Desperate for support, 8 Washington developers run ads proclaiming: “Stop the 1%”


With a July 8 deadline fast approaching, the developers behind the 8 Washington project are taking steps to ensure their measure to approve one of the priciest condo projects ever contemplated in San Francisco ends up on the November ballot.

David Beltran, a spokesman for 8 Washington's campaign "Open Up the Waterfront," says they are "on track" to collect the 9,000 signatures needed to place their measure – which would counter a measure opposing the project – on the ballot. But in a seemingly desperate move, the project proponents are paying a higher-than-average rate of $3 per signature. According to a voicemail left for petition gatherers, they’re trying to gather all the signatures by June 30, less than a week away.

"They have spent $220,000 on the campaign trying to qualify the counter measure for the ballot," according to Jon Golinger, who ran the referendum campaign opposing the project.

Meanwhile, an online ad circulated by "Open Up the Waterfront" reads: "Stop the 1%. Don't let the 1% prevent open access to the waterfront." The ad makes no mention of the condos at the heart of the project. Apparently the deep-pocketed project proponents believe the best way to garner popular support is through vague messaging that sounds aligned against the superrich. "A corporate developer is posing as an Occupy activist and attacking the millionaires he is trying to build his luxury condos for," Golinger says. "What's next, Larry Ellison walking the picket line to protest the America's Cup fiasco?"

Beltran, however, counters that "Open Up the Waterfront" is supporting the 99 Percent. "The 8 Washington plan will provide $11 million for the creation of new affordable housing, create 250 good paying construction jobs and 140 permanent jobs and generate over $100 million in benefits to the city," he said. "Opponents of 8 Washington are selfishly asking San Franciscans to give all of this up, in order to protect the status quo: an asphalt parking lot and a private club that provides zero benefits to working families."

In the end, Golinger says the developers will most likely obtain the signatures that are needed to land their measure on the ballot. "They have a harder road, but they have enough money and bodies on the street to get signatures," he said.