Steve Moss: the big duck



We've been trying to pin Steve Moss down on some key questions.  Over the weekend, I sent him some questions by email.  He responded, but ducked or ignored the real points and never gave us any straight answers.

Here's our exchange, my questions and his answers -- unedited,  followed by some comments from me as we doggedly try to make sense of where Steve Moss really stands on key issues in the district.


Dear Steve,

In your October, pre-election issue of the Potrero View, your signed column
compares the Guardian with Fox News and states that we are both  "advocacy groups disguised as news purveyors" who "whip mostly anonymous commentators on their websites to call political candidates 'weasle, lying, doucebags' and worse." You also state that "these same outlets barely take the time to edit--much less fact check--their stories."

As you know, our reporter Sarah Phelan has done factual reporting on you and your campaign ( and she and I have both checked with you to respond to our points before publication.  We will continue our policy by submitting these email questions to you in advance of publication. Our deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday

l. What specific facts do you find inaccurate in our previous reporting on you and your campaign? (You mixed up a comment on a blog with Phelan's actual story and reporting. Was this intentional?)

2. How much money have you and your various profit and nonprofit enterprises accepted from PG&E during this past year?

How much money have you accepted in total from PG&E during your many years of operating  your profit and nonprofit enterprises? Why did you change the pro-public power View of Ruth Passen to a PG&E-friendly View under your ownership?  (For example, Passen always supported public power but you as the new owner  refused to support the last public power initiative and said it was "too contentious.")

3. Campaign finance records show that Thomas Coates, a Republican who spent $l million trying to overturn rent control in California in 2008, has just dumped
$45,000 into the so-called Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth in support of your candidacy.  Public records also show that you served a cure or quit notice
to a tenant in your rent-controlled building in District 8. Would you comment on this? And would you state whether you support or oppose rent control?

4.  On the front page of the October View, your lead story reported on the troubles of the Neighborhood House under the headline, "NABE Reeling Under City Budget Cuts." Your story noted that the Nabe had lost "nearly $400,000 in funding from the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families" and that individual donations had dropped by 75 per cent. The result, your story noted, was that the NABE "has been forced to eliminate teen-focused programming, reduce elementary school offerings by 25 per cent, lay-off staff and impose pay cuts."

Each year, the NABE sponsors the Potrero Hill festival as a benefit to raise much-needed funds. This year the benefit was more critical than ever to reduce its  crippling deficit. Just as the View was going to press earlier this month,  I got a call at the Guardian from a representative of the festival with a startling bit of information. I was told that you, as the owner and editor-publisher of the View, and a candidate for supervisor from our district, were  refusing to run a full page ad for the festival, a key piece of the NABE's promotion on the hill,if the ad contained the logo of the Guardian as a festival sponsor. 

The representative was concerned that, if you wouldn't run the NABE ad, that the Guardian as a media sponsor wouldn't run a NABE ad in the Guardian.
(I told him not to worry, do what he had to do to get the ad in the View, and that the Guardian would run the ad and double up on its promotion for the festival. The Guardian logo did not appear on the Nabe ad in the View but did appear on all other NABE promotions.)

Why did you make this threat to the NABE and its festival benefit? Were you serious?

5. You said in your endorsement interview at the Guardian that, if you were elected supervisor, you would give up the View. Do you still plan to do that, if elected? If so, how would you do that?

 Steve Moss responds:

1.  The entire way you've covered the District 10 election has been slanted towards the candidate you prefer, and against the candidates you dislike.  From this perspective the Guardian is not serving the role of a newspaper, but rather is acting as an independent expenditure committee on behalf of its chosen candidates and causes.  I'd be happy to select a panel of five independent journalists -- you pick two, I'll pick two, and the four can pick one -- to render an opinion about how you've run the Guardian during this election cycle, and how I've run the View.

2.  In 2010 I believe SF Power has received less than $25,000 in payments related to the small business demand-response program it operates, as sanctioned by the California Public Utility Commission.  I've already provided you and your reporter with multiple responses to your requests about SF Power's successfull advocacy related to CPUC orders requiring PG&E to fund programs focusing on working families and small businesses, all of which, as I've repeatedly pointed out, are a matter of public record.

