Mayor Ed Lee calls himself a progressive — but rich, powerful conservatives are funding his campaign
Mohammad Nuru, whom Lee recently appointed to lead DPW, was also at the Run, Ed, Run kickoff. He previously served as deputy director of DPW, but drew scrutiny after workers from the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG), a city-funded nonprofit he previously ran, testified that he and SLUG had required them walk precincts and deliver campaign literature for Gavin Newsom for Mayor in 2004 on days they should have been performing street cleaning duties. SLUG was banned from receiving further city contracts following a city attorney's investigation. Lee says on the campaign trail that he's going for a full term to continue the tone of civility at City Hall. Yet to longtime observers, his candidacy has come to be defined not by a vision he articulates for San Francisco, but by the past dealings and shady reputations of his supporters. Progressives fear that a Lee administration will be a rehash of the Brown era, with its rampant evictions and favoritism to politically-connected businesses. Lee has voiced his support for inclusivity, smart governance, and fairness, yet some of his greatest boosters seem motivated purely by profit. If Lee wins, his first test will be whether or not he can stand up to the power brokers circling his camp.
Students with deep pockets pony up for Lee
By Christine Deakers
When you talk about students getting involved in politics, you typically think of canvassing, voter registration, and protests. Campaign contributions aren't anywhere near the top of the list.
In fact, with the bad economy, the soaring cost of education and the crushing burden of student debt, it's hard to imagine most students having an extra $500 to give to a candidate for mayor of San Francisco.
But nine people identified as "students" gave the maximum $500 to the Ed Lee for Mayor campaign, records show. Two other students, one living in Montana, gave smaller amounts.
Two of those maximum contributions came from young members of the Sangiacomo family, whose senior members have been among the largest and most notorious landlords in San Francisco.
Students Christina and Natalie Sangiacomo both donated $500 dollars. They are the daughters of James Sangiacomo, who helps run Trinity Management Services, a family real estate operation.
Signing a check to Ed Lee seems to be all in the family— the Sangiacomo name appeared 12 times on the donation list, and documented addresses spanned outside of Bay Area zip codes to Corona Del Mar.
We couldn't reach Christina or Natalie at the family home, but we asked their dad if he knew his daughters gave such substantial amounts to a mayoral campaign. He simply replied, "[Natalie] is 20 and registered to vote." (For the record, both daughters are over 18, the minimum legal age to make a campaign contribution.)
Hamdiah A. Ahmed (Oakland), Leanna L. Chan (S.F.), Kelly L.L. Chen (S.F.), Stephanie Chen (Danville), Jasmin Perez, Michael Perez (both from Hillsborough), and Yusra M. Sharif (Oakland) also donated $500 to the Ed Lee campaign. Selina Sun (S.F.) donated $250 and Philip O'Connor, on record as a student in Missoula, Montana, gave $175.
Sun's father, Andrew Sun, is a lobbyist and fundraising consultant at Sun Associates. He gave Lee $100. His wife, Selina's mother, is Alicia Wang, a long time Democratic Party activist and former candidate for supervisor. Her name did not appear on Ed Lee's campaign records.
Some students from outside San Francisco kicked in the maximum contribution. Take Hamdiah Ahmed and Yusra Sharif, two unemployed students who live at the same residence in Oakland. The Sharif family owns Oasis Food Market in the East Bay.