Pro-development BARF declares victory over ‘Frisco 5’

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/on-guard/

Talk about the hot seat … Police Chief Greg Suhr is practically on a chair poured over by molten lava.

And the clarion call to dethrone the San Francisco Police Department’s illustrious (bald) head was sung by the “Frisco 5,” hunger strikers who fasted for 17 days to call for his ouster.

Now here’s a pivot. The most oddly named pro-development group in The City — SF BARF, the Bay Area Renters Federation — is declaring victory over the Frisco 5.

Last Tuesday, BARF was on a mission: Turn out voters to support the “progress slate” in a race for the obscure (but politically important) local Democratic Party board, the DCCC (or Dee-triple-Cee). BARF wants to keep the party’s chair, Mary Jung, a lobbyist for the Realtors Association, in her position of power.

So BARFers marched into the Department of Elections to support Jung the day after Frisco 5 supporters marched on City Hall.

In an email and forum posting to its supporters, the face of BARF, Sonja Trauss, took a swing. “One sure thing the [Department of Elections’] numbers tell us is that the #Frisco500 is not voting,” she wrote, using the hashtag for Frisco 5 supporters.

She wrote BARF’s political enemy and DCCC reformer, Jon Golinger, was “incompetent,” because he should have rallied Frisco 5 protesters to vote “since they were at City Hall anyway!”

For his part, Edwin Lindo, a candidate for Board of Supervisors and Frisco 5 hunger striker, sounded disinterested in Trauss’ DCCC politics. He told On Guard, “We have our demands. The Board of Supervisors, the DCCC, they don’t fire Chief Suhr.”

In her email, Trauss also claimed 3,586 people voted at City Hall that day, which she called a victory for BARF-loving pro-development types. Not so fast.

The Department of Elections told On Guard only 230 ballots were issued at City Hall on Tuesday. Those 3,000-plus ballots?

They were mailed into the department from The City as a whole … sorry, BARF.

***

Speaking of Suhr, insiders are whispering that the chief stepping down seems increasingly likely.

Two names are floating around as likely successors from within the department: deputy chiefs Garret Tom and Toney Chaplin. Still that could shift … the news is developing faster than a speeding bullet.

Scuttlebutt is, Suhr is waiting it out to retire gracefully, so his departure doesn’t seem brought about by crowds with pitchforks.
Good luck with that.

***

Riddle me this! Who is the most lobbied person in city government? The mayor, someone on the Board of Supervisors, or a high-powered commissioner?

The answer is: probably all three. But you’d never know it from what the Ethics Commission says. Instead, listed on its website is the person with the most reported lobbying contacts.

That would be Marcelle Boudreaux, a low-level staffer in the Planning Department. She had 118 reported contacts with lobbyists since Jan. 1, 2016. The next runners up are Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards (60 reported contacts), and Supervisor Aaron Peskin (50 reported contacts).

(Courtesy San Francisco Ethics Commission)
(Courtesy San Francisco Ethics Commission)

All that lobbying makes Boudreaux look like the mighty and powerful Oz of city government — far from the case.

“If [lobbyists] are going to try to sway a decision, it’s not going to be with Marcelle,” said Gina Simi, Planning Department spokesperson. “She’s a staff member. She does not make decisions to approve or disapprove a project. That’s not her job.”

Simi said Boudreaux asked these contacts simple questions for staff reports. Note, the lobbyists, not those lobbied, report their contact activity to ethics.

City Hall watchdog Larry Bush said this is not a story about Boudreaux’s abundance of lobbying, but a lack of reports from those lobbying City Hall politicians.

“There are a lot of people who are representing their clients for money, and who never register as lobbyists,” Bush said.

For instance, after news broke that Mayor Ed Lee was in talks with filmmaker George Lucas for his new museum, Bush poked around for records of those talks — which would be lobbying.

Bush found bupkis, nada, nothing.

“And why not?” Bush said, Lee “is using The City like a monopoly game, just moving pieces around from here to there. That’s exhibit one!”

But hey, at least we know all about the epic tribulations of Marcelle Boudreaux.

***

Last week, I highlighted Examiner columnist and comedian Nato Green’s wacky suggestions for Homeless Navigation Centers in The City, and asked readers to send their own ideas.

Reader Jo Anne Roy’s suggestion took the cake.

“Put one in Pacific Heights,” she wrote, “one in St. Francis Wood, one in the Presidio and one in whatever neighborhood the mayor lives.”
Zing.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each Tuesday. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com.

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