By Steven T. Jones
These are busy days, so I suppose I'll just have to dump out the District 6 dirt just a little at a time. That's cool, considering tomorrow's deadline for filing pre-election campaign statement will allow me to plow into the freshest compost for y'all. We're also having a few technical difficulties in getting the audio from Rob Black's endorsement interview with us online, but that problem should be solved in the next couple days. And it's worth the wait to hear him squirm in his seat over tough and legitimate questions about how he's been doing the bidding of the wrong people for awhile now. Stay tuned.
For now, let's recap yesterday's Black press conference (which was held in the City Hall Press Room, despite state laws against campaigning in government offices not open to the general public, and just as the Board of Supervisors meeting was starting down the hall).
Black accused Daly of illegally sending out letters from his supervisor's office, admitting that they were only illegal because he signed them (thus "featuring" him, the language of state law), but offering "I still think it's an abuse of taxpayer resources." In the packet of documentation he provided, he even quantified that waste: $573. Now, before blasting Rob for his hypocrisy in benefitting from tens of thousands of dollars in improper campaign spending, let's deal with the substance of his charge, that what Daly did was illegal. Well, it turns out that Daly checked with deputy city attorney Chad Jacobs before sending out the mailers, and we called to ask whether the signature made the mailings illegal, and Jacobs told us, "That's not entirely true." It turns out, that is only one of four tests that must be failed for a mailer to be illegal, the last and most notable one being whether at least 200 copies of a single letter were mailed. But Daly and Jacobs have been careful to keep each mailing under that mark AND to get a legal review of each mailing AND to seek out opinion letters from the Fair Political Practices Commission (the body that Black makes a big show of asking to investigate the matter) indicating where the legal line lies. Even the Chronicle and the Examiner, both of which are supporting Black, have apparently decided to pass on this non-story. But Black -- who was a campaign ethics attorney working under the notorious Jim Sutton, and therefore should have known he was misrepresenting state law on the matter -- went ahead anyway and opened the issue of illegal campaigning in the District 6 race. And we're glad he did.
In both our endorsement interview with Black and again at this press conference, I asked Black whether he would publicly repudiate the nasty, deceptive smear campaigns being done on his behalf. After all, the links between Sutton, committees he created and supported, and downtown attack dogs like SFSOS are clear. Hell, the contact number in state records for one committee he created even rings at the SFSOS office. Yet because of the disingenuous claim that groups like Concerned Residents of District 6 and Citizens for Reform Leadership 1-6 (yes, six different groups, an obvious attempt to funnel more money through while avoiding campaign caps and disclosure laws) are general purpose committee advocating issues -- not for or against any candidate -- they avoid having to disclose who's funding them until after the election. Yet Black pleads ignorance and offers only the weak "I'm saying don't do it and I don't want any more of it" and "Jim Sutton does not work for my campaign." Apparently, Black thinks we -- and the voters of District 6 -- are stupid. We aren't. We know where Black came from, we know who's supporting him, and we know that he's simply the latest front person for downtown interests.