Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Union Square BID Giving $ to Sup. Christensen's Election?

Thanks to a public records request to Mayor Ed Lee's office, I've obtained the minutes from the Union Square Business Improvement District's Feb. 10th advocacy committee. The BID is quasi-government entity and aligns closely with businesses, and is supposed to be non-partisan and apolitical. However, the minutes that from committee meeting reveal otherwise.

In January, Lee appointed Julie Christensen to replace David Chiu on the Board of Supervisors after he was sworn in as a state assemblyman. She is up before the voters this November and is being challenged by former supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Here's what was reported in the comments and discussion in general section. The Union Square BID does not post minutes to their meetings page:

"Supervisor Christensen is up for re-election in the Fall of 2016 (sic). What can the BID do to support her? It was suggested that perhaps the BID can join with Fisherman's Wharf to contribute to the campaign. What can she do to have good P.R.? Suggestion: Make Hallidie [Plaza] a priority. Another opportunity for good P.R. is the upcoming US Conference of Mayors taking place this June in San Francisco. We can revisit with Supervisor Christensen to give a short list of BID priorities."

For what it's worth, her legislation aide, Gary McCoy, was the director of Scott Wiener's reelection campaign last year. Christensen may face a tough road ahead in keeping her seat on the board, as many supporters of Peskin will tell you. 

Since the minutes contain only vague brainstorming ideas and we don't know who made the suggestions, and the ideas may have been rejected since the February meeting, I don't think there any actionable course to consider against the BID as a nonprofit and supposed apolitical organization.

Still, it's important to hold the Union Square business interests and Christensen accountable and just shedding light on the comments is important to me. It would be good for this BID to post all of their minutes online and let the public scrutinize them. 

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