YIMBY Candidate Denied Matching Funds in D6 Race

Sonja Trauss is among five supervisorial candidates declared ineligible for matching public campaign funds, but she and several others will appeal.

Mike Koozmin, SF Examiner

A candidate best known for her role the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) movement recently got a No from City Hall. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that District 6 candidate Sonja Trauss, who’s seeking to replace Jane Kim when Kim is termed out, was among five supervisorial candidates citywide declared ineligible for matching public funds after missing a mid-June filing deadline.

Trauss has by far the largest campaign operation of the five candidates declared ineligible for public funding.

San Francisco Ethics Commission executive director LeAnn Pelham notified Trauss and four other candidates last month that their campaigns had missed a June 12 deadline for filing a Statement of Participation form to receive public financing. According to the Chronicle, Pelham sent similar letters to D10 candidate Uzuri Pease-Greene, and D4 candidates Arthur Tom, Trevor McNeil, and Li Miao Lovett. (Lovett announced Wednesday night on Twitter she was dropping out of the race.)

But Trauss will appeal Pelham’s ruling, and is quick to note this is not the the final determination. “The Ethics Commission hasn’t made a decision yet,” Trauss tells SF Weekly. “The commission will make a decision on July 20. So we don’t know what their decision is yet.”

Trauss’ Statement of Participation letter is dated on the June 12 deadline, but is marked as filed by the Ethics Commission two days later, on June 14. Filings show that Trauss has been sending requests for matching public funds since February 2018, but had not submitted the Statement of Participation application document until June.

The Trauss campaign has enjoyed brisk fundraising thus far, and Ethics Commission data shows she’s received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions. While Trauss hasn’t raised as much as one of her D6 opponents Matt Haney, she’s one of only a few Nov. 2018 supervisorial candidates who’s already crossed the $100,000 campaign contribution threshold.

Two other District 6 candidates, Haney and former Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson, also applied for matching public funds.

In a related YIMBY development, advocacy group YIMBY Action announced in late April that they were dropping their November ballot proposal to streamline affordable and teacher housing, in part to better support Trauss’ run and the successful campaign of then-Sup. London Breed.

“It was the absolute right call to focus our efforts on the mayoral election,” says YIMBY Action executive director Laura Foote Clarke. “We just got rid of [discretionary reviews] on affordable housing at the Board of Supervisors. More things are possible through the legislative process than ever before.”

“Two weeks ago we passed two-thirds of what we were trying to accomplish with the ballot initiative,” she tells SF Weekly, referring to the supes’ vote to fast-track affordable housing at a June 26 meeting.

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