Desperate for support, 8 Washington developers run ads proclaiming: “Stop the 1%”


With a July 8 deadline fast approaching, the developers behind the 8 Washington project are taking steps to ensure their measure to approve one of the priciest condo projects ever contemplated in San Francisco ends up on the November ballot.

David Beltran, a spokesman for 8 Washington's campaign "Open Up the Waterfront," says they are "on track" to collect the 9,000 signatures needed to place their measure – which would counter a measure opposing the project – on the ballot. But in a seemingly desperate move, the project proponents are paying a higher-than-average rate of $3 per signature. According to a voicemail left for petition gatherers, they’re trying to gather all the signatures by June 30, less than a week away.

"They have spent $220,000 on the campaign trying to qualify the counter measure for the ballot," according to Jon Golinger, who ran the referendum campaign opposing the project.

Meanwhile, an online ad circulated by "Open Up the Waterfront" reads: "Stop the 1%. Don't let the 1% prevent open access to the waterfront." The ad makes no mention of the condos at the heart of the project. Apparently the deep-pocketed project proponents believe the best way to garner popular support is through vague messaging that sounds aligned against the superrich. "A corporate developer is posing as an Occupy activist and attacking the millionaires he is trying to build his luxury condos for," Golinger says. "What's next, Larry Ellison walking the picket line to protest the America's Cup fiasco?"

Beltran, however, counters that "Open Up the Waterfront" is supporting the 99 Percent. "The 8 Washington plan will provide $11 million for the creation of new affordable housing, create 250 good paying construction jobs and 140 permanent jobs and generate over $100 million in benefits to the city," he said. "Opponents of 8 Washington are selfishly asking San Franciscans to give all of this up, in order to protect the status quo: an asphalt parking lot and a private club that provides zero benefits to working families."

In the end, Golinger says the developers will most likely obtain the signatures that are needed to land their measure on the ballot. "They have a harder road, but they have enough money and bodies on the street to get signatures," he said.


The signatures for the prop opposing 8Wash were paid for by a couple of very wealthy folks who live nearby and will have the million dollar views from their luxurious home slightly blocked by 8Wash.

And the new development will have some public space, which the current use does not.

Then there are the jobs, taxes and affordable housing funds that we will lose if it isn't built.

Personally I think it's silly to have even one, let alone two, propositions on the ballot just for one lousy building. But I see no problem with both sides having an opportunity to make their case.

Erin, again, good job of providing both sides of the story in a balanced way. Tim never managed that in 30 years on the job. Excellent work.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:06 am

Something Better

8 Washington’s developer argues that we must let him raise height limits on the northern waterfront for the first time in 50 years OR be stuck with that “ugly green fence and parking lot” forever. Its either his $5+ million condos or a wasteland. Really?

In 2011, Asian Neighborhood Design (AND) worked with local stakeholders to create “A Community Vision for the Northeast Waterfront” that calls for the same mix of ground floor shops/cafes on the 8 Washington site but without its 60% height increase or 400-car garage. The AND plan also includes the same parks 8 Washington purports to provide—most of which are there right now.

As for that “ugly parking lot” on the Embarcadero, it is owned and kept ugly by the Port, a financial partner in 8 Washington.

The “ugly green fence” is owned and kept ugly by another player in the 8 Washington deal, the man who owns 80% of the site now and gets to keep a third of it, the new $12 million private swim club, once the developer builds it for him. Clearly he’s had a financial interest in keeping the “ugly green fence” ugly to justify this project.

Hearing 8 Washington’s partners now rant about the “ugly fence and parking lot” as the main reason to let them build a wall of condos only the 1% can afford sounds a little like hearing Congressional Republicans feigning outrage at a government shutdown they themselves caused.

Once voters reject 8 Washington, a better alternative WILL be built there, one that includes active ground floor uses and parks without a precedent setting height increase or a 400-car below sea level garage. Several developers are interested in pursuing such a plan once the dust settles.

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Posted by optimum 9200 on Jul. 11, 2014 @ 4:43 pm

>"Apparently the deep-pocketed project proponents believe the best way to garner popular support is through vague messaging that sounds aligned against the superrich."

This makes you sound really stupid, Erin.

