Chiu and others get stung for support from speculators and evictors

In a city awash with evictions (this map shows those since '97), the issue is affecting this year's political races.

Our colleagues down the hall at the San Francisco Examiner seem to have spoiled tonight’s [Thu/30] fundraiser for David Chiu’s Assembly race by reporting this hour that the host, attorney Steven MacDonald, is on a housing activists’ blacklist for representing landlords in controversial Ellis Act evictions.

Reporter Chris Roberts quotes Chiu campaign manager Nicole Derse pleading ignorance about “what type of law Steven practices” and pledging to return a $500 campaign contribution from him in October, but saying that the 6pm fundraiser at John’s Grill would go on nonetheless.

Derse told the Guardian that MacDonald represents a wide variety of clients, including many tenants who are fighting evictions, so the campaign decided to go ahead with the fundraiser but refused MacDonald’s direct financial support, consistent with a pledge not to take money from those involved in evictions.

“We won’t accept money from anyone who has been involved with evictions at all,” Derse told us, saying it was a mistake to accept money from MacDonald but acknowledging the challenge of the “scrutiny and vetting involved for a small campaign.”

“We’ll do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she told us.  

The controversy and the Chiu’s campaign’s quick decision to refuse the support from an early contributor show just how volatile and politically toxic the city’s eviction and affordable housing crisis have become, rapidly transforming the city’s political dynamics. It also shows how information being made public by housing activists, and their new confrontational tactics, are being used within that changed realm. 

Former Guardian Editor Tim Redmond had a story yesterday on his 48 Hills website focusing on the heat that Sup. Scott Wiener is taking over the political contributions that he’s received from real estate speculators and those involved in evictions, including Urban Green and speculator Ashok K. Gujral, who are among the Dirty Dozen serial evictors highlighted by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, whose work we been covering for months here at the Guardian.

Below is an infographic of Supervisor Wiener's campaign contributions, created by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project:


but I feel sure that you didn't like them.

What "values" really means is that a politician has a fixed bias and, in Campos's case, that is towards socialist "values" which typically Americans do not subscribe to.

Chui is a better candidate not because he is more moderate and centrist, although I'm sure most voters prefer that, but because he can work with a broader constituency, is more receptive to being persuaded to change his mind, and because he has demonstrated pragmatism and the ability to compromise in a leadership role - something Campos has not and could not do.

So yes, values is just another work for a personal bias and ideology.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

for the other Supes?
or will those not be forthcoming bc it is likely that many of the same people/entities spread their money out to all candidates?

why do I have a feeling that Campos and Kim and the whole crew have some people on their lists that would get the SFBG's panties up in a bunch??

but lets not forget that Steven is on a crusade to save the soul of SF (to use his own words). why let upsetting things like facts get in the way of a nice narrative?

Posted by guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 2:10 pm

I can say that David spoke almost entirely in favor of tenants rights, and was introduced by someone who is being Ellised (and who Steve MacDonald is defending). The idea that someone who doesn't support your positions 100% of the time is corrupt is basically the Tea Party view of the world.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

Steven, please save your own soul before you worry about saving the city. We just want to be saved from you.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

It's ridiculous. Steven MacDonald is hardly an "Ellis Act" lawyer. He's unbiased and has been covered as a pro tenant attorney before.
See here.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

allow them to refuse to act for a client of theirs except in cases where there is a conflict of interest.

So Steven's requirement here isn't just unreasonable. It could get a lawyer disbarred.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

I'm voting for Campos because he is a wetback pole smoker... how much more qualified can you be than that?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

There's a part of me that almost wants Campos to win, and for two reasons.

First, Lee gets to appoint a replacement Supe.

Second, Campos will be out of his depth and will self-destruct, and that will hurt the left.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

Sen. Ron Calderon - who shares Campos' positions on just about everything.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

They're both considered "moderate, pragmatic" Democrats. And that fits right in with personal corruption, because neither of them are in it to help others. They're both in it to help themselves. I'd be very surprised to see Campos ever in the headlines this way. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Chiu decided to "help" himself in this manner. It would fit right in with his entire motivation for being in politics.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

and small property owners... some of us are tired of activists who are using envy and hate to further their agendas, and and therefore blocking some of the last avenues of home ownership available to anyone of modest means in San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 5:01 pm

I've heard a number expressing resentment about how the old boomers and hippies get fabulous deals, but how that limits supply for younger folks and new arrivals.

Kinda like the Prop13 arguments, for that matter.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

Take a look at McDonald on this video where he defends his eviction of tenants in Chiu's district. It will become very clear that he is not in the least respectable:

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

IOW, he's a good lawyer because he can argue both sides of a case. That's kinda important for lawyers and what distinguishes them from activists, along with getting paid far more.

