So there’s an election going on next Tuesday, but I think this off-year must have set a record for Most Boring Election Ever. Aside from some mail I’ve received about Prop. D, and a mailer from the local Democratic Party, this election has been a snoozefest. That may be a good thing since next year you’re going to see elections from Governor on down to Supervisor that will more resemble something out of Braveheart.
Most of the measures are of the “And WHY do I have to vote for this?” variety. It never ceases to amaze me how I can vote for gay marriage rights, arcane changes to the City Charter, President, judges, and how the Board of Supervisors conducts its internal affairs, but I (and all SF citizens) are deemed intellectually unable to vote directly for anyone who runs Muni. Hmm.
Whatever. So here’s a few recommendations, as well as some ways to have some fun with your ballot….
Prop. A – Some Thing About a 2 Year Budget Cycle – If you really want to change how the Board and the Mayor do the budget, elect better people to office, instead of relying on “Name ID” and a pile of junk mail to tell you how to vote. I’ve seen nothing out there that explains how we’re going to get Budget Nirvana by passing this, so I voted “no” just to send it back to the kitchen for a re-do.
Prop. B – Some Thing About How Many People Can Work For a Supervisor – Again, why do we have to vote for this? Does the Mayor have ballot measures determining how many people he gets to hire? No. I actually voted “yes” but only because I seriously doubt, in these crap-tacular budget times, you’ll suddenly see Supervisors with a legion of “aides” running around City Hall. But who knows? I think I voted yes for the “WTF” factor.
Prop. C – Some Thing About Candlestick – I’m not sure the 49ers give a hoot about San Francisco, and I don’t know that a mere 700k is going to change their minds if we get some company (hey what about Depends?) to rename the stadium. Sure, “Depends Stadium” sounds really cool repeated about a million times, but the other wrinkle is that the city’s take on the money goes exclusively to…park directors.
Wait WHAT? These “one thing has nothing to do with the other” measures are lame. I voted “no.”
Prop. D- Some Thing About Billboards Saving The City – This is the only thing that I’ve seen any mail for – about a million pieces saying “yes” and one saying “no” (with the most irritating disclaimer I’ve ever seen). These kinds of measures usually devolve into two arguments – Passing “D” will turn around the crappy part of Market Street into a mega Nirvana, because all you need are big light up signs to change a street that’s spent decades falling apart. The other side argues that passing “D” means you ensure a total destruction of the city and our way of life. Neither side is particularly credible.
I honestly don’t see how, in an economic depression where ad spending is way way down, slapping up a few light up billboards are going to make the pee and the dilapidated theaters and porn shops go away. That said, no one else is doing anything to improve a really crappy part of San Francisco either. I might have accidentally voted “yes” for this (I really don’t remember) in the spirit of “hey it couldn’t hurt.” So vote as you see fit.
Prop. E – Some Thing About City Buildings and Billboards – I suppose we’re supposed to hate all ads or something, since this is a theme this year. There’s just one problem with this measure – in an attempt to keep ads off the City Hall dome, there’s an interpretation that could end up wiping out all the Muni bus shelters.
Right now the entire cost and maitnenance is covered by the contractor who is required to build and maintain them. They pay for them with advertising. I’m sure if this were passed, some person with the money and/or time to persue it , could find a way to kill the contract. Then you’d have cash strapped Muni in charge of the bus shelters. Rather than risk waiting for the N in the rain sans shelter, I voted “no.”
Fun with the Waste of Time That Is IRV This Year
Remember how we were told that voting for so-called “instant runoff voting” was going to usher in this big future where under-funded candidates could be freer to challenge The System and all that?
Yeah, I know. Worked out well so far, right (insert sarcasm tag here).
The problem this year is that we have two incumbents, each running unopposed this year. This is nothing new – three years ago I wrote about this very same phenomenon and offered up then what I’m offering now – Fun With IRV Ballots.
I mean, the city went to all the trouble to print “IRV style” ballots, the least we can do is use them. So, while we all like ya, Mr. Herrera and Mr. Cisneros, and you did get my vote, I decided to enter in a few names for 1st and 2nd who will most assuredly lose. This year I used the names of favorite TV characters:
For City Attorney:
1. Don Draper
2. Bert Cooper
3. Dennis Herrera (Winner!)
1. Hank Moody
2. Greg House
3. Jose Cisneros (Winner!)
Fill out your ballot with your own favorite characters. If all of this seems silly, well it is. So is the fact that all the promises made about IRV never came true. We’re left with paying for an expensive system that hasn’t lived up to its promises. If someone is a lame nobody running for office, they still lose. Just because we played games to fit the needs of a handful of ideologues whose true agenda has yet to be revealed, doesn’t mean anything is different.
Incumbents are always re-elected, and the candidates who have the most support always win. It’s even easier when no one bothers to run against them! So have fun. Besides, Don Draper is cool.
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