The View has published several articles about community-based energy systems, and effective ways to achieve local control over the power grid, during my tenure as publisher. They are available on our website.

3.  I read about Coats' contribution in Bay Citizen.  As you know, 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.

4.  I made no threat to the NABE.  In fact, the festival was featured on the front page of the November issue, with a story inside, and a full page ad.

5.  Yes.  A new editor will be found to run the View if I'm elected to office.


Okay, You aren't responsive.   Let me try again, point by point:

l. I am not running for office. You are.  Please tell me where we are factually wrong in any of our reporting on you and your campaign.

As you know, we have contacted you in advance of publication for comment. And you have written us twice with generalities but no specifics on inaccurate reporting.

2. You defend your PG&E payments on the basis that it's actually money from the California Public Utilities Commission that PG&E is required by law to put up for energy efficiency projects. However, Loretta Lynch, former president of the CPUC, told me that PG&E decides who gets the money and that fund recipients that "cross PG&E" are in danger of getting their funds cut off.

In other words, if  you  want to continue to fund your organization with upwards of more than $l million over three years, you must avoid angering the utility.  This may explain why the Potrero View under your ownership has switched from its historic position supporting public power under former owner Ruth Passen to going easy on PG&E and ducking a position on the most recent public power initiative (Proposition H).

The background: Your  non profit collected  $1,290,000 from the CPUC for energy efficiency projects over the past three years, according to SF Power's annual revenues and estimated budgets from 2008 to 2010 as provided on its website.

The breakdown: $500,000 in 2008, $440,000 in 2009, $350,000 in 2010.

You  also got $150,000 from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in 2008 and $125,000 in 2009.  Your  non profit also got $50,000 chunks each year from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman fund, where his wife Debbie Findling works.   The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund kicked in $5,000 in 2008 and 2009.  The  Potrero View contributed $5,000 in 2008, $4,500 in 2009, and $5,000 in 2010.  A footnote stated that SF Power "is also informally negotiating with the California Air Resources Board, San Francisco's Office of the Mayor, Mirant Corporation, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, among others, for project funding support."  Did you get any additional money from Mirant, PG&E,  the Mayor, or anybody else? Are you still negotiating? If not, when did you stop?

Lynch explained that "all energy efficiency programs in California are funded by ratepayer dollars that are collected by the utilities as part of each ratepayer's utility bill.  Thus, California ratepayers, big and small, pay for all energy efficiency programs and each and every program is funded by ratepayers, not utilities."

She said that the CPUC "sets broad parameters for each utility concerning the amount of overall energy efficiency savings to be achieved and in what customer classes (residential, small business, large business,etc.). But the utilities choose the program providers. The CPUC simply reviews the overall package provided by the utilities to check to see whether the energy efficiency savings targets are met."

Thus, PG&E each year decides  the amount of money going to SF Community Power. Lynch noted that  some non profit people told her, when she was a commissioner, that "if you crossed PG&E, they would stop the funding."
Lynch mentioned a meeting with you  that showed  PG&E's influence on you, your non profit and the View. .
She said that, shortly after she was termed out as a CPUC  commissioner in 2009, you  asked her to meet with  him at Farleys coffee shop and asked her to serve on the board of his nonprofit. "I thanked him and said that he should consider my relationship with PG&E before making that offer if he was funded through PG&E, as PG&E and I have a very contentious relationship,  and that they would not be happy if I were on the board. He thanked me for telling him and agreed that I should not serve on the board.”  Lynch lives on Potrero Hill.

3. I followed up my rent control question:  "If state law were amended to allow it, would you support extending rent control to vacant apartments?"  No answer.

4. I got a call from Keith Goldstein, president of the Potrero Hill Association of Merchants and Businesses and co-chair of the festival. He had gotten an email from you  that read: "Please have the festival's pr agent remove the Guardian's logo from any complimentary ad the View is providing the festival in this month's paper.” Why did you make  such an unprofessional move?   Would you have backed out of sponsoring this event if the Guardian logo had remained? Is that how you would behave as a supervisor?

