Line blurred between Ed Lee campaign and "independent" expenditures

It's hard to tell Ed Lee's official campaign from the work of pro-Lee IEs (e.g. this book is the latter)

From the public's perspective, it's hard to tell where the official Ed Lee for Mayor campaign – with its $500 limit on campaign donations – ends and where the various independent expenditure campaigns that we cover in this week’s issue begin. And that’s a problem given their ability to raise cash in unlimited amounts, coordinate with one another, and essentially act in concert with the official campaign.

For example, when San Francisco voters recently got telephone calls that began, “Hi, how are you? May I speak with ______. My name is ______ and I am a volunteer for Mayor Ed Lee. Will you support Mayor Ed Lee this upcoming election?”

The average voter would probably assume that the caller was a volunteer for the Lee campaign, but the phone banking was actually done by a group called Committee for Effective City Management, although that was never identified in the script that it was required to file with the Ethics Commission.

Campaign consultant David Looman, who runs the group, disputed that interpretation, telling us, “It doesn't present as part of the campaign.” When we noted that was the obvious impression it left, he still wouldn't budge, “It doesn't say I'm a part of the campaign or anything of the sort.” When we asked whether they are required to identify themselves as an independent expenditure, he responded, “I'm not clear about that.”

Ethics Commission Executive Director John St. Croix said it is a clear violation of the law for an IE to identify itself as part of the official campaign. When he read him the script, he responded, “I don't like it, but I can't say off the top of my head it's absolutely a violation because that isn't the exact name of the campaign, which is Ed Lee for Mayor 2011.”

But clearly, voters are left with the impression that it's a Lee campaign volunteer calling, right? “I think that's a legitimate layman's perspective on this, yes,” St. Croix responded.

Will the Ethics Commission do anything about this, or the numerous other campaign finance law violations that CitiReport, Bay Citizen, and other media outlets have been unearthing? Don’t bet on it, particularly because of the commission’s history of ignoring problems and overcomplicating its role in watchdogging even the most obvious violations.

For example, at tonight’s Ethics Commission hearing, the body is considering relaxing rules that require the reporting of big campaign finance expenditures within 24 hours, pushing that requirement back to the last week before the election -- right after the Guardian’s final pre-election issue hits the streets. 


There was a large crowd of Asians holding up "Ed gets it done" signs. Ordinary people - not puppets.

This election will be decided by the Asian vote, and they're solidly behind Lee. Yee is down to 7% in the lastest poll - Lee is at over four times that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

That poll (of only 551 people total) did not even identify what geographical part of the city the Asian respondents were from. Hence there is no way to tell whether those voters were centered in the east where Lee would predominate, or the west where Yee would likely prevail.

Its a bogus poll.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

Every poll so far has Lee at 30% or over, which represents a stunning level of consistency. Even Lee's opponents are working on the assumption that that's the target to overtake.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

And this strange notion you keep repeating that Yee will prevail in the west of San Francisco is nonsense. Have you visited the Sunset recently? Lee signs are everywhere. Not that it matters - we don't elect mayors on the basis of districts anyway.

The poll was accurate, all the polls have shown the same thing - every single one without variation. You can't wish away every poll showing the exact same thing.

No wonder progressives are in such dire straits in SF these days. If many of them are like Eric Brooks they bury their heads in the sand and "wish" it all away.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

Polling for something as complex as a 12 candidate ranked choice election is far too complex to rely on a sample that small.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

And the BC accounts for RCV. Your response still doesn't answer the question of what geography has to do with anything.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

us hound dogs gotta stick together.

- the real meat

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

The Asian vote will decide this election, and they support Lee over Lee by 4 to 1.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 8:55 am

No, because it is measuring something far more complex than polls normally measure.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 9:23 am

Even if the polls are right -- which show Lee at 30 percent with 20 percent still undecided -- and even if Lee does go on to win, that doesn't take away from the fact that there's really crooked shit going on. His money is coming from the same wealthy assholes that people are pushing people to protest in the streets around the world, and they most definitely have an agenda for this city that Lee will help them carry out. Whether the voters catch on before the election or after, the "gets it done" mayor will face growing opposition and turmoil that the SFPD won't be able to simply sweep away. Herrera is right that the election is perhaps the most important in a generation and I think it's a shame that San Franciscans have been so slow to wake up to the new economic and political realities that we're facing going forward. The '90s are over and they're not coming back.

Posted by steven on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 11:35 am

We're supposed to believe that Herrera's money isn't also "coming from the same wealthy assholes that people j(sic) are pushing people to protest in the streets"?

Spare me.

Posted by Alan Collins on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

an "asshole" should tell you that he is judging people by their bank balance and not by their character.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 1:36 pm
Posted by meatlock on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

I never said all wealthy people are assholes, I was just singling out the wealthy assholes who use their money to corrupt our political system, which are the same wealthy assholes the Occupy movement is targetting. It's sorta like when I complain about stupid commenters using bad logic, I don't mean that all commenters are stupid.

