The fishy tale of the hateful graffiti that appeared on the campaign headquarters of District 9 supervisor candidate Hillary Ronen just got a little more fish-smelling.
As you may have heard, during Labor Day weekend, sometime in the early hours of Monday, September 5, someone scrawled misogynistic graffiti on the doorway of D9 candidate Hillary Ronen’s headquarters at 3417 Mission Street (between Kingston and Eugenia) in Bernal Heights. The graffiti, which appeared to support Joshua Arce, Ronen’s foremost rival in the D9 supervisor race, said: “Vote Arce Ya C***s.”
In a Facebook post shared at 6:17 pm on Monday, Sept. 5, Hilary Ronen shared a photo of her staff as they painted over the graffiti:
Meanwhile, that same day, candidate Joshua Arce condemned the graffiti, and disavowed any involvement with it:
I was saddened to learn this morning that someone had defaced my opponent’s office with offensive and misogynistic graffiti. I reached out to Hillary to see if we can help remove the graffiti because I would never condone or stand by while someone, who claims to support me, uses hateful language and defaces private property. While this race may get contentious at times, there is no excuse for the type of behavior that was shown this morning.
Fast-forward a few weeks, and KPIX reporter Joe Vasquez broke the story about security camera footage that captured the scene when the vile graffiti was scrawled on the Ronen HQ door:
The video shows that at 5:22 am on Monday, September 5, two people — a man and a woman — worked together as a team to vandalize the front door of Hillary Ronen’s campaign headquarters.
The footage, which we later learned had originally been obtained by the Arce campaign, shows that the man and the woman started by walking north along the west side of Mission Street, past the 76 gas station on the corner of Mission and 30th Street. The man is wearing dark pants and a jacket. The woman is wearing a hat and boots, and carrying a cup of coffee. After passing the gas station, the pair crosses over to the east side of Mission street before doubling-back to the Ronen campaign headquarters. Then, the video shows, as the woman stood watch, the man squatted to write something in the doorway of Ronen’s campaign headquarters. With new markings visible on the door, the duo then continued walking north on the east side of Mission Street.
The footage is grainy, somewhat dark, and somewhat distant. Nevertheless, political junkies, reporters, and (now) SFPD investigators all over town have been obsessively zooming and enhancing the video, in hopes of finding a way to identify the perpetrators shown in the video.
Admittedly, Bernalwood editor has dabbled in some of this obsessive zooming and enhancing as well. But recently, when we took a step back to look at some of the photos of the doorway taken before the graffiti was painted over, we noticed something… rather curious.
Here are two posed photos taken while Team Ronen was painting over the vile graffiti. The same people are present in both images, and both were taken within a few moments of one another:
The photo on the left was taken by journalist Sana Saleem, and published on the 48Hills site on Monday, September 5. The photo on the right is the one shared by Hillary Ronen (and provided to media sites like MissionLocal).
It would appear that both photos were taken at almost the exact same time. The same people are in the photos, in the same places and the same postures. Likewise, the sun is in the exact same position, as you can see by when we zoom and enhance the shadow shown on the bucket of paint:
But when you put both photos side by side and pull back just a little bit more, the photos begin to diverge. Can you spot the difference?
Here’s a clue:
Innnnnnnnnnteresting! In the photo on the right — the one published and distributed by Hillary Ronen’s campaign — the campaign signs for Tom Temprano and Mark Sanchez have been replaced by campaign signs for Kim Alvarenga and Jane Kim.
Another photo shows how the doorway looked earlier that same day. Here’s a tweet posted at 1:15 pm by @acordova:
As we can see, the configuration of the signs in the earlier photo matches what’s shown in the 48Hills photograph from later that same day, with signs for Tom Temprano and Mark Sanchez displayed in the campaign HQ window.
When asked about the discrepancy, Hillary Ronen told Bernalwood: “I switched the position of the signs when I took my photo to show solidarity with other women candidates who have also been subject to hateful attacks during this election cycle.”
Editor Tim Redmond from 48Hills has confirmed that the 48Hills photo was taken by reporter Sana Saleem. Bernalwood also asked Sana Saleem if she saw the signs being changed. Saleem said that while she wasn’t at the site for long, she did not witness the signs being rearranged.
Finally, just to complete the very strange circle, while the photo from the early afternoon of Sept. 5 shows the Alsarenga-Kim signs positioned on the right side of the doorway, this photo taken by Bernalwood yesterday shows them now on the left: