Editor's note: On Sept. 10, we posted a story called "Steve Moss, carpetbagger," explaining how a leading candidate for District 10 had had filed his intent to run for office while he still lived in another district. Moss sent us a response, which we're posting below (and our response to him follows that).
There are many things you could say about me. You could say that you hope
someone else wins the race for Supervisor in District 10. You could say that
you don’t like my politics. You could say you think that if I were Supervisor,
the city would fall into the ocean (although that seems a bit extreme).
But to suggest that I’m not really in the district, as your reporter did in a
story on 9/10 – what’s up with that?
If you really wonder whether I live in District 10, you could send a reporter
over to my house on Potrero Hill. You’ll see a home lived in by a family (and a
very large mutt), my family…not a Potemkin village. Or come by my office at the
Potrero View. Or talk to the folks at Farley’s or Goat Hill Pizza or The Good
Life Grocery. I’m not saying that I’m known to everyone, but I’m hardly a
Three years ago, after living in the district for years, I moved to Mission
Dolores so we could walk our daughter to her new school (Alvarado). When she
switched schools, and I decided to run for Supervisor, we moved back. That was
That’s not a secret. There’s no secret life, no secret pied a’ terre, no
secret, period. I completed all the paper work the city and state asks of a
candidate, using my office address for mailing purposes and my home address on
the appropriate forms. I’m a resident of District 10. My daughter was born in
District 10. I work in District 10. I have history in District 10.
If you want to say that you don’t like what I think about development in the
district, schools, or post-modern theater – by all means, let’s have that
debate. But surely, even in San Francisco, we can find a way to disagree with
one another politically without resorting to something like this.
P.S. Regarding Form 501 referenced in your article, see the official FPPC
instructions on page 38 in this link, which states that using a
business address is fine.
Tim Redmond responds:
For the record, we never stated that Moss is "not really in the district." He says he lives in D-10 now, and we have no reason to doubt him. What we said was that he didn't live in the district when he launched his campaign by filing his statement of intent to run for supervisor. We reported that he had moved out of the district, and apparently -- according to an email from his wife -- moved back specifically to enter this race. I quote the July 8, 2009 email Debbie Findling, Moss's wife, sent to friends:
“Steven has decided to run for City Supervisor in District 10!!! (Sophie Maxwell’s term ends in November 2010) so we’ll be moving back to the Hill in early spring! If you hear of any lovely rentals let us know. Or—I know it’s a crazy idea—but if you’re interested in swapping houses with us for a year as an even trade—you can move into our place on Dolores Park! (We’re hedging our bets in case he doesn’t win we’d be moving back to Dolores Park after the elections- If he does win, we’ll find a long-term place to live…).”
Here's the key: "We're hedging our bets in case he doesn't win we'd be moving back to Dolores Park after the elections." And, from his comment above: "When ... I decided to run for supervisor, we moved back."
That sounds like someone moving into a district just to run for office.
Now, Moss is singing a slightly different tune today. When I asked him if he intended to stay past the election, he said:
"We love our home on 18th and vermont street, and very much hope to stay here (its a rental). If I don't win I'm thinking of launching a southside newspaper, to serve the neighborhoods of district 10."
Good for him; we need more neighborhood newspapers.
Still, our point remains: Moss wasn't living in the district when he started his campaign for D-10 supervisor.
It's not illegal to move into a district to run for supervisor. You just have to live there 30 days prior to filing. But I still think it's wrong. The law ought to mandate at least a year's residency prior to filing an intent to run. And since Moss's residency in D-10 seems based at least in part on his desire for a job at City Hall, that's something the voters ought to know.