The odd twist to the Chron's Chiu endorsement

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The most obvious interpretation of the San Francisco Chronicle's endorsement of David Chiu is that the Chron thinks Chiu has completely left the progressive camp and is now aligned with the political wing the daily paper calls "moderates:"

What is impressive about Chiu is that "change" and "jobs" are not just campaign slogans for him. He can go into detail about the redundancies and red tape at City Hall that are holding back economic development: the 15 departments that regulate the private sector, the hundreds of fees that burden businesses big and small, a payroll tax that is a disincentive to hire ... If elected, he would have a mandate to make city government more efficient and effective.

(I don't know how many times I have to say this, but the payroll tax is NOT a disincentive to hire.)

The Chron -- which, on economic issues like taxes and development, is a very conservative paper -- clearly thinks Chiu can be trusted, which ought to make progressives nervous.

But here's the other interesting twist.

Hearst Corporation bought the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000, at the top of the market, for more than $500 million. I guarantee the paper isn't worth more than a tiny fraction of that today. It's still losing money, and has been for years, and nobody's buying daily newspapers any more, and if Hearst wanted to unload the Chron, the New York publishing chain would be lucky to get $50 million. Hell, they'd be lucky to get $25 million.

So the bean counters in New York have this nonperforming half-billion-dollar asset on their balance sheets, and there's no way to recover that money -- except for one thing: The Chron owns a bunch of land around Fifth and Mission, including its own historic building. And that property is potentially worth a whole lot of money. When the economy picks up, Hearst can develop the parking lots, old press facilities and even its HQ; turn it all into condos and office space, and suddenly there's a real chance of recouping some of those deep losses.

The process is already underway -- the Chron's been moving tech firms into vacant space in its building, and is working with developers on the shape of what could be a major project still to come.

And guess what? In June, William Randolph Hearst III -- heir to part of the Hearst fortune and a member of the Hearst Corp. board -- made a rare campaign contribution to a San Francisco political candidate. He gave the maximum allowable $500 to ... David Chiu. Around the same time, Michael Cohen and Jesse Blout, the partners in a firm called Strada that's working on the redevelopment of the Chron's property, also gave Chiu the maxiumum $500.

I figured the top people at the Chron would back Ed Lee because they figured he'd be down with whatever they wanted to do with that land -- particularly since Lee's good buddy Willie Brown is now a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. But it appears they've cast their lot with Chiu. As Mr. Spock would say, fascinating.

Comments

Tim,

Did you know that Chiu and his homophobe partner, Matt Fong took $350,000 to help re-elect George Bush in 2004? Have you looked into the involvement of Chiu's company in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository?

You've been so busy kissing David's patooie that you've abandoned good journalism and buried his sins through avoidance and outright censorship.

There's a story for Project Censored.

Gary Brown should start in Centerfield for the 2012 giants!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

Tim,

Did you know that Chiu and his homophobe partner, Matt Fong took $350,000 to help re-elect George Bush in 2004? Have you looked into the involvement of Chiu's company in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository?

You've been so busy kissing David's patooie that you've abandoned good journalism and buried his sins through avoidance and outright censorship.

There's a story for Project Censored.

Gary Brown should start in Centerfield for the 2012 giants!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

During his tenure, Chiu has cleverly steered every horrendous mega real estate project on the City's plate, through to passage at the Board, in the face of powerful progressive grassroots opposition.

If I wanted to rake in $500 million plus on a corporate real estate deal, he's the one I would want in room 200.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

How many 99% San Francisco families will David Chiu's condo splurge to make the 1% richer push underwater and into foreclosure?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

Take from the poor and middle class and give to the rich. This is one thing that David Chiu and Ed Lee have in common.

If it looks like a Republican and quacks like a Republican...

Posted by 99 Percenter on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

Developing the parking lots, old press facilities and Chron HQ sounds delightful -- that whole area is really not serving the city as well as it could. Some condos and offices sound a heck of a lot better than crumbling warehouses and asphalt wastelands.

Posted by Mattymatt on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

We should eminent domain the Chron's property and use it for affordable housing and other community gains.

After its decades of royally screwing over this city by ensuring that corporations, real estate developers, and political conservatives have had far too much power over our community (power they never would have had in a true democracy under an honest press) we owe the Chronicle -nothing- and should mercilessly wring every bit of blood out it as we can, by taking over its property for the good of the community.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

Who's "we" Eric?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

I would have thought that was obvious.

We, as a community.

San Franciscans, and our local government representatives.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

Show me one scintilla of evidence that San Franciscans support using the city government's power of eminent domain to seize the private property of media and others you deem "hostile" to community interests.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

For real.

"we owe the Chronicle -nothing- and should mercilessly wring every bit of blood out it as we can, by taking over its property for the good of the community"...

So when you write things like this, do you really think it sounds remotely sane? Even creepier, you're starting to consider yourself the spokesman for a "community" that's not real. It's weird I'm even trying to address this with you, but to put it in perspective, Avalos (by far our City's most leftist representative) would not support this. Because he's not a nutball.

Posted by Sambo on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

It is a giant corporate PR flier.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

You are, as usual, conflating what Eric Brooks wants with what the "community" wants. It's called "mirror imaging" Eric and since you're an expert on intelligence analysis you should know all about it. The question is, then - why do you keep doing it?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

In poll after poll this community strongly supports progressive policies like universal health care, taxing the rich and corporations more, and stopping Wall Street real estate developers from wrecking the city with condos and strip malls.

The SF Chronicle is nothing but a PR rag that has been pretty much diametrically opposed to those majority progressive views, on almost every issue, -especially- the corporate real estate debacles.

No matter how many times you repeat your fallacies 'Guest' they remain just that; fallacies.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

like the ones you named (which I support as well) to using the government's eminent domain power to seize the private property of those individuals and corporations which you find "diametrically opposed to... majority progressive views."

Again, you stated that there exists "community support" for your indefensible plan to seize the private property of those you deem as political enemies. That is untrue. Support for universal health care doesn't translate into support for Eric Brooks' extremism.

Stop mirror imaging Eric. Stop speaking in the name of a "community" for which you're not a representative. You speak only for yourself.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

I'm not advocating eminent domaining Chronicle property because of its past bad acting. I'm advocating eminent domaining Chronicle property because we need to, in order to build a better city.

The Chronicle's past bad actions simply give good moral authority to put it first on the eminent domain list.

However, we should similarly eminent domain properties of all corporations in San Francisco which rake in profits at community expense while they stiff us on land ownership, affordable housing and taxes, and drive the working class and underclass out of the city via building useless avalanches of market rate, high profit, condo housing, which serves only rich immigrants.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

collectivization not because of politics but because someone might own an extra mule or cow.

No one can write these class rules down, but like prono many people know it when they see it.

It's odd, progressives want full employment, but the last thing employers want is unpredictability. Eric taking private property to insure his values would I'm sure have employers flocking to SF.

Posted by meatsack on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

Wow, even if you're against Chiu, the implication of this story is quite a stretch isn't it?

Stories like this are born out of the same mindset and logic of Birthers and 9/11 Truthers. If you're going to write a story against any candidate, make it based on actual facts instead of tenuous accusations based on conspiracy.

There are legitimate reasons to support/oppose any issue/candidate/project without delving in baseless, grand conspiracy theories. If SFBG is really aiming to be the left's version of Fox News, then keep posting stories like this. It'll narrow the readership, and turn off more reasonable, thoughtful readers who want to read the real facts behind issues.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 4:45 pm