The Agenda: Ron Conway gets his way

New evidence shows how criminal Airbnb's operation was. Plus: Conway calls the shots in the mayor-go-round

Two of the leading candidates for mayor told me this week that they think something went very wrong with the Planning Department’s decision to move forward the application for a condo-conversion permit for the building owners who evicted 100-year-old Iris Canada.

Mark Leno told me that “The Commission’s decision is a breath of fresh air as it provides a sense of justice too long delayed. As you mention, the Department’s determinations raise many disturbing issues.”

Sup. Jane Kim told me that “of course this is a problem.” She said that the Canada eviction was so prominent in the news media that it’s hard to believe the planners didn’t know about it and were willing to check the box that said the building had no evictions.

It’s not that hard to figure out where people have been evicted. Someone in the Planning Department ought to be tracking that anyway. The idea that this almost slipped through is shocking.

Perhaps the supes can hold a hearing on the process that planning uses to track evictions.

Sup. London Breed did not respond to my text message seeking comment. 

For ten years, Airbnb was able to devastate the housing stock in San Francisco, building a $10 billion company while thousands of apartments were turned into hotel rooms. For the first few years, the company operated with an entirely illegal business model: Every single Airbnb unit in San Francisco violated the city’s short-term rental ban. Every one. And the city, under Ed Lee, did absolutely nothing.

A 2014 bill by then-Sup. David Chiu allowed the practice of turning rental units into hotel rooms to continue, legally; Breed was on the majority side of a shocking list of 6-5 votes that gave Airbnb everything it wanted. In the end, Kim voted for the bill, even after losing every significant attempt to amend it.

At the time, critics warned that there was no way to enforce the measure, and that thousands of tenants would lost their homes as landlords sought higher returns in the hotel business. Evictions continued to soar, rents continued to rise, and somewhere around 8,000 apartments that could have been available to desperate tenants were rented as short-term vacation units.

Plutocrat Ron Conway and his pals, including Airbnb board member Reid Hoffman, rewarded Chiu with more than $500,000 in IE spending against David Campos in their hard-fought race for state Assembly.

Finally, the city was forced to impose the fundamental rule that Campos had pushed for in 2014: A requirement that Airbnb and other STR companies bar illegal units from their sites. And now, guess what? Most of the 8,500 San Francisco listings on Airbnb are about to vanish.

That’s because they were never legal. Yet they continued to operate, and make millions for the company, because Lee, Chiu, and their allies refused to enforce the city’s laws and protect tenants against the greed of a multibillion-dollar tech company.

The Government Audit and Oversight Committee Meets Wednesday/17, and one of the items on the agenda is a long-delayed hearing on the enforcement of short-term rental laws. It might be time to talk not just about today’s enforcement but about how many tenants lost their homes, and how many were unable to find rental housing, under the last administration’s Airbnb-friendly policies.

Most of the mainstream news coverage of the mayor’s race, including this otherwise fine and accurate piece by Rachel Swan, uses the word “moderate” to refer to Acting Mayor Breed. Breed herself says she has no ideology and is not a partisan.

But anyone who wants to know how this mayor’s race is lining up needs to go beyond labels – Breed has voted with the progressives at times – and read this key scoop by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez at the Ex:

Welcome, folks, to the Great Supervisor Shakedown of 2018. 

Ron Conway, the tech mogul and billionaire ally of the late Mayor Ed Lee, has contacted moderate-leaning members of the Board of Supervisors with one message: Support Acting Mayor London Breed for interim mayor — or else.

That “or else” is clear and simple: Conway routinely spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on independent-expenditure committees to attack candidates he doesn’t like. Everybody on the Board of Supes knows that. They all got the message.

The reason this is so critical is that it shows what’s really at stake. Conway was  behind the Big-Tech-friendly policies of Mayor Ed Lee, and was behind the election of Big Tech-friendly politicians at the local and state level. He’s among the people most responsible for the current state of the city – for the housing crisis, the tens of thousands displaced, the radical income inequality, the loss of entire communities.

Now: Neither Kim or Leno is a radical anti-tech socialist. Kim voted for the Twitter tax break. Leno worked with Conway and Lee on state Ellis Act legislation.

But Conway apparently sees them both as a serious threat to his control over City Hall – and the policies that have made him and his Big Tech and Real Estate pals even more rich and powerful. He is all in with Breed.

That doesn’t mean Breed has promised him anything. As I have said before: She has her own political compass, and her votes are not always with the conservatives.

It does, however, mean that Conway – and since he works closely with other local oligarchs, most of the Big Tech and Real Estate leadership – feels very strongly that Breed is the person most likely to continue with the policies they like. They see her as the successor to Ed Lee. They are very savvy operators with billions of dollars at stake. Maybe Conway is wrong, and in the end, Breed, if she’s elected, will got against him. But he clearly doesn’t think so.

