- This Week
Downtown groups are spending big money and making telling alliances in this election
10.26.10 - 5:31 pm | Sarah Phelan |
Downtown's money has filled local mailboxes with reams of campaign propagandaPHOTO BY BEN HOPFER
Coates' donations raise questions about his preferred slate's views on tenant and landlord rights. A principal in Jackson Square Properties, which specializes in apartments and mobile homes, Coates is the founding partner of Arroya & Coates, a commercial real estate firm whose clients include Walgreens, Circuit City, and J.P. Morgan Investment Management. In 2008, when he backed Prop. 98, Coates told the San Francisco Chronicle that rent control "doesn't work."
Ted Gullicksen, director of the SF Tenants Union (SFTU), which has collectively spent $30,000 opposing Sparks, Wiener, and Moss, is disturbed that Coates spent so much in support of this trio.
"Coates was the main funder of Prop. 98," Gullicksen explained. "His property is in Southern California. He's pumping a lot of money into supervisors. And he clearly has an agenda that we fear Moss, Sparks, and Wiener share — which is to make the existence of rent control an issue they will take up in the future if elected to the board."
That threat got progressive and labor groups to organize an Oct. 26 protest outside Coates' San Francisco law office, with invitations to the event warning, "Be there or be evicted!"
Sparks, Moss, and Wiener all claim to support rent control, despite their support by someone who seeks to abolish it. "I answered such on my questionnaire to the SFTU, which chose to ignore it," Sparks told the Guardian via text message. "In addition, I've been put out of apartments twice in SF, once due to the Ellis Act. They ignore that fact as well."
Records show that in May 2009, Moss — who bought a rent-controlled apartment building near Dolores Park in D8 for $1.6 million and he lived there from the end of 2007 to the 2010, when he decided to run for office in D10 — served a "notice to quit or cure" on a tenant who complained about the noise from Moss' apartment. Ultimately, Moss settled without actually evicting his tenant.
"I read about Coats' [sic] contribution in Bay Citizen," Moss wrote in an e-mail to the Guardian. "This donation was made to an independent expenditure committee over which I have no control and almost no knowledge. I have stated throughout the campaign, and directly to the Tenants Union, that I believe current rent control policy should remain unmolested."
But Moss is with downtown on other key issues. He supports Newsom's sit-lie legislation and the rabidly anti-tenant Small Property Owners Association, whose endorsement he previously called a "mistake."