Republican who wants to overturn rent control pumps $200,000 into district elections


Thomas J, Coates, a big time investor in apartments and mobile homes, has dropped a total of $225,000 into five independent expenditure committees that are trying to push conservative-friendly candidates and measures over the victory line this fall.

Coates, a 56-year-old Republican (he donated $2,000 to George Bush in the 2004 presidential election) and yacht racing enthusiast, was the biggest single spender in the November 2008 election, when he contributed nearly $1 million to Prop. 98, a statewide measure that sought to repeal rent control in California and limit government's right to seize private property by eminent domain.

And with only 11 days until the election, Coates has given local Republican war chests an enormous last-minute boost: He plunked $100,000 into Common Sense Voters, a committee in support of Mark Farrell in D2. He plunked $10,000 into the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth’s committee in support of Scott Wiener in D8. He plunked $45,000 into the Alliance’s committee in support of Theresa Sparks in D6. He dropped $45,000 into the Alliance’s committee in support of Steve Moss in D10. And he dropped another $25,000 into San Franciscans for a Better Muni, a committee in support of Measure G, which attempts to reform Muni by focusing on transit operator wages.

As the Guardian previously reported, this Alliance has received thousands from the SF Police Officer’s Association, the Building Operators and Managers Association, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, and SEIU-United Healthcare Workers, which supports a mega-hospital on Cathedral Hill.

But Coates’ donation raises questions about his choices' commitment to rent control. As Coates told the Chronicle in an interview in 2008, "There is a reason why 35 of 50 states expressly prohibit rent control by law - and the reason is it doesn't work."

Coates, who is a principal in Jackson Square Properties, which specializes in apartments and mobile homes, is also the founding partner of Arroya & Coates, a commercial real estate brokerage and investment firm whose clients include Walgreens, Circuit City, and J.P. Morgan Investment Management. And as campaign disclosures show, he’s dumped a large part of his money into the same conservative alliance that has already collectively spent almost $170,000 on Moss, Sparks and Wiener.

So far, labor has countered the Republican money by spending $70,000 in support of Debra Walker in D6 and $90,000 on Mandelman in D8, and the SF Tenants Union has spent a total of $20,000 on mailers opposing Moss, Sparks and Wiener. But collectively the downtown money, which is also being funnelled into several other independent expenditure committees, continues to massively outweigh the progressive bucks.

Coates' phone line continues to register a "busy" signal, making it impossible to leave him a message, but I'd be happy to include his comments here, if and when I talk to him.

But Gullicksen said he was disturbed by Coates' heavy spending on the supervisors' races.

"Coates is the main funder of Prop. 98, his property is in Southern California, he's pumping a lot of money into supervisors and he clearly has an agenda that we fear Moss, Sparks and Wiener share, which is to make the existence of rent control an issue the Board will take up, if those supervisors are elected."

It will be interesting to see if Moss, Sparks and Wiener are prepared to pledge that they have no intention to attack rent, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, labor is organizing a protest outside Coates office at 500 Washington Street at 5 p.m on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

"Be there or be evicted!" labor warned.



Such a great article!!!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

Well at least Meg was at the helm when jobs were created.

Moss jobs created for SF - "0".

Damn Republican.

If you are a home or condo owner a glut of condo conversions will bury your value and lack of rent control will destroy our gorgeous D10 fabric that we love.

If that's what you want vote Moss.

Bad ideas, no leadership skills, alienates everyone and can't stay out of litigation or 10 minutes.

A very scary choice and a Republican trying to buy a seat. NO MOSS.

Posted by D10 on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

This is really tragic.

"About Us

Jackson Square Properties is a privately-held company that capitalizes value-added real estate across the United States, renovating multi-family real estate in a manner that maximizes ROI for our investment partners.

Since 2004, JSP has acquired over 10,500 apartment units and over 1,000 mobile home park spaces. Our current portfolio consists of apartment units nationwide with concentrations in California, Florida, Texas and Utah."

Florida 4
California 3
Texas 28
Utah 6

Forclosures ranked by state Q3 2009

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

>>>It will be interesting to see if Moss, Sparks and Wiener are prepared to pledge that they have no intention to attack rent, stay tuned.<<<..............I wouldn't believe any of them even if they made that pledge. Politicians these days often say one thing and do the opposite. They could be asked a yes or no question such as "Will you attack or try to end rent control?" That's a yes or no question. They would likely give some rambling response which doesn't answer the question and would bring up car sales or sales to China instead of the topic which is rent control. Which would make me ask the question once again with the reminder to the candidates that the question only requires a yes or no answer. Cut the bull shit.

Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

Barbara - Yes or no from Moss, better chance on a lotto win this evening.

He's been pushing his agenda through the View for years and tried to get in under the radar, pretty smart plan.

Hope this little episode shows what a sleaze bag he really is.

