The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) waged unsuccessful legal battles against the Health Care Security Ordinance and lobbied against Campos' recent reforms of its loophole. And in the latest donation cycle, the GGRA donated the maximum $500 to the Chiu campaign. Other Bay Area food services contributed up to $5,950.
So the question remains, despite Chiu's posturing against "pay-to play politics"— are these food service companies contributing to Chiu's campaign because he's doing their bidding in opposing the Campos measure and sponsoring an alternative that lets them keep most of the money?
When Liane Quan, co-owner of SF's Lee's Deli, was asked if the health care legislation was a reason she donated, she said, "Yes, that's one reason." She then hesitated to elaborate why. Members of the Quan family associated with Lee's Deli contributed a total of $1,000 to the campaign.
Maurizio Florese, an Italian-speaking co-owner of Mona Lisa's Restaurant who contributed $100, didn't want to talk about his contribution or employee health care. Neither did his wife and co-owner, Filomena Florese, who is also President of Mona Lisa Inc., which manufactures chocolate and pastry products.
In fact, despite leaving messages at seven local restaurants who donated to Chiu, none wanted to talk. But we did finally get ahold of Chiu campaign manager Nicole Derse, who said Chiu has a broad array of supporters and his donations from restaurants had nothing to do with his stance on the Campos legislation.
"There definitely is no correlation at all," she told us. "Any suggestion to the contrary is ludicrous." (Christine Deakers)