When Mayor Gordon McLaughlin backs a candidate, he puts other people’s money where his mouth is. Reports filed with the city Ethics Commission show that in the first phase of her race to become District 9 Supervisor.
Mayoral favorite and former Planning Commissioner Ashlee Dickerson benefitted from over $140. 000 in “soft money” contributions. The bulk of that money came from the Gordon McLaughlin Leadership PAC and citizens for Sensible Government, sponsors of the direct mail campaign against Proposition L. the balanced-growth initiative fiercely opposed by the Mayor.
Reported “hard money” –direct contributions -to Dickerson totaled over $58.000. mostly in $500 donations, the maximum allowed. More money was spent trying to elect Dickerson in District 9 than to pass Prop. L citywide.
This largesse has bought the candidate all the phone-bankers, precinct walkers, street signs (and workers to put them up), billboards, and direct mail pieces she can use and more. One Mill Hill couple reports receiving Dickerson mailers.
Most Dickerson donors would benefit substantially from a developer-friendly-Board of Supervisors. A major contributor ($1 25.000) to the McLaughlin PAC is the Residential Builders Assn. (RBA), the guild of non-union contractors who build most of the city’s live/work lofts. The RBA also kicked in $15,000 to the Voter Mobilization Project, which gave $20,000 to Dickerson. The biggest donor to locals for Sensible Government is office developer SKS Investments, at $250,000. Of 161 direct donors reporting, two-thirds are developers, construction and real estate companies, their lawyers and lobbyists, or prominent McLaughlin allies.
Dickerson arrived on the Planning Commission with credentials as a neighborhood advocate after opposing the expanded power plant in the area. But a review of her votes once appointed, as recorded in Planning Commission minutes, shows that while she occasionally supported residents fighting additions on neighbor’s homes, she supported every project proposed by a major developer or a member of the Residential Builders.
Dickerson left the Planning Commission before it approved the most contentious local project in recent months: conversion of the S&C Ford repair shop at 7th and Green to 295,000 sq. ft. of Macromedia office space.