SF SOS Launches Lies at Leno

by Randy Shaw on February 18, 2005

SF SOS is at it again. After its hate-filled mailings against Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval caused Senator Dianne Feinstein and GAP founder Don Fisher to leave the group, SF SOS has now set its sites on Assemblymember Mark Leno. SF SOS leader Wade Randlett sent a mass e-mail yesterday attacking Leno for allegedly sponsoring a bill that “would create a five-year waiting period for anyone who buys a home and wants to live in it instead of renting it out.” Is there no limit to the group’s lies?

As reported by Ted Gullicksen in Thursday’s Beyond Chron, Assemblymember Mark Leno is sponsoring a bill to prevent speculators from using the Ellis Act to displace seniors and other longtime San Franciscans. A study by the San Francisco Tenants Union showed how speculators buy buildings with longterm tenants, and then quickly “go out of business” under the Ellis Act.

Leno’s bill addresses this problem by requiring that people own a building for five years before leaving the business and evicting all of the tenants.

Leno’s common sense approach targets real estate speculators, not homeowners. But speculators are not popular with the public, while homeowners are.

So SF SOS, using the same logic that led it to associate Gerardo Sandoval with the Nazi swastika, decided to lie about Leno’s bill. It sent an e-mail Thursday that encouraged recipients to contact Leno and urge him to drop this “anti-housing” legislation.

Here’s the crux of Randlett’s message:

“Imagine it. You’ve finally reached that milestone in your life when you’re ready and able to buy your first home…and you’re told you have to let someone else live there for five years.”

Anyone familiar with Mark Leno’s record would know he would never support such a bill. In fact, there is not an elected official or tenants advocate in town who would endorse what Randlett claims the Leno bill is about.

People and groups lie when the facts do not support their arguments. Randlett does not want to come out and say he supports evictions of seniors for profit, so he has made up a scenario designed to get people talking about how that crazy Mark Leno was declaring war on homeownership.

SF SOS’s lies did not work against Gerardo Sandoval, and they must not be allowed to defeat the Leno bill.

Earlier this week, members of the Board of Supervisors complained about the cost to the city caused by SF SOS regularly flooding Supervisors offices with as many as 20,000 faxes. They are likely barraging Leno’s office as you read this.

The good news is that SF SOS’s dishonesty campaign provides compelling evidence for the importance of enacting Leno’s bill. Keep the group’s record of dishonesty in mind when you read their orchestrated letters to the editors in the days and weeks ahead.

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