Q&A: Why Does Area Republican Billionaire Ron Conway Support Mayor Ed Lee? The Answer from Anonymous: Twitter

Don’t know who wrote this:

“Why does Ron Conway support Ed Lee?

The Twitter tax deal.


Political naïveté or influence peddling

Willie Brown

Ron’s increasingly involved in SF money politics

Ed’s gonna win; Ron backs winners early and throws the losers an anchor

Ron’s either buying influence or getting played, take your pick; he’s pouring money into a race that’s already a lock, behind a candidate just waiting for voters to confirm what everyone knows. If naïveté, Willie Brown is using the Twitter deal to pull Ron and his money on board an already winning campaign. If influence peddling, Ron’s using his money to buy himself some friends by backing the clear winner of the race early.

On the face of things, Ron’s a huge fan of the Twitter tax deal that Ed Lee supported after progressive-backed Supervisor Jane Kim surprisingly swung behind Twitter’s demands, making the deal possible. Word on the SF politico street is that the deal was primarily a supervisorial fight between the progressive forces of John Avalos and Chris Daly and the downtown interests getting somewhat behind the big tech scene, rather than being a mayor-driven initiative. It was no surprise that there was a long line of companies right behind Twitter looking to enlarge that financial hole Twitter forced open.

But here’s the political situation Ron has bought into: Willie wants Ed to get a smashing mandate and is seen as the power behind the throne at this point, having convinced a reluctant Ed to run for election after repeatedly promising he would not run. Willie even convinced Ed to break Ed’s deal with the Board to not run in exchange for being appointed in the first place. Considering two Supervisors are currently running for mayor, Ed’s name isn’t worth dirt in political SF. Unless you want something from the Mayor’s office, in which case, hello, buddy!

The other campaigns, especially Leland Yee and David Chiu turned their guns on Lee as soon as he entered, calling him a puppet and a liar in only slightly nicer terms. They failed; Ed survived. Ed is now holding steady at ~35% in the polls after a brief dip down to 30%, with about 40% undecided as of two weeks ago. It’d be shocking compared to the race before Ed entered, but this 4-5 serious candidate race may be over in a single round rather than using the rank choice voting system that was supposed to make this such an interesting cycle.”

On It Goes, after the jump

Bigger picture, Willie’s raising the money for Ed and his Independent Expenditure Committee, or IEs, to just slap around the other candidates, show them who’s boss, especially to the former front-runner, Leland Yee, who is hated by the other big SF player involved with Ed, Rose Pak, a quietly powerful Chinese-American political organizer. Lee is projected to raise and spend more money than all of the other candidates combined: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/…

It’s also Willie and Rose’s style to push Ed not to take public financing, unusual for this city, though their IEs were hauling in cash for Ed well before he even entered the race. Of course, if Ethics Commission Executive Director St. Croix was anything but a spineless pushover, maybe our vaunted Ethics Commission might even hold an investigation before backing fearfully away.

Ron’s a player in SF conservative politics, so apparently he likes wasting at least some money unlike his investments in the startup world: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/201…

According to campaign finance records, Conway, a registered Republican, has donated more than $320,000 to Republican state and federal candidates since 1999. He also contributed $1,000 to a Draft Ed Lee for Mayor committee, a separate effort from Progress for All which was formed before Lee announced his candidacy to encourage him to run. Conway has made substantial contributions to Democratic hopefuls, too, but the majority of his campaign donations over the last decade have benefited GOP candidates.

He bankrolled the successful Prop L Sit/Lie campaign to give police the authority to book anyone sitting or lying down on the street. He hosted fundraisers with Mark Pincus and the Founders Fund for that effort, really flexing his political muscles and having a major impact in this race. Cleaning the hobos off the street in SF? Yeah, Ron pushed that through. Within SF politics, he’s seen as a somewhat savvy operator—at least enough to hire Alex Tourk’s shop, prior to their lobbying ethnics snafu—but more importantly, Ron is a huge fucking wallet.

He’s been donating for supervisor candidates, too, like Scott Weiner, who gotta admit is one hell of a campaigner, even if he did beat the labor darling Rafael Mandelman in the ultra-liberal Castro district.

To be fair to Ron, he probably sees Ed as a pro-business operator who will get government out of the way of growing startups and support his conservative interests as much as any viable candidate currently in the race—sorry, Joanna Rees.

Oh, by the way, videos like the one parts of the Internet were buzzing about will have next to no impact on SF politics, which is old school and requires a solid ground game, with the support of neighborhood and ethnic politicians. Ron’s quirks in the race are forgiven because of the excellent money he’s pouring into the race.

Don’t forget that Ron founded “San Franciscans for Jobs and Good Government,” an IE backing Ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/2…

Meanwhile, a group organized by Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley investor,
has raised close to $400,000 from the tech sector and is handling “the
stuff that’s really expensive: mail, TV, polls,” Mr. Courtney said.

Mr. Lee impressed old-line business interests and Silicon Valley with
two tax breaks for startups — worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
That won him the support of Mr. Conway, who persuaded Marc Benioff,
chief executive of Salesforce, a “cloud” computing company, and Sean
Parker, the co-founder of Napster, to contribute more than $400,000 to
an independent effort backing the mayor’s campaign.

Here’s political language for you. The IE is named SF, based in San Rafael, and raises money from Silicon Valley. #winning!

Ron’s got the money to play in SF, but people are just smiling and nodding at his efforts to shift the city back to the days of Feinstein and Alioto while they stick their hands out for more money.”

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