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Home Elections Campaign Trail Campaign trail: Three donors give $15K to Breed superPAC

Campaign trail: Three donors give $15K to Breed superPAC

Two have ties to real-estate industry; one, oddly, used to support Leno and is now funding an attack on him

Will Breed step down early to let her allies elect a new board president?

The independent expenditure committee backing Sup. London Breed for mayor and attacking Mark Leno has filed its first documentation, which shows that the majority of its money comes from three women, two of whom have ties to the real-estate industry.

Susan Lowenberg, Mary Powell, and Rina Alcalay each donated $5,000 to the ie, known as “It’s Our Time, Women Supporting London Breed for Mayor,” Ethics Commission records show.

Supporters of London Breed have raised almost $17,000 so far for a superPAC

That’s most of the $16,900 the committee reported raising. The money has gone to a pair of web ads.

Lowenberg is president of the Lowenberg Corporation, a major real-estate operation in the city. She is married to Joyce Newstat, a political consultant and former policy director in Gavin Newsom’s mayoral administration.

Alcalay is married to Oz Erickson, one of the city’s larger real-estate developers.

Powell is an employee benefits lawyer with Trucker Huss.

Lowenberg has long been an active donor in the local political world. She supported Breed for supervisor in 2012 and also contributed to a superPAC that attacked Breed’s opponent, incumbent Christina Olague. She’s given the maximum $500 to campaigns for Ed Lee, Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen, Ahsha Safai, and Jeff Sheehy.

Oddly, last May she gave $500 to Mark Leno for Mayor, although her money is now being used to attack him.

Alcalay likewise has given money to numerous candidates; she was a big supporter of Natalie Berg, the former Community College Board member, and has given the maximum $500 contribution to most of the moderates on the board, including Katy Tang, Scott Wiener, Ahsha Safai, Julie Christensen, and Breed. She also supported Christina Olague and David Campos.

Powell’s only political contribution in the past ten years (other than this one) was $250 to City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

The other ie supporting Breed is sponsored by the firefighters’ union, and hasn’t reported any contributions.

There are at this point no other superPACs involved in the mayor’s race.

The Chronicle story on Ron Conway today quotes him saying that he’s too busy to get involved in local politics. That would surprise me; he’s got too much at stake here. Conway’s heavily invested in companies that have been or could be subject to local regulations that would impact their bottom line. He’s already endorsed Breed. It’s not a hard-hitting story, and doesn’t call Conway the plutocrat that he is. It also includes this:

Conway also was angered when four progressive supervisors voted in 2012 to let Ross Mirkarimi>keep his job as sheriff, in spite of a domestic violence conviction. He poured $29,000 in cash and $20,000 in-kind contributions into an independent expenditure committee called San Francisco Women for Accountability and a Responsible Supervisor, designed to punish former Supervisor Christina Olague for her vote. Olague, who was appointed by Lee, was facing a tight race against London Breed for the District Five seat. Two years later, Conway pitched in $85,000 to defeat David Campos, who also voted to retain Mirkarimi, in his unsuccessful bid for state Assembly. Conway then threw $200,000 at an independent expenditure committee to trounce Jane Kim, another Mirkarimi ally, in her 2016 state Senate race against the moderate Scott Wiener.

Conway may very well have been angry about the Mirkarimi vote; he was also angry that Olague, Campos, and Kim defied the mayor. But there’s more to the story.

Campos and Kim were actively involved in efforts to tightly regulate Airbnb; Conway holds a significant stake in that company, and if its home city shut down a lot of its illegal units, that stake would have shrunk in value.

David Chiu and Scott Wiener were big supporters of Airbnb, and Chie allowed Airbnb’s lobbyist to help draft the legislation that legalized the company’s activities. So I suspect there was more than just the Mirkarimi vote involved here.


As former Sup. John Avalos told us when we did a big piece on Conway at the Bay Guardian: “Conway is all about the bottom line of his industry, and nothing more.”


  1. Sure,

    They had Matt Smith, right?

    I recall the leg breaker (Phil Bronstein) was one of the CIR people and I used to have a diner on 6th & Market save me copies.

    Some really great stories.

    I still don’t recall their chat room.

    Posted some on David Latterman/Michael Ege’s ‘Wall’ but that was a bit too authoritarian.

    Rhosh says the latest Ege project banned him for winning an argument which is par.

    I’ll dig around a bit.


    Alioto for Mayor Again!

    Go Giants!


  2. The Bay Citizen, a local non-profit news experiment, was started by Warren Helman but did not survive long after he died. It had many good reporters and hard-hitting local news. Some if its reporters have gone on to consuderable glory. It was taken over by the Center for Investigative Reporting which was dedicated to long, investigativestate and global stories, not local news. In my opinion, CIR held the Bay Citizen in name only for one year, then raided it for the Bay Citizen’s considerable funds. I cannot find any way to access old Bay Citizen stories or the very lively comments section. It was a wonderful place to read the news. A brief history is available on Wikipedia.

  3. VM,

    Seriously, though.

    Can you give me a link to the ‘Bay Citizen’?

    Although all of my stuff is archived by the FBI, CIA and NSA I don’t keep records as such.

    Regards to all,

    Alioto for Mayor Again!

    Go Giants!


  4. VM,

    Thanks for your fandom. I can’t remember any publication called the ‘Bay
    Citizen’ but if you say I posted there then, lucky them.

    And, I never commented on your sex.

    I love women.

    Hell, my mom was a woman and I’ve married 6 of them.

    Still looking for lucky 7.

    Alioto for Mayor Again!

    Go Giants!


  5. Mr. Brown, I have read your comments for years, starting at the Bay Citizen. I have found them often mystifying, even though I follow local politics avidly. I did want to point out something: when men (and it is always men) question my moniker for comments, they invariably insult and imply that this woman is, well, a woman! Clearly a dumb broad or a slut. Thanks for keeping the pattern!

  6. You must be really old,

    Hey, I’m old too so that’s cool but ..

    ‘Voltaire’s mistress’?

    You clearly aren’t smart or educated enough to understand my allusions or appreciate my special gifts with the English language.

    Unfortunately, you are far from alone.

    Alioto for Mayor!

    Go Giants!


  7. It appears airbnb announced in February that they will not go public in 2018. I looked into it this morning.

  8. AirBnB should rush to do this. Many cities are now cracking down. In Paris, they are about to lose 80% of their listings because they are not legal. Barcelona already did this. Berlin was even more harsh, but it is tied up in court. Pretty soon, there won’t be enough listings to keep AirBnB going.

    “The French government announced plans Thursday to clamp down on
    Airbnb, saying it would fine the home-sharing giant for carrying ads
    from people who do not register their properties with local authorities.”


  9. “It’s Our Time.” We’ve had a woman mayor and we’ve had a black mayor, but we’ve never had a gay mayor.

    The “It’s Our Time” campaign is inherently homophobic and sexist, targeting the only gay man running for mayor, Leno, because he is not a woman.

    You’ve had your time, ladies.

  10. USF, land of Bill Russell?

    Long time since they’ve honored someone like that who is actually a real human being who has advanced the cause of his people.

    Now, we get David Latterman as some kind of advanced doctor of politics.

    He’s a thief, like all the rest.

    David Lee?

    I believe he still runs an outfit called the ‘Peoples Republic of China SF Voter Education Committee’.

    The Jesuits sold out long ago for cash.

    Wasn’t Jerry Brown a Jesuit seminarian?

    Wasn’t John Burton?

    Probably not Burton so much.

    Hell, Willie’s group had a Harvard branch for years where they send promising recruits for their farm system.

    Gerald Green?

    and on and on and on …

    If the election is not rigged.

    That’s a really big ‘if’ …

    The commentators are right …

    Breed can’t even win her own district!

    Alioto for Mayor!

    Go Giants!