I first met him personally twenty years ago and he's a good guy.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 6:33 pm

Watch it in its entirety. The more he talks the more he puts his foot in his mouth. It's bad enough when he says there's no problem because "if they're as old as they say they are, then they have families who will take care of them." That's incredibly callous in and of itself. But it gets worse. He goes on to say, "I know these people. They're brain surgeons. They're *Asian-Americans*. They're smart, hard-working, ADDICTED to the acquisition of real estate."

Oh. My. God. ...Wow. And this is the kind of guy who Chiu has holding fundraisers for him.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 22, 2014 @ 8:17 am

However, if Chiu loses, look for him to push for an ordinance requiring all SF males to wear the same style and pattern of suit that MacDonald wears in the video. Shades of Jello Biafra's campaign for clown suits in the late 70's. Looks like MacDonald is a closet punk rocker. He's certainly a clown.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2014 @ 8:51 am

Chui just said what everyone thinks.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2014 @ 9:04 am

How any politician would want to be in the same room with someone like Steven McDonald is beyond comprehension. First, he says these evicted tenants "are old," implying they should just die already. Then he says "Asians are addicted to real estate," implying these old and poor tenants likely to have a few castles on the side they could move into. Then he denigrates SF tenant rules that give tenants a few thousand dollars in moving expenses so they can hire a company to move out of SF. He implies these laws should be repealed so SF can be like everywhere else in the US where tenants are treated worse than dogs.

The word clueless isn't strong enough for Steven McDonald. A rabid hatred against San Francisco tenants is more like it. And this guy was chosen by David Chiu to host a fundraiser with other landlord attorneys who make millions helping landlords evict tenants? Wow. Just wow.

David Chiu should resign now and whoever is working on his campaign should never work in town again. Oh wait. His campaign manager is one of Mayor Lee's $100,000 a year staffers. Now it all makes sense. David Chiu is just following in the footsteps of the person he help anoint to the mayor's seat, a mayor intent on evicting as many people from SF as possible, increasing rents to astronomical levels for everyone else, and primarily building million-dollar condos for the uber-elite 5%ers.

It's been a sad couple of years for the City of St. Francis. Mayor Lee and David Chiu need to go.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2014 @ 9:57 am

I guess you missed that part.

What we need is more people who see both sides of an issue, and we need less people ideologically wed to just one side.

I'm voting Chui.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2014 @ 10:34 am

Found this Examiner article discussing Chui's and Campos's sources for campaign contributions...

Says Chui gets more money from developers, but Campos hasn't completely steered clear of the trough himself. Some quotes...

"But Campos isn’t untouched by developer money: Oyster Development, the company behind a large development at Van Ness and Clay streets, gave him the maximum $4,100"

"Several San Francisco power players are backing both candidates: both Davids received maximum $4,100 contributions from Clint and Janet Reilly. Architecture firm Build LLC, below-market-rate housing developer Seven Hills LLC and real estate marketing firm Polaris Pacific also gave matching checks."

"On a more local level of power players, Chinatown Chamber of Commerce boss Rose Pak wrote one check for $1,000 — for Campos."

Posted by Snoozers on Feb. 22, 2014 @ 1:14 am

Creating the illusion that multiple commentators share his view, but idiosyncratic misspellings give him away.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 8:32 am

In fact, often disagree with him, although not here.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 9:12 am

Greg, my view is that both Chiu and Campos have taken developer money; though Campos has taken less. Honestly, I would be surprised if there was a politician in SF who hasn't taken Real Estate money. As for the video, I don't think it paints a very appealing picture of MacDonald but I doubt any of his comments will affect Chiu's run. Trying to convince voters that an Asian American (Chiu) is racist towards Asians will be a hard sell.

Posted by Snoozers on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

that some Asians could be racist against other Asians. In fact "Asian" is far too broad a term as many Asian ethnicities may dislike each other e.g. Chinese and Japanese.

It's more accurate to speak of people being, say, Chinese despite Greg's overly PC weirdness about that.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

Totally not fair to vilify Steven MacDonald! He represents tenants AND landlords and almost always recommends landlords pay out big money to tenants in lieu of evicting them or paying for lawyer fees. (Even when the tenant are horrible, law breaking people.) He is really strict with his landlord clients, insisting that they follow the law to the letter and respect tenants.

