Election night: High turnout, nasty ads … and has the mayor killed his own homeless measures?

    Turnout looks good ... and there's still time to vote

    My polling place was crowded this morning, and I saw crowds at precincts all over the Mission. And when I voted this morning, a significant number of the people who showed up were just dropping off a vote-by-mail ballot.

    If that trend is consistent, and some of these races are close, we may not know until Friday or Monday who has won: All of the VBM ballots cast on Election Day have to be hand counted, and there will be tens of thousands.

    Polls are open until 8; every vote will matter
    Polls are open until 8; every vote will matter

    At John’s Grill, where several hundred political players gathered for free lunch and drinks today (and isn’t it nice that Willie Brown invited the entire city to this party, and John Konstin, bless him, picked up the tab …) the talk was mostly about the White House. All Democrats here, as far as I could see, and everyone predicting a big Clinton win. In fact, around 2pm Alex Clemens, one of the party hosts, announced his “inside the Clinton campaign” exit-poll data that showed her up by at least one point in all the swing states.

    That’s not enough to make me comfortable, but I’ll take it.


     Mayor Ed Lee balanced his budget by assuming that his sales tax increase to fund homelessness and transportation would pass. That’s Props. J and K.

    And then he sent his top advisor, Tony Winnicker, to run a big-money campaign attacking four reform measures that would limit the power of the mayor. And his allies are funding measures attacking homeless people.

    So: The voters are getting a message from Winnicker’s team that government is bloated and we don’t need more public spending. Then Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener are attacking homeless people.

    And somehow, the polls don’t look so good for at tax hike to fund homeless services.

    If Props. J and K go down, the gossip I heard today goes, the mayor can take the blame.


    You want to know who is backing Marjan Philhour in D1? (I mean, along with the millions of dollars in Big Tech money pouring into the city.) Sup. Aaron Peskin tells me that he was doing a merchant walk Sunday with Sandra Lee Fewer and state Sen. Mark Leno, and he happened to stop for a second in front of the Philhour HQ.

    “And this really fancy BMW, if you like that kind of car, pulls up, and out comes Mary Jung [lobbyist for the Board of Realtors and the former chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party] – and Howard Epstein, vice-chair of the SF Republican Party. And they go in and come out together carrying Marjan signs.”

    Real-estate and Republicans for Philhour.


    The single nastiest attack in this entire nasty campaign was probably the ad buy in Chinese-language media going after Jane Kim’s personal life. Joe Fitz has the story in the Examiner:

    One recent attack ad in particular targets Kim’s relationship with California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, which for some odd reason was a leading item in Matier & Ross. At the time, the investigative duo’s story seemed to paint Kim as the reason Liu separated from his wife, Ann O’Leary.

    To many, it was just a story gawking at romance between politicos with no impact on the electorate. Isn’t this San Francisco, home of free love?

    Perhaps, though, it’s a message that rings with some conservative Chinese voters.

    Translated, the ad reads, “Jane Kim cannot represent Chinese community, Goodwin Liu is separating from wife, dating Jane Kim. State Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu’s broken marriage, wife states that Liu is dating Kim.”

    The last line is quite the kicker: “All newspapers are reporting: Kim destroys a good family.”

    Yikes. And many other similar ads hew to that conservative bent. Another alleges Kim “publicly insulted the first Chinese mayor in SF. It is unacceptable.”

    “Mistress Kim, great disrespect,” it reads.

    Let me echo what my friend Joe notes – “for some odd reason” Kim’s personal life was a lead item in Matier and Ross. The fact that the Chron decided that this was news is a journalistic embarrassment.

    Again: At John’s Grill, almost everyone I spoke to said this was rotten, unethical, and shameful. But it’s hard to figure out who paid for the ads.


    We will be following all of the local news as it happens. There won’t be many local results until about 9pm. Stay tuned.


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