Developer-funded 8 Washington campaign spends $1.8 million pushing Props. B&C

The proposed 8 Washington project.

The developer of the 8 Washington waterfront luxury condo project and his allies have spent more $1.8 million this year pushing Propositions B and C, according to new campaign finance filings with the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs and Housing spent nearly $1 million in the latest Sept. 22 to Oct. 19 period, while raising $687,006 — bringing its year-to-date totals to $1.4 million raised and $1.8 million spent — and leaving the Yes on B&C committee $562,029 in debt.

But that “debt” is actually more like an investment considering developer Simon Snellgrove and his Pacific Waterfront Partners have contributed the lion’s share to this campaign, $1.1 million and counting, which is probably a pittance compared to the profits he plans to make on 134 condos that will go for around $5 million each.

By contrast, the opposition campaign, No Wall on the Northeast Waterfront, has raised $587,625 so far this year (almost half of that in the latest filing period) and spent $511,703 ($333,589 since Sept. 22), leaving the campaign with $88,553 in the bank as of Oct. 19.

Unlike the developer-funded campaign, whose only other significant financial support came from project contractor Cahill Construction, the opposition campaign was funded mostly by dozens of small contributions ranging from less than $100 up to a few $5,000 donations. Its only sizable checks came from Richard and Barbara Stewart of Stewart Economics, who live next door to the site and would have their bay views blocked by the 136-foot condo towers, which the couple has jointly kicked in $278,000 to try and stop.

For more information on 8 Washington and Props. B & C, read the Guardian's endorsements (No on C; and No, no, no! on B) or listen to the interesting debate that KQED’s Forum hosted this morning. And don’t forget to vote. 


sneaks in in the last paragraph of an article complaining about people spending money in favor of the new project?


Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

Had the same reaction. Two individuals spending $278K to block it. Wow.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

putting this on the ballot in the first place.

Two one-percenters frustrate the decisions of our democratically elected politicians and officials.

And if they prevail, preserving their view will cost the city 11 million in affordable housing funds.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

Well yes, I think they spent 80K to get it on the ballot. And you know that the 'dozens' of small contributors' are mostly their wealthy neighbors.

But really, does anyone come to the SFBG for the honest, objective journalism?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

8 Washington supporters say we either let them raise height limits on the northern waterfront--for the first time in 50 years--OR we'll be stuck with the “ugly green fence & parking lot” forever. Either $5M condos or a wasteland. Not True!

In 2011, Asian Neighborhood Design (AND) worked with local stakeholders to create “A Community Vision for the Northeast Waterfront” that calls for the same mix of ground floor shops/cafes on the 8 Washington site but without its 60% height increase or 400-car garage. The AND plan also includes the same parks 8 Washington purports to provide—most of which are there right now.

As for that “ugly parking lot” on the Embarcadero, it is owned and kept ugly by the Port, a financial partner in 8 Washington (they own 20% of the site).

The “ugly green fence” is owned and kept ugly by another player in 8 Washington deal, the man who owns 80% of the site and gets to keep a third of the project, the new $12 million private swim club that the developer will build for him. Clearly he’s had a financial interest in keeping the “ugly green fence” ugly to justify this project.

Hearing 8 Washington’s supporters rant about the “ugly fence/parking lot” as the main reason to build a wall of condos only the 1% can afford sounds a lot like hearing Congressional Republicans recently feigning outrage at a government shutdown that THEY caused!

Once voters reject 8 Washington, a better alternative WILL be built there, one that includes active ground floor uses, parks and funds for affordable housing without a precedent setting height increase or a 400-car underwater garage. Several developers are interested in pursuing such a plan once the dust settles.

Vote NO on B and C.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

Let's hope he spends as much as he needs to make sure these measures pass. Sue Hestor and the other NIMBYs will have a heart attack on election night.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

last public power voter initiative was shot down in flames.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

I can't figure out Props B&C

what happens if B loses and C wins?
and vice versa?


Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

If either passes, the thing gets built. Both have to fail.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 4:02 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

Interesting debate on the proposed development at 16th and Mission:

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

marcos who, as everyone knows, is cluelessly ineffective on these issues. And who has a conflict of interest as he owns real estate close to there and wants to suppress supply.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

The SFBG neglected to mention that the "No Wall" campaign has been funded by the nice elderly plutocratic couple who live the corner pied a terre 50 yards from the 8W project site. According to campaign reports, to date they've kicked in almost $500k to protect their views. It must be nice....

More curiously, the SFBG neglected to mention that the No Wall campaign has gotten around $200k from the Wall Street giant, Boston Properties, the owner of the Embarcadero Center and the largest commercial real estate firm in the US. They carry $1B in cash on their balance sheet. They're also proposing to build the 1,000 ft-tall tower in the new Transit Center District. Gee, why would the want to prevent a puny little 12-story building?

The voters face a pretty simple choice: One alternative provides no new open space and no affordable housing and the other does. One alternative pays the City $100k/yr; the other would pay the City $7M/yr for decades to come. The differential is a multiple of 70 times! You cannot make this stuff up!!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

I cited the contribution from the Stewarts, and it's less than you cite. It's also ridiculous that you would label them "plutocrats" -- rule by the rich, really?!?! -- while you shill for Snellgrove, who really is spending millions of dollars to buy support for his project. As for Boston Properties, I left them out because it was a late contribution and I focused on both sides' Form 460s, the standard pre-election statement, for an apples to apples comparison. But I'll make sure to review the late contribution reports leading up to the election, and we'll see who the real plutocrats are. 

Posted by steven on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

How do you know? He posted as "Guest" and you just blew his cover.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

Not Tim Redmond, Tim Colen.

I think it's spelled Colen, anyway.

Posted by pete moss on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

Here's where Tim Colen lives out in NIMBY-land:!q=225+Edgehill+Way%2C+San+Francisco%2C+CA&data=!1m8!1m3!1d3!2d-122.458932!3d37.743319!2m2!1f42.22!2f89.53!4f75!2m7!1e1!2m2!1swBezOuPvIVu7-aWFiech9g!2e0!5m2!1swBezOuPvIVu7-aWFiech9g!2e0!4m15!2m14!1m13!1s0x808f7de88863b841%3A0x9c6c82ce179ff77f!3m8!1m3!1d2422!2d-96.774647!3d32.856022!3m2!1i1031!2i555!4f13.1!4m2!3d37.743438!4d-122.458815&fid=5

You'll note that there is a two car garage and street parking with nary a condo tower to be seen.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

Steven, I think if you are going to respond you have to be honest in spirit and not just technically honest. Your "nice try" retort contains the line that you "cited the contribution from the Stewarts, and it's less than you cite," as if the poster Tim is just making up a wildly innacurate accusation against some sweet little old couple. Except for the top 1/10 of the 1% who has $278,000 to throw into a ballot campaign?

These are rich folks concerned about protecting their mutli-million dollar views. Fair enough, but let's not try to paint them as folk heros.

I am going to vote to support both measures B &C. Not because I think the city really needs more luxury condos, but because I believe we have a fair planning process in place subject to review by our democratically elected Board of Supervisors who voted to approve this project, and I don't support zoning and permitting through the ballot box. I also think the city could really use the $11 million for affordable housing. Finally, I am a little miffed by the idea of rich people throwing their money around to stop a development that interferes with "their" views. Sorry, but the rest of us don't have the cash to by our own views.

If the Stewarts could find at least another $278,000 to pay into the city's affordable housing fund, then I might at least have a bit more respect for them, even though I would still vote for B&C.

Posted by Chris B. on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

Very well said.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

You are just scared that progressives are casting the widest net possible to challenge neoliberal corporate corruption of the government.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

prevent other wealthy people living near them.

That's your value statement?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

Our city is not your opportunity site.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

ends up angry, bitter and railing at his supposed allies.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

Wrong again, I won more than half of what I attempted before I started losing. It turns out that I started losing because corrupt neoliberals corrupted the nonprofits which were made to turn against their constituencies. Once it became clear that my volunteer work had hit the point of diminishing corrupt returns, I throttled the amount of time that I volunteered to politics and got back to software.

For the record, I co-chaired the ballot measure campaign that beat Dianne Feinstein and the SFPD POA. Have you ever been involved in a campaign that defeated adversaries that were much more powerful than you?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

Of course they are not.

It's always somebody else's fault, right?

Posted by anon on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

Of course not. I own my errors like not figuring out that TOD was a scam.

But my errors were not dispositive in the strategic errors that led to the demise of progressivism. The die was cast, the train left the station. After seeing the movement headed for a cliff, I warned people. They took it personally. I jumped off before it went over the cliff. They're still playing musical chairs, every so often another car hurtling into the abyss, the City being forfeited to neoliberal imperative.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

world gone mad.

That's your delusion and you should own it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

Most all other noncombatants, average residents who'd participated in campaigns and elections, have been pushed to the sidelines by the nonprofiteers. It is not just me who has walked away in disgust.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:53 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:12 am

Hiding behind some card-playing pretext.

Posted by anon on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

It is not MY city, it is OUR city.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

you add any value here but because you lacked the courage to live the way you wanted to where you came from.

SF does not reward cowardice and spinelessness. Then or now. Go home - you are spent here.

Posted by anon on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

The fact that I draw your increasingly irrational ire means that I should to stay. That and a hot tech job market.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

to move to SF. So while you got yours, you lost the bigger battle.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:13 am

Then, definitely count me out as a "progressive," it sounds like much too rarefied of a club.