The so-called “moderates” on the board, apparently, are listening to Conway. There are no candidates who can get more than five votes for interim mayor (even people who would be relatively neutral caretakers). Conway’s money means more to a majority of the board than the concept of separation of powers, the fact that most voters want a caretaker, or basic fairness.

In my mind, there’s nothing “moderate” about the Conway agenda. His economic policies are essentially Trumpian, aimed at creating great wealth for the few and telling the rest of us that some of that will trickle down.

So if you don’t like what the policies of Ed Lee have done to San Francisco, keep that in mind as you think about the mayor’s race and who Lee’s people are supporting — and as you think about voting for supervisor in June and November. Instead of “progressives” and “moderates,” maybe we should talk about “Conways’ Crew” and “The non-plutocrats.”

As of this week, there will be no board meeting this week to consider whether to allow Breed to continue to control both branches of government. Breed didn’t schedule a special meeting in time, and at this point, nobody has six votes anyway.

Conway, so far, is getting his way.

  • SnapsMcKenzie

    One of the reasons the progressive movement has so consistently failed in elections in SF is this – because they elevate personalities above policies. They did it for 8 years with Newsom and they’re doing it again with Conway. I bet if you took a poll, less than 10% of San Franciscans would even know or care who Ron Conway is.

    • Geek__Girl

      I’m sure you, and Ron Conway, hope that.

    • Alfiejr

      they don’t know who the Koch brothers are either.

      • Karl Young

        Not to mention James Buchanan…

        • Geek__Girl

          Surely you are not suggesting that James Buchanan, who backed slavery, and the Dredd Scott decision was remotely a progressive?

          • Karl Young

            Certainly as REMOTELY as the Koch brothers (are you responding to this thread or something else ?)

          • Geek__Girl

            Hmmmm, I know who the Koch Brothers are, and I suspect more people do than you think. And I know James Buchanan is oft considered the worst American President, though I would suggest Andrew Jackson, our first war criminal was. But Buchanan was pretty bad in his own right. In any case, this thread seems to be going in several directions at once. Something about progressive wins, and then we are off on a tangent about the Koch Brothers.

          • Karl Young

            Not THAT James Buchanan – this one:

            http://www.slate.com/articles/life/history/2017/06/james_mcgill_buchanan_s_terrifying_vision_of_society_is_the_intellectual.html

            Sorry, this is just my tendency to be obtuse in a way that really doesn’t translate to online discussions; I seem to never learn. The original comment was that many progressives focus on the wrong things and probably don’t even know who Conway is, though he’s a major architect of SF’s current problems (whatever you think of the accuracy of that comment). Then Alfiejr commented that many people don’t even know who the Koch brothers are, with the implication that it’s useful to be familiar with the funders of our current national state of dysfunction. So just for fun, and as a bit of a joke re. going more obscure, I suggested that people don’t even know who James Buchanan is, though he is arguably the intellectual architect of this current state of dysfunction. I also hoped that maybe a few people would say huh ? then Google and learn about him.
            But like I said, too obscure and weird; I will cease and desist…

          • Geek__Girl

            Ah, I see. Yes, a very scary person. The Koch brothers I am familiar with.

      • Geek__Girl

        ROTFL! You might be surprised….

    • Do Something Nice

      There have been progressive wins: Aaron Peskin, 8 Washington and a few others.

    • sfsquirrel

      I guess the fact that progressives are consistently outspent by corporate candidates means nothing, eh? Of course there are exceptions such as Sandra Lee Fewer who still beat Marjan Pilhour despite the tons of money the latter received. Miracles do happen — at least until gentrification depletes the west side to the level it has other parts of SF.

  • curiousKulak

    ” Instead of “progressives” and “moderates,” maybe we should talk about “Conways’ Crew” and “The non-plutocrats.””

    Except, what happens if you don’t agree with either one – the ‘progressive’ taking/taxing/tents-4-all crowd, or the “Conway Crew” – techie/traffic/Trumpian crowd?

    I may not be-ing-evicted. But I sure feel like I’m being pushed out, by a mad crowd with pitchforks pumping, or an invisible changing enviro that is more costly, more complicated and more chaotic or careless than ever.

    Its almost funny that a City that desperately tries to keep its residents (that would probably be happier elsewhere) here is also throwing down the drawbridge of a Sactuary City to gather still more to its over-crowded cubicles.

    • Jake McTavish

      yes. this.

  • Rosh HoshHosh

    An added twist, of course, is that if Breed wins she gets to appoint her replacement as D5 supervisor. Iris Canada is only one of the concerns Breed’s constituents have with her record, and an appointee may be able to dodge some of that criticism come next election.

    I don’t see the progressives having much of a chance unless they take a 1-2 approach to the ranked-choice system. I asked Weiss about what order she was promoting for the RVC, and she replied Kim for slot #2 and Leno or Breed for slot #3. Here’s the quote:

    “Don’t hand your vote to someone. Make them earn it. I am endorsing Jane Kim in my #2 slot because she is an upper echelon politician, but she is still a politician who has made choices for the future of her political career at times rather than with progressive principals. However, she is by far the most consistently equity minded candidate out of my fellow candidates.”

