© Perhaps the Ethics Commission should be looking into a new Web site that purports to represent Richmond tenants angry about District 1 Supervisor Jake McGoldrick’s refusal to support Rent Board reforms. Problem is, the main forces opposing McGoldrick’s re-election are landlord interests, and this dubious site was created last week using a fake address and telephone number. … With the landlords at Jake’s throat, turning tenants against him is a smart move. This looks like the kind of dirty trick we saw in last year’s mayoral campaign. …

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  1. From Richmond Renters, following an e-mailed invite asking “why the secrecy” and asking for a face-to-face meeting:

    It would have been nice to get your email before
    facing the sensational accusations on your blog.
    Richmond Renters (RR) is not a conspiracy to unseat
    McGoldrick or a ploy by the landlord underworld.

    As many residents of tech-savvy San Francisco know,
    registering a domain name with intentionally
    inaccurate contact information is a common defensive
    act, long-used and not at all related to shady
    business practices or dirty politics. Rather than an
    incriminating act, it’s one meant to prevent the
    inevitable onslaught of computer catalogs,
    telemarketer phone calls, and spam.

    In this case it also serves to avoid drawing other
    unwanted attention. Speaking for myself, I’m not
    putting effort into this issue without having had
    problems with my own landlord. I’ve had enough (city
    involved, threats, etc), and I don’t need to
    distinguish myself further. (And I still couldn’t
    afford to get another apartment in SF if I moved out
    of my current rent-controlled one.)

    Furthermore, the “fake” info is nowhere on the RR
    website, and nobody is directed to the domain contact
    info to “prove” anything about me or my credibility.
    That information is there to provide a conduit between
    a domain registrar and the domain registrant, a legacy
    of the foundation of the internet.

    Now that I’ve bored you with the geek rant, it’s
    probably obvious I’m no politico. Most everybody
    knows, politicians are clueless about computers.

    … When I saw the reference on your site to mine, I was
    disappointed. Your site seems like a really cool
    resource. I wish that, as a journalist with a passion
    for the issues, you would have lurked
    richmondrenters.com longer before you jumped to
    conclusions. As you can see, I also included a
    resident’s defense of Jake.

    A big impetus for the website was not just
    McGoldrick’s vote, but the fact (as stated on the
    site) that his office said three times over five weeks
    that they’d get back with an explanation and never
    did. If you can’t contact your neighborhood
    representative (who represents a whole 50 or so
    avenues) and get some kind of accounting for the
    decisions he makes, then who can you get answers from?
    The point of the site is that these types of
    interactions, frustrations, and the desire to feel
    connected to local gov can be shared and not just fade
    into the void of unreturned calls and emails. Richmond
    Renters is asking people to help get an answer from
    McGoldrick and find out why he did not vote for what
    appears to us to be a strong pro-tenant measure.

    As for the election. The RR website purposely avoids
    making political calls to action about who to vote
    for. The election is never even mentioned. Is everyone
    supposed to hold their breath until after the election
    to ask for clarity or address contradictions?

    You may be right about Jake being the closest thing to
    an advocate we have, come election day. But that
    doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be accountable for his
    actions, and that’s all we ask on the site.

    I think I’ll pass on the meeting. Your internet
    postings are public as well.


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