“There’s roughly ten thousand homeless people on the streets of San Francisco, and there’s roughly ten thousand Airbnb rentals out there. I’m just saying,” Broke-Ass Stuart Shuffman, a candidate for San Francisco Mayor, joked last night at an event held by The League of Women Voters in Genentech Hall on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus.
In his advertising for the talk, Schuffman adamantly described the event as a "debate," but to the detriment of all candidates but sitting Mayor Ed Lee, the evening was anything but, as Mission Local and other coverage agreed.
"Much of the opposition to Lee’s campaign was also focused on perceived corruption and favoritism, given the mayor’s close relationship to Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway and the tech world," they note, quoting one of the six total candidates, a basically unknown Reed Martin, as saying “San Francisco has a money problem... We have a corruption problem at our core. We don’t really have a tech problem, we have a corporate tech problem.”
Martin is joined by another relative outsider-outsider, Kent Graham. But it's Amy Farah Weiss, Schuffman, and Mission activist Francisco Herrera who are the frontrunners at the way back. That's to say that Lee, all seem certain, will win reelection in spite of the Chronicle's damningly faint endorsement of his candidacy (with which Weiss, who also goes by SF YIMBY, nonetheless took issue). But meanwhile, as Mission Local explains:
Weiss, Shuffman, and Herrera have formed a campaign to oust Ed Lee using the city’s ranked-choice voting system, with the slogan “Vote ‘1-2-3’ to replace Ed Lee.” Voters can rank the Weiss, Shuffman, and Herrera in any order they like, the candidates say, because the ultimate goal is to remove Lee from office.
Schuffman was quick to emphasize in his answers the value of protest or alternative candidates in his answers, proclaiming that “It’s sad that there’s a guy named Broke-Ass Stuart who’s doing well in this election,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to be doing this, but I’m doing it and I’m proud to be doing it. We need to take our city back. We need to get the money out of politics.”
48 Hills was one of the news outlets to take issue with the forums format, which seemed to let Lee off the hook. "Rules were simple," they wrote, "all the questions came in writing from the audience, and the moderator, Maxine Anderson, chose from them."
According to the publication, which is highly critical of the mayor:
Lee looked uncomfortable from the moment he arrived. He seemed to see the debate as an unfortunate duty he didn’t want to snub the League but he clearly didn’t want to be there. His answers were flat and appeared pre-scripted. He never smiled until the very end. He arrived to boos and left so quickly that even veteran reporters like me couldn’t catch him for an instant.
Meanwhile, the Chronicle pointed out a number of figures that have changed during Lee's tenure in office, resubmitted here:
City budget: $6.8 billion in 2011, $8.6 billion in 2015
Median price of houses and condominiums: $660,000 in 2011, $1.16 million in 2015
Median rent for apartments of all sizes: $2,595 in 2011, $4,225 in 2015
Unemployment: 9.4 percent in 2011, 3.6 percent in 2015
Homeless people: 6,455 in 2011, 6,686 in 2015
Sources: Paragon Real Estate, Zillow, Priceonomics, Chronicle research
To that, Herrera might respond, as he did last night, that “These are 40,000 jobs for people who didn’t live here, while 10,000 people were kicked out of the Mission. This planning is not for us. Our communities have the wisdom to build a city where we can live.”
In the words of San Francisco Magazine, "the mayor was bailed out by the structure of the forum, which played to his strength: not saying anything memorable."
As for Schuffman, "'Broke-Ass' Stuart Schuffman, grasping far too hard for the mantle of class clown all night, had his funniest answer when he did the least: Queried how, as mayor, he'd ensure tech companies pay their fair share of taxes, he bluntly replied 'I'd make them pay their taxes'... There is a gaping chasm between 'Mayor Ed Lee is unacceptable' and 'I want Broke-Ass Stuart to tell me what to do'... And in that chasm lies the rub," they conclude.