    “I haven’t made up my mind about a #3 spot and I won’t until I have the opportunity to sit down and talk shop with Mark Leno and London Breed (although if London Breed doesn’t sign the Fair Campaign promise to get $ and mud slinging out of campaigning then it will be challenging to consider her as an option). London Breed has shown her leadership ability and has an impressive amount of tenacity, but she needs to prove to me that she has a backbone against corporate interests and will be a collaborative leader. Leno has to prove that to me as well, and I think that both of them would be excellent collabora tors if they transformed their thinking about their relationship to monied interests.”

    You can see my questions to Weiss here: http://www.sfexaminer.com/residents-grow-impatient-fenced-off-soma-plaza/#comment-3709169730

    • curiousKulak

      “(Kim is) by far the most consistently equity minded candidate out of my fellow candidates.”

      I’d like to know what ‘equity’ is or how she displays it. Is it when she votes Against Conway before she votes For him? Or is it when she disregards cries for fairness when she unilaterally changes rental contracts to give tenants a whole new Right (roommates beyond the lease or what was mutually agreed upon) while simultaneously denying property owners the ability to even nominally recoup some of the costs of that new Right (water, garbage, wear-n-tear)?

      ‘Equity’ is not the word I’d use to describe Jane Kim. “Fighter”, yes. “Partisan” – sure. “Strong-willed”, yeah, but not “equity” or “fair” or “impartial”.

      AFW is impassioned, with assumed good intentions. However, with a bit of the “talking out of both sides of her mouth”, she’s lost one of my RCV ticks.

      • Rosh HoshHosh

        Weiss is relying on ‘collaborators.’ She is promoting a 1-2-3 vote the same as last election, but there is no alliance this election. She’s piggybacking other candidates to increase her odds in the RCV format.

        There is no winning strategy at the craps table.

        • curiousKulak

          “Collaborators” – aren’t they what most low-recognition candidates attempt to do? “Me-them-them”, with the gradient being toward more and more well-known, if not winner-likely for the last pass.

          Funny, so many of her votes last time went to Ed Lee.

          Having met her, I was initially inclined to add her to my ballot. And if she’d ‘collaborated’ with anyone else, I still might have. But I find Kim to be toxic; and putting her in second place is unacceptable. Sorry, Amy.

          • Geek__Girl

            Lee got just over 50 of the vote. For an incumbent, who was opposed by three unknowns, who were running as a group under ranked choice, that is pretty damned close to being a former mayor. Just a few more votes for a group that had little money, no major support, and who were not remotely taken seriously by most, that is pretty good. If they had of pushed past 50, Lee might well have lost, because I doubt he got any second or third place votes.

          • playland

            Lee got just over 50 of the vote. For an incumbent, who was opposed by three unknowns, who were running as a group under ranked choice, that is pretty damned close to being a former mayor.

            FWIW, in the election that was held here on planet earth he got more votes — 55.3%. So he beat the competition by 10 points. He didn’t campaign and probably wanted to do better but 10 points isn’t considered close here on planet earth.

            Do you have any documentation from the election as it occurred on your planet?

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            55.3% a weak number for an incumbent. Each of the 1-2-3 candidates did exceedingly well against Lee in regards to how many votes they garnered in the first round considering none of the three were politicians.

            Many people think, like G_G, that the election was almost a victory for the 1-2-3 coalition. That’s because the coalition didn’t set the bar to win, they set it to see if collectively they could force Lee into a round 2.

            So when the 1-2-3 saw how many votes they garnered — a shit ton considering the political experience they had — it was touted as a victory. But what the numbers really show is that it was statistically impossible for any one of them to win, and you can’t elect a coalition.

            Weiss running a “1-2-3 for equity” campaign for the June election is bound to hurt Leno and Kim, and not fair to either one of them. It’s a losing strategy that relies on people not fully understanding RCV. Weiss needs to drop the slogan immediately.

          • playland

            I know..I know, it was closer than expected. You’re not telling me something I don’t know. But it doesn’t do @geek__girl or anyone else any good to lie and say that he just got over 50% of the vote (he technically was closer to 60%) and that with “just a few more votes” he would have lost. If it went to RCV he would have won with 67.28%.

            I think that even you have acknowledged that @geek__girl would be better off if she stopped making things up (I think you said that she should stick to what can be verified).

            As for the election, Lee hardly campaigned at all and his supporters probably assumed that he didn’t need their vote. And if someone like Leno had run then he probably would have gotten most of the 45% of the voters who didn’t like Lee. And thats all.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I’m interested to see how the numbers are working out in RCV elections.