5. If elected, do you plan to sell the View?  Will you continue to operate your non profit and take chunks of money from PG&E? If elected, would your income from PG&E disquality you from voting on PG&E and energy issues? At what point would you sever your relations, if at all,  with your non profit and PG&E?

6. If  you lose, will you (as your wife suggested in an email to friends) move back to your house on Liberty St in Distict 8?

We anxiously  await your response. B3


call ENEA


Posted by D 10 votes on Oct. 28, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

what does Enea bring to the debate?
what does Kelly bring to the debate?
what does Cohen bring to the debate?
what does Eric Smith bring to the debate?

these are my rankings. can anyone tell me why i shouldn't consider these folks?


Posted by guest on Oct. 29, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

Enea, Smith and Cohen all support Lennar corporation's unacceptable condo projects in District 10, construction on which will poison the community and likely kill hundreds (even thousands) of D-10 residents and workers by giving them cancer, mesothelioma and severe asthma.

Of your picks, only Tony Kelly has stood tall in public hearings strongly opposing Lennar's toxic gentrification plans.

The best candidates on the Lennar question (which should be -the- litmus test for D-10 candidates) are, in order of strongest work done to oppose Lennar:

1) Nyese Joshua

2) Espanola Jackson

3) Tony Kelly

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

but, who are you to speak for D10? I've been in D10 for a long time but haven't heard of you in the discussions over redevelopment, third street, housing and so on. the shipyard is a long term project with a lot of problems. who do you support for the work happening along third street, with the churches, the schools, the businesses? espanola knows what's going on, but i can't say that these newer folks understand do. why is gentrification bad for the bayview residents who want new stores and businesses to grow on third street?

Posted by guest on Oct. 29, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

I would recommend Tony Kelly.

He has -long- experience successfully promoting similar neighborhood development goals in Potrero Hill, and though he might have more of a learning curve for Bayview/3rd St in depth, it wouldn't take him long to get up to speed, and then his experience would make him the clear choice for actually achieving those goals in the real world.

In fact, I believe Espanola has endorsed him.

The type of gentrification we are talking about would price housing so high that it would rapidly drive lower income people of color out of the Bayview and other similar areas in D-10.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 29, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

i finally get it with moss and the SFBG. is moss' little paper a threat to the big bad bay guardian? is this just a david vs goliath battle? is moss a threat to the bloated gasbags brugman and redmond? old guard pissed about a local upstart? sounds like an old story of fat old white men threatened by younger (slightly so) white man? why don't you all just go off and play golf somewhere and let the real stuff go down in D10. the guardian should move to fresno and get relevant about something.
grow some, boys.

Posted by best guest on Oct. 29, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

After the conversation at the Potrero festival someone posted on the D10 blog that at least Steve had the balls to address Bruce.

"best guest" says that the SFBG should grow balls and mentions biblical references, doesn't take much to guess that the same poster from the moss camp or moss himself is replying back.

Even moss's sister can't leave out a religious leaning in her sad post, who cares.

If you read all the blogs it is interesting to note that the only scathing, insulting personal attacks have been on the moss stories.

Chris at the D10 blog had a package sent to his work and with tax info on all leading candidates excluding moss.

Interesting that when Chris Daly was accused of residency violations he opened the door and said investigate me, moss won't answer anything.

Need to know anymore about him?

Posted by References to Bruce's balls on Oct. 30, 2010 @ 10:25 am

Chill out, 'best guest'.

The paper Moss now owns was started 40 years ago. Moss bought it just a few years ago. I understand Bruce and the previous publisher got along famously. Of course the previous paper, like the Guardian then and now, was paid for by local advertising dollars, its editor could write well, and was interested in a wide range of issues in the community that affected...the community. The paper now, under Moss, is paid for by our tax-dollars, features its editor's 'creative writing' attempts, and is interested community issues insofar as they affect....Moss and Moss' campaign.

