Hoping to make the school board recall an ongoing wedge issue for progressive supervisors, a new PAC is targeting two supes who opposed it, and announced an ambitious fundraising goal for the Boudin recall.
It is no surprise that developer interests and the tech industry feel that only developer interests and the tech industry can solve the problems of modern-day San Francisco. And San Francisco is a town where a successful Republican party has effectively ceased to exist for decades (we have not had a Republican mayor since the 1960s, nor elected a GOP supervisor since the early 1970s).
This leaves us with a “moderates vs. progressives” political battlefield, wherein developer interests and the tech industry will generally side with the moderates. In the context of this landscape, consider a political action committee (PAC) launched in 2020 called Grow SF. They describe themselves as “a community for tech workers who give a damn about making our city better,” which I guess is the preferred way of saying lobbyists.
While small and relatively new, Grow SF is in the news for an aggressive new mailer campaign against Supervisors Connie Chan and Gordon Mar. The SF Standard reports they’ve sent mailers to west side residents highlighting Mar’s opposition to last month’s school board recall, saying “Nearly 78% of your neighborhood voted to recall the school board, yet Supervisor Mar opposed the recall, and he even voted to make recalls harder,” and “Put simply, Supervisor Mar, who is up for re-election this November, refused to fight for our kids.”
The PAC, founded by tech founder/political donor Sachin Agarwal and YIMBY gadfly Steven Buss, has since spun off a new PAC called Grow SF PAC Opposing Mar for Supervisor 2022. And in a curiosity we’ve seen before with recall-crazed PACs, they have “SF” in the name, but their campaign filings show they’re based in Oakland.
“We sent a mailer to everyone who voted in D4 and D1 to thank them for voting, that together we showed that competence matters in government,” Buss explained to the SF Standard. “Residents who requested their ballot in Chinese got the Chinese version, everyone else got English.”
Supervisor Chan is not named here, but notice that they sent the flyers to residents in her District 1. Notice also the outreach to Chinese American voters, but not to Black or Latinx voters.
As things stand, Grow SF is not a significant PAC. The SF Standard notes that “raised and spent $107,221,” on the February 15 election. Heck there are individual donors out there who will drop that much on campaign donations in just one day.
Today @GrowSF announced we are supporting the recall of Chesa Boudin. We need a DA who will push for reform *and* help victims.— Sachin Agarwal (@agarwal) March 23, 2022
We're also kicking off fundraising with a goal of raising $300k into our PAC for the June election. You can donate here: https://t.co/yfCn61TD3d https://t.co/hyyTyFdFHU
But in a Twitter announcement Wednesday, Grow SF said they were “kicking off fundraising with a goal of raising $300k into our PAC for the June election” to recall Chesa Boudin. This may be a swing-for-the-fences announcement which they come nowhere near meeting, or it could usher in Grow SF’s ascension to a powerhouse PAC.
Grow SF has started another specific PAC to oppose Gordon Mar’s reelection this November, but has not established a PAC opposing Connie Chan. That can be explained easily, Chan is not up for reelection until November 2024.
Well, unless Grow SF decides to start a Recall Connie Chan PAC.
Image: Supervisors' Facebook profile photos