          • playland

            Also, 55,3% for the incumbent mayor is NOT really weak by historical standards. It is less than Newsom but Willie Brown had to go to a runoff (after getting 37%). Frank Jordan lost. Art Agnos lost. DiFi did well in 1983. I don’t know how Alioto did in 1972 but the history shows that being the incumbent in SF has not been a sure thing for the past half century.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            We don’t have runoff elections for mayor any more. I’m interested in seeing how numbers are playing out in RCV elections in order to objectively look at strategies for the June mayoral election.

            Willie Brown was in a race with other popular politicians and that race should be compared to RVC for the 2011 mayoral race. The 2015 mayoral race is most comparable to the Gavster’s incumbency, which he won by 15 points more than Lee.

            Mayor Lee didn’t campaign hard in 2015 because there were no real competitors in the race. The stakes are higher now.

          • Geek__Girl

            Yes, Lee employed a similar strategy to Newsom in his second race. Newsom had no real competition because he was seen as invincible. Which given Newson’s utter incompetence, was surprising. I mean, this is the moron who wanted to put gardens on top of City buildings. I’m not an engineer, but I know enough to know what a few tons of dirt and water, not to mention the plants, and such, would result in.

            Of course, the competition that year was, well, it really wasn’t. I mean, there were some pretty bad choices. A naked guy, Chicken George, and some guy named Quentin Mecke, who was about as close aa anyone to being actual competition. None of them came anywhere near 10%. Combined they were weaker than Ed Lee (30% approval, 50% negative) in his final days. And that against a candidate who, if the election were based on intelligence, would have lost to a rock, or a dead stump.

            This year, the field is relatively limited, mainly because Ron Conway wants to get London Breed into power, and wouldn’t even allow a back-up candidate in case she totally screws up. She is up against three strong candidates. The right approach will leave the moderates very unhappy. Julie Christensen can tell you how not even Ron Conway’s money coupled with Ed Lee’s lack of ethics could save her.

          • Geek__Girl

            Incumbent mayors can, and do, lose. Lee did far weaker than expected. His handlers had portrayed him as totally unstoppable against ANY candidate, and yet three unknowns came very close to toppling him. Sadly, I left the City in September of that year, so I missed the election. I could have voted absentee, but at the time, I assume I was not coming back. After four months, and partially buoyed by Lee’s humiliation, but more so because I missed my church and my friends, I returned. And I checked a few things off my bucket list, including driving across country. That was quite an adventure. I do regret that I didn’t take the time to see London Bridge in Arizona, and perhaps make a quick side trip to the Grand Canyon. But, I did see some other stuff that was incredible. But, I digress. I thought San Francisco was a lost cause. Between Lee, and Ron Conway, the City I had fallen in love with 13 years earlier was quickly fading, or so it seemed. But, I saw it come back from the edge, and I came back. The battle isn’t over, but the tide is turning.

          • Geek__Girl

            Seriously, are you suggesting that he got that many second and third place votes among the 1-2-3 Get Rid of Lee voters? If he had been below 50%, where would have have picked up 2nd and 3rd place votes? You do understand how ranked choice voting works? If you do, you are lying. I go with a big ROTFL! when someone tries to BS. I don’t babble nonsense. I present logic and facts. I leave the nonsense to you and your ilk.

          • playland

            Yes, seriously, here are the official results from the Department Of Elections:

            Ranked Choice Voting Results Table

            Lee would have wound up with 67.28% of the vote if 2nd and 3rd choices were counted.

            I’m sorry that the voices in your head are saying one thing and the Department of Elections says something completely different.

            Perhaps you should turn in for the night and start fresh in the morning.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            You are mistaken. The percentage number 67% was taken from an arbitrary round 2 that only counted votes for the top two finishers in round 1.

            The vast majority of voters don’t understand the nuances of RCV elections. Leno and Kim are definitely in a position to challenge Breed, but they’ll need a 1-2 approach to win.

          • playland

            Please. Here’s another report they do that provides the detail of all transferred votes:

            RCV Results Report

            For example, you can see on Page 4 that they transferred 2,823 votes from Amy Farah Weiss to Ed Lee and 13,091 to Francisco Herrera. You can see the transfers from all of the candidates, not just the top two.

            You really think that the Department Of Elections is going to publish an ‘arbitrary’, misleading report? Why? Because they are too lazy to print accurate numbers?

            Go ahead, tell me again that I am mistaken, Einstein.

          • Geek__Girl

            You are full of crap, Bozo. The simple problem is, Lee got over 55% of the vote. The rest is meaningless, and clearly an effort to obfuscate how badly Lee actually did. RCV would have only come into play if Lee had done a bit more poorly. Yes, under Lee, the Department of Elections would have stroked Lee’s rather MASSIVE ego. They presented misleading numbers. It is a meaningless, and rather lame exercise. 6% points less (not remotely impossible) and Lee would likely have been out of office. Unless an improbably large number of 1-2-3 Get Rid of Lee voters decided to vote 1-2 Oh What the HELL, Give Lee a Chance. Hmmm, yeah, that probably works for you. Them straws you are grasping are getting might thin. In the two years since, Lee dropped to 30% approval, and 50% negative, with 19% undecided about whether to go negative. That means, if they made up their mind, he would have been over 50% negative.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            You are mistaken.

