In a sign that the Board of Education recalls may reverberate in future elections, San Francisco supervisors–including one up for re-election in November–have been targeted in a new campaign over their positions on the ousted school board members.
GrowSF, a moderate-leaning political group, sent out mailers to voters in Districts 1 and 4 reminding them of their supervisors’ opposition to the recalls of Gabriela Lopez, Allison Collins, and Faauga Moliga, who were ousted handily in a Feb. 15 special election. They have also launched a new PAC called “Coalition to Grow San Francisco - Grow SF PAC Opposing Mar for Supervisor 2022.” District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar is up for reelection this November.
Filings for the most recent mailers are not yet available. The new PAC targeting Mar was organized on March 8, according to available filings. It had yet to report any expenditures by press time.
The mailer sent to District 4 voters, in both English and Chinese, includes the language: “Nearly 78% of your neighborhood voted to recall the school board, yet Supervisor Mar opposed the recall, and he even voted to make recalls harder…Put simply, Supervisor Mar, who is up for re-election this November, refused to fight for our kids.”
“We sent a mailer to everyone who voted in D4 and D1 to thank them for voting, that together we showed that competence matters in government…residents who requested their ballot in Chinese got the Chinese version, everyone else got English,” said Steven Buss, Grow SF director. “We stood with parents and believe the residents of the Westside, where the recalls won with roughly 80% of the vote, deserve to know that their Supervisors are out of step with their values.”
GrowSF was founded in September 2020 by Buss and Sachin Agarwal, both tech professionals. In addition to political spending, the group maintains a voter guide and focuses on grooming activists to advocate for housing, transit, public safety and other issues. Their main PAC has raised and spent $107,221 on mailers and online advertising in favor of recalling the school board members and to elect Assessor-Recorder Joaquin Torres, according to filings.
That the mailers were also sent in Chinese speaks to the pivotal role Chinese-speaking voters played in the recall vote. Meanwhile, several elected officials from the community either opposed the recalls or remained silent on the matter.
While Mar has not responded to the mailers, he did publish a guest editorial on the Sunset Beacon website on March 8 to clarify that his position against the recall was based on opposition to recalls generally, and not necessarily on the politics involved.
“The recall results are legitimate, and so are the reasons for them. I also don’t think we should celebrate or support bad processes, even when they lead to good outcomes,” wrote Mar.
Mar, who started his reelection campaign on Feb. 26, remains sanguine about his re-election chances.
“I’ve heard they are considering spending money to oppose my re-election, but don’t know much more. I'm not surprised though that big downtown money in support of developers' luxury growth agenda would come into the Sunset against me,” Mar told the Standard.
Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected]