UPDATE: Wiener 2014: Does Supervisor Wiener have a dirty money problem?

Supervisor Scott Wiener (photo: NtugiGroup/flickr)
Supervisor Scott Wiener (photo: NtugiGroup/flickr)

Update: 2:40PM – See Supervisor Scott Wiener’s response below


Scott Wiener 2014 Campaign Contributions (image: Anti-Eviction Mapping Project)

Scott Wiener 2014 Campaign Contributions (image: Anti-Eviction Mapping Project)

The investor activity tracking and eviction mapping organization, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP), used Supervisor Scott Wiener’s campaign finance disclosure filings for 2013 to build an infographic of his campaign funding for re-election this November. The Infographic shows that real estate and tech interests make up 50% of the campaign donors so far with 41% of total contributions coming from real estate interests.

The AEMP also found that many of the city’s worst offenders, when it comes to evicting people from their homes, are on Supervisor Wiener’s campaign donor list. This list includes employees from Zephyr Real Estate (famous for their “Call and Ask Me about Ellis Act Evictions” flyers), Urban Green (an out-of-town speculation firm that is part of the Dirty Dozen), Flynn Investments (currently Ellis Act evicting a 33-unit building), Thomas Coates (Republican backer of Prop 98, the failed attempt to overturn rent control in 2010), Waasserman & Stern (specializing in the 3-day notice), Ashok K. Gujral and Todd W. Rhodes (currently evicting a 10-unit building in the Mission), and the list goes on.

Activist poster found around the Castro (photo:  torbakhopper/flickr)

Activist poster found around the Castro (photo: torbakhopper/flickr)

Tim Redmond, former Editor at the SF Bay Guardian, noted that Supervisor Wiener has big name real estate money bankrolling a re-election campaign for a district that has seen more than its fair share of evictions,

Campaign finance disclosure forms filed by Weiner reveal that both small and large landlords, real estate developers, property managers, and dozens of brokers and agents put $37,000 in his campaign bank account in 2013. Many of these contributors have business pending before the city’s Planning Board, or are awaiting decisions by the Board of Supervisors and various city departments. Some of the largest landlords in the city, like Vanguard Properties and Herth Real Estate, Zephyr Real Estate, California Property Services, and Flynn Investments, are backing Weiner.

Supervisor Scott Wiener did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Is this much ado about nothing since Wiener is District 8′s incumbent running largely unopposed? Perhaps not. This disclosure could be the political clout a contender could use in a run to unseat the controversial Supervisor.

David Waggoner speaking to Board of Supervisors

David Waggoner speaking to Board of Supervisors

Whisperings of gay rights and community activist Cleve Jones courting several possible candidates to run against Wiener made their way around the Castro’s political circles towards the end of last year. One such name that was discussed that might be able to use this disclosure as a jumping off point for the District 8 seat is former President of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club David Waggoner. Waggoner, like Wiener, is also a lawyer, but while Supervisor Scott Wiener is known for going to bat for the City and for business interests, David Waggoner has been a champion of tenants and citizens. In 2011, the SF Bay Guardian wrote a glowing recommendation for Waggoner for the Police Commissioner position in 2011,

Waggoner has worked as a pro bono attorney before the Oakland Civilian Police Review Board and has earned the respect and admiration of people from highly diverse political and social backgrounds. His integrity and sense of justice and fairness inspire trust and confidence — and frankly, we could use a lot more of that in this city.

Credibility with historically marginalized communities — including people of color, new immigrants, the homeless, people with disabilities and the LGBT community — is essential in developing the kind of mutual respect that makes the department’s work effective or even possible. David Waggoner has that credibility.

Waggoner also attended the recent tenants conventions and spoke with the breakout groups on possible legislative solutions. Wiener attended the Castro tenants convention, but mostly sat back taking notes and left before breakout groups began.

It remains to be seen if this disclosure will affect Supervisor Wiener’s reelection bid, but it’s sure to rustle the feathers of both Wiener lovers and haters.

Update: 2:40PM – Supervisor Scott Wiener’s response

Roy: As an initial matter, if you’re going to run a one-sided hit piece suggesting that I’m taking “dirty money,” you should give me a real opportunity to respond before you run the piece. A last minute email at midnight doesn’t cut it. Since you have both my email and my cell phone, you know how to reach me, and you know that I do respond when given the opportunity.

As for Tim Redmond’s hit piece on me, I’ll say the following. First, I question why Tim didn’t run the numbers for other Supervisors running for reelection or for the Assembly. I’m told that Supervisor Campos raised about 40% of his contributions from real estate interests. It’s unclear to me why that wasn’t worthy of analysis, other than a desire to single one person out.

Second, my record on rent control is long and pro-renter. I’ve supported many pro-renter measures over the years and have been a public supporter of state-level Ellis Act reform going on a decade. I’ve supported various measures to address Ellis Act evictions, including the eviction disclosures measure, both tenant harassment measures (the one on the ballot and the one at the Board), restricting condo convertibility in buildings with Ellis Act evictions, restricting mergers and demolitions in buildings with Ellis Act evictions, and so forth. I also authored the legislation that banned universities, such as Academy of Arts, from buying rent-controlled buildings and converting them to student dorms. I actively campaigned against Prop 98, which would have repealed rent control. So, if anyone is trying to buy my support for opposing rent control, they’re not doing a very effective job, given my long record of support for rent control.

As for my campaign donations throughDecember 31, as disclosed on the recent campaign report, 85% of my donations come from San Francisco residents, and almost half of my donations came from District 8 residents. My donations come from folks in all walks of life, and my donations range from about $10 up. Tim Redmond’s hit piece appears to take a very broad view of what qualifies as real estate interests. For example, the calculation appears to include contributions from Building Trade unions, such as the electricians, the carpenters, and the sheet metal workers. It also appears to include anyone who works in interior design or architecture. Perhaps that’s why this number is so much higher than the 25% number cited by the Bay Guardian a few weeks ago. I understand why they did that — their goal being to inflate the number as much as possible — but it ends up undermining the credibility of the entire endeavor. Are they — and you — really suggesting that trade union, interior designer, and architect contributions are “dirty money”? Are contributions from realtors who are long-time residents in the Castro and who’ve worked with me on neighborhood issues really “dirty money”? Are contributions from district residents who work in technology really “dirty money”?

Unfortunately, there’s a troubling trend in some self-described progressive political circles to define who are “real San Franciscans” and who are not. These folks apparently have decided that if you work in tech or real estate or construction or trade unionism, you’re not a real San Franciscan and your money is “dirty.” I dispute that retrograde view, which is anything but “progressive.”

As with every elected official, I raise money from a wide array of sources. And, yes, that includes architects, real estate agents, folks in construction, trade unions, and folks who build housing. A number of the realtors who contributed are folks I’ve known for a long time, some personal friends and some whom I’ve worked with in the neighborhood or in nonprofit endeavors. In terms of people in construction or development, these are the people who are building housing in San Francisco. We have a dramatic shortage of housing — we’ve added very little new housing even as our population has grown — and we need to change that. Someone has to build the housing. I make no apologies for having support from people who build both market rate and affordable housing.

As noted, donors to my campaign, overwhelmingly, are San Francisco residents, and almost half of them live in the district. They include folks who work in real estate and folks who don’t. I’m proud of the broad support I’ve received, support that has grown from my work on many different issues of importance in our district and our city.

Roy McKenzie

Roy has been a Castro resident since 2010 and is passionate about politics, camping, and food. Follow his babbling on Twitter.

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66 Responses

  1. Matthew says:


    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

  2. rblack says:

    Interesting. Are these all private donors or are these large donations from corporations?

    For comparison I’d love to see the filings of all the supervisors.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    • sfjohn says:

      Hit the link @ ‘the list goes on’ – yes there are corporations

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

      • rblack says:

        Mostly individuals who work for corporations. Just because I work for a bank doesn’t mean my donation represent the support of the entire banking industry.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 6

  3. bluesparrow says:

    Would this be news if he took money from public sector unions and then did their bidding, like other current Supervisors we could name?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 17

    • rblack says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 26

      • Liv says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

        Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 20

        • Kevin_BGFH says:

          I don’t think it’s fair to call this gossip. You could argue that it’s one-sided and should include other Supervisors (and I would agree). You could question the methodology (including interior decorators, etc.), and I would agree. But looking into the campaign contributions of politicians representing the district isn’t exactly National Enquirer gossip.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

        • DerekSF says:

          Concur, people that want to read biased Wiener bashing can go to the Petrelis Files.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

    • Patrick says:

      I wonder how much $$$ David Compost received from SEIU Local 1021

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 11

  4. Mitch Mansfield says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 16

  5. Patrick says:

    The Biscuit is slandering Supervisor Weiner by using the phrase “dirty” money in its title. That suggests that the funds were laundered by some illicit means, yet when you read the article there is nothing to suggest that the funds were illicit; only that they came from the tech and real estate industries. And please, save us from overblown blowhards like Cleve Jones and annoying twirps like David Waggoner.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 29

  6. Rob says:

    For all of this “undercover work” it appears as if you found a total of $37000. in contributions from real estate…Yawn…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 17

  7. Ramón says:

    Is it specifically my browser malfunctioning, or have thumbs up – thumbs down been made inoperable?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Bob says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

  9. Rick says:

    Wiener has always been a but too developer friendly. He has out forward a few proposals to make development easier by limiting appeals and historical protections. This could explain why.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 16

  10. Bob says:

    I dont care how accurate the article is to be honest, I look at what Mr Wiener does not what he says, and on that basis I will never vote for him again. Period.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 16

  11. “Only” 15% of his money is from outside San Francisco? “Nearly” 50% is coming from his own District?

    In what universe is that considered acceptable? This is a DISTRICT race in San Francisco, not a national campaign.

    Makes you wonder what these outsiders hope to gain by funding someone in local election.

    Oh, that’s right, they’re already getting what they want; San Francisco served up on a platter.

    The flip side of that question is what has Darth Wiener been promised in return for arbitraging San Francisco?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 12

    • Patrick says:

      Only 15% of San Franciscans come from San Francisco. Everybody else moves here from somewhere else.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

    • DerekSF says:

      A supervisor is one vote out of eleven that set city policies. What doesn’t make sense about supporting supervisors in other districts if they believe in the same things you do, such as housing policy and improving muni. Same if you work here, and live outside the city.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

      • That would be well and good if these were interested individuals involved, but these are mostly corporate entities who are buying influence and the right to set their own rules.

        Don’t try to spin this as some concerned Western Addition grandma trying showing concern for the well-being of the City. This is pay-to-play, pure and simple.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  12. Brian says:

    Wiener: “Don’t single one person out. As proof of how bad that is, I will single one person out.”

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 8

  13. Brian Basinger says:

    Congratulations Castro Biscuit. You are now officially on the target list of trolls paid for by downtown money interests. It’s interesting that the article about the worst evictors in San Francisco being the major source of campaign funds is what attracted their attention.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

    • Bob says:

      Speaking of trolls. I wouldn’t be surprisd if Brian Had a room exclusively wallpapered with photos of the supervisor

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 12

    • Patrick says:

      Actually, Brian there are people in the community who don’ share your socialist vision for San Francisco. We aren’t paid by anyone, and we don’t represent “downtown money interests.” Personally, I think it’s interesting how you have used the community to build a power base of your own. Don’t think we haven’t noticed.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8

  14. Bob says:

    Ah San Francisco, where lies that get repeated enough magically become true, where supply and demand are just not magical enough to apply, where ineffective pandering legislation is seen as real progress, where newcomers and success are bad, and where a long expired “activist” with a consuming obsession over a flag is the vanguard.
    Thank god none of this really matters. SF will change.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 13

    • Sanchez Resident says:

      Well said. Poetic and very true. I would add that “activist” is running for supervisor and with our ranked choice voting system he could be elected.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  15. Bob says:

    Also, can we meditate for a moment on the fact that the writer of this blog entry landed here in 2010?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 11

  16. Elsewhere says:

    As for Scott’s Point #1, “well, so-and-so is doing it” isn’t a good reason that you should be doing it too. If the residents of District 8 are concerned about your fundraising it’s because we are your constituenst; what the other supes get up to, or not up as the case may be, is the business of the residents of that district.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  17. Ramón says:

    As a San Franciscan and a resident of District 8, I expect transparency and accountability from the supervisor who represents me. If there’s any “slander” in this article, and if he believes it stains his character, let Wiener speak to it and set the record straight.

    “No legacy is as rich as honesty.” – Shakespeare

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  18. Gj Thrive says:

    My impressions are that:
    1 – this is just the first stop on Mr Wiener’s ambitious trip up the pyramid – hence it has to look constructive

    2 – though the city does indeed need new housing – to add thousands of new units in one year after so little construction is short sighted.

    3 – a five or ten year plan with a concomitant build up of infrastructure would have met the needs of pre-boom residents

    4 – Infrastructure includes simple things like new MUNI busses, MUNI actually hiring folks to reprimand that screaming drunk guy with loud music, a solution for street parking that doesn’t include necessarily selling your car, more workers dealing with the visibly rising number of homeless folks, a street level space for: childcare, a new HealthySF clinic or an SFPD antennae branch among all the new buildings.

    5 – My guess is that SF is flush with “private money” but will wait a while before investing the tax dollars to come from the newly expanded tax base.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  19. Mark says:

    Weiner’s reference to David Campos contributions from “real estate interests” is somewhat disingenuous. First he says “I’ve been told” distancing himself from the statement. Secondly there’s a big difference between real estate interests that specialize in Ellis Act Evictions and speculators (Weiner) and real estate interests that are developers that Campos has worked with as an advocate for the concerns of people in the neighborhood.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  20. MarketSt says:

    Wow, “dirty money,” as if real estate development and technology were illegal enterprises. Way to amp up the hate, CastroBiscuit.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 13

  21. Jeff says:

    I don’t think this is a “hit piece.” It is a private blog not a huge newscorp and I don’t expect flawless objectivity. In addition, Scott’s response was posted promptly. And if big ole tough Harvard lawyer Wiener Scott can’t take it from a teeny-weeny neighborhood blog, well then, he shouldn’t be in it in the first place. Don’t be such a reactive, defensive super-wuss, Scott. Grow a pair.

    And by the way, Scott, the “But David Campos did it” schtick is reminiscent of a fourth grader getting caught in the schoolyard and trying to deflect blame. Teachers don’t buy it and neither will the voters.

    I’m of a different mind here. I actually wouldn’t mind a supe who took a balanced approach to business interests, renter interests, and home-owner interests. But for Scott to call him self “pro-renter” is the most disingenuous, absurd, sentiment ever uttered this side of Michelle Bachmann. Perhaps he needs a self-perception check.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 9

  22. Josh says:

    The data comes from an article that was done in January by Counterpunch, and it does mention other supervisors. Wiener is still the biggest recipient of donations from the real estate industry. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/13/san-franciscos-displacement-crisis/

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  23. sjg says:

    I have to admit, although I voted for Mr.Weiner the last election, I have grown skeptical of his actual commitment to the renters of this district. I am trouble d by his failure to attend the renters convention and that sends a message to me that his first concern lies with the real estate and business interests first. I don’t think he will receive my vote again.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

  24. Mike says:

    I wonder if Wiener ever stops to reflect on why he, at minimum, has such an image problem? Does he ever wonder why he is perceived to be representing only moneyed interests? It had to come from somewhere. He’s a politician so the question is important.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  25. GREAT JOB, ROY!! At the very least you got Wiener’s BFFs to tear at their holes.

    That is fun to watch. Too bad David Waggoner won’t make that his new hobby for the next few months because it would be very entertaining to watch the moderate gays poop their pants.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  26. mbay says:

    I love that real estate and tech interests are synonymous with “dirty money” now

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  27. patmonk says:

    A review of public information detailing his major backers and paymasters leaves no doubt as to who he is ‘representing’, and it sure ain’t ‘us’. This is only the information he is legally required to disclose, it doesn’t include all the other ‘perks’ he may be receiving now, and hopes to continue profiting from in the future unless his slimy trail is curtailed. It is unfortunate that so many folks were duped and didn’t heed the warnings when he was initially ‘selected’ for office by The City Familia.
    As a result of in-breeding, brown-nosing, glad-handing, Willie’s mutant successors have become increasingly coopted and doggone useless, for example:-
    NEWSOM. A greasy hound in a sharp suit with a bad haircut.
    LEE. A mangy mongrel with funny facial hair.
    WIENER. A mutt.
    At least Willie had, and still has, a certain panache. He’s like a dog walker and has all these runts on his leash.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  28. patmonk says:

    I’m not an SF native, but having lived in D8 for 40 years I have grandfathered myself in.
    I’m sure Harvey is groaning in his grave at how opportunistic carpet-baggers like Wiener have misappropriated his name, defiled his legacy, and betrayed all the ideals of equality and justice that he died for. What a contemptible creature.

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    • Bob says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • patmonk says:

        You don’t think equality and justice are challenged in San Francisco. You are a moron. Yes most of us are carpet baggers, but back in the day many of us came wanting to give and share, not take like Wiener and his lap dogs.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • rblack says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  29. Ron Winter says:

    That wiener Wiener got elected to public office the first time because no one was paying attention! It was clear then, if you followed the money, just as now, that he was put in office as a shill for the speculative real estate industry. Any pro-tenant sentiments on his part are just window-dressing. Any District 8 tenant who votes a-gain for that weenie is just plain ignorant.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  30. mercury says:

    I’m tired of corporate queers like Wiener selling out our city to real estate developers. Our housing crisis was created by Wiener giving huge tax breaks to silicon valley corporations to move themselves — and their mostly straight employees — into our city, knowing that the employees of course had nowhere to live so his real estate developer friends would have to build and build. So now our rents go up by $1000 and people get evicted as they compete for our apartments. .

    The Castro, along with the rest of the city, is “straightening out” and becoming less diverse, Esta Noche, Marlena’s, and other gay bars, like the ones on Polk Street, the first gayborhood to be thoroughly cleansed and de-gayed, are closing — and turning into straight bars to serve our increasingly straight, corporate city. Straight people don’t like pushing their baby strollers past naked men in the Castro — bad for property values! — so Weiner knew they had to go. Wake up gays, the Castro is next on the hit list. Your city is being sanitized and de-gayed by sellouts like Wiener. If that’s what you want, then vote for him.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  1. March 2, 2014

    […] eviction ordinances only to watch for-profit Ellis Act evictions be covered. They’re watching real estate pour money into local politicians coffers‘, furthering the interest of speculators who use the Ellis Act to target marginalized folks, […]

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