            It’s a percentage based on one round of ranked-choice voting. We were both interpreting your initial citation incorrectly. Thanks for the better link and pass the peanuts, Einstein.

          • playland

            This is hopeless.

            The 67.28% number you are quoting is based on transfer votes from
            everyone but the top two finishing candidates in the first round

            Yes. That is what RCV is. They transfer votes until someone has 50%+. In this case someone had 50% in round 1 so they showed us where the 2nd and 3rd choices were. If they had gone round by round it would not have affected Lee’s totals. Because he never got eliminated (and you don’t lose votes unless you get eliminated).

            Look, I pointed you to the certified Department Of Election results that have been publicly available for review for 2 years now. If you want me to believe that you are right about RCV and the BOE is wrong then…sorry, I just can’t help you.

            I’m going to continue to believe that the San Francisco Department of Elections knowledge of RCV is better than yours — as remote a possibility as that may be — because they are the ones legally responsible for administering and certifying elections.

            At the end of the day, they are the DOE and you are someone slumped over a compuuter typing comments into 48 Hills. I’m going with them,

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            It’s not that the results are wrong, it’s your interpretation of them. Believe what you want.

          • playland

            Well, it’s not me. The San Francisco Board of Elections has a paged called “Official Election Results” which presents these numbers.

            I interpret that to mean “Official Election Results”; you interpret it to mean something else.

            Is it possible that you might be misinterpreting the meaning of “Official Election Results”? Is that even within the realm of possibility?

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            The method they used to derive the 67% cannot be used in real time RCV elections. Why do you think 55% is the number used in the ‘Final State’ column?

            http://sfgov.org/elections/ranked-choice-voting

          • playland

            Well we were talking about RCV. Your good friend @geek__girl came up with the whopper that Lee barely broke 50% and was within a few votes of losing.

            The truth is that he had 55.3% in the first round and even if that had gone down to 49.9%, RCV would have kicked in (to simulate a runoff) and he would have wound up with 67% against Herrera. This is all on the Official Results Page.

            Then you jumped in and displayed your considerable ignorance of how election results are recorded and presented in the city and county of San Francisco. But iit’s all right there for everyone to see at Sfelections.org.

            Is this the point where you do 10 push ups?

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            As you now see, the 67% relates to a final comparison of votes after 3 ranked-choice rounds between Lee and Herrera only. It is an arbitrary percentage not relative to the field percentages you and G_G were discussing.

            It shows Herrera closed ground considerably on Lee in subsequent rounds. You made it sound like his Lee’s lead increased in subsequent rounds and it’s simply not true. Don’t believe me .. check it out for yourself. It’s important stuff that both of us want to figure out.

            Then do 10 push ups.

          • playland

            First off, I don’t know where you are getting this 3 round thing. They eliminated everyone except Lee and Herrera and allocated out their votes by RCV rules. There were no more votes to re-assign.

            You need to learn what “exhausted ballots” mean. When someone votes Amy Farrah Weiss #1 and Broke-Ass Stuart #2 he may already have been eliminated before her. So they basically just thrown that ballot away (into the ‘exhausted’ pile). Same as if someone voted Amy and didn’t put down a #2. It is one of the most glaring, but not the only major flaw in RCV.

            There were 23,325 such exhausted ballots in this election. So in the RCV calculation Lee would have started out with 106k out of 190K (55%) and ended with 113K out of 168K (which is the 67% that you can’t understand and therefore think that the DOE publishes arbitrary numbers…because they don’t understand RCV as well as you do).

            But you really seem to believe that the Department of Elections puts arbitrary numbers on the official results page. It never occurs to you that you don’t have a complete knowledge of what they are doing.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I do understand how they derived the numbers and your summary is very good. I don’t necessarily agree with the last paragraph and would never claim to be an expert — I’m interested to see the numbers are working out in RCV elections.

            Would you not agree that Lee’s winning percentage advantage over Herrera was stronger than the exhausted ballot percentage of 67% ?

          • playland

            Would you not agree that Lee’s winning percentage advantage over Herrera was stronger than the exhausted ballot percentage of 67% ?

            I dunno…I think RCV is a complete sham. I think that if Lee had only gotten 49% initially and they went to RCV they would have eliminated a handful of lower ranked candidates and Lee would have reached 51% and they would have stopped counting. Herrera night have reached 30% and Amy might have never been eliminated.

            Without RCV we might have had a Lee-Herrera runoff and people might have taken notice of Herrera and been impressed that he made the runoff. He might have had a chance, something that will never exist with RCV. But don’t tell the Progressives that.

            I think in this coming election that people will be surprised at how many of Kim’s votes transfer to fellow underdog woman-of-color Breed.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I see what you mean that it wouldn’t have been round 3 .. there would have been more rounds than that. Cohen won in round 4. Whether you like it or not, RCV is how the June election will proceed.

