Dirty Politics in San Francisco’s Height Restrictions Initiative

The city of San Francisco will vote on Prop. B, an ordinance that would limit the height of developments along the waterfront, in June. The ballot will list the campaign manager for the Yes on B campaign as the official opponent of the measure.
March 14, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Angelo DeSantis

John Coté reports on how the Yes on B campaign managed to hoodwink the democratic process by absorbing ballot guide real estate usually reserved for democratic debate. “As it stands now, when San Francisco voters get their guides for the June 3 election, the official opponent listed for Proposition B, a measure to limit high-rise development on the waterfront, will be none other than Jon Golinger. That would be the same Jon Golinger who is the campaign manager and one of the main public faces for the ‘yes’ side.”

Prop. B would require voter approval for any development on Port of San Francisco property that would exceed existing height limits.

Golinger was able to fill the “opposition” portion of the guide through “a combination of official paralysis, an intimate understanding of the rules and what some called ‘Nixonian’ trickery,” according to Coté. Because no public official has come out in public opposition to Prop. B, members of the public can submit arguments, which are then chosen at random by the Department of Elections. And Golinger gamed the system: “Of the 27 opposition arguments filed, at least 25 of those came from Golinger.”

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Published on Thursday, March 13, 2014 in SFGate
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