Chiu and others get stung for support from speculators and evictors

In a city awash with evictions (this map shows those since '97), the issue is affecting this year's political races.

Our colleagues down the hall at the San Francisco Examiner seem to have spoiled tonight’s [Thu/30] fundraiser for David Chiu’s Assembly race by reporting this hour that the host, attorney Steven MacDonald, is on a housing activists’ blacklist for representing landlords in controversial Ellis Act evictions.

Reporter Chris Roberts quotes Chiu campaign manager Nicole Derse pleading ignorance about “what type of law Steven practices” and pledging to return a $500 campaign contribution from him in October, but saying that the 6pm fundraiser at John’s Grill would go on nonetheless.

Derse told the Guardian that MacDonald represents a wide variety of clients, including many tenants who are fighting evictions, so the campaign decided to go ahead with the fundraiser but refused MacDonald’s direct financial support, consistent with a pledge not to take money from those involved in evictions.

“We won’t accept money from anyone who has been involved with evictions at all,” Derse told us, saying it was a mistake to accept money from MacDonald but acknowledging the challenge of the “scrutiny and vetting involved for a small campaign.”

“We’ll do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she told us.  

The controversy and the Chiu’s campaign’s quick decision to refuse the support from an early contributor show just how volatile and politically toxic the city’s eviction and affordable housing crisis have become, rapidly transforming the city’s political dynamics. It also shows how information being made public by housing activists, and their new confrontational tactics, are being used within that changed realm. 

Former Guardian Editor Tim Redmond had a story yesterday on his 48 Hills website focusing on the heat that Sup. Scott Wiener is taking over the political contributions that he’s received from real estate speculators and those involved in evictions, including Urban Green and speculator Ashok K. Gujral, who are among the Dirty Dozen serial evictors highlighted by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, whose work we been covering for months here at the Guardian.

Below is an infographic of Supervisor Wiener's campaign contributions, created by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project: