Breed Responds to SEIU 1021 “Hit Piece”

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in Housing, Labor, News, Politics

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Published on November 03, 2012 with 19 Comments

A mailer funded by an independent expenditure committee controlled by SEIU 1021 depicts former Redevelopment Agency Commissioner London Breed as being in the pockets of real estate interests.

By Luke Thomas

November 3, 2012

London Breed, a leading candidate in the race for District 5 Supervisor, pledged Friday in an interview with Fog City Journal to protect tenant’s rights and to oppose any attacks on rent control if she were to be elected to the most progressive and tenant-heavy seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Her pledge comes on the heels of recently landed oppositional mailer funded by SEIU 1021 that accuses Breed of being “bankrolled by landlords and realtors.”

“Landlords and realtors are bankrolling London Breed because she’ll vote for them, not for you,” the mailer, which depicts Breed being showered with $100 bills, states. “London Breed doesn’t list them on her website, but she can’t hide the truth: she’s endorsed by San Francisco’s apartment owners, building owners and realtors because they know she’ll be a loyal vote for landlords, not for renters.”

SEIU 1021 endorsed community organizer Julian Davis, Mayor Ed Lee-appointed Supervisor Christina Olague and College Board Commissioner John Rizzo in the ranked choice race that will be decided by voters on Tuesday.

In response, Breed released a press statement Friday accusing Olague “and her backers” of taking a page “right out of the Romney playbook.”

“When the truth isn’t working and the voters aren’t supporting you, resort to lies and deception,” Breed stated in her press release. “The hit pieces are flying accusing London of opposing rent control. That might be funny if it wasn’t such a blatant lie. London grew up in public housing, has been a life-long renter and lives in a rent-controlled apartment.”

Records filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission show combined spending of $50,000 in support of Breed from two independent expenditure committees funded by the San Francisco Association of Realtors.  Total supportive independent expenditure funding for Breed is $69,000.  Independent expenditures spent in opposition to Breed from the San Francisco Tenants Union and SEIU 1021 totals $10,000.

A review of contributions to Breed’s candidate-controlled committee shows a pattern of strong support from real estate interests.

In an interview, Breed said she doesn’t know why landlords and real estate interests are backing her candidacy and pledged to protect rent control and tenants rights if elected to the District seat where more than 70 percent of its residents are renters.

“I don’t know what their thoughts are or what they think they’re going to get, but the one thing I have been clear about with people in terms of any promise is, I am willing to be open-minded, I am willing to listen – but I don’t owe anybody anything,” Breed said, referring to the supportive independent expenditure funding of her candidacy from real estate interests. “Personally, I’d rather see all that money spent on my kids giving them stipends to focus on schools, to do volunteer activities and other things that are needed in this community.”

“My goal is to focus on running a positive campaign, communicating my message and staying focused on what I need to do, and I think it’s really disgusting that it has taken this kind of turn.  I don’t support negative attack ads whether it’s against me or anyone else running in this race,” Breed added.

Why do you think the realtors and landlords are supporting your candidacy?

“I’m not here to be anybody’s puppet. I’m here to work for the people of this District,” Breed said.

Can you state categorically that if you were elected that you would not in anyway, shape or form, support any attack on tenant’s rights or rent control?

“Hell, yes,” Breed responded. “That almost goes without saying. I am a renter.  My mother is in a rent-controlled unit.  It would be like trying to put my family out.”

“I will not do anything as supervisor to destroy the integrity of what rent control represents.  I will not do anything that’s against rent control and I will do everything to protect tenant’s rights in this city as a supervisor,” Breed added.

And, if elected, you would not vote in support of any attack on tenant protections?

“Hell, no.” Breed responded.

So why are they supporting your candidacy?  What do you think they think they’re going to get from you?

“I think people in District 5 don’t like all this big money bullcrap that is coming into our community and they may have seen that I was doing really well and, I don’ know, it may be a tactic or what have you.  I don’t know, but I don’t like it.”

You don’t like the fact that the realtors and landlords are backing your candidacy? Is that what you’re saying?

“I don’t like the fact that people are spending money on these independent groups whether it’s to support me or be against anyone else.  I’m not a fan of that.  I don’t support that.”

Are you saying that the money the realtors and landlords have spent on your behalf is a complete waste of their money because they’re not going to get anything from you?

