Downtown massively outspends progressives

|
(17)

With only three weeks until the election, downtown interests are massively outspending progressive groups.(Conservative estimates suggest a 5:1 ratio, based on an analysis of campaign finance disclosures at the Ethics Commission.) And these downtown interests have plenty in reserve, as cash is funneled into a bunch of improbably-named political action committees that hope to influence the outcome of district elections and local measures on the fall ballot.

The Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, which is backed by the Chamber of Commerce, the SF Police Officers Association, and United Health Care Workers, recently got an infusion of cash from the conservative-minded Building Owners and Managers Association and Golden Gate Restaurant Association. And the alliance is already spending gobs of money in support of Theresa Sparks in D6, Scott Wiener in D8 and Steve Moss in D10.

The Coalition for Sensible Government, which recently received a $100,000 injection of cash from the SF Association of Realtors, is spending in support of Sparks in D6, Wiener and Rebecca Prozan in D8, and Lynette Sweet and Moss in D10. The coalition is also spending in support of Proposition G (transit operator wages) and Prop. L (Newsom’s sit-lie legislation)  and in opposition to Prop. M (community policing/ foot patrols) and Prop N (property transfer tax).

And a PAC consisting of the Coalition for Responsible Growth, Plan C, San Franciscans for a Better Muni, SF Forward (sponsored by the SF Chamber of Commerce and SPUR) received $85,000 from the Committee on Jobs, $60,000 from the SF Association of Realtors, and $35,000 from SF Forward.

This PAC, which has already spent $466,000 this year, recently plunked down $1,000 to produce a voter guide for Plan C--a group that focuses on condo conversions and is endorsing Sparks in D6, Wiener in D8, and Sweet (as its first ranked choice) and Moss (as its second ranked choice) in D10.

It isn’t surprising that downtown PACs have deep pockets and almost identical slates. But it is a bit of a shocker that their slates are apparently almost identical to the Small Business Advocates, a group that has somewhat differing values and only a couple hundred members.

Reached by phone, SBA director Scott Hauge said the group has a couple hundred members--and claimed that SBA's Board supports Sparks in D6, Moss in D10, and supports Measures G, K, L and opposes Measures J, M & N.

Hauge acknowledged that these positions are identical to those of downtown interests.
“We have been working with large companies,” Hauge said, claiming that small and big business’ interests are “the same” in this particular election cycle.

To date, neither the Chamber’s Steve Falk nor UHW’s Leon Chow have replied to the Guardian's calls about the genesis of their so-called Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth (Chow posted a comment on our politics blog and that is really not the same as a live conversation.)

But Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council wasn’t afraid to go on record in opposition to the Alliance and its 2010 slate.

“We're really disappointed that there are labor organizations that feel they have to team up with Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which is against healthcare, and with CPMC [California Pacific Medical Center], which is working to keep nurses from joining a union,” Paulson said. “This alliance does not reflect what the San Francisco labor movement is about."

A door hanger that the Labor Council distributed in conjunction with the SF Democratic Party confirms that both organizations support Debra Walker in D6 and Rafael Mandelman in D8. But while the Dem Party supports DeWitt Lacy, Malia Cohen and Eric Smith (in that order) in D10, the Labor Council only supports Cohen and Chris Jackson (in that order) in D10.

But despite their differing D10 candidate slate, both these progressive groups support Measures J, M and N, and oppose Measures B, K and L.

"When we see the Hotel Council stoop to attack Mike Casey, one of the greatest labor leaders in SF history, for fighting hotels who want to take away healthcare and diminish the retirement benefits for workers who make $25K to $30K a year, that’s really disturbing,” Paulson said, referring to a recent op-ed in the SF Examiner that was written by Patricia Breslin, executive director of the Hotel Council.

“And any union that makes an alignment with groups that don't share the values of the San Francisco Labor Council, that's really disturbing to me and the Labor Council,” Paulson said.

Noting that downtown is spending buckets of money on the election, Paulson observed that the Labor Council's values are about "sharing the wealth."

"So we don’t want Measure B [Jeff Adachi’s pension reform] or K (Newsom’s hotel tax) or L (Newsom’s sit-lie legislation)," Paulson concluded. "And we have three solid weeks to do this.”

Comments

How much are progressive groups spending and on whom? The article only states that "Conservative estimates suggest a 5:1 ratio, based on an analysis of campaign finance disclosures at the Ethics Commission" without providing any analsis. The article is one sided.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

Sparks never had my vote, but my neighbors are complaining to me that they are appalled at the amount of paper her campaign is wasting - not so environmentally minded.

Posted by Jamie Whitaker on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

I added up the third party expenditures that have been reported at the Ethics Commission's to arrive at my conservative estimate. I say conservative because the downtown PACs still have thousands in their war chest. But go check it out for yourself, Commish, and you'll see that progressives have spent a fifth of what downtown has--and that progressives have so far focussed their limited spending on Walker and Mandelman

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

The law of diminishing returns is a valuable thing.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

... especially in district elections.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

Guest (I assume you are the author of the article), it's a strange response for an author to tell a reader to go look it up himself/herself. My question was just asking for an analysis since you wrote an article only discussing one side of an issue. You are the one who is providing the information; I am reading it. I don't think I should have to go look it up myself. Isn't that the reporter's job?

