retire from politics – and he has a lot, lot, lot of loyal supporters who will follow his cues.

Put simply: Mark Leno can’t expect to unite the left in San Francisco unless and until Ammiano decides to gives his blessing to the campaign. And it didn’t help that Ammiano heard about this second hand.

On the other hand, imagine if Leno announced tomorrow morning, on the last weekend of the campaign, that he was endorsing David Campos for Assembly. Lee is with Chiu, and Chiu and Lee are with Airbnb; Campos is the guy who wanted Airbnb to pay its taxes. Could bring a lot of the left closer to the Leno for Mayor campaign.

Maybe they’ll go there anyway. But the Campos-Chiu race is the defining issue for progressives right now, and a lot of them will wonder why Leno didn’t take a stand.

Meanwhile, if Leno wins, Ammiano might want that Senate seat — but so, I head, does Sup. Jane Kim. And so might Sup. Scott Wiener, a close ally of Leno.

We shall see. And I wonder what happens if Lee realizes he might lose and retires. Who does Ron Conway put up instead?