It is a Google AdWords text ad. I think you get something like 35 characters a line. What do you expect them to do? Talk exhaustively about both sides of the issue in their ad?

Can you please show any examples of the Golinger side running ads mentioning the $11 million dollars or the increased open space?

Didn't think so.


"in a seemingly desperate move, the project proponents are paying a higher-than-average rate of $3 per signature. "

$3-4$ is the going rate. If you did your research (e.g., as you presumably get paid to do), you would know that.

If I remember correctly, Golinger's side raised $120,000 to get 31K signatures. Which comes out to $3.87. But you forgot to mention that for some reason.

Do you think there is much of a future for dishonest journalists, Erin? Have you spoken to Tim Redmond about it lately?

Posted by Troll on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:38 am

I included that line while editing Erin's story. So please direct all complaints my way. :-)

Posted by rebecca on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:03 am

The basic premise, and apparently the SFBG need for the article is that the developer's side isn't presenting both sides of the issue in a small Google ad.

Meanwhile the SFBG had all the space in the world and never mentioned that Golinger also used paid signature gatherers. The 'journalists' at the SFBG expect more impartiality out of Snellgrove's team than they provide themselves.

Also, do they really need only 9,000 signatures? Isn't the correct amount about twice that? Hard to believe anything in that is printed in the SFBG.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:18 am

One last thing (sorry, but I had hoped for better days with Tim's departure)...the ad is well withing any reasonably accepted spin level. Golinger is head of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers. 1% people. His ballot measure made it largely because one couple living in a $2 million condo donated $80,000. 1% people.

It's fine to argue against 8 Washington, just disappointing to see that the SFBG still feels that Redmond level nonsense is still the way to go instead of finding and presenting meaningful facts.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 11:24 am

Again, this is really a simple land use issue! A key part of the 8 Washington project is Sea Wall Lot 351. It's public land owned by the Port or, looked at differently, the people of SF. SWL351, highly valuable waterfront land, for decades has been used as a parking lot, mainly for the benefit of the adjacent private Golden Gateway Swimming and Tennis Club.

In November, the voters get to decide whether SWL should be preserved as a parking lot for the benefit of the members of a swimming and tennis club or whether its value should be used for public benefit. The public benefits are enormous and include opening up Jackson and Pacific Streets to the public as well as paying the City $100M (NPV) in fees, taxes and revenues. This includes the $11M payment to MOH to fund low-income housing.

Economists would argue that the opportunity cost of preserving the parking lot on SWL351, as the "No Wall" folks want, is economically equivalent to the people of SF subsidizing the members of a private swimming and tennis club. Looked at a little more broadly, it's the people of SF subsidizing a VERY privileged neighborhood.

You can't make this stuff up!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

billionaires who don't want anything built near them, and the envy-riddled commies and NIMBY's who hate anyone who isn't a loser.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

Too bad for you whiners.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

All that hate has made you a loser.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

do architecture and planning via the ballot box?


Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

I think the bid to stop 8 Washington will succeed. Most of the city could care less about which set of millionaires has their way with a small parcel of land that won't affect their lives one iota.

Meanwhile the local NIMBY millionaires will get to the polls in large numbers on an election day without any significant races going on.

If there was a presidential election going on I think the developer would win. But basically there will be no reason to go to the polls that day unless you are a THD NIMBY.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

They do not want any homes being built that they could not afford.

While the wealthy may vote it down too, as that would increase their own RE values.

So everyone votes the wrong way for the wrong reason - that's San Francisco.

Posted by anon on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

Ballot box planning guarantees the worst results, vote no.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 3:09 pm


I assume that you are a young person interested in a career in journalism.

Nobody is going to hire you for a real journalism job based on SFBG experience.

They will want some measure of credibility. Hiring a pretend journalist from the SFBG would be like hiring an ex addict to properly dispense prescription drugs.

Sorry, but that's the truth and it's better that you know it now.

But good luck to you in any event!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2013 @ 8:38 am

I'm confused as to why so many people are being aggressively hateful toward the author of this piece. At least she's writing for a rag, rather than just spewing insults on the message boards of a rag. To me this just seems like a question of which party will develop this area and how big. I think the point of the article is that anyone involved in this development talking trash about the "1%" is obviously hypocritical.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:54 pm