No doubt we'll see the Moss supporters saying it's a smear.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:30 am

Coates is registered Decline to State which probably means libertarian.

Looks like we've got our own little tea party salon brewing right here in San Francisco.


Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

Cognitive dissonance rules at The Guardian.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

Weird that a conservative Republican would want to contribute to a "Democrat."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

Farrell needs the money to counter our heroes interest in politics...

Posted by CJ Flowers on Oct. 22, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

Democrats are Republicans in a one party town.

Scott Weiner's economics are indistinguishable from those of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Carly Fiorina. It takes more to be a San Francisco liberal Democrat than support of same sex marriage.


Posted by marcos on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 6:47 am

Not much of a surprise with Moss on this.

I hope for our district that this chump doesn't have a hope in hell.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 8:06 am

Bay Citizen article on the same topic states that Labor soft money is exceeding "downtown" money.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

conservative $$$$ bad.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

I read that article, and that wasn't exactly what the Bay citizen was saying. Labor money on behalf of one candidate was more than the new conservative infusion of money against that particular candidate. But it's totally misleading -wrong actually -to say that labor soft money is exceeding downtown soft money.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

How do you read that article to say it's only about Labor money on behalf of one candidate? Just this paragraph from the Bay Citizen article is inconsistent with your post:

"And yet pro-labor, progressive candidates such as Sparks' opponent Debra Walker have enjoyed the benefit of even more prodigious fundraising from labor unions. Labor has spent more than $72,000 of soft money on Walker and close to $90,000 to Rafael Mandelman, who is battling Wiener in District 8."

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 23, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

Tom Coates and Dede Wilsey just dumped $150,000 into the "Common Sense Voters" PAC, which is trying to use me to knock Janet Reilly...

Interestingly enough, Coates and Wilsey are two of the biggest backers of San Francisco's America's Cup bid. The bid for the America's Cup isn't just bad for San Francisco, it's the pastime of the rich and famous who want to repeal rent control. I don't understand why any progressives would be falling over themselves to support it.

Posted by Chris Daly on Oct. 24, 2010 @ 6:14 am

$150k on a jib-jab looking splash page?


...seems like $149,900 too much....

Posted by Guest on Oct. 27, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

"Right-wing supporter supports the right wing"?

"Man gives money to political causes he agrees with"?

Is that really the biggest scoop you have?

Posted by TomF on Oct. 24, 2010 @ 10:31 am


The news is that Moss in D10 has dodged any attempt to take a position and sneak in under the radar like the snake he is.

The news is that again he avoids mention of any backers and wants to change the fabric of our district, but keeps managing to avoid saying anything.

Only in this city could you get away with this crap.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2010 @ 10:44 am


When you gonna give the scoop on your research on the America's cup bid? If you don't wanna do it tell me and I'll release it.

Go Giants!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Oct. 24, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

Tom Coates office is not at 500 Washington Street, folks. He's over at 655 Montgomery.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2010 @ 10:52 am

Thanks for the update on the address of Coates' office.

And it's true that Coates is on the San Francisco America's Cup Organizing Committee, aka SF ACOC....

Other members include Dean Lloyd, CEO of Catholic Healthcare West and chair of the Bay Area Council, Bob Fisher of GAP, Andy Ball of Webcor Builders, Peter Ragone, formerly Mayor Gavin Newsom's press secretary, now of the intriguingly named PWR LLC, Dede Wilsey, Ken McNeeley, President of AT&T California, Charles Schwab...the list goes on

Posted by sarah on Oct. 25, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

A couple more things:

1. Coates and Dede Wilsey are two of twenty original members of the SF ACOC (San Francisco America's Cup Organizing Committee).

2. Coates is funneling his money into the same third party groups that have already been spending on behalf of downtown's slates. In other words, his $225,000 is now part of that same pot. And when you add up all the soft money, including Coates' donation, you find downtown outspending progressive groups.

3. There's still a week until the election so the final totals may change. But the soft money has made a mockery of the $500 cap on direct donations to individual candidates.

Posted by sarah on Oct. 26, 2010 @ 9:58 am

Really. What does the ACOC organizing committee have to do with this election?

LOL. The Guardian is as adept at tracing conspiracy theories in the 2010 SF city elections as Republicans are between President Obama and the Marxist worldwide conspiracy waiting to take over America.

Too bad The Guardian staff aren't working for our country's intelligence agencies. They'd not leave a stone unturned in uncovering every dastardly plot!!! From Sarah's article on the nefarious connections between the ACOC and certain donors (Dede Wilsey!!!) to the shocking news that the percentage of early return ballots match almost exactly SF's party registration figures - The Guardian is a simmering cauldron of pure investigative genius!!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 30, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

Ruth Snave>Lucretia Snapples>Arthur Evans.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 17, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

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