The news you need to know this week: Herrera takes some flak, but pushes right back, while property interests reveal their support for Prop. E
Molly McKay, one of the original plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit that followed San Francisco's actions, teared up as she described the ups and downs that the case took, working closely with Herrera throughout. "But this is one of the strangest twists I can imagine," she said of the attack by the Chronicle and its anonymous sources. "It's ridiculous and despicable."
Representatives for both the progressive Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and fiscally conservative Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club also took to the microphone together, both saying they often disagree on issues, but they were each denouncing the attack and have both endorsed Herrera, largely because of his strong advocacy for the LGBT community.
Sup. Scott Wiener called Herrera, "One of the greatest straight allies we've every had as a community."
When Herrera finally took the microphone, he thanked mayoral opponents Joanne Rees and Jeff Adachi for showing up at the event to help denounce the attack and said, "This is bigger than the mayor's race. It's bigger than me."
He criticized those who would trivialize this issue for petty political gain and said, "It was my pleasure and honor to have been a part of this battle from the beginning — from the beginning — and I'll be there in the end." (Steven T. Jones)
UPDATE: THIS ITEM HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM THE PRINT VERSION TO CORRECT INACCURATE INFORMATION DEALING WITH WHETHER PAST INIATIVES CAN BE CHANGED
October yielded tremendous financial contributions from real estate investors and interest groups for Yes on E, feeding fears that the measure will be used to target rent control and development standards in San Francisco.
Sup. Scott Wiener has been the biggest proponent for Prop E since May 2011. He argues that the Board of Supervisors should be able to change or repeal voter-approved ballot measures years after they become law, saying that voters are hampered with too many issues on the ballot. Leaving the complex issues to city officials rather than the voters, makes the most sense of this "common sense measure", Wiener calls it.
But how democratic is a board that can change laws approved by voters? Calvin Welch, a longtime progressive and housing activist, has his own theory: Wiener is targeting certain landlord and tenant issues that build on the body of laws that began in 1978, when San Francisco voters first started adopting rent control and tenants protection measures. Yet the measure will only allow the board to change initiatives approved after January 2012.
"That is what the agenda is all about — roughly 30 measures that deal with rent control and growth control," he said. Critics say the measure will leave progressive reforms vulnerable to a board heavily influence by big-money interests. Although Wiener denies Prop E is an attack on tenants, who make up about two-thirds of San Franciscans, the late financial support for the measure is coming from the same downtown villains that tenant and progressive groups fight just about every election cycle. High-roller donations are coming straight from the housing sector, which would love a second chance after losing at the ballot box.
Contributions to Yes on E include $15,000 from Committee on Jobs Government Reform Fund, $10,000 from Building Owners and Managers Association of SF PAC, another $10,000 from high-tech billionaire Ron Conway, and $2,500 from Shorenstein Realty Services LP. Then — on Oct. 28, after the deadline for final pre-election campaign reporting — the San Francisco Association of Realtors made a late contribution of another $18,772, given through the front group Coalition for Sensible Government.