Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not really sure what to do with this blog/site/whatever

Not really sure what to do with this site, beyond keeping it as an archive to use when writing about the Same Old Stuff lol.

I mean, does anyone even care about anything that happened before 2014? or 2015? Sure doesn’t seem like it in SF 2.0, where tech “geniuses” techbrosplain local politics and regional land use constantly, without a clue as to what the f they are talking about.

Oh well.

Another “Skinheads Vs. Geraldo” Battle: PG&E vs the Shell Game Called “SF Clean Energy”

Here we go again. Another San Francisco style cluster-frak in progress.
Let’s be clear – I now hate PG&E. After the way they totally f*cked up the pipeline situation in San Bruno, BS-ed their way about it, and caused so much damage, any past ties with these guys was done. Needless to say to have the concept of a “choice” to go elsewhere on its face should be like, awesome.
Enter San Francisco’s classic way to ruin things for the benefit of the politicians: the so-called Clean Energy SF “program.” It sounds all so politically correct – SF will “build” clean energy sources and people can choose them. OMG TEH AWESOME!
There’s just one problem – we’re trading one Big Energy giant for another. Worse, we’re going to see our power bills go up, at a time when many people can’t afford it. Even WORSE, you are going to be told to do as you’re told. If you want out, you’ll have to file papers and pay money to say “no.” (so “progressive” and “democratic.”)
In other words, it’s the classic “Skinheads vs. Geraldo” Battle: you like the idea that Geraldo Rivera gets his nose broken because he’s a jerkwad, but you hate the fact you are rooting for stupid skinhead nazis because they did it. In the end you wish you could root for someone to kick both their asses, because they both suck.
There are many pluses to energy that doesn’t require dead dinosaurs to make things happen – after all, I’ve promoted these at the N-Judah Chronicles because only an idiot thinks that gasoline and coal will be cheap for ever, and an economy based on dead dinosaurs, is, well, gonna die.
Fine and fine.That said, the mad desire of a few progressive politicians, who continue to use City Hall as the stage for stunts to improve their chances for higher office (all on the public’s dime) is poisoning good public policy. I don’t need my power bill doubled, all to service the corporate masters at Shell Oil to boost their prospects – especially if the goal is public power, we already have the solution. It’s called, the Hetch Hetchy system.
Now, oddly enough, the same “pwogwessive activists” who are on fire to give Shell Oil a death grip on ratepaying citizens in SF, are also the ones who want to pay for a “study” (oh see how it always starts as a “study” by people who predetermine the outcome before they start) to dismantle Hetch Hetcy, which provides cheap, non-carbon producing power that makes Muni run and electrifies City agencies.
See what they did there?
One has to wonder whose of pockets got lined on this deal – Shell gets your utility bill and jacks it up, and can burn cow poop if it likes, and can still call it “clean energy” – even if in fact that’s bullsh*t.
Sorry, friends, but if you fall for this one, you’ll have only yourself to blame for high power bills powered by burning cow poo. If you give promotions to the likes of John Avalos, David Campos and other “progressive” ilk, then you have no one but yourselves to blame as well. Do you really think they care about you at all? Think again – to them you are nothing but trained seals to clap when nice things and a few fish are tossed your way. Meanwhile they laugh all the way to the bank.
As for I, I will opt out of this scam for sure, and I’ll happily sign up for any other energy concern that uses non-dead dinosaur, non-polluting sources to keep my iPhone charged. I won’t, however allow my Muni to be forced to use expensive, shitty PG&E power to drive up Muni fares for the benefit of a few politicians who make six figures and don’t care about the middle class. Mitt Romney isn’t the only one that gives the finger to 47% of the country – in So-Called Progressive San Francisco, it’s the left that’s the side that says what’s yours is theirs, regardless if you can afford to pay.

Japan Invents a “Shut Up” Gun and I Want One NOW….

shutupgun.jpgGod bless The Awl. Without this in my RSS reader I might have missed out on the news that scientists in Japan have invented what is informally called a “shut up gun” – a device to silence people who talk.
Using the same effect when you talk into a cell phone that relays back your own voice on a delay, only on a larger scale, it’s fairly effective at, well, shutting people up.
I can think of about a million uses for this in San Francisco, and when these become available, I’m buying one. Muni, Supervisors, Mayor, annoying people on the street (to start) : consider yourself warned.

Interesting Quote from the PBS Documentary on President Bill Clinton

While watching the second half of PBS’s documentary on the Clinton years, this line popped a bit. Seems relevant to just about anyone in politics:

“You can never blame your enemies for doing what your enemies will predictably do.
You can only blame yourself for what you’ve given your enemies.
If you have given them absolutely nothing, guess what they’re going to be able to do?
NOTHING.”

