The stealth candidate - Page 2

Ahsha Safai tries to be all things to District 11 voters -- but he refuses to explain his many contradictions and false statements

This is a significant exaggeration from where I sit."

Nato Green, who represents nurses at St. Luke's within the California Nurses Association, went even further than Guy, saying he was worried about Safai's late arrival to the issue (Safai wasn't part of the group that protested, organized, and urged CPMC to agree to rebuild the hospital) and the fact that CPMC appointed Safai to its Community Outreach Task Force as the representative from Distrist 11.

"From our point of view, he is the CPMC's AstroTurf program, simuutf8g community participation," Green told us. "It's critical to us that we end up with a supervisor who is independent of CPMC and will go to the mat for what the community needs."

CNA has endorsed Avalos in the District 11 race.

"John was the only candidate in District 11 who came out and spoke at the hearings, attended the vigils, and walked the picket line during the strikes," Green said.


Beyond his association with downtown power brokers and endorsement by Newsom, there are other indicators that Safai is hostile to progressive values. He said in a recent televised forum that he would work most closely with supervisors Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd, and Michela Alioto-Pier, the three most conservative members of the Board of Supervisors.

During an Oct. 14 Avalos fundraiser hosted by sustainable transportation advocates Dave Snyder, Tom Radulovich, and Leah Shahum, attendees expressed frustration at Safai's tendency to pander to groups like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, taking whatever position he thinks they want to hear without considering their implications or consistency with his other stands.

"It was a no-brainer for the Bike Coalition to endorse John," Shahum, SFBC's executive director, said at the event, noting Avalos' long history of support for alternatives to the automobile.

Avalos, who had been hammered all week by mailers and robocalls from downtown groups supporting Safai, said he was frustrated by the barrage but that "we can fight the money with people.

"Ahsha has done everything he can to blur the lines about what he stands for," Avalos said. "Whoever he's talking to, that's who he's going to be. But we need principled leadership in San Francisco."

One area where Safai doesn't appear to be proud of his work is in real estate, opting to be identified on voting materials as a "nonprofit education advisor." One of his opponents, Julio Ramos, formally challenged the designation, writing to the Election Department that the label "would mislead voters and is not factually accurate, the term 'businessman' or 'investor' denotes the true livelihood of candidate Safai."

Safai responded by defending the title and writing, "My dates of employment at Mission Language Vocational School were from August 2007 through February 2008." So, because of his seven-month stint at this nonprofit, voters will see Safai as someone who works in education, even though his financial disclosure forms show that most of his six-figure income comes from Blankshore LLC, a Los Altos-based developer currently building a large condo project at 2189 Bayshore Blvd. that is worth more than $1 million. (That's the top value bracket listed on the form, so we don't know how many millions the project is actually worth or how much more than $100,000 Safai earned this year).

But we do know from city records that Safai has personally bought at least three properties during his short stint in San Francisco, including one at 78 Latona Street that he flipped for a huge profit after buying it from a woman facing foreclosure, who then sued Safai for fraud.

The woman, Mary McDowell, alleged in court documents that real estate broker Harold Smith, "unsolicited, came to plaintiff's residence and offered assistance to her because her homes were in foreclosure ...