Campaign contributions could affect Mirkarimi’s fate 

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  • Melissa Griffin

The first round of campaign contribution reports have been filed for November’s Board of Supervisor elections and they are full of fascinating information. One of the most interesting questions suggested by all the data is which supervisors could vote in favor of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi when the board soon considers whether to sustain his suspension for official misconduct.

In District 1, Supervisor Eric Mar has raised almost $64,000, while his opponent, David Lee, has raised about $106,000. Based on an analysis of donors’ ZIP codes, more than 70 percent of both men’s contributions came from outside the district. Contributors to Mar’s campaign include former Supervisor Chris Daly and Mirkarimi BFF and former Mayor Art Agnos.

In District 9, fellow progressive Supervisor David Campos has only one challenger for re-election — his own former intern Benjamin Castaneda. It’s not clear why he and Campos’ office went their separate ways after only a brief time, but the fact that Castaneda just pled guilty to threatening District Attorney George Gascón might shed some light into his generally unladylike demeanor. While there’s no doubt that Campos will win, since he reported about $43,000 of contributions and his opponent reported none, a District 9 debate might be the most entertaining one in town.

John Avalos once had a progressive challenger in the race for District 11 supervisor, but Leon Chow recently quit amid questions about whether he lives in the district. Chow had only raised about $5,000 to Avalos’ $35,000. Among Avalos’ contributors is Beverly Upton, director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium and Partners Ending Domestic Abuse. Upton has been a vocal critic of Mirkarimi.

Speaking of Mirkarimi, he must be thrilled with the news that Chow is out of the race. With no real opposition to his re-election, Avalos, like Campos, is free to vote for or against the ousted sheriff without regard for immediate electoral consequences. Nine of the 11 supervisors have to agree that Mirkarimi should lose his job, so if progressives Avalos and Campos vote to keep Mirkarimi in office, he only needs one more vote to be returned to his position as sheriff. What other progressive might go along? My guess is Mar.

Did I mention that Art Agnos just contributed to his campaign?

Can you guess who is Samuel L. Jackson backing?

Months of rumors, threats and grumbling have amounted to nothing so far as current District 3 Supervisor David Chiu has no serious challenger in his race for re-election. (Although, bless her heart, opera singer Wilma Pang has said she’s running again.) Chiu has raised a whopping $147,000 from donors who aren’t going to let the mere fact of a guaranteed victory ruin a perfectly good opportunity to kiss up to the president of the Board of Supervisors.

The race for District 5 is still open, with at least five main contenders so far. Community College board of trustees President John Rizzo raised almost $20,000. The president of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, Julian Davis, has raised $9,333. Of course, these filings stop at June 30, and on July 9, Aaron Peskin endorsed Davis, so we’ll see if that gives Davis’ campaign a boost. Thea Selby is the president of the Lower Haight Merchant and Neighbor Association, and has raised $41,432.72.

Pulling out ahead of the pack are current District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague and London Breed, executive director of the African American Art & Culture Complex.  Olague has raised $81,332, second only to Breed, who has raised $85,461. Notable contributors to Breed include: angel investor Ron Conway, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and — I am not making this up — actor Samuel L. Jackson.

The race to replace the termed-out Supervisor Sean Elsbernd in District 7 is another exciting one to watch. Elsbernd has endorsed former Ethics Commissioner Mike Garcia, who has raised more than $80,000, and about 40 percent of that was from within the district, based on donors’ ZIP codes. Board of Education President Norman Yee has raised $63,824, and while it’s hard to tell where the donors live — since his campaign is, shall we say, relaxed about gathering full addresses of contributors — a significant amount don’t live in The City at all. While it’s common to see a handful of outside donors, in 2012, folks from outside The City accounted for 31 percent of his funds raised. With the limited ZIP code information provided, 26 percent of his funds are from District 7.

The big dog in District 7 so far is F.X. Crowley, who has raised more than $125,000. A lifelong resident of District 7, Crowley is the business manager and secretary of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 16. And boy, do the fire, maritime and stage unions love Crowley. Forty-nine of them have contributed to his campaign for a total of $21,600. That’s not counting union executives and members who have donated. About 40 percent of Crowley’s donors are in District 7.

The final candidate to mention in District 7 is Joel Engardio. He’s a writer and civil liberties advocate, and if you haven’t seen his videos, you’re missing out. He has raised $37, 268, and although about half his donors are from outside of The City, almost every one of his San Francisco contributors is in District 7.

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Melissa Griffin

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