            It’s arbitrary because in a race to 50% it doesn’t matter. What I’m interested in is strategy. I do believe if the progressives can win if there is a strategy implemented. I do believe the election will decided in round 2.

          • playland

            I think Leno can win. I am ambivalent between Breed and him. They are both on the center side of the aisle. I don’t think Breed will be tough on street crime. I would have voted for Farrell. I wonder if Alioto can become the law and order candidate and surprise people.

            People don’t understand the rounds thing on RC, You do rounds until one person has 50% of the remaining ballots. Back when Lee was first elected Steven T Jones said that it was a tainted victory because it took 13 rounds. Well, yeah, when you run against 14 people and the first people eliminated had about 50 votes each to redistribute then, sure, it will take a lot of rounds.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            My understanding is that mayor Lee exceeded the 50% threshold in the second round when he won the 2011 election against closest opponent John Avalos. With exhausted ballots considered, Lee won with 61% to Avalos’s 39%, but Lee actually crossed the threshold in round 2 before all the ballots were exhausted.

            Jones can say whatever he wants — it won’t change the June format. I don’t think that non-quote is an accurate portrayal of what actually went down.

            Here’s what the race focused David Latterman had to say about the 2011 race (and he does understand the complexities despite being the worst political analyst in town): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/us/analysis-finds-incorrect-use-of-ranked-choice-voting.html

          • playland

            My understanding is that mayor Lee exceeded the 50% threshold in the
            second round when he won the 2011 election against closest opponent John
            Avalos.

            Close! It was the 12th round.

            http://www.sfelections.org/results/20111108/data/mayor.html

            In the second round people like Wilma Pang and her 400 votes were being eliminated and redistributed.

            As for the Times article, I understand how to fill out an RCV ballot but I only list one choice because I don’t want to participate in the foolishness.

            Quick — What is your third favorite color? Third favorite actor?

            We force people to come up with their third favorite choice just to make our stupid system work.

            The strategy to game the system is to take a cue from the Grand Prix bicycle races (with drafting) and create teams with candidates who don’t expect to win; just to have their second choices transferred.

            So have everyone from Peskin to Norman Yee enter the race just to funnel more votes to Leno.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Ya that was a crowded field in 2011, but like you said you don’t have to vote three ranks.

            This election is not similar to 2011, but it is similar to the Oakland election when Quan won. You have two fairly well liked politicians on one side and a somewhat polarizing politician on the other. Polarizing politicians don’t do well in RCV subsequent rounds.

            Oakland was decided in round two .. I don’t know why I thought that for 2011 SF. Thanks for the good link.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I’m glad we can agree that voters don’t fully understand the nuances of aligning their rank choices. I didn’t mean to exclude myself when I previously made that statement. I’m trying to figure out strategies that consider the odds.

          • Geek__Girl

            Why? Lee had won. He got enough first place votes that it did not need to go into ranked choice? Oh wait, it did make it look like Lee did better than he actually did. Looks more like they compared the votes Lee got, and the votes Herrera got, without considering the other candidates, which, of course, would have boosted Lee’s percentage, but only in a totally meaningless and quite misleading way.

          • Geek__Girl

            Well, it seems that Rosh HoshHosh beat me to it. I was looking at the results which, at the very least, seemed a bit off. And that explains it. There was no actual round two, and it appears to be an attempt to make things look a bit different. Looks like you are hoist by your own petard. So, please, stop “farting” around.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            RCV is too new to say what approach most low-recognition candidates are taking. Amy Farrah Weiss says on her 1-2-3 Facebook page (it’s open) that she is going to write an op-ed for 48hills. We may soon see what she has to say.

            None of Farrah Weiss’s votes went to Ed Lee, but from the exhausted ballot numbers Playland linked to we can see that Herrera received more than 4x the number of 2nd and 3rd rank votes than Lee did ***on ballots that had Weiss marked for the 1st rank.

        • Geek__Girl

          The sad thing, Weiss doesn’t really have a chance. Though I will give the 1-2-3 coalition credit, they came achingly close to beating Lee, and did succeed in effectively humiliating him. I love how the so-called moderates keep saying how “easily” Lee won.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I don’t feel sad at all. If she wants to run for mayor then that is her prerogative, but she can’t ethically run a ‘1-2-3 for equity’ campaign.

            Again, you can’t elect a coalition and there will never be a “they” that comes close to winning. Only one candidate can win.

          • Geek__Girl

            Well, I don’t think it has ever been about electing a coalition so much as trying to prevent a undesired candidate from winning. By getting people to vote for three people, none of whom were Ed Lee, they could have, a) been rid of Lee, and b) elected one of their group. If the votes had gone a bit less for Lee, then the question would have come down to, 1) who got second and third place votes after Lee, and 2) how many voters actually voted a 1-2-3 ticket.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            But even if the coalition managed to send the 2015 election into subsequent rounds Lee still would have won. That will not be the case in the June election. Breed is in trouble if she doesn’t win after the first round.

