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Monday, June 4, 2012

Coit Tower: More than $100K Pours in to Fight Prop. B

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 5:55 AM

click to enlarge A long way from San Bernadino...
  • A long way from San Bernadino...

Indian tribe that pushed Willie Brown-backed gambling bill ponies up $25K to quash Coit Tower measure

One of the swell things about being a swell is the convenient access to large sums of money. A few phone calls, a few meaningful glances, and voilà! Gobs of green to do with as you see fit.

Proposition B -- which would prioritize funds raised by Coit Tower for the landmark's upkeep and limit the number of private events held there -- has been dubbed the Nimby vs. Swells measure. And, true to the swells' nature, more than $100,000 poured in over the course of a few days in May to help battle the proposition. Much of this money came from people or groups with tenuous connections to Coit Tower, San Francisco parks, or any questionably binding city policy statement -- which is all Prop. B really is.

Among the big spenders who funneled their anti-Prop. B money to the Parks Alliance and Golden State Leadership Fund Political Action Committee:

  • The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians ($25,000, May 29);
  • PG&E ($20,000, May 11)
  • The Committee on Jobs Government Reform Fund ($25,000, May 11)
  • California Dental Association ($2,500, May 16)
  • San Francisco Forward ($20,000, May 9);

  • Police Officers Research Association of California ($10,000, May 21)

All told, scores of thousands of dollars have flowed into the battle against Prop. B in short order; like food converted to energy, this money has been transformed into door hangers and TV commercials.

Just what dog the dentists or PG&E have in this fight is uncertain. As for the Indian tribe, which hails from Highland near San Bernardino, that is a head-scratcher. On the other hand, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, along with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, have heavily advocated for gambling-related state legislation in years past. Willie Brown has served as a consultant to the Morongos; the former San Francisco mayor and house speaker served as an advocate for recent San Manuel Band-backed legislation.

It was also Brown who set up last year's $20,000 Coit Tower private soiree for right-wing politico Thomas Coates -- the event Prop. B's backers are bandying about as the justification for their measure.

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this late binge of anti-Prop. B funding will have. Tomorrow's election is among the least memorable in recent years -- and those who will bother to cast a vote may already have done so long before the cash began to fly.

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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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