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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Couple Gave $245K To Jeff Adachi Pension Measure. Will They Give More To See It Pass?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 3:20 PM

click to enlarge rsz_1scrooge_in_gold_coins.png
When Jeff Adachi triumphantly wheeled 75,000 signatures and change into the Department of Elections yesterday, he shocked a lot of veteran City Hall observers. Sure, they were surprised at the sheer number of John Hancocks he amassed for his pension reform measure. But what really caught everyone's eyes was the metric shitload of money he raised to send folks out for those signatures

According to forms Adachi filed with the Ethics Commission, he amassed $314,285 in short order and spent $157,662 of it. But the eye-catcher

was that $245,000 of that total came from one married couple: Pacific

Heights' Michael Moritz, the principal of Sequoia Capital, and his

novelist wife, Harriet Heyman. It figures that the couple wouldn't

just drop a quarter of a million on Adachi's cause to see organized

labor slap it down come November. So is Adachi going back to that

bountiful well?

click to enlarge Jeff Adachi says he just got lucky... - RICHARD BUI
  • Richard Bui
  • Jeff Adachi says he just got lucky...
Well, he's not sure. "We haven't discussed that," says Adachi. "What I asked him for is to help me fund my signature-gathering so we could get it on the ballot." Now, granted, Moritz is a billionaire. A quarter of a million dollars is toothpaste money for him. But it's still hard to imagine a scenario in which he cuts Adachi off now, with "Smart Reform" poised to actually make the ballot and then be voted into reality -- especially if the couple gave so generously out of concern for the city's future, as Adachi puts it.

Our calls to Moritz at his place of business have not yet been returned.

Less clear is exactly how Adachi hooked up with Moritz and Heyman. The public defender said he and "a friend" simply drew up a list of likely donors and he made his case to the couple. They grilled him, were sold by the argument that ballooning pension and health care costs would divert money from city services, and wrote a check. A big check. A big check that came with no strings attached, said Adachi.

That Moritz had given money to Adachi ally Matt Gonzalez was news to the public defender. Adachi added that, while his fellow pension reform crusader Alex Gersznowicz and Moritz are both donors to the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, he was not introduced to Moritz by Gersznowicz. This, according to Adachi, was simply a cold call of a potential supporter; it seems he was swinging for the fences with a list of wealthy potential donors -- and connected here. 

It also warrants mentioning that, prior to this bonanza, Moritz' political donations were limited to relatively modest handouts to Gonzalez, Gavin Newsom, and Barack Obama ($2,300 to the president). So, again, this was a hell of a find for Adachi, who claims he had no idea he'd strike it rich like this when he launched his signature-gathering drive.

"We came up with a list and I contacted people," said Adachi. "He was the only one who responded."

In the end, he was the only one who needed to.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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