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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Election Money -- Who Gave What in San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 7:35 AM

click to enlarge Invest, young man. Invest in politics! - LUKE THOMAS

As of last night, San Francisco's election season is all over but the shoutin' -- and recriminatin' and fulminatin' and tabulatin' who bought what.

Assuming Mayor Ed Lee does pull it out, a number of observers will note he did so in spite of the actions of his supporters. Did the mayor -- whose ho-hum approval ratings held steady in polls to the end -- require the high-priced independent expenditure committees backing him in order to prevail?

Perhaps not. But perhaps that wasn't the point. When millions of dollars are spent, even needlessly, in an election -- someone is making millions of dollars. Political hacks great and small -- a veritable set of political hack Russian nesting dolls -- have been enriched. It was a brilliant campaign for the general of the patronage army.

You see depressing things when you scroll through the complete set of campaign donors. But you also learn how our elected officials donated their money. To wit:

Jeff Adachi: The public defender, mayoral candidate, and Proposition D author didn't contribute any of his own money this year. But seven Adachis did contribute to Jeff's mayoral campaign: Ron, Derrick, Karen, Stan, April, Gladys, and Sam.

Michela Alioto-Pier: No fewer than 23 donations hailed from members of the Alioto clan. Most of them, predictably, were for the hometown scion. But Aliotos also looked favorably upon Chris Cunnie, George Gascón, and Bevan Dufty. (That'd be Robin Alioto who gave $120 to Michela's mayoral competitor -- and none to Michela, according to the spreadsheet.)

click to enlarge Run a picture of Jane Kim? Don't mind if we do. - LUKE THOMAS
  • Luke Thomas
  • Run a picture of Jane Kim? Don't mind if we do.
John Avalos: The mayoral candidate and supervisor -- who lists his occupation as "politician" -- ponied up $100 for David Onek and $250 for Ross Mirkarimi. His mayoral campaign also gave $1,200 to the District 11 Democratic Club and $1,350 to the Harvey Milk Club's Political Action Committee. A handful of other Avaloses contributed to John's mayoral run. Either they're utterly thrilled to donate to a namesake. Or they're family. Or both, really.

David Campos
: What are friends for? For handing Mirkarimi $100 and Avalos $150 for one thing.

David Chiu: The embattled mayoral candidate and board president gave $500 to his own campaign -- the sound you hear is progressives grumbling. He also gave $500 to the San Francisco Women's Political Committee -- the sound you hear is progressives grumbling because they can't think of anything bad to say about that.

click to enlarge Gavin's $1,000 in donations is, when you think about it, roughly the cost of airfare to Hawaii
  • Gavin's $1,000 in donations is, when you think about it, roughly the cost of airfare to Hawaii
Bevan Dufty: The former supe and mayoral candidate -- occupation: self-employed -- sent his money to himself, the Milk Club, Gascón, the Democratic County Central Committee, and sheriff candidate Paul Miyamoto. 

Jane Kim: The enigmatic District 6 supe pragmatically endorsed Avalos, Chiu, and Lee. And she pragmatically donated $250 to Avalos, Chiu ... and Ross Mirkarimi!

Eric Mar: Whether or not he sold off his daughter's Happy Meal toys to raise the $100 he gave to Avalos is unknown. But let's say he did. It's more fun that way.

Ross Mirkarimi
: The supe and sheriff candidate lists his employer as "The People." He didn't give any money to himself, but did gift Avalos with $200, along with $150 for the Milk PAC and $500 for the Richmond District Democratic Club (where he does not live).

Gavin Newsom
: Our erstwhile mayor and lieutenant governor gave $500 apiece to Gascón and Cunnie. That buys a lot of L'Oreal.

Well, that's enough of that. Notably, none of the moderate supes -- The Mayor's Nazgûl -- show up as giving any money. To anything. That'd be Carmen Chu, Mark Farrell, Sean Eslbernd, and Scott Wiener. No Malia Cohen sightings, either. 

Also, while there were hundreds of politically generous Lees, there were no "Eds" or "Edwins." And no trace of Willie Brown or Rose Pak.

Smart political players, it seems, are like wise movie or theatrical impresarios. Never put your own money into the project.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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