Also, I am not sure why I would be "scared" since I am neither a "neoliberal" (whatever the hell that means) or a member of the city government.

I would be glad to meet you in person so you can see that I am neither "scared," nor scary. I am actually a very nice person who doesn't feel the need to post anonymous stupid conspiracy theories against other people on this forum just because I happen to disagree with them. You sound very paranoid Marky-Mark.

Posted by Chris B. on Oct. 25, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

I didn't "paint them as folks heroes," Chris, I said quite clearly that they were spending a lot of money to protect their bay views. And if you oppose "ballot box planning," why would you vote for the developer-written Prop.
B? I can easily see why you're support Prop. C, which is the referendum on the project and process used to support it. But Prop. B is the opposite of the value statement that you just expressed.

Posted by Steven T. on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:21 am

ballot, then you must vote YES on both of them, because that restores the decisions made by elected representatives, and slaps down the moneyed activists who are behind the NO campaign.

It's confusing because usually a YES vote repudiates the status quo, but not in this case.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 26, 2013 @ 8:27 am

You potrayed the campaign against 8 Washington as some grass-roots effort while chastizing the developer for spending a large sum of money fighting the referendumn, then at the very end of your editorial you make a casual aside to the "only sizable check" to the anti-8 Washington campaign coming from the Stewarts, as if it were nothing of significance that they contributed 50% of the funds the campaign as raised to date. You made a choice about the words you used and your placement of facts in the article to craft a certain message. I appreciate that you have an agenda and you want to advocate for it by painting argument as favorably as possible, but don't get offended when someone simply points out what you are doing.

Also, your comment about how you don't get why I am choosing to vote for Prop. B makes no sense. Prop. B simply codifies what has already been approved through the planning process and affirmed on appeal by our elected Board of Supervisors, it is not "ballot box planning" under any definition of the term. If the developer were proposing something new or different from what had already been approved, then I would certainly vote against it. Moreover, Prop. B was only put on the ballot because the anti-8 Washington folks decided they were unhappy with the planning process everyone else is subject to and wanted to take this matter to a vote. I get people can put anything on the ballot they want, but as has recently been said about another matter, "just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should." If there were some alleged violation of CEQA, or the planning rules, etc. then the proper response would be to go to court and make your argument there--that's why we have judicial review. But, if the issue is simply that some people don't like the end result of what comes out of our agreed upon public planning process, then response should simply be "too bad, we lost our argument, so let's move on."

In other words, I find nothing inconsistent with my planned voting actions, and I think you are being dishonest with your counter-argument to me. I am going to vote how I vote, and can you vote how you believe, and it will turn out as it turns out.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 10:00 am

There are citizens grassroots organizations all over the city opposing the 8 Washington project. The fact that a wealthy person with a vested interest donated a lot of money to that grassroots campaign in no way negates it as campaign from the ground up.

The Yes on B & C campaign on the other hand is essentially only developers and rich donors simply paying for incredibly deceptive slick mailers and media. It is by no stretch of the imagination a grassroots campaign.

And that key difference should correctly guide voters to vote 'No' on both B & C.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 11:11 am

The boosters would bitch, whine, complain and moan if it were just poor people of color opposing 8 Washington.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 11:29 am

The average SF'er doesn't give a crap and, win or lose, we will see very low turnover.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

I'm so glad you're irrelevant. Why don't you find more popular causes, like shutting down Hetch Hetchy?

Posted by Karl Marx on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

It's an environmental abortion but the problem is that the greens do not want to fall out with the public power mob.

Just like the advocates for more housing conflict with the NIMBY advocates.

It's a hard life being a green in SF.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

The dam should be decommissioned, because dams are bad for the environment. However we currently face the climate crisis problem and the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So if we decommission Hetch Hetchy before we replace it with local sustainable and renewable energy sources, we will be shooting ourselves in the foot on reversing the climate crisis.

We need to get clean energy off the ground first and then shut down the dam.

We should be able to do both by mid century.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

What water source would replace HH?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 1:50 pm
Posted by anon on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

Just to qualify, I agree with Eric on this only because the HH dam is within Yosemite NP and was a valley (apparently) equal in beauty to Yosemite valley itself.

I am not opposed to all dams as it's not clear what the alternatives would be, for water and flood control anyway, even if there are alternatives for power generation.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 2:11 pm
Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

But you still need to move water large distances, such as to the arid south-west.

So you're building something that is going to look like a dam somewhere. And you get more loss thru evaporation if you store the water at lower altitudes and in higher temperatures.

But I am with you on tearing down HH dam.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 3:04 pm reservoirs.

Australia has rooftop rainwater tanks everywhere.

Localized small covered storage, conservation and recycling, can do the job.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 28, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

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