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Politics & Policy

Crypto billionaire, strip club owner team up to ‘Fight for San Francisco’

Chris Larsen talks with people.
Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple Labs, is one of several prominent figures in San Francisco supporting Mayor London Breed's ballot measures on police and drugs. | Source: Courtesy photo

A crypto billionaire, a strip club impresario and a biotech exec whose family made its dough from sourdough bread are some of the odd bedfellows pooling their money for a new political committee called the Fight for San Francisco’s Future.

The political committee—formed in October to support two of Mayor London Breed’s ballot measures in the March 5 election—has already amassed $369,000, including a quarter-million-dollar contribution from Chris Larsen, the co-founder of cryptocurrency company Ripple, according to campaign finance records. 

Fight for San Francisco’s Future was created to support the mayor’s Proposition E, which would expand police surveillance tools and curtail the powers of the city’s Police Commission, as well as Proposition F, a proposal to require single adults suspected of being addicted to illegal drugs to undergo screening and agree to some form of treatment in order to continue receiving benefits. 

The new group might seem to be duplicative to the mayor’s own pro-Prop. E committee, but political insiders told The Standard that the unusual mix of people giving to Fight for San Francisco’s Future suggests that the new organization is part of a larger coalition that plans to support Breed’s ballot measures before supporting her reelection in November. Campaign records show that the name of the group has changed multiple times, and initial filings mentioned supporting Breed's reelection but not her ballot measures.

READ MORE: Tech Billionaire’s $100,000 Is Top Donation in Pricey San Francisco Judge Races

Other financial backers of Fight for San Francisco’s Future include: Emmett Shear, the founder of Twitch, who gave $10,000; Joe Carouba, owner of the Condor Club, Gold Club and Hustler Club, who gave $24,000; and Bryan Giraudo, the CFO of Gossamer Bio and the son of longtime city politico Lou Giraudo, who was the scion of Boudin Bakery

An exterior of a club with signage that reads Gold Club.
The Gold Club's owner, Joseph Carouba, is backing a new committee supporting two of Mayor London Breed's ballot measures in San Francisco. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

Larsen, Carouba and Bryan Giraudo, who was listed as a principal officer for the committee, did not respond to The Standard’s requests for comment for this story.

The Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, which has teamed up with the mayor on modular housing development, also gave the new group $50,000, while power couple Susie Tompkins Buell and Mark Buell gave $20,000.

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin dismissed the new committee as a “soft money vehicle for a precursor to [Breed’s] election campaign.

“That’s kind of the usual formula,” he added. “The mayor puts something on the ballot, and it’s not about the policy, because she could have passed it through the Board of Supervisors.”

A political consultant who asked not to be named for fear of upsetting the mayor called Larsen’s involvement in the new committee “fascinating,” as the Ripple boss has now contributed $750,000 total in support of Props. E and F.

“My sense is he’s so big in supporting the mayor that he gives money to other things that help her,” the source said.

Woman smiles while speaking into microphone in front of green and blue background
Mayor London Breed has three measures on the March ballot, and two of them are getting heavy support from a new committee called Fight for San Francisco's Future. | Source: Devlin Shand/Drew Altizer Photography

Fight for San Francisco’s Future has already spent much of its money, committing $225,000 to the Washington, D.C.-based campaign firm Strother Nuckels Strategies.

The total money raised in support of Prop. E surpasses $1.1 million—not including this new joint committee supporting Props. E and F—after mayoral candidate Daniel Lurie raised $625,000 for his own committee.

On the other side, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has raised just $100,000 to oppose Prop. E.

Correction: This story was updated with the proper spelling of Gossamer Bio CFO Bryan Giraudo's and Strother Nuckels Strategies' names.

Josh Koehn can be reached at josh@sfstandard.com