The Committee on Jobs served as much more than a lobbying group; it also held fund-raisers where its members bundled more than $300,000 in contributions to favored supervisor candidates in last year's election. At the same time, the member companies and the committee's allies spent nearly $500,000 to defeat a ballot measure that would have increased commercial property taxes to pay for better Muni service.
Despite the formidable money machine, downtown's biggest employers were aware that they hadn't bought much after the smoke cleared. Liberals beat conservatives for board seats, the defeat of the transit assessment district only left the status quo intact and did not represent a gain, and a major effort to win charter reform was murdered at the Board of Supervisors by neighborhood activists.
The emergence now of San Franciscans for Sensible Government -- or as Supervisor Ammiano mockingly calls it, "San Franciscans for Sensible Shoes" -- demonstrates that the business community is willing to keep its hand in the game and raise the stakes.
"Sensible" claims to represent a coalition of big and small business and some neighborhood representatives. Its first mailer of 50,000 pieces relies heavily on reprints of "Fat City" articles from the San Francisco Examiner.
Despite weaknesses and loopholes in the city's lobbyist disclosure law, the public did get a glimpse of one lobbyist in action on a critical issue. Supervisor Alioto introduced an ordinance requiring that Hizzoner fund a feasibility study for municipalization of PG&E's utility service to San Franciscans. The issue went through several wringers at City Hall before finally being sandwiched into the city's budget plan. PG&E reports that it spent $7,939.28 trying to defeat Alioto's proposal.
Dethroning King Arthur
San Francisco Republican Party Chair Arthur Bruzzone swelled with party pride two months ago as he boasted of busing himself and allies to Orange County where he was part of the successful campaign to recall Assemblyman Paul Horcher for breaking party ranks by voting to keep Willie Brown as speaker. No Republican could vote for a Democrat as speaker, Bruzzone intoned at the time. For Bruzzone, the show of party loyalty from San Francisco Republicans was particularly important: He had just been named to a state GOP office as spokesman for county GOP committees like the one he heads here.
How times change. Now Bruzzone is doing back flips trying to knock out fellow Republican Ben Hom from a run for San Francisco mayor, charging that Hom is being used by Brown to steal Republican votes from Frank Jordan. Hizzoner, a nominal Democrat, previously has shown so much partiality to Republicans that he spent one Election Night at Republican Party headquarters cheering GOP victories over Democratic incumbents.
Bruzzone has even manufactured a 27-question test for mayoral candidates that asks which Republicans have endorsed the candidate and how many Republicans have won appointments from the candidate -- but avoids asking which party registration the candidate himself holds.
Hom is not taking Bruzzone's pimping for Jordan lying down. A substantial contributor to Republican causes, Hom has recruited other Republican givers to insist that state party officials oust Bruzzone from his new post if he or the local committee endorses a Democrat over a Republican for the nonpartisan mayor's post.
As for that darn questionnaire -- Brown intends to send it back with a note saying, "Thanks but no thanks." Even in a bid for mayor, Brown has no intention of suddenly playing the fool for the GOP.
They Have Answers,
We Have Questions
When the University of California Board of Regents voted last week, one of those voting to end affirmative action was Jordan appointee Howard Leach, who serves as deputy chief of protocol for government relations. Maybe Jordan should wait awhile before he expands Leach's turf to include interracial relations. Millionaire Republican Leach is himself the beneficiary of affirmative action in being named to the Board of Regents -- tapped under the Deukmejian-Wilson outreach program to Republican millionaire donors. ... An embarrassed John Crew, the ACLU's lobbyist on police discipline issues, spent part of last week dodging reporters because he was refusing to reveal the closed-door deal he made with the Police Officers Association to remove important discipline cases from the Police Commission and turn them over to an arbitrator. Finally it was the police officers themselves who 'fessed up to the public policy rewrite soon to appear in the form of a charter amendment. After everybody else talked, Crew started dialing reporters to do an after-the-fact spin.
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