Over the weekend, foes of Proposition B, the latest city parks bond measure, sent out a missive claiming they were being outspent by a 100-to-1 ratio. Well, that seems crazy, so we checked -- and it is, indeed, inaccurate. They're being oustpent by a 100.3 to 1 ratio ($798,957 to $7,969).
Much like June's effort to end Recology's 80-year, charter-enshrined monopoly on waste collection, fighting for a $195 million parks bond is an effort that unites every vestige of power in the city: politicians, labor, business, and the folks who produce glossy mailers. It warrants mentioning that the Quixotic foes of that monopoly raised $62,000 to counter a $1.73 million effort from the friends of the status quo. Recology is still collecting your crap.
On the eve of the election, San Franciscans could do worse than perusing who's paying for the candidates and ballot measures put before them. One name that comes up with striking regularity is Ron Conway, the savvy tech investor who has now invested in Mayor Ed Lee.
Conway and his family members have, thus far, dropped $774,209 into local campaigns in calendar 2012. This includes, intriguingly, playing just about every side in the District 5 supervisorial race, including a late $87,000 push to unseat Supervisor Christina Olague by showering cash on indignant domestic violence groups.
That donation, however, is dwarfed by the $145,708 given to push the park bond. But that, in turn, is dwarfed by the cool quarter of a million Conway dropped into fighting for a gross receipts tax that would stand to benefit the investor and the tech companies he promotes. Proponents of the gross receipts tax have ponied up $727,000. No one has raised a cent in opposition.
(See the complete Conway spreadsheet here).
Of course everyone is free to donate as much as her or she wishes in our system. Investors, however -- especially investors as sharp as Conway -- don't toss around cash without figuring on making some manner of return.