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Who's Got Clout?
Chris Roberts | Photo: Loren Javier | November 22, 2012
A mayoral-influence index.
3. Tech Titans (Angel investor Ron Conway, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, Square CEO Jack Dorsey)
These Boom 2.0 figures provided much of the impetus behind Lee’s tax reforms— they employ a lot of people but sell very few goods, perfect for a gross receipts tax instead of a payroll tax. Conway has bankrolled multiple Lee endeavors (and many other things—see page 94 for the full sweep), and in return has netted favorable policies for portfolio companies. “The big shift [under Lee] has been to Conway and to people in the tech world,” says David Latterman, Principal at Fall Line Analytics. Chris Daly concurs. “Ed Lee likes things that are cool. And right now, tech is very cool.”
2. Willie’s World (Former mayor Willie Brown, mayoral chief of staff Steve Kawa, connected attorney Steven Kay, Public Utilities Commission head Harlan Kelly, city administrator Naomi Kelly)
At Lee’s inauguration, Brown informed him that friends were in the room. Surprise, surprise: Brown’s friends, like Kay and longtime Room 200 gatekeeper Kawa, are now Lee’s friends too, and Kawa may even outlast Lee’s administration. Other appointments nearly guaranteed to live beyond Lee’s term—Harlan Kelly to lead the PUC and Naomi Kelly to lead the Office of the City Administrator—have gone, tellingly, to Brown loyalists.
1. The Chinatown Connection (Rose Pak, CCDC executive director Norman Fong, community organizer David Ho, consultant Enrique Pearce, ex–mayoral staffer and deputy director of CCDC Malcolm Yeung)
There’s plenty of fuel for a conspiracy fire: Friends of Pak bankrolled the “Run Ed Run” campaign, and Pearce, who ran it, continues to win loads of consulting work. Yeung, a neophyte with little governing experience, is nonetheless rumored to be a future supervisor appointee, and Ho’s army of volunteers is frequently deployed to aid Lee’s allies. For Pak, Lee represents something of an endgame: She knows that her sway over the mayor’s office will never be as strong as it is while Lee is its occupant.
Sources: Eve Batey, Editor/Publisher, SFAppeal; David Latterman, Analyst/Lecturer, USF; Chris Daly, Political Director, SEIU 1021; David Waggoner, attorney; Joshua Arce, Executive Director, Brightline Defense; Maxwell Szabo, Consultant; Sharen Hewitt, Former Adviser to Wille Brown and Executive Director, Visitacion Valley Nonprofit.
Originally published in the December 2012 issue of San Francisco.