Big money is flowing into the Mayor’s race, but it may not flow into candidate Angela Alioto’s coffers.
Alioto was allegedly late in filing her public financing request forms, meaning she won’t receive matching funds from The City through its public financing system, according to a letter sent to Alioto from the Ethics Commission.
The commission forwarded me the letter, and it paints a grim picture for her ability to net that city-provided cash: Alioto’s campaign finance committee “did not provide the documentation necessary to qualify the Committee for public funds,” the letter reads. It did timely resubmit its request on April 6, according to the letter, but that submission “also failed to provide the necessary documentation, and the committee is ineligible to recieve public financing.”
Alioto is crying foul, and told me “we got cheated on the time, big time,” and that she was given only one day to file, versus five days for other candidates. The candidate plans to appeal the decision with the Ethics Commission, where she hopes she’ll get a fair shake.
“I’ve known (ethics commissioner) Quentin Kopp since I was a little girl,” she told me. “I’m not his best friend, but I think he’s always been a fair guy.”
Alioto may find herself severely undercut by a lack of public financing in the hot-as-Hades, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it June election. All three other major candidates qualified for public financing, and are raking in the cash.
Already, the other candidates have spent eye-popping $1.6 million to win over San Francisco voters: the latest Ethics Commission filings reveal mayoral candidate London Breed spent $792,572 in her campaign so far (not including the Super PAC supporting her), Leno’s campaign spent $673,305, and Jane Kim spent $198,587.
Yowza. All that money, however, may be moving the needles on who voters are looking at. You all remember that much-talked-about firefighters union poll, that showed Breed and Kim leagues ahead of Leno? Well, according to a new poll paid for by unions and the state LGBT group Equality California, the firefighters’ poll is old news.
When prospective voters were asked between March 28 and April 3 “who would be your first choice for mayor,” Leno netted 28 percent of the picks, and Breed 27 percent, with Kim far behind at 17 percent. As for Alioto? Let’s just say … less than that.
Importantly, because of our wacky ranked-choice voting system, those voters second choices were 21 percent for Breed, 19 percent for Leno, and 16 percent for Kim.
When the pollsters for Equality California simulated a real ranked-choice vote, Leno came out with 31 percent, Breed with 30 percent, and Kim with 19 percent. By the time the simulation bumps out all of the candidates failing to net enough votes, Leno and Breed are the last two standing, at 52 and 48 percent, respectively.
However, as my esteemed journalistic colleague at Mission Local, Joe Eskenazi, wrote in his coverage of the poll this week, no poll is “carried down from Mt. Sinai.” (One of his favorite expressions).
Translation? Polls can get you the answers you want. Most are bunk. Pay them a bit of mind, but ultimately, vote your conscience.
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Mayoral candidate Amy Farah Weiss just can’t catch a break. The long-shot candidate has long railed against the media’s tendency to cover more monied politicos, and showed some real chutzpah in late March when she stormed the stage at a KQED-hosted Castro Theater mayoral debate, demanding equal time. (Which, might I add, she got.)
But it seems that stunt may have earned her a reputation, and seen her ticket revoked from the San Francisco Chronicle’s mayoral forum last week.
Weiss was surprised to see the Chronicle refunded her Eventbrite ticket Monday just before the debate, effectively barring her from the event. “I guess they were afraid I would storm the stage, although I was planning to listen and campaign afterwards,” she told me by text message that night.
It’s a shame they didn’t invite her in. I recall at the first mayoral forum of this election, in Noe Valley, a number of neighbors told me afterward that they were surprised they had never heard of Weiss — and were glad to hear her novel ideas. The major candidates, by contrast, clearly crafted their too-similar messaging from reading electoral polls. You know the drill: Homelessness, car break-ins, housing.
So did the Chron get cold feet? I emailed Chronicle Editorial Page Editor John Diaz to find out, as he hosted the forum Monday. (Disclosure: He and I have served in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists together. He also barbecues a mean chicken. Hoo boy.)
“Now Joe, you really wouldn’t expect me to contribute to your column, would you?!” he wrote back.
Well no, John, I wouldn’t. But since you forgot to say those magic words, “off the record,” you did anyway! Gracias, señor.
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.