I have used this guy three times, twice as a landlord (drug dealing tenant and domestic violence tenant evictions) and once as a tenant myself, and MacDonald is a good guy. He supports building low income housing. He has handled the buy-out of a building by tenants so they wouldn't get evicted Ellis style. He is a rare lawyer who wants both parties to benefit.

Sorry but I can't sit by and let this guy get trashed when he's a good guy.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 9:59 am

years. He ha successfully represented tenants I have known. And, when MacDonald represented my landlord against me, he behaved impeccably and slapped down the landlord whenever they behaved unreasonably.

There are few lawyers in SF who are more informed about LL-TT law, and he is a poster child for the professional lawyer who tries to seek the fairest result.

Lawyers are not politicians, because lawyers must fight for both sides. He's no ideolog - he's a professional.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 10:07 am

Watch the video. It speaks for itself. The man is scum and it reflects badly on Chiu for associating himself with that guy. I'm sure you'll disagree, but most San Franciscans will be repulsed when they see the video. I hope it goes viral between now and November.

"Asians are addicted to real estate acquisition". This is what he says about elderly *tenants* getting EVICTED! What a racist, heartless scumbag! This video needs to be posted and reposted many times.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 10:14 am

I guess it's a cultural thing. Pointing that out is less racist than some of the things that you have said about Asians.

And yes, older people do tend to move out for one reason or another, whether it is going into car, getting sick, becoming disabled, moving in with their family or dying. I see nothing wrong with pointing that out.

You're way too sensitive.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 10:31 am

absolutely NOTHING racist about Asians. EVER. I've repeatedly challenged the trolls to come up with a quote I've ever said that supports that meme, and not one person has EVER been able to produce anything.

This, on the other hand, is real, actual racism. As are the trolls who rant about "Chinamen" who "need to learn English." The phenomenon is known as "projection," where someone wants to deflect attention from a particularly vile quality that they possess, by accusing someone else of having the same quality. But it doesn't work, because the quotes are there for all to see.

In this case, there's even a video. Scum. Racist, heartless, classist, evil scum. The fact that Chiu didn't denounce him and still held a fundraiser with him shows the extent to which Chiu is totally for sale.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 10:49 am

When Asians were successful in the last major SF election, you criticized them for vote influencing rather than acknowledge their success.

When Asians are successful at real estate, MacDonald commends them for it.,

You are a far bigger racist than him. you also act as an apologist for black and hispanic criminals.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 11:10 am

I did not criticize Eric Mar for "influencing" whatever it is that you accuse him of influencing. I actually volunteered on his campaign.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 11:23 am

to try and win the election. You claimed they used influence to get out the Asian vote.

Mar is outside the main Asian power bloc of Lee, Kim and Chui.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 11:45 am

First of all, I never used the word "mafia." So let's just get that out of the way.

Because I criticized one Asian candidate for doing something illegal (organizing mass ballot-stuffing, er, excuse me, "helping" people fill out their ballots), that makes me anti-Asian racist? This is the same tactic that Willie Brown loved to use -anyone who criticizes any black person in office (namely, him) is racist.

Meanwhile, some who calls elderly Chinese-Americans "old Chinamen" is not racist?

Someone who makes blanket generalizations like "these Asian-Americans are addicted to real estate acquisition"... they're not racist either? I see. I mean, geez, even the corporate media interviewer asked him if he was maybe painting people with too broad a brush, giving MacDonald the chance to walk back his comments. Instead, MacDonald doubled down.

Look, the video speaks for itself.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

You also accused Lee and Pak of colluding - a charge that did not stand.

A man from China who is old is an old Chinaman. Or would you prefer "senior person of male Chineseness" or some PC nonsense?

And yes, Asians love RE investment. What's wrong with that or with observing that?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

make reasonable, evidence based comments (even if I sometimes disagree). But why waste your time defending yourself against baseless charges from racists trying to spread their social pathologies to you?

For all you and I know, this cretin who keeps attacking you is probably some pathetic shut-in without friends who should deserve our sympathy even as he spews these unfounded charges and claims.

I never thought that in 2014, a winning campaign slogan might be, "Chinamen of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your slanting eyes and your addiction to real estate."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

affinity with owning property and are active and successful real estate investors.

Non-racists like us should celebrate when a minority group prosper.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

He has done nothing for the Castro, or the existing communities of SF.

He is a stool-pidgeon for the few groups he represents.

Unfortunately he has consistently caused more havoc than good.

If you want to see money and back room deals keep wiener

if you want to see proper and adequate respectfull legislation for existing communities evict Wiener,.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

Where is the infographic for the rest of the Supervisors? They all take real estate money.

You are not a journalist, you are a propagandist.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Feb. 23, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

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