“Ummm, I mean, I guess you can say that because…  I don’t understand what they would expect to get from me.  What could they get from the District 5 Supervisor, the one who has over 70 percent of the people in this District who are renters?  The renters or the people of this District who are impacted by the laws we push at City Hall are my top priority,” Breed said. “When I look at how much money is going into this campaign, it’s crazy – and anyone who gives me a dime, a dollar, or $500, if they think that I owe them anything then they’ve got a whole another thing coming.  The only thing I owe anyone is to do the right thing, to be honest, to work hard for the people of this District.  I don’t owe anybody a vote.”

But what do you think the realtors and landlords are thinking in terms of what they can get from you?

“You’ve got to ask them.  I’ve got to tell you, I don’t know.  This is not a popular landlord District so I don’t know what to tell you.  I mean, obviously, all of this stuff that’s going on, I just feel in a lot of ways is a way to, you know, bring me down potentially.”

(The San Francisco Association of Realtors did not respond to multiple requests seeking comment).

Are you saying the realtors and the landlords are spending all this money to bring you down?

“I don’t know.  People in District 5 don’t like that stuff.  They don’t like big money coming in here to try and influence decisions for District 5 candidates.  This is a community supervisor seat.  This is not a playground,” Breed said.

With this attack against you from SEIU 1021, voters are being left with the impression that you are carrying water for the realtors, landlords and downtown business interests.  What do you have to say about that?

“All I have to say is that I am not carrying the water for anybody, but the folks that have been consistently neglected by folks who try to have their whole power machines to control what’s going on in San Francisco, which negatively impacts the people in my community, that’s who I’m carrying the water for – people who don’t have money to defend themselves,” Breed said. “I’ve got a mouthpiece and I’m going to use it to make sure I do what’s necessary for the folks in this community.”

“I have been running a really good race,” Breed added. “People slammed the door on me, they wrote me off.  Some of the same people funding these independent expenditures tried to destroy me and work against me in so many different ways – and that’s the thing, I’m not here to be anybody’s puppet.  That’s just who I’m never going to be.”

In retrospect, would you have preferred that the realtors and landlords not backed your candidacy?

“Well, they’re doing it on their own merits through an independent expenditure,” Breed said.

But wouldn’t it have been better for you if they hadn’t spent all this money on your candidacy via independent expenditure committees, because they are hurting your profile in the District, right?

“Yes. Definitely,” Breed said.

SEIU 1021 Political Director and former District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly said Breed’s disassociation from the spending in support of her candidacy from real estate interests amounts to “plausible deniability.”

“There’s plausible deniability,” Daly said.  “You can say that you don’t want these independent expenditures on your behalf, but let’s be honest – it’s done with a wink and a nod.”

Asked why the SEIU 1021 mailer was necessary, Daly said, “If you follow San Francisco politics, you know that at a certain point you need to follow the money, and the forces in San Francisco politics that are the most pro-development and anti-rent control forces are all in with David Lee (District 1) – and they are now all in with London Breed.  And the reason why they are assisting these candidates is because their assessment is that these two candidates are going to be the best for them at City Hall.”

Daly said he does not consider the mailer against Breed to be an “attack mailer.”

“I think that it is more educational because it highlights who is spending the most significant dollars in the D5 race,” he said.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for Breed Responds to SEIU 1021 “Hit Piece” are now closed.

  1. ” I don’t owe anybody, ANYTHING”. Well there it is there. Oh Poor London. She just keeps falling over herself. If she doesn’t owe anybody anything. Then what will you get for your vote, if you vote for Ms. Breed and are expecting something for your district. She’s telling you basically. You could or could NOT get what you’re looking from your Supervisor. If it’s her. Because she owes you…NOTHING!

    And why is she so obsessed with Olague. It’s so petty. Ms. Breed isn’t focused on the issues, but more focused in her “spin doctoring” practices. She talks about LIES. LOL. 

    She doesn’t know why she’s being supported by these powerful backers? Come on. That’s a lie, and i bet Mr.Thomas goes and finds out from the realtors, why they love London. Because he should. A first time candidate. Who was urged not to run. Lost Feinstein & Willie Brown endorsements. Doesn’t know why she has the realtors & landlords on her side. She has no…idea? Laughable.

    And who cares that she grew up in the projects. That has shit to do with, what she will or won’t do. Now that she’s out of the projects. People from the projects aren’t above the “sell out”. For some. Thats how they got out of the projects. What a joke.

  2. If this isn’t an attack piece from SEIU, then Detroit won the Series….This is bullshit coming from Daly.  The irony of this is that landlords and tenants groups have more in common than not these days.  They both want to increase housing densities, both want more rental housing, both want to decrease home ownership.  Investors see that converting single-family owner-occupied homes to multi-family rentals increases rental revenues, and therefore increase property values.  That is why they love to convert garages to apartments.  They bring in more money.  So what if the neighborhoods are ever more crowded, with less and less parking.  The investors don’t care since they don’t live there.  Only a complete fool would belive that any politician in SF would advocate reducing Tenant rights and rent control.  I guess that includes Luke and Chris.

    • Well, speaking as a renter for 20 years and a landlord for more than ten, my experience is that groups like the Small Property Owners (who mindlessly follow the views of large property owners) are interested in curtailing a tenant’s right of occupancy. They are less concerned with the rent control per se, and much more about having more flexibility in evicting a tenant. This is particularly true where the landlord lives in the same building By the same token, many would like to ease the limits on condo conversions.
      So I am not buying the notion that property values increase if the property is a rental rather than an independent asset.

      •  This is no excuse to support Olague. She urged Ed Lee to run for mayor and then said it was a mistake. She accepted campaign money from Conway and his wife and now complains about that same source of money. You can’t have it both ways.  How many more “mistakes” is she going to make if elected? Why not vote for someone who we know has integrity like Hope Johnson?

        • The difference Mike, is that Olague got a tiny $500 individual donation from Conway. Breed has gotten tens of thousands of dollars in independent expenditure support from Conway and other corporate puppet masters. There is simply no comparison. Breed is bought and paid for by developers and tech moguls.

          •  Eric what about the $46,000 raised by Rose, Willie and co. at the Chinese Chamber of Commence is she not brought and paid for also?

            • Point taken. But on balance the true corporate avalanche is coming in for Breed and against Olague. If you look at Breed’s vile voting record as a Redevelopment commissioner, this avalanche is easy to understand.

            • “Rose Pak, Willie and Co.” seem to contribute in the same fashion that Peabody Coal, Goldman Sachs, and other mega corporations do.  They give something to everyone with a viable chance of winning to assure that they have some standing with whoever wins.

  3.  I wouldn’t trust any campaign material SEIU 1021 puts out. They sell their members out, especially the groups that are predominately women and minority workers.  They use heavy handed tactics to silence their critics.  I changed jobs primarily to get out of this union. 

  4. It would be good to know prior to Tuesday where London Breed stands on the issue the real estate industry care about most: raising the cap on condominium conversions for TICs.  Does she favor raise the conversion cap from 200 per year or does she support the Newsom era proposal floated during his last years in office of a “one time” lottery bypass for $25K an applicant? If she opposes change to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance as well as raising the conversion cap then what is it that she is going to do for her friends at the Apartment Association or the Coalition for Better Housing? 100% bond passthroughs? If not then their money is being spent for tactical reasons of keeping X out of D5, having a supervisor to return phone calls or some interpersonal/ego dynamics which often play a role.

  5. Good luck Chris,

       I accept full responsibility for bringing in my own booze.    You had a great place and I’m certain it will fair well in my telling of the past decade or so.

    Did I read you right that you no longer have a voice of your own because 1021 pays you to be their voice or something?

    Kid, get a degree fast and go to Hastings and they’ll all be working for you in 10 years and you won’t even be 50 yet.

    You shouldn’t be anyone’s puppet.

    Go Niners!


  6. Here’s some actual voting history that belies Breeds bogus claims that she is supposedly ‘pro tenant’ and somehow doesn’t understand why realtors and landlords are donating so massively to her campaign:

    London Breed, when she was a Redevelopment Commissioner, was a shameless and unerring rubber stamp, for all of the approvals of the Bayview Hunters Point condo projects of the rapacious Wall Street real estate developer and sub-prime loan property dealer, Lennar Corporation. Among other egregious practices, Lennar has repeatedly promised all over the country, and in its Bayview projects, to build extensive affordable housing and rental housing, and in nearly every case, Lennar has betrayed those promises and not built such housing and rental units.

    London Breed has always been well aware of Lennar’s track record of betrayal, and was reminded of it repeatedly in public hearings around the Lennar approvals, by public commenters outraged that the Redevelopment Commission was so easily falling all over itself to approve Lennar’s projects.

    And yet, London Breed voted yes, on every, single, Lennar project approval.

    Wealthy real estate interests are donating heavily to Breed’s campaign, because they know from her past voting history, that she will give them exactly what they want.

    Breed is the District 5 candidate of the 1%. Full stop.

    Vote: #1 John Rizzo – #2 Christina Olague – #3 Hope Johnson

    To keep Wall Street real estate interests out of our city government.

  7. But the DESIGN! Isn’t it a gorgeous mailer? 

  8. H. You were 86’ed from The Buck for bringing outside liquor in. Sorry, any bar in the City would have done the same.

    As for endorsements, since becoming 1021’s Political Director, I no longer make my own endorsements. Our member leaders make endorsements through our COPE structure. I honor those endorsements and deliver the political program to make them successful.

  9. Daly’s crap,

        His place closed a couple of night’s ago because he was totally incapable of including even the likes of myself within the narrow confines of his Guardian defined political OK’s.   He literally constricted his coronary arteries to such an extent as to that they could not accept even the likes of a Hope Johnson candidacy.   

    They were and are, much more accepting of compromised candidates.

    Every single candidate endorsed by Daly and the Guardian was severely compromised.


    What’s Redmond’s problem with Hope?

    What’s Jones’ problem with Hope?


    They’re both threatened by powerful women.

    They’d prefer to back vultures  …  I believe they backed Pelosi over Keefer?


    • I dunno about all that, but I am sorry Hope’s candidacy didn’t take off.  I still hope she does well enough to be taken seriously.

      •  @Ann – You should be ashamed of yourself for this purposefully negative slant that I am in peril of not being “taken seriously.”  A tactic taken right out of the Scott Wiener rule book.  I am responding to this because it is the second time you have posted negative information about me, the first being an outright lie here on FCJ.  You have made it clear you support Christina Olague, and, if you are comfortable with that decision, be careful whose reputation you try to trash along the campaign trail.  When this election is over, we will all need advocates willing to speak out against the corruption going on at City Hall no matter who wins the District 5 seat.

        • @770020672be46a8568f0b6a1d0216540:disqus : I am sorry for miswording that statement and I have just edited it.  I TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY,  YOU SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, AND I’M SURE YOU ARE, no matter how many votes are ultimately attributed to you by the time D5’s ranked choice voting has ended.  I take you seriously because of your writing and comments here in Fog City Journal, which I believe I am quite familiar with, and for your work on the Sunshine Task Force, which I’m less familiar with but which has the highest marks from everyone I trust.

          Much earlier this year, in exchanges with San Francisco Green Party members, I actually argued for ranking you 1st on the party’s D5 endorsement list, and to be honest, I was then still too uneasy about Christina Olague’s management of the “Run Ed Run” campaign to argue for endorsing her at the time. 

          However, when Christina did the right thing on the critical vote to reinstate Ross, and expressed the rightness of it so clearly and eloquently, without equivocating or back pedaling, I concluded that she deserved another chance, just as Ross did.   Not only because of that vote, but also because she cast one of the eight votes that veto proof’ed CleanEnergySF, the Board’s most important legislation in years.
          However, there were many strong candidates in D5, including you, and I would have been happy to see you elected.  I didn’t personally endorse anyone and don’t vote in your district.Back when the San Francisco Green Party was considering its endorsements, my argument for endorsing you found no support online, and the party ultimately endorsed Rizzo #1, and gave Davis and Olague an equal #2 endorsement, at a meeting I was unable to attend.  I later learned that a member of the Green Party Council had also wanted to endorse you first, but found no support at the endorsement meeting.As a KPFA News reporter, I worked hard at covering Ross’s case from January till October, because I thought there was so much at stake, and the need for honesty and intellectual clarity in that story was so urgent.  By the time it was over, I was worn out by the ugliness and did not try to report on the D5 election.  I had planned to come to the district for KPFA on election night, but ultimately didn’t because I couldn’t locate a working microphone. 
          Could you please explain what you considered to be my “outright lie” about you?  If I said anything inaccurate about you, it was neither a “lie” nor an “outright lie” because it was unintentional.  I can’t even imagine what sort of “lie” I might have told about you, but my deepest apologies if I did.  -Ann G.

  10. The reality is that there are really no significant political and/or policy differences among the candidates for District 5 Supervisor.