            Third rank will not be important in the June election. Second rank will be very important. I’m looking at the odds and will post more later.

          • Geek__Girl

            No one can say, dogmatically, what would have happened. If Lee did not get enough votes to win on the first round, it would have depended on how well the “coalition” held together. Their approach was “vote for us, and not Lee.” If a lot of Lee voters made a second and third choice, he would be in real trouble. If not, and a lot of people chose Lee as second or third, then he might have had a stronger chance. But if the strategy had worked, it would have been a major breakthrough. Of course, it would have almost certain ended RCV.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            The best way to understand how the votes transfer is to look at the last link Playland provided (the 2011 mayoral election). There can be as many rounds as the sum total of registered candidates, minus the number 2 (representing the final two candidates).

            If Lee was listed in the first rank choice on a 2015 ballot, then the second and third choices on those ballots would never have been considered. Only when the first choice on a ballot is eliminated do the subsequent choices transfer (2nd rank if available; if not 3rd rank if available; if not exhausted)

            A ballot will only be considered for 2nd and 3rd rank when it is eliminated in a voting round. It only has that moment to have it’s second or third rank votes considered.

            Ed Lee could have given Francisco Herrera 40,000 of his first rank votes (20 points) and still won.

    • Don Sebastopol

      Being equity minded may not be a plus depending on what that means. Isn’t that a code word for Marxist? What’ wrong with corporate interests? If it means building more office buildings I might agree she should oppose too many more of them.

      • Geek__Girl

        Marxism is dead. The Cold War is over, and we won.

        • Don Sebastopol

          Marxism is a philosophy not a nation. Progressives are the step children. They keep trying to implement it, Venezuela was the latest failed experiment. And then there is Cuba.

          • Porfirio666

            Cuba (Castro) &Venezuela (Chavez)
            Somoza & Pinochet
            -Amazing how both the left and the right point to their particular boogeymen as needed. It’s like the people who scream either “you a nazi” or ” you a commie’ during arguments .
            Try showing some nuance for once, Don.

          • Geek__Girl

            Cuba is about only Marxist government left. Venezuela isn’t since Chavez died. Nicaragua hasn’t been for some time. Chile also hasn’t been for years, and Pinochet was a right wing dictator, who came to power after the United States backed the overthrow of the government in Chile. Chile, by the way, was the first, and I think only country to freely elect a Communist government, well a Marxist leader. It was quickly overthrown with the help of the U.S. We just couldn’t have people freely making such a choice. The rest have either fallen, or effectively become more or less capitalist.

          • Porfirio666

            Gracias por la leccion. Vivia en Nicaragua durante esa epoca y conozco algo de latinoamerica.

          • Geek__Girl

            Eso es bueno

          • Don Sebastopol

            I think most progressives are proud to be social justice warriors (Marxist).
            I did say Marxism is a philosophy not a political system (e.g. communism or national socialism). The reference to Venezuela was to illustrate the political system you get with Marxism. Being called a Marxist is not a pejorative. It is the ideology: “to take from each according to his abilities, and give to each according to his needs.” That is basically the progressive ideology of Social Justice. For the most part, progressives don’t call for government ownership. But through regulations like rent control the government has quasi-ownership. We shall see where that leads us.

          • Porfirio666

            William F. Buckley defended Francisco Franco to the bitter end. Jorge Luis Borges had nice things to say about Gens. Pinochet and Videla (although he later took his words back). The far right and the far left are equally guilty of supporting authoritarianism. That was my point.

          • Geek__Girl

            The hilarious fact is, “social justice warrior” is a term made up by the right wing-nuts as a pejorative. No one actually adopts that term. It is used to attack people who stand for things like civil rights, and such. Things you right wing-nuts utterly despise.

          • Geek__Girl

            Marxism has never worked. And in truth, it has never really existed. Marx failed to take human nature, and reality into consideration. He envisioned a utopian society of happy workers, but his approach required the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Part of the problem is, like any dictatorship, it never ends voluntarily. It is either overthrown from within, or without…or it collapses. Most dictatorships are violently overthrown, though the Soviet Bloc largely imploded. A few countries had uprising, but most just toppled like dominoes when the Soviet Union just decided “Hey, this crap really doesn’t work. Let’s quite and try something else.” China has basically become a capitalist dictatorship that pretends to be communist, and Cuba is a banana republic that is barely surviving.

          • Don Sebastopol

            You would think by now progressives would have learned that Marxism doesn’t work.

          • Geek__Girl

            You would think most right wing-nuts would have learned that, and would have quit using as their boogeyman du jour.

          • Geek__Girl

            I never said it was a nation. Various nations have adopted Marxism as the basis for their government and economic policies. It always fails.

    • Porfirio666

      “Progressive principals”? I’m voting Leno because he’s got real progressive principles. He’s willing to cut a deal with moderates sometimes in the name of progress.

