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Monday, December 6, 2021

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News + PoliticsThe sleaze reaches high tide in D5

The sleaze reaches high tide in D5

Bizarre attack on Dean Preston defies facts, logic, and reality -- but that doesn't stop Big Real Estate and Big Tech.

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The Big Money sleaze in D5 has reached high tide. In a new set of mailings, the real-estate and tech industry, with the support of big GOP donors, is actually arguing that Dean Preston, who has spent his legal career protecting tenants, was involved in evictions.

It’s a stunningly convoluted argument: The best the sleaze merchants have is that Preston worked for a nonprofit called the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, where he fought evictions and did advocacy for tenant rights.

But THC also manages low-income housing, and that makes the group a landlord (or sorts), and sometimes tenants become so dangerous and disruptive that, like any nonprofit housing provider, they decide they have to evict them.

I’m not defending that practice. (Neither, by the way, does Preston.)

But Preston had nothing to do with it. The THC law office, that did and does nothing but fight evictions and sue bad landlords, had zero affiliation with the other arm of the organization.

Of course Preston couldn’t represent tenants fighting the organization that employed him. That would violate the state Bar Association rules on conflict of interest.

But he never advised THC’s real-estate arm on evictions. “I have never represented any landlord or given any landlord any advice on any eviction,” he told me. “The THC law office has nothing to do with property management.”

So what’s going on here? This big-money group is trying to get rid of people on the board who aren’t supported by Mayor London Breed, and Breed is backing Vallie Brown, who actually did evict tenants.

So they are playing the Swift-Boat game to try to smear Preston – on the most basic thing he has never done.

It gets more and more disgusting. This whole campaign is Trumpian – facts don’t matter a bit.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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