Well, Moss, way to get the taxpayers to pay not only for:
your for profit company
your produce nothing, contribute nothing non-profit um, company? co-op? cartel?
your salary from your two companies
your 'newswire' - and your salary from that, too?

but now, for more of your campaign literature, formerly a beloved community paper.
Oh, and your lawyers.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

I am extremely concerned that a Fulbright Scholar isn't capable of noticing:

1. Doesn't notice the misspelling of his own companies name on 8 years of 990 tax returns but doesn't forget to pay himself $1.5 m in salary and fees.
2. Can't remember to let a city department that gave him $1.5 know that he started a for profit and non profit with near identical names at the same time.
3. Can't remember how to spell his wife's last name and files three utilities bills all spelled differently in the same condo application but manages to remember to collect the $800K profit even though the city surveyor cannot answer how the application was approved.
4. Files in a district he doesn't presently live, and uses an address in the district that is an office with rent paid for by a non profit and the taxpayer.
5. Is in conflict with every neighbor that he has lived in proximity to in the last four years at three different addresses, none who knew each other, but all seems to accuse him of being a total liar, coincidental?

Folks, this is who you want as your supervisor?

Steve, what's the answer, please check one:

1. I am victim of envy and crushes by the SFBG and anyone that questions me.
2. I can't tell the truth under any circumstances.
3. I forgot the questions.
4. I am a duck.

Posted by Fulbright Scholar mental limitations. on Oct. 30, 2010 @ 9:46 am

Hmm, "best guest" uses biblical references from the old testament, wonder who could be writing.

Hello STEVE !!!

Posted by Best guest on Oct. 30, 2010 @ 9:50 am

How dare you question Steve's credibility Bruce.

Just because absolutely nothing he states publicly or in city or state filings matches, is completely incorrect, misspelled or a downright lie you have audacity to question his ethics, especially as his sister mentioned he is an honorable guy, wasn't that good enough?

One note Bruce, in the May2010 Potrero View, the paper bastion of journalistic integrity, Mr. Moss published a picture of Debbie Findling in Mexico titled "long time Potrero resident", even though she lived outside the district and we don't even know if she lives here now?

If you publish a newspaper Mr. Moss where you facts are inaccurate about the person you live with why are you so surprised that nobody believes anything coming out of your mouth!

Posted by Why Bruce on Oct. 30, 2010 @ 9:57 am

Steve Moss rented a house on my block about 8 months ago.

I have created a video along with a page to show what kind of a neighbor he is:

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2010 @ 8:45 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 02, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

Hey, if Moss can't even take care of his DOG properly, or keep his DOG happy, it's something to consider. Poor Dog.

Posted by Lucinda on Nov. 01, 2010 @ 11:28 am

I am with you Lucinda.

He's not very good at keeping anyone happy, I guess his dog doesn't think he's honorable either...........

I'll laugh my ass off if wonder boy loses after they threw $300K at him to buy D10, it will be a so funny and deserved.

We can call him Meg Moss of Dolores Park :)

Posted by Dog management. on Nov. 01, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

Just get it over and arrest him. This isn't a Guardian preference thing - this is actual investigative journalism.

The Guardian isn't making this shit up - it is all verifiable from 3rd party sources.

Moss is a crook who stole OUR money.

And he gets away with saying he is being slandered. Bullshit. I hope the new DA steps up and locks this shmuck away -- after liquidating his assets!

Posted by Girl on the hill on Nov. 03, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

Exactly what he is, one pure and certified ""shmendrik"".

Haul is ass to jail, exactly where he should be, what an ass.

Losing to Kelly should be great fun, outspends with sleazy mailers, that sly, arrogant grin.

Fuck off out of our hood sleaze bag.

Or move to the BV/HP and speak to all the people you helped, right!

Posted by Steve shmendrik on Nov. 03, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

Cancel the job opening for editor of the paper nobody reads.

Hopefully the View chooses to pay its own rent this year versus off the back of the fraudulent Community Power.

Posted by Point 5. on Nov. 05, 2010 @ 2:14 pm