-Lawrence O’Donnell, from the American Experience documentary on Bill Clinton

Nostalgia for a Death Match Young Democrats Meeting from Long Ago…

If you’re not already reading Beth Spotswood’s column at the Chronicle, or at the Appeal, or now at the Huffington Post (with Melissa Griffin on video!), you’re missing out on some great observations about San Francisco. Her column today, on the San Francisco Young Democrats meeting was rather entertaining, and reminded me of an incident years ago in Seattle.
Young Democrats (known popularly as YDs) can have some intense meetings, and not about who to endorse for US Senate or something, but on internal matters. It’s easy to belittle, but it’s really no different than a condo association, a bowling club or whatever, because in the end, if you’re a devoted member of any group,and you want to be a leader in said group, you’re going to take this seriously. So I have no doubt that Beth’s account is rather accurate in its description of the events. More importantly it wasn’t all about the internal workings of the YDs – it’s also about the race for Mayor.
That’s because the YDs are one of many endorsements a politican can put on his or her junk mail. If the group’s leadership favors one candidate over the others, it can make a difference. In this case, it would seem that a pro-Yee slate seems to have won, so if you hear about a YDs endorsement later on, well you can figure that one out.
This reminded me of one of the all time death match meetings I’d ever attended in my life – the Washington State Young Democrats in 1996. The YDs up there were smart – they timed their annual election to an early endorsement for the Governor’s race, which featured four major candidates. Playing off the “first endorsement of the year” meme, campaigns went into a panic and started having their supporters sign up to buy a membership by the deadline to be eligible to vote. Needless to say this meant the YDs had one heck of a party fund afterwards.
However, on the day of voting for their officers and the endorsement, all Hell broke loose. First off was the fight for the YD offices, which had an unforseen wrinkle – so many people had joined in the months previous who weren’t acquainted with the candidates, the votes started to shift back and forth and the speechifying and whatnot was out of control. In the end, the “new” members began voting for people based on which school they went to (UW vs WSU, and believe me, that is a Big Fucking Deal in Washington State) and to the shock of the “regulars” they suddenly had people in office they hadn’t expected to win. That thing Beth said about people losing limbs in these fights almost came true that day.
The biggest bloodbath was the run up to the endorsement. Four major Democratic candidates (a former congressman – who is likely to become Governor in 2012 ironically after being Congressman from Elsewhere- a state senator,a King County Executive, and a Mayor of Seattle) had their minions out there scrounging for votes. I’d shown up mostly to hang out with my friends and go to the after parties, but since I was a member, suddenly people were barking at me about who to vote for. I remember one partisan literally screaming at me, face red, veins pulsating merely because I cracked a joke or two about how silly the whole thing was.
I can’t remember who won the endorsement, and in the end it really didn’t matter, but the fact the press bought into this as much as it did made me realize how easily they are to manipulate. I was more impressed at how the YDs figured out a way to make themselves relevant, and make a few bucks, just like those silly straw polls in Iowa before the caucuses.
I put most of this out of my mind until I read “Zioncheck for President,” an account of my friend Grant’s run for Seattle City Council in 2001 and Beth’s piece, because I always tended to regard party functions of any sort (Democrat, Republican, Whatever) as things to be aware of but not invest too much time or energy into, because in the end, once you leave the multi-purpose room these things are held in, no one really cares.
Because, really, when did you, the average voter, give a damn about the internal workings of political parties who are about as concerned about you as, say, Rupert Murdoch or Ted Turner?
Seriously.

How Electoral Gimmicks Like “Campaign Finance Reform” Gaming the System Can Backfire!

