Talking on the Radio About Money in S.F. Politics

Public Press Assistant Editor Noah Arroyo, right, with Mission Local reporter Joe Rivano Barros, at Photo by Laura Wenus / Mission Local


San Francisco Public Press Assistant Editor Noah Arroyo discussed money in city elections with Mission Local reporter Joe Rivano Barros on radio Thursday morning. The show was hosted by Mission Local Managing Editor Laura Wenus.


“The first rule of politics is: follow the money,” Wenus said.

Arroyo’s latest stories unpack a November ballot measure to limit lobbyists from “bundling” certain campaign contributions from several sources. If passed, the measure would also further restrict gift-giving and require lobbyists to notify the San Francisco Ethics Commission whom they will contact beforehand. But Arroyo has already identified possible loopholes.

“A lot of this stuff is complaint-driven,” Arroyo said on the possibility of donations being anonymously bundled into a single contribution when they actually come from a handful of wealthy individuals. “And when it comes to gift-giving, the city doesn’t even track it.”

Barros analyzed campaign finance records in this year’s District 9 supervisor race using public records released this week by the Ethics Commission. There is a $100,000 gap between Hillary Ronen, chief of staff of termed-out D9 Supervisor David Campos, and her closest competitor, Joshua Arce, the community liaison for Laborers Union Local 261. Only Ronen has accepted lobbyist funds so far — $2,700, or just over 1% of her campaign’s total.  But a third-party committee funded by the Police Officers Association and labor unions has raised $180,000 and is spending thousands on promoting Arce and other candidates.

Interested in learning more about money influencing San Francisco politics? The Public Press’ summer issue, due out Aug. 10, examines the web of campaign finance in last November’s election. Stay tuned!

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