The City Attorney's months-long investigation into election coercion has confirmed that the now-defunct city organization SLUG (the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners) illegally coerced its workers to campaign and vote for Gavin Newsom in last year's mayoral runoff election. The workers, who were in welfare or prison-to-work employment training programs run by the City, were ordered to attend campaign rallies and debates, hang door flyers for Newsom, told to vote absentee for Newsom (or risk losing city funding and their jobs), and coerced into participating in get-out-the-vote campaigning on the day of the election itself. The investigation was in part spurred on by a series of Chronicle articles about the situation back in January.
SLUG was once a national model of urban horticulture and community betterment, sponsoring community gardens for city-dwellers longing to grow their own tomatoes (you may remember the gardens, one of which is shown above), helping residents compost, and making pretty decent Urban Herbal jams, which are still sold today. The group, though, has fallen on hard times. After twenty years of history, SLUG is today completely out of cash, has lost the right to obtain city contracts for the next two years because of its electioneering woes, and its executive director is in deportation proceedings. SLUG is hoping its volunteers and city parks officials can keep its gardens going while it struggles to regroup.