Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval won an injunction last Monday against Gap founder Donald Fisher’s political consultant Duane Baughman, forcing him to stop sending out the race-baiting emails raining down on District 11 lately. Sandoval presented sufficient evidence that a series of twelve anonymous mailers, one of which depicted a swastika and attempted to paint Sandoval a bigot, were likely created and distributed by Baughman. These mailers present a clear connection between the racist anti-Sandoval campaign and D11 candidate Myrna Lim.
The lawsuit revealed that the same printing company that produced five similarly hateful anti-Sandoval pieces for the Fisher-financed ‘Yes on Citizenship, No on F’ organization had produced the anonymous mailers. It also proved Baughman, the consultant currently working on ‘No on F,’ probably helped produce the anonymous hit pieces.
However, the lawsuit failed to stop Baughman from using ‘No on F’ money to campaign for Lim. ‘No on F’ printed and hung signs throughout District 11 asking voters to vote No on F and for Myrna Lim. This seems a blatant flouting of campaign finance laws, and why the judge did not issue an injunction remains unclear.
Fisher, a Republican and the sole financial contributor to ‘No on F’ with $49,000 invested, has come out both with the signs and financially for Lim. Campaign finance records reveal the Fisher family donated thousands to Lim’s campaign. It seems Fisher paid to send out the anti-Sandoval pieces as much to keep Sandoval out of office as to get Lim elected, and likely created ‘No on F’ for the same reasons.
The most bizarre aspect of the anti-Sandoval campaign is its reliance on painting one of the most pro-immigrant candidates as the exact opposite. Sandoval has consistently proven to be a progressive voice on the board, particularly concerning immigrants’ rights. He is often considered a neighborhood advocate for some of the neighborhoods in the City with the highest populations of immigrants. And he fought for Mexican Embassy ID cards that improved many of the City’s immigrants’ lives.
A realistic explanation for Fisher’s vehement anti-Sandoval campaign could lie in Sandoval’s support of Matt Gonzalez’s big-box initiative, which forces chain stores to inform neighborhoods if they plan on moving in. The founder of Gap likely has strong reasons for seeking revenge for this support.
One of the more troubling aspects of the mailers, however, lies in Myrna Lim’s refusal to distance herself from Fisher’s funds, mailers and signs. Lim is trying to run in District 11, a largely immigrant community who likely will not respond to the fear tactics being employed by Fisher and Baughman. Instead, they will see a hateful, disingenuous campaign run by Republicans that tries to tie support for Prop. F, one of the strongest assurances of immigrants rights in recent memory, with anti-immigrant sentiment.
Lim needs to stand up to the anti-immigrant Fisher and disavow his support. If she truly wants to represent her district, she will put an end to the racist campaign currently being waged in her name. The immigrant community she claims to want to represent would surely appreciate it.