Monday, July 30, 2012

SF Appeal Blog Scoops Chron;
D11 Non-Resident Exits Supe Race

(East Bay voter and resident Leon Chow. Image created by Tim Enhalt, SF Appeal.)

Earlier this month, the SF Appeal group news blog ran a piece by reporter Chris Roberts that took an exhaustive look at whether union organizer Leon Chow was registered to vote in San Francisco District 11.

Chow works for Service Employees International United-United Healthcare Workers West and had filed papers with the San Francisco Department of Elections intending to challenge incumbent Supervisor John Avalos.

Roberts drilled down through lots of public records and discovered that Chow actually lives in Walnut Creek in Contra Costa county, so he's not qualified to run for office or vote in San Francisco. Oops.

Last Wednesday, Chow informed the Department of Elections that he was withdrawing from the D11 race, in a new development reported exclusively by Roberts. Guess all the questions raised by Roberts and the SF Appeal hit home for Chow - in Walnut Creek.

The next day over at the SF Chronicle, a publication with vastly more resources and reporters than the SF Appeal, picked up on the news blog's scoop and gave it proper credit. Chronicle political reporter John Wildermuth wrote:

The decision [of Chow to withdraw] wasn't a surprise. After a San Francisco Appeal story this month revealed that Chow had been registered to vote at the office of his former Chinatown nonprofit agency from 2004 to 2008 and had listed a Walnut Creek condominium as his official residence in 2009 court papers, his campaign ground to a halt.

I asked SF Appeal founder and publisher Eve Batey to comment on our local daily getting in on the story:

It was very kind of the Chronicle to acknowledge our hard work on that story. There have been many times that Chron reporting has provided us with the impetus to cover a story or issue, and it's always nice when we at the Appeal can return the favor.

Good thing San Francisco voters have the SF Appeal looking at whether 2012 candidates for the Board of Supervisors meet residency requirements. Let's see if this Chow story leads the Hearst-owned daily to dig deep and see if all candidates actually live in the city.

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