Why I’m Not Running for Supervisor, Despite the Rumors

Several months ago, a rumor began about the possibility of me running for the Board of Supervisors in 2012. Naturally, this got the SF Internet Rumor Mill treatment for a while, and then as the months passed, quieted down. As many people still ask me if I’m running or not, I am saying today that the answer, sadly, is “no.”
I’ve entertained this notion as I have met people around the City, writing about City politics (particularly when it comes to Muni), who have encouraged me to run. The fact is I have a better understanding of how the SFMTA and Muni works than any other candidate, declared or not in the race for District 5, and I’m well aware of how the corruption, the lawmaking process and the money work at City Hall also. My only promise would be that I would never beholden to them, while others may or may not be.
If I was somehow elected, I’d owe no one anything and I would focus on getting things done at City Hall, not spending endless hours debating phony non-binding resolutions or catering to loud, small groups that too often get the ear of City Hall over Everyone Else.
As I began to research this, however, a few problems began to emerge. When I plotted a Google Map of every potential supporter of mine, a pattern emerged – many people did not live in the district (even if they lived in the Inner Sunset!). This is due in part to the fact that once again, the So-Called Progressives jammed a portion of the Inner Sunset into one of the most leftist districts in town. (Thanks for nothing, once again, guys!)
This has had the effect of dividing the Inner Sunset (for example I can walk a few blocks from my home and end up in District 7), and would put me at a disadvantage. Basically this means it doesn’t matter if the Appointed Incumbent can’t find the Inner Sunset on a map, because ultimately she can blow it off and still win election. Meanwhile, many voters would regard me as someone from the Farallon Islands, at best. So, this made me realize that right here, right now, this may not be a great idea.
The second, of course is money. Now that I no longer work in consulting, and have a little spare cash, I thought at first I’d be able to finance the startup capital to get the campaign going in a credible manner. However, much of my money is tied up right now in a couple of business ventures that are pending, so I can’t tap it like I thought. Plus – I had to ask myself how much I wanted to spend money on dead tree mail and online ads vs. health care or a vacation (an alien concept to me in recent years) or on things for my family. You can guess where I land on that.
More importantly, the Appointed Incumbent will have the billionaire 1% types and others who funded Ed Lee’s campaign last year AND the support of city labor unions who rely on the City for members to enhance their power. Going up against both of those without at least a solid base of support within a district meant that at best I’d raise “name ID” for a future run.
The prospect of that, and of having to spend most of my time at some forum answering the same questions in 1 minute or less made the prospect, at least for now, not worth it. Besides, when I do something I do it to win, not to “place” and would want to go to City Hall to do something, not just see myself on TV and blab on about stuff like most do.
Still, I have to say that many, many people came forward and offered support. I couldn’t possibly name them all here, but it was truly amazing to have people I never heard of tell me “do it!” and offer true support. I have also had many amazing offline conversations not just about the problems Our City faces, but how there seems to be a Silent Majority out there of folks just waiting to do their best and make SF once again the “City That Knows How.”
In recent times plenty of politicians have appropriated words like that, only to offer us more politics of the clubhouse and corruption. Needless to say, it’s nice to know not everyone thinks this is sustainable over the long term.
Finally, let me say this: I made the mistake in my early adulthood of getting as far away from San Francisco as I could, for whatever reason. While Washington DC and Seattle were nice places, it is only when I returned in 2000 that I realized this is where I belong, despite the nonsense. To paraphrase Mat Honan’s essay a while back, San Francisco has plenty of problems, but despite all that, I’d rather live here than elsewhere. If there’s some way I can continue to make things better, I want to go to there.*
For now, I’m going to keep on blogging, writing, and listening to the people about their daily lives and I’ll get involved when events warrant as a citizen. I want to thank again my friends, as well as the friends I didn’t know I had, for their support, and look forward to one day enlisting all of your help for something positive for Our Fair City.
PS: As for the 2012 race for Supervisor: I’m happy to have any candidate meet with me and tell me why they are the best person for the job, but they can’t use canned rhetoric or try and BS me. If one does emerge that warrants your vote, I’ll let you know.
PS2: While I may not be running, you can watch this entertaining trailer about a friend of mine in Seattle who challenged the Establishment back in 2001 (the pre Twitter/Facebook era) that’s coming out soon. Although my effort might have been a bit better organized, it would have retained an anti-Establishment tone. Also, you really should support my friend Kevin Montgomery and get him to run in District 9.
*Does anyone get this joke?

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