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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Labor Groups Launch Broadside on David Campos

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM

David Campos' life continues to be interesting...
  • David Campos' life continues to be interesting...

Not so long ago, SF Weekly wrote about a paradox facing Supervisor David Campos in his quest to win an Assembly seat. 

The progressive politician's preferred consultant, Jim Stearns, found himself on the receiving end of a fatwa from the powerful California Labor Federation for work on campaigns that supposedly "directly attacked labor unions and caused damage to the labor movement. ... [We] encourage all unions, labor councils, allies, and candidates seeking our support to not hire these consultants until further notice." 

As a result, Campos, a labor stalwart, is denied the services of labor-friendly progressives' favorite and most effective consultant. 

"Labor," however is not a monolithic entity. The Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth and Building and Construction Trades Council -- both of which desire things to be built and, therefore, skew right by San Francisco standards -- have launched a broadside against Campos. Scouring his campaign forms, they've unearthed a pair of $5,000 payments to "S.F. Van, LLC" and "Fog City Properties" -- both companies controlled by Stearns. 

Gotcha! Or, maybe not.

S.F. VAN, LLC is a voter file company -- VAN stands for "Voter Activation Network" -- which trades in voter information. This is Stearns' outfit, and, he admits, he has received $5,000 from the Campos for Assembly campaign. 

But, he says, up until just a week ago, he was also working for Nicole Derse -- the consultant running the campaign of Campos' rival Assembly candidate, David Chiu. Stearns says Derse cut her ties with S.F. VAN just before these allegations were made public. 

SF Weekly was unable to reach Derse. Stearns, however, provided the e-mail below: 


Fog City Properties, Stearns says, is a company that rented space to the Campos for Assembly campaign some time ago -- and, he says, does so no longer. Campos' consultant, Phil Giarrizzo, says the Campos campaign rented the space from Stearns prior to the Labor Federation's fatwa -- and vacated it afterward. 

Vince Courtney, Sr., the director of the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, said he hopes to influence the endorsements of both the Service Employees State Council and the California Labor Federation. 

His own group is backing Chiu. Of Stearns, however, he says "He's good. He's real good." 

Update, 3 p.m.: Nicole Derse says that, while her firm was until recently a client of Stearns' S.F. VAN LLC., its never directed S.F. VAN's services toward Chiu's campaign. 

Stearns, meanwhile, questioned attempts to portray him as radioactive. He orchestrated last year's campaign to quash the 8 Washington luxury condo project, which Chiu participated in, he says. He even personally filmed Chiu for an anti-8 Washington TV/Web ad. 

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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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