      • Geek__Girl

        Okay… Any decent politician will make a deal when necessary. Lee, and Newsom, were for the most part, not remotely decent. Newsom in particular just did what he wanted, and defied the BoS and public to stop him.

        • Porfirio666

          Totally agree about Gelboy. But I had a certain soft spot for Lee. He was born and raised in The Projects, after all.

          • BRCitizen (Greg)

            Sometimes the rags to riches guys are the worst. They think they earned it all themselves.

          • Geek__Girl

            Actually. he wasn’t. He was born in a middle class area in Seattle.

          • Porfirio666

            …in the projects.

          • Geek__Girl

            He was born in Beacon Hill in Seattle, an area where a lot of Boeing employees lived. Nope, not the projects. That was probably a myth from the “biography” that was produced as part of his campaign.

          • Porfirio666

            Tupac Shakur was raised in a project in a wealthy county too (Marin). Jean Quan says Ed Lee grew up in the projects. But you can’t trust her. She’s
            a Ron Conway clone, too: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/the-legacy-of-ed-lee-san-franciscos-first-asian-american-mayor/548318/

        • Sanchez Resident

          My husband and I owe Mr. Newsom for beginning the marriage equality process. He ordered the license bureau to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in 2004. You have issues with his methods, but we will always thank him.

          • Geek__Girl

            From what I have read, Newsom jumped on the gay marriage bandwagon because he was in danger of facing a recall. There was a protest planned, that would have been an embarrassment to Newsom. Instead, he headed it off, and ordered clerks to issue marriage licenses, which defused the approaching move to oust him. In the end, the City Attorney did the real work, and Newsom, as usual, claimed the glory.

    • sfsquirrel

      I don’t think you will find much of a backbone when it comes to Breed and corporate interests. And ask her why she has not come out in support of Midtown? http://www.savemidtown.org/ You probably won’t find anything in print stating this but Breed has failed to show for two consecutive meetings she was scheduled to attend with the tenants, Mercy Housing and MOH. Very strange for a Supervisor who claims to be all in for her own community, people of color and elders.

      Speaking of, during the D5 debate against Preston, she claimed she would be out there standing up for Iris Canada, if they came out to evict her. Well, we know it went down in a stealth manner, but still not a peep from Breed.

      • Rosh HoshHosh

        London is very cool to me when I see her on the street and I wouldn’t ask her that. I will not be including her on my ballot, but it is strictly business and not personal.

  • Steven T. Jones

    Nice work, Tim. Good to see you reminding readers about the Conway’s corrupting, plutocratic influence on the city. But one note on Kim: she’s didn’t just vote for the terrible Twitter tax break, she was the sponsor and secretly conspired with Randy Shaw to make it as far-reaching and damaging to the city as possible, as our Guardian investigation showed.

    • Don Sebastopol

      It is doubtful the tax break made any difference..

      • Ragazzu

        You’re right. Twitter pocketed it, no improvements to the neighborhood made.

    • Geek__Girl

      Why am I not surprised that Shaw was involved in that?

    • Jake McTavish

      The Twitter tax break wasn’t for all that much vs. the city budget – the damage came from the precedent and the revelation that the leaders of “world-class city” SF are as naive and corrupt and stupid and willing to roll over and show off their soft tummies for a scratch as the “leaders” of every failed rust belt city every time some showman comes through pitching a “job-creating, economy-saving” monorail to nowhere.

  • Do Something Nice

    Jesus could be running for mayor and I would vote against him if Conway was supporting him.

    Conway and his ilk are bullies and they should be run out of town.

    • Geek__Girl

      If Jesus was running for mayor, He would have some very harsh words for Ron Conway. In fact, He already has. Let’s just say, if he doesn’t change really fast, Conway has one Hell of a future.

      • Watson Ladd

        Because he makes money, makes others make money, and has some of that money go to the state of California to fund the social programs you pretend to care about. Meanwhile Calvin “price the black people out of the Haight by downzoning” Welch gets a free pass from you.

        • Geek__Girl

          Conway engages in political corruption, threats, intimidation, and in particular goes after the poor and homeless. Christ had some very harsh words on that subject. And I don’t think a) you care one bit about black people, and b) are presenting any true claims.

  • Don Sebastopol

    I agree about short term rentals. I don’t to live next door to a hotel. However, condo conversion are a good thing.

  • Jake McTavish

    Why is one guy calling the shots for the ENTIRE CITY? This is really, really disgusting and it’s been going on for a while now. Why bother even having a city government. just cut out the middlemen and women and let ron be emperor while we’re at it.

  • Casual_Economy

    I enjoy your pieces Tim, but please consider hiring an editor, or paying closer attention yourself. The typos reduce your credibility!

  • MistOfTheCity

    Mr. Tim, you failed to mention who supported Ms. Breed in her initial run for Supervisor. Good people, care to guess?

  • BRCitizen (Greg)

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: When a politician tells you they have no ideology, Run The Other Way!!!