Dede Wilsey Has Her Man (It’s the same candidate for SF Republicans)
In the same way that there are two Americas, there are two San Franciscos: the one inhabited by the Gettys, Fishers and other holders of Huge Amounts of Old Money, and the one for the 99.9 percent of the rest of us (peons).
Wilsey, the socialite and philanthropist who single-handedly raised much of the $200 million used to refurbish the DeYoung Museum, and similarly-uber-rich landlord Thomas Coates teamed up last week to shower $150,000 on Farrell.
The money went to a third-party expenditure committee supporting Farrell’s bid, and is in the process of being spent on a last minute blitz attack — Web, print and direct mailer — on Farrell’s opponent Janet Reilly, records show.
Wilsey, a “founding investor” in local news org The Bay Citizen, donated $50,000. Coates, a major financial backer of 2008’s Prop 98, which would have abolished rent control, donated $100,000. The SF Republican Party chipped in another $5,000, records show.
The committee is called “Common Sense Voters 2010.” A Stacy Owens located in Woodside (that’s Meg Whitman land, folks) is listed as the committee’s treasurer. An e-mail sent to an address for Owens was not returned as of publication.
Neither campaign responded to requests for comment late Sunday, but the Farrell campaign issued an e-mail defending the donations even later Sunday (9:30 p.m.).
Coates’s donation could be the biggest single contribution to a supervisorial campaign this election cycle. It matches the heretofore largest single donation observed by the Appeal, a $100,000 check from SEIU Local 1021 to a committee supporting Rafael Mandelman, the progressive candidate to succeed Bevan Dufty in District 8.
What’s all of Wilsey’s and Coates’s money going towards? A peek an expenditure form filed at the Ethics Committee on Friday has an item-by-item breakdown:
— $59,300 total on a “Web site in opposition to Janet Reilly”;
— $16,797 total on one “mailer in opposition to Janet Reilly”, including $5,000 spent on postage alone;
— $8,400 total on a “mailer in opposition to Janet Reilly and in support of Mark Farrell”.
This is chump change compared to what the Reillys — Janet and her husband Clint, who also has a fuckton of money, but it’s a little newer than Wilsey’s (20 years or so newer, but who’s counting?) — have spent in local politics, the e-mail from Farrell’s campaign reads.
“Clint and Janet Reilly blasted out an email attacking my campaign because of an independent group partly financed by District 2 resident Tom Coates, and criticize Mr. Coates for participating – independently – in the political process through personal contributions,” Farrell wrote. “This attack is the definition of hypocrisy, and someone has to call Clint and Janet Reilly out!”
That someone is Farrell, who went on to say that the Reillys have spent $100,000 of their own money “in the last decade” on measures supporting public power, and on campaigns supporting “Chris Daly and Aaron Peskin,” who were told in an earlier Farrell e-mail to “stay out of District 2!” Funny, we didn’t think Daly needed much encouragement to keep off of Chestnut Street.
Farrell might have a point, though – Clint Reilly is really fucking rich, too, and he did spend nearly $4 million of his own money on a run for mayor in 1999 (which: dot-com era, when everyone had $4 million – right?). The Reilly campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Which brings us to our final point: in one of the two San Franciscos, you can find $50,000 couch-fishing. In the other, you make significantly less writing about it. In other words, Wilsey/Coates and Farrell/Reilly deserve each other.