By Tim Redmond
OCTOBER 9, 2014 – My usual Politics on Tuesday column got preempted by Airbnb, so now it’s Politics on Thursday. Couple of things to think about as the campaign mailers start flooding in:
The Campos-Chiu race is about a lot of things; two very different candidates are offering very different visions of how politics ought to work. But there’s an element that isn’t being talked about much, and it’s important.
I saw it Tuesday afternoon, when the supervisors voted 7-4 to legalize most of what Airbnb is doing in the city.
Some of that vote can be traced to the organizing work by Airbnb and its allies; yes, as Randy Shaw notes, every supervisor heard from constituents who like the service and are making money from it. But there’s another factor: Ron Conway’s money.
Conway is an investor in Airbnb, and a tech overlord who is close to the mayor and seems to think he runs the city. He has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into an Independent Expenditure committee attacking Campos. And many of the members of the Board of Supervisors are thinking about future political careers – and angering a man who can, singlehandedly, create a vicious smear campaign against you is a bit frightening.
So when you think about the Campos-Chiu race, remember this: If Campos wins, up against the Conway money, it will send a message that no, this guy doesn’t control the city, and yes, you can beat him, and no, resistance is not futile.
Help us save local journalism!
Every tax-deductible donation helps us grow to cover the issues that mean the most to our community. Become a 48 Hills Hero and support the only daily progressive news source in the Bay Area.
That will spill over into local politics in a very significant way.
I’ve been reading endorsements (whoda thunk the Ex would go Yes on G? And back Campos and only Tony Kelly in D10?) and I’m noticing an interesting trend. There are progressives (like the League of Pissed Off Voters and the Bay Guardian, along with the ACLU of California) siding with the health insurers and medical establishment, and against the consumer groups and trial lawyers, on medical malpractice awards.
Prop. 46 seeks to raise the cap on malpractice awards to $1 million. The cap is currently $250,000, and was set in 1975. If you indexed for inflation, you’d probably get about the same number as Prop. 46 seeks.
This matters: No lawyer is going to take on a complex malpractice case when the most he or she can win is a few hundred thousand dollars – less than it costs to bring the case to trial. So raising the cap would give people who have legit claims against their physicians a better chance of getting a day in court.
But that wasn’t enough for the sponsors of Prop. 46. The also decided (perhaps because it polled really well) to include mandatory random drug testing for doctors. And for a lot of people who support higher malpractice awards, that’s a nonstarter.
Suppose you’re an emergency room physician and you go to a party Friday night and smoke pot with your friends. You don’t work again until Tuesday, by which time you are certainly no longer impaired. And yet, you could be forced to pee in a bottle, and potentially disciplined or fired, because THC is detectable in your system for more than a week.
Nobody likes the thought of stoned doctors operating on them. (I like even less the idea of drunk doctors, who are more common, and this measure does nothing about that.) But progressives in California have always opposed mandatory drug tests, except in very limited circumstances.
So the proponents of what could be a pretty popular measure on the left have made it impossible for the left to support them. Wonder what they were smoking – and why we don’t drug-test political consultants.
The campaign finance reports show that the landlords are going to spend a fortune defeating Prop. G – but interesting, they also show that Campos (who, according to the Chron, was having trouble raising money) has collected more than enough to run his campaign against Chiu.
Also interesting: Tony Kelly is doing remarkably well for someone challenging an incumbent, Malia Cohen, in D 10. With public financing, he’ll have more than $200,000 for the campaign. And, according to a press release from his campaign, 48 percent of all his money comes from within the district.
So that’s going to be a close race.