OMG! Prop B Backer F. Warren Hellman Pulls a 180 – Now Opposes Prop B – Will He Get a $50 K Refund?

[UPDATE: Writer Joe Eskenazi has the deets on the prospects for F. Warren for getting a $50K refund from the Prop B people. The chances don’t look good at this point. And further explication comes from Heather Knight. That will have to do for now…]

The Question of the Day is this:

How do you get a strong-willed (and is there any other kind?) billionaire to change his or her mind?

No matter, San Francisco’s #1 banjo playerwants out of the pro-Proposition B campaign. Get all the deets, plus reaction from San Francisco Labor Council President Tim Paulson, below.

(This is seismic, baby.)

(This is unprecedented, baby.)

Click to expand. His head’s not really blue – it’s just the way the lighting was.

(Hello, MSM, are you there? It’s me, Margaret. Can we get a little follow-up, please? Show us what you can do with this one. Starting…now!)

Statement from F. Warren Hellman:

“I’m leaving the Yes on Proposition B campaign for the same reason I got involved in the campaign in the first place – we need a meaningful dialogue in San Francisco between business and labor to solve long-term problems threatening the city’s future without name-calling and fingerpointing.
 
“We must address the issue of spiraling public pension and health benefits costs. They’re like an iceberg floating beneath the surface that threatens to sink cities like ours. At the same time, I’m not willing scapegoat police officers, firefighters and other public workers to do it.
 
“We got into this situation together and we must work together to solve it in the interest of a city we all love.
 
“I was reminded of this spirit at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this past weekend.  We pulled off a massive free concert in Golden Gate Park without one major injury, disruption or arrest, which is a testament to the professionalism of San Francisco’s public workers and our City’s spirit of cooperation.
 
“I believe that organized labor appreciates that it is in San Francisco’s interest – and the interest of its members — to head off a looming pension and benefits crisis before it cripples public services and leaves police officers, firefighters and other public workers without retirement security.
 
“And I also believe that San Francisco business must understand its responsibility to pay its fair share to fund quality public services. And that begins with workers who are properly trained, fairly paid and able to retire with dignity.
 
“We have a history of working together in this city and settling issues without expensive and divisive political fights at the ballot box. I’m going to focus my attention and resources on restarting those discussions.”

Statement from Tim Paulson, San Francisco Labor Council

“On behalf of the Labor community, we are very pleased that Warren Hellman has withdrawn his support from the Yes on B campaign. Many of us in organized labor have worked closely with Mr. Hellman in recent years to rebuild San Francisco’s schools and fund public education and we were disappointed to be at odds on this measure.
 
“We share Mr. Hellman’s legitimate concerns about rising pension and health care costs and commit to work with him and other likeminded leaders in the business community to address them. We want to find sustainable and affordable ways to attract and retain the best public employees, compensate them fairly and allow them to retire with dignity. In short, we acknowledge and respect Mr. Hellman’s goals, even if Prop B is not the vehicle to achieve them.”

Ever more deets, from the Anti-Prop B people, after the jump

San Francisco, CA – Today, in a coup for the No on B campaign, investor and philanthropist Warren Hellman announced that he no longer supports Proposition B, saying in a statement that he is “not willing to scapegoat police officers, firefighters and other public workers.”
 
Opponents of Proposition B praised Hellman’s decision.
 
“Warren Hellman is a great San Franciscan who has made many positive contributions to this city,” said Tom O’Connor, a firefighter. “We are pleased that Mr. Hellman has withdrawn his support for this measure, which takes health care away from kids, and we look forward to working together with him in a productive way to address the challenges facing San Francisco.”
 
Hellman’s departure strikes a blow to the Proposition B campaign because he was one of the measure’s most well-known and well-respected backers. Most of San Francisco’s leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mayor Gavin Newsom, are against the measure.
 
***
 
The campaign to defeat Prop B has been endorsed by:
 
Speaker Nancy PelosiSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Senator Leland Yee
Senator Mark Leno
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano
Assemblymember Fiona Ma
Sheriff Michael Hennessey
District Attorney Kamala Harris
Board President David Chiu
Supervisor Eric Mar
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier
Supervisor Carmen Chu
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Supervisor Chris Daly
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd
Supervisor Bevan Dufty
Supervisor David Campos
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
Supervisor John Avalos
San Francisco Democratic Party
California Nurses Association
United Educators of San Francisco
San Francisco Firefighters
San Francisco Police Officers
San Francisco Labor Council
San Francisco Tenants Union
Affordable Housing Alliance
Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
Chinese Progressive Association
Irish American Democratic Club
Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

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