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

Because city workers have already agreed to pay their own retirement contributions in full, commencing July 01, 2011 [nine (9) months from now], it should be noted that regarding pension reform and prop b; very little money will be saved by forcing city workers to contribute their fair share a mere six [6] months prior to schedule.  

so apparently then, the "big savings" hoped for by attempting to pass this poorly thought out piece of written scapegoating and bullying must come from the lesser emphasized "healthcare" component.

in exchange for continued PREVENTIVE health care provisions to children or other needy legal dependant of the hard working city employee, the wealthy authors along with greedy bankroller venture capitalist and billionaire backers of this divisive proposition have opted to use this "hidden" aspect to boost their "savings" figure which they shamelessly tout knowing full well that such drastic cuts will not only displace the most vulnerable, namely children and retirees needing healthcare who cannot otherwise afford PREVENTIVE healthcare but to also undermine the overall universal healthcare concept, which most San Franciscans recognize as smart and cost effective.

people, please see this for what it is and not for what it is not!  cuts to PREVENTIVE healthcare at minimal savings to the city fund will end up costing us tax payers double, triple and quadruple -when REACTIVE healthcare like urgent care and emergency room services at the medical industry's skyrocketing rates and exorbitant costs and fees are factored in as the only remaining viable options for those no longer able to qualify for any other type of reasonably priced medical coverage!  
please vote NO on B.

Posted by CJFIowers on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

Because city workers have already agreed to pay their own retirement contributions in full, commencing July 01, 2011 [nine (9) months from now], it should be noted that regarding pension reform and prop b; very little money will be saved by forcing city workers to contribute their fair share a mere six [6] months prior to schedule.  

so apparently then, the "big savings" hoped for by attempting to pass this poorly thought out piece of written scapegoating and bullying must come from the lesser emphasized "healthcare" component.

in exchange for continued PREVENTIVE health care provisions to children or other needy legal dependant of the hard working city employee, the wealthy authors along with greedy bankroller venture capitalist and billionaire backers of this divisive proposition have opted to use this "hidden" aspect to boost their "savings" figure which they shamelessly tout knowing full well that such drastic cuts will not only displace the most vulnerable, namely children and retirees needing healthcare who cannot otherwise afford PREVENTIVE healthcare but to also undermine the overall universal healthcare concept, which most San Franciscans recognize as smart and cost effective.

people, please see this for what it is and not for what it is not!  cuts to PREVENTIVE healthcare at minimal savings to the city fund will end up costing us tax payers double, triple and quadruple -when REACTIVE healthcare like urgent care and emergency room services at the medical industry's skyrocketing rates and exorbitant costs and fees are factored in as the only remaining viable options for those no longer able to qualify for any other type of reasonably priced medical coverage!  
please vote NO on B.

Posted by CJFIowers on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

when Obama outspent McCain in the Guardian?

Does not the left make the case that the press follows the money too much avoiding the real issues in elections?

Posted by matlock on Oct. 12, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

Commish, you are right that it's the reporter's job to look things up. And that's what I did. I then summarized the information. And when you claimed--without checking your facts--that my reporting was one-sided, I directed you to my source, which is public easily browsable information, available online at the Ethics Commission. And if you check those records, you'll find that I understated the severity of downtown's spending. Hardly one-sided reporting.

Posted by sarah on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 9:40 am

I liked how the link in your article goes to another article by you.

Do you mean...

Campaign Finance - Summary of Third Party Disclosure Form Regarding San Francisco Candidates - November 2, 2010

Thats all I could find at the ethics commission it makes no mention of the spending that I could find anywhere by the various free form political spending.

Makes no mention of in public employee union spending on the election. Or non profits, or the two parties or any other people or groups that endorse a slate or benefit either way from the election of people of a certain group.

Minus the spending by such groups like the SEIU on voter education, not of any use.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 11:02 am

Your article noted specific expenditures by "downtown" on specific issues/candidates. It gives a dollar breakdown and names specific groups and their related spending. I don't see any sort of parralel analysis for expenditures from the "progressive" camp. I only see a summary sentence saying downtown is outspending progressives by a certain factor.

It just seems odd that you'd do a line item analysis of downtown spending and not provide balance by doing the same for progressive spending. That seems one-sided to me.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

The third-party spending list gives the names of the major independent expenditure committees--and they all have names that you then need to look up in Ethics campaign finance database. So, type in "Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth" if you are following the Sparks, Wiener, Moss money trail.

And type in "Teachers, nurses, Muni Riders and neighbors" if you are following the Mandelman trail.  Or "Friends supporting Debra Walker" if you are following the Walker trial.

Following the other PACs gets more complicated since they are perennial--and often simply funnel their money into the latest and greatest PAC of the season. But if you really want to follow the money, search for the Coalition for Sensible Government, or the Building Owners and Managers Association, of the San Francisco Association of Realtors. All these groups have permanent PACs--and they are donating to their slate this season.

Posted by sarah on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 11:29 am

But that doesn't mean they are outspending anyone given the info provided.

The ethics commission is useless. No way of knowing how much the bicycle coalition spends on their agenda for example.

Another example is it shows the registered lobbyists who visit elected representatives, but if you are the lobbyists for a group that doesn't hire outside lobbyists then you don't appear on the list.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 11:59 am

Common, Matlock, the evidence is there in black and white.

Posted by sarah on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

The Christian Coalition spent millions on voter education in the 80's and 90's, this money was in reality was just partisan hackery. This hackery doesn't get added to the totals of the money spent on Newt Gingrinch getting elected but we all knew what the agenda was.

Fast forward to SF progressives, ongoing partisan spending isn't taken as part of the total just as it wasn't for the Christian Coalition, so we get to ignore it and complain that "downtown" is outspending the brave selfless progressives.

The ethics commission is comical and useless.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

The reporting requirements have gotten better--the third party spending reports, for instance, help folks follow the bucks far quicker than before. And the requirements around push polls are an improvement, too.

Posted by sarah on Oct. 13, 2010 @ 4:47 pm