You know that thing where you're involved in an argument with someone, then you realize that your opponent is actually angry about something that has NOTHING to do with what you're talking about? That's San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee this week — but before you feel too bad for the dude, it's not like he hasn't pulled that kind of stuff himself.
The Chron's Marisa Lagos told us Thursday that the San Francisco Apartment Association, a group that you typically hear arguing for landlords and against tenant protections, has recently taken up the fight against Proposition A, the San Francisco Transportation and Road Improvement Bond.
You can read the ballot measure's entire language here, but you'll be hard pressed to see anything that seems like a natural enemy of the San Francisco Landlord.
A $500 million bond measure intended to go toward street repaving, bike and transit-only lanes, new traffic signals, raised crosswalks, improved maintenance facilities, and new elevators and escalators, Prop A is basically Lee's baby — and was reportedly so important to him that he forced the end of metered parking on Sundays to scare up support for this measure.
It's apparently the prop's nearness and dearness to Lee's heart that's made it an attractive target for the landlord group, which has, the Chron reports, put over $50,000 into a campaign opposing the transit bond in the last few weeks.
It would seem the Apartment Association’s donation, however, has less to do with the details of the bond and more to do with Lee’s relationship — or lack thereof — with the group, which has been on the losing end of a litany of tenant-friendly laws coming out of City Hall in the past year, as well as the recently-approved “Airbnb law,” which the association joined tenant groups in opposing.
To anyone who's been griping that Lee doesn't do enough to help tenants, this is likely the kind of thing that leaves them with jaws agape, but according to Janan New, President of the Apartment Association, “We have lost faith that this administration is able to lead the city, and if you look at the reasons why — you will see huge contributions by the tech industry into" Prop A.
Lee tells the Chron that he's aghast that "'anyone who calls themselves leaders in any industry would forego the opportunity of putting badly-needed money into the city’s transit and transportation system," and that the Apartment Association's $50K "must be for some insane political reason that probably I can’t even comment on because it’s so extreme.”
Which is kiiiiiind of funny, given that Lee pulled a similar move less than three months ago.
Back in July, after Supervisor Scott Wiener proposed Proposition B, the Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth charter amendment intended to increase the share of general funds devoted to transportation, the Mayor's response was fast and furious.
Vowing to "punish" the Supervisors who voted to approve Prop B, Lee hinted to the Chron that he'd be targeting "programs important to the six supervisors who voted to place Wiener's proposal on the ballot," and told Streetsblog that ”I have to hold the supervisors that did this accountable.”
According to an email sent by Wiener to media on August 1:
...in what can only be described as an empty scare tactic, the Mayor's Office announced that due solely to the transit measure (totaling .25% of the budget), all departments were directed to formulate emergency 1.5% contingency cuts for the 2015/16 fiscal year. The Mayor's Office further indicated that the cuts will be directed at the "priorities" of the six Supervisors who voted to place the measure on the ballot.
OK, I get it! When an unrelated group targets a transportation funding program important to Mayor Lee, it's bad leadership, "insane," and "extreme." When he targets unrelated programs important to those who dare support a transportation funding program that isn't his, he's just holding people accountable. Sure, makes sense.