  11. No, he plead guilty to NON-VIOLENT FALSE IMPRISONMENT. In another words, he did not take his wife for pizza. The DA had no case, and offered a nothing charge. Lee then tried to abuse power, and failed.

  12. It was what Eddie wanted. He feared Mirkarimi. And he hated Conway hate Kim and Campos who were against Airbnb.

  13. Lee was scared because he got more votes as sheriff than Lee did as mayor. He saw him as a major threat and set out to destroy him politically. The incident was blown out of proportion, and Conway gave Lee what he wanted. The fact that three of the four supervisors were against Airbnb also added to the fury. Olague defied Lee, and almost got him charged with perjury. It was an outrage.

  14. He isn’t going to focus on ifluencing local poltics? Wtf? That’s one of your dumber comments.

    Bogeyman is your word, and I don’t mention Conway much. His m/o is the same as any billionaire, and I could really give two fucks about the guy.

    My hedge fund friend has already told me it’s not about the money. He calls his business ‘addictive.’ Do you understand why Airbnb might not offer an IPO? No comment on that one?

    I didn’t stick up for Mirk. He made his bed.

    Ps. Not coming off very sharp today, Zhoosh.

  15. A billionaire with an “unquenchable thirst for power” isn’t going to focus on influencing politics in a city of 800,000. He isn’t going to seek global dominance by ousting Christina Olaque from her seat as a municipal alderwoman.

    I know that having an all-purpose bogeyman is a very important crutch for many people, and clearly Conway has been interested in influencing San Francisco’s imperfect relationship with a technical revolution that started 34 miles south in 1939. But at some point everyone needs to look at the calendar and see that it is 2018 and things don’t work the same way that they did in 1978.

    You can stuff Ron Conway into an Elon Musk rocket and blast him into the sun and it will still be 2018. It won’t make much of a difference. You can check with Trump and see if he has found a wall that will work if installed on our own southern border in order to keep new technology out

    PS: Your hedge fund friend will tell you that Wall Street has already ‘baked in’ the fact that Airbnb will continue to face local regulations world wide.

    PPS: Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to domestic abuse. Doesn’t matter if you consider him innocent. Once you plead guilty you are no longer innocent.

  16. The Chron had to eat crow when Mirkarimi remained sheriff. They’d repeatedly quoted David Latterman saying it couldn’t, and wouldn’t, happen. Why any newspaper would still quote that guy is beyond me.

    Newspapers, politicians (as Avalos is quoted here), and bloggers repeatedly mention Conway”s ‘bottom line,’ while failing to mention his unquenchable thirst for power. For the top .1%, this becomes a greater driver than the money.

    Squashing the Mirk’s giant ego was about power.

    But back to the money — Airbnb is poised to go public. Nobody in town seems to be writing about this. To IPO or not IPO, that is the question. I’ll have to talk to my hedge fund manager friend to figure this one out more, but Conway is well aware of the intracacies, and the stakes are very high.

  17. I find it laughable that Conway would throw all that money into these elections over a bruised arm. If Conway is concerned about the condition of women he should use his considerable influence to create more equitable hiring and workplace conditions for women in tech and other industries. And if he has a particular soft spot for domestically abused women, I wonder how much money he has put into organizations that help them. His alleged anger over Mirkarimi is all too convenient and shame on the Chron for pretending it has any merit.

  18. London Breed: the only mayoral candidate who can afford to operate 3 campaign offices across the city: one on Van Ness, one in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point and one in the Richmond. Interesting that Breed decided not to open one anywhere in her home district of D5–that’s because D5 residents are hip to her and her terrible policies.

  19. Votes have consequences, Tim. Kim, Campos, and Olague made their choice knowing there would be anger and resentment directed towards them.

    Personally, I like Mirk. I live in D5 and I felt like he did a good job. I didn’t agree with every vote he cast but Mirk was always super responsive to his constituents. I also thought the allegations against him were overblown, but these are my personal opinions and, obviously, they don’t align with what the majority of voters felt.

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