Posted by steven on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 10:13 am

in the same way that you happily use the phrase "wealthy assholes", which indicates you think assholes are more likely to be wealthy than liberal.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

The moronic quest to own and control much more than anyone else, and more and more and more every year of your life (such that such pursuits are collectively and relentlessly eating our very planet alive and are leading to a global mass extinction likely to include humans themselves) is a way of life tailor made to make an asshole out of a person.

And the fact that our entire society now structurally supports such moronic quests as optimum, is tailor made to make certain that it is the most amoral sociopathic assholes who rise to the top and control everything.

Most rich people are dangerously insane assholes - is a perfectly accurate observation.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

categorize rich people as all being "assholes" even though he claims that was not his intent?

Steven specifically denied attributing "assholedness" to anyone with money but merely categorized their behavior as such when warranted.

While you seem to be going further and actually deeming rich people to be evil just because.

I'm not sure I believe Steven's backpeddle, but certainly your prejudice is not part of any viable political outlook. Being successful doesn't make you evil and, indeed, most of the wealthy people I have met have been decent, upright, ethical citizens. In some ways, it's easier to be good when you're not struggling.

If it's wrong to demonize blacks or gays, then it's wrong to demonize people by any other single characteristic.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

There is a big difference between being 'successful' and endlessly hoarding more and more capital, money and possessions (the latter being the avocation of most of the rich).

You want to be well off and live on $250 a year? Fine.

You want to expand your wealth and possessions far beyond that and endlessly accumulate? That pretty much makes you, at least insane, and in most cases a planet destroying asshole.

This has nothing to do with a 'viable political outlook', this has to do with recognizing reality when it is staring us right in the face, and doing something to change that reality before it destroys everything.

And that means radically restructuring our economic system to phase out growth based capitalism.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

I didn't think it could get any worse than pretty-boy coke-head, but could we really end up with this:-

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

The accompanying article pretty much sums it up.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

Every poll was crooked,

The only way to prove it before election day is for at least one of the campaigns who can afford it to run an honest poll and publish it. The difference in the numbers will confirm that Shih's shilling for the devil. This is a set-up for the biggest voter fraud in the City's history and that's saying alot. The only person who can stop this is John Arntz and I'm kinda doubting he will.

Herrera, Yee, Chiu ... do a clean poll and see what you get.

Hey, I don't believe that 9-11 was an inside job and I believe that Oswald shot Kennedy. My own personal conspiracy belief is that every significant election in SF has been fixed since Willie came home in '92.

People braver than me have been murdered for saying that.

Go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

They don't cost that much to do. Every campaign probably has done a poll.

And every campaign is going to try to get a poll that favors them.

If they get good numbers, they'll release it and spin a counter-narrative. If they can't get good enough numbers to release even on a push poll... well let's just say that's not a good sign. Willie may not have to rig this one.

My guess is that Ed Lee's still way ahead, for reals. Maybe not 22 points ahead of everyone else, but nobody else seems to be coming up with good enough numbers to release.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

Remember, "these people have been murdering their political opponents for thousands of years!" Why does murder feature so prominently in your fevered ramblings?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

Between this and all the other accusations you've made recently, your credibility has really taken a hit.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

The journalists most critical of Hellman's pension efforts (Weber and Stevens) are no longer there - find it hard to believe that's a coincidence.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 10:28 pm


When Willie Brown and DeBartolo (later a government snitch who rolled over on the Governor of Louisiana) and his consigliore, Carmen Policy pushed through public financing for the Niners stadium there were lots of rasied eyebrows.

The issue was way behind in the polls. Willie opened special polling places in black neighborhoods (where Mohammed Nuru and his thugs and A. Philip Randolph ruled) ... Willie opened polling places the weekend before the Tuesday vote. Thousands of ballots were listed as destroyed by rain and had to be remade. It had not rained.

A Bay View poll supervisor said that she was a personal witness to fraud and offered to testify. Two days before her testimony she and 3 of her grandchildren were burned to death in a suspicious fire. Mayor Brown himself showed up at the fire scene the next morning and immediately announced that it was not arson.

So, yes, these people will kill you if you get in their way.

And, no, I'm not worried about Mossad. Last public assassination they pulled off they botched. They used about 20 agents and half of them got caught.

Gary Brown should be Giants center fielder in 2012.


Posted by h. brown on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 7:53 am

God I hope you all are just myopic assholes. Surely San Franciscans of Asian ancestry are not, as a whole, idiotic enough to vote for Ed "Openly Corrupt" Lee just because he's the official candidate of various race-based pressure groups. But hey, I've been wrong before...

Posted by Captain Decent on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 1:15 am

God I hope you all are just myopic assholes. Surely San Franciscans of Asian ancestry are not, as a whole, idiotic enough to vote for Ed "Openly Corrupt" Lee just because he's the official candidate of various race-based pressure groups. But hey, I've been wrong before...

Posted by Captain Decent on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 1:22 am