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Whose City? His City? Seriously?!

by Larry Bush on 10/10/2011

in Paper Trails

OMG, He Didn’t!

Yes, he did.  Bevan Dufty has made a campaign video ad of discredited and convicted Ronnie Davis, forced to resign as San Francisco Housing Authority Executive Director after federal officials indicted him over financial misdeeds that ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Davis virtually disappeared from view after getting a 2001 plea bargain that barred him from returning to San Francisco’s Housing Authority while accepting a lesser criminal charge.

During Davis’ tenure in San Francisco, he came under scrutiny, including his role in an early voting scheme that benefitted Willie Brown’s 1997 ballot measure for a 49ner stadium.  While Davis was in charge, a public housing unit fire took the lives of five children and ultimately resulted in a multi-million dollar judgment. Eventually two state court judges called for an appointed court monitor to take over the agency.

Dufty, in a youtube posting, said, “Glad to have this endorsement video from Ronnie Davis, former Executive Director of SF Housing Authority.  (see the video here:

But don’t expect this one to join Bevan’s other commercials, including the one with his daughter on the Muni. You wouldn’t want to know what kind of Award goes with this ad.

Grand Old Party Indeed

The backing of the local Republican Party – and the flow of Republican money – is important to more than just Republicans. It can matter a lot to many Democrats but not in a good way.

So it is of interest to know who the Republican Party is endorsing in the November election in the down ballot races where voters tend to look at who’s friends with who more than they do at the top of the ticket.

Enter Sheriff candidate Chris Cunnie into the picture. A late arrival into the race, Cunnie wasn’t so late that he couldn’t snag the Republican Party endorsement. Since he lost the Democratic Party endorsement, that Republican label sticks a little tighter.

If voters haven’t heard much about Cunnie, that’s also likely to change – again because of Republican money. Cunnie is the beneficiary of a $25,000 check by Republican Ron Conway for an independent expenditure effort on Cunnie’s behalf. It’s one way around the $500 cap on contributions to candidates.

Conway has been making a name for himself in political circles over the past year, with five and six figure contributions to help the Republican drive to take over the U.S. Senate among other causes.

Conway made his money the old fashioned way  — letting other people get their hands dirty and investing in their success as a venture capitalist through his SV Angel company.

Now he hopes to invest in Chris Cunnie’s success.

And he’s making no secret of where it is all headed.

“We must take our city back” from the progressives, Conway trumpeted at a business-friendly forum last October. “This is about survival.”

Survival – his own and others – appears to often be on Conway’s mind. In an unflattering profile of Conway, described him as “scary” and a godfather type in Silicon Valley.

As the business site reported the experience of one executive who ran afoul of Conway, ” Conway was berating him, the entrepreneur told people, saying things like, “you fucking fuck, I’ll squash you like an ant.” Basically, Conway did everything short of saying, “I’ll make you a capstone in the corner of a building.”

Read more:

In that case, it might be a good idea for Conway to make nice with the local sheriff.

We’re Talking Money

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors defeat of an end-run around public financing in the final weeks of the election held several surprises.

The first vote a week earlier showed three supervisors unwilling to dump a provision intended to level the playing field for publicly funded candidates facing wheel barrels of money from independent expenditure committees. It takes eight votes to make the change, and with three voting no and one absent, the opposition could only muster seven votes.

A week later the next vote showed opponents gained strength, with five supervisors voting down the effort: Avalos, Campos, Kim, Mar and Mirkarimi.

The week before, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd blew a gasket when his measure was headed for defeat. This time it was Supervisor Malia Cohen, who got so carried away denouncing her colleagues that Supervisor Avalos, when his turn to speak came next, instead told his colleagues that “My mother said if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. In that spirit, I would like to ask for us to take ten seconds” without anyone saying anything.

Cohen’s fervor over the campaign issue, and her overwrought response to threats of a lawsuit, may be inexplicable to some. There was a clue, however, buried deep in the files of a City Attorney investigation of campaign law violations and misuse of city funds for election purposes.

In 2003, Cohen was one of the coordinators of Gavin Newsom’s mayoral bid and one of her jobs was overseeing who turned up for volunteer days. The City Attorney’s office was investigating whether Mohammed Nuru, now interim DPW head, had required employees of a city-funded nonprofit to volunteer for Newsom’s campaign or lose their pay.

Nuru refused to be interviewed by city investigators, but Cohen was interviewed as a witness in the probe. She confirmed that Nuru and the city-funded nonprofit employees had come for the volunteer event.

That brush with the law, even though it was only as a witness, must have left more of an impression on a young Malia Cohen than her colleagues could have known.

It’s just like Monopoly

Remember the old Monopoly game where a chance card could net you $200 if you landed on the right spot? Apparently the Hotel Council’s Executive Director Patricia Breslin landed right on that place, just like she was playing Monopoly.

Breslin, like hundreds of other city officials, was required to file a Statement of Economic Interests on April 1. But unlike hundreds of other city officials, Breslin didn’t report her economic interests – an important matter for someone serving on the board that helps set water and sewer rates for San Francisco residents and separately for commercial properties.

Warned to turn in her form, Breslin didn’t respond. Sent a second warning, Breslin didn’t respond. Send a final warning, with no response, Breslin was turned over to the state Fair Political Practices Commission for enforcement action.

Late filing is, under the law, set for both a daily $10 a day late fee plus a fine based on enforcement. The late fee is levied by the city’s Ethics Commission, and we’ll get back to you in the year 2525 when we learn what they’ve done about it.

But now we know what the state Fair Political Practices Commission has done. They’ve fined Breslin $200, and Breslin has agreed to pay up.

That would be just about the price of a room service meal in one of the hotels that Breslin reps. And, like those meals, probably will go on her expense account.

Bet she doesn’t do that again!

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