In the declining days of Our Republic, political parties and rabid ideologues of all persuasions are in agreement on one thing – coming up with ways to rig the electoral system to benefit Their Side, and keep The Other Side from winning. Cloaked in goody-two-shoes terms like “reform,” it is in fact Third World-like in the attempts to suppress votes or ensure Certain People win.
There’s just one problem with all of these half-baked efforts – rarely do they work as advertised, and the unintended consequences are significant. Some make one laugh, most make one wonder if burning the electoral code and doing a reboot with the concept of “majority rule through free and fair elections” as the guiding principle for a change.
Today’s case study: the so-called “Clean Elections” law that the Supreme Court recently ruled unconstitutional. Arizona isn’t the only state with such a law – this was a scheme pushed on various states (including California) by various non-profity, think thank-like groups that know what’s best. If you’re not familiar with the scheme, here’s a very simplified explanation:
Candidates have the option to run as a “clean money” candidate. This means they raise money with limits on how much a donor can give, there’s usually other conditions, and the candidate gets money from the state in the form of matching funds. Most importantly, they agree not to spend more than a certain amount. The caveat, however, is that if any other candidate, even one not participating (since you can’t mandate participation in these things), blows the cap, the state starts matching the funds the (usually rich) candidate is pouring into their campaign.
Now, the people that have been pushing this (now unconstitutional) scheme were generally of the liberal variety. The irony in Arizona? The super-right wing, anti-government, anti welfare types were elected largely because of this law. Yes, you read that right – people who want limited government and don’t like welfare or subsidies could only get elected in Arizona due to a government handout.
The Defenders of Small Government scrambling to figure out how to get their consultants paid without government cheese. Oh, the irony. (By the way, people in the political ad game like these laws because if you follow the rules, you know you won’t be stuck with a warehouse full of mail that’s unpaid).
Locally, the impact of the ruling is a bit more muted. San Francisco’s public finance law (one of many gimmicks to help a Matt Gonzalez run for Mayor in 2003 that never happened) doesn’t give out tax cash to candidates unless they abide by rules and raise private money first. They have to agree to a cap, but they don’t get that cash payout if someone else busts it.
Then again, San Francisco rarely enforces campaign laws on real lawbreakers. They’ll rack up some underfunded schmo who can’t afford a lawyer and has to figure out San Francisco’s crazy-ass laws on their own (they make the IRS look like paragons of simplicity) and nail them for fines. Meanwhile, you can run illegal fake campaigns for non-candidates for Mayor and take buckets of cash to the bank, free of worry.
Ah, but thats yet ANOTHER story….

The “Pollies” Day One: Not Much to Report, But the Miller Lite Was Free

I spent most of today traveling, getting up at 4:30 am (!) to get to SFO by 5am to get to a 7am Virgin America flight from SFO to Dulles. Now, I dislike air travel, mostly because it’s like taking Muni without the benefit of jumping off when the sh*t gets bad. However, Virgin America (based in Burlingame! Yay!) has convinced me that there’s an alternate universe crossover that says it ain’t necessarily so.
Not only did we get there sooner than expected, I had a whole row to myself. I paid for the stupid wifi and was online via iPhone to my Twittervercse. Also, got some sleep playing the “Inception” soundtrack. (Jack Donaghy/30 Rock reference). Overall, I was astonished at how well I was treated, from start to finish. Special shout out to the VA employees who were polite, happy and energetic at FIVE AM IN THE MORNING.
Upon leaving Dulles Airport (the one the SFMTA’s own Nat Ford wants to run, along with National Airport, depsite, um, not being qualified to run airports), we took a cab into town. Not a lot to report, but it was at least fast. Also: wow, Northern Virginia, you sure built the HELL out of yourselves!
Finally we were in Georgetown, the haven of my short time here in 1994. Everything was vaguely familiar and yet not. Upon crossing the bridge to the Fairmont, there was a ton of new (as in “I didn’t see these when I lived here when it was a slum”) apartments, hotels and so on. Impressive, but also making me wonder if Phil Gramm had a point about “doing the Lord’s work in the Devil’s city.” (But also not knowing he MIGHT have been on the side of the Devil…but I digress).
The reception for the AAPC tonight was fun, I got to see many old friends and make a few new ones. I would have loved to have partied like it was 1994, but after being up since 4:15 am PST (see what I did there?) I was wiped and I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. So instead of living it up with about 1000000 DC interns that litter this place or the 2011 cast of “The West Wing,” I went back to our hotel, relaxed and had a couple of real beers.
The point? Not a lot. Aside from the fact that this AAPC conference is gonna be cheap, easy, and fast. That’s not a value judgment at all it’s more of a reality. And, it’ll be interesting to discern what the politico pros thing about 2012 re: Obama, the GOP, and whatnot.

I’m Going to the AAPC “Pollie” Awards! Follow me On The Twitter!

spyguy.jpgDuring my day job, I work for Spot-on.com, a startup that does ad buys online for political candidates, campaigns and organizations. This year we’re up for a “Pollie”, which some call the political consulting equivalent of the Oscars, but I think might be more the equivalent of the Emmys.
Or the Tonys.
Or the Golden Globes.
Anyway, you get the idea.
Two years ago we won several for our products and our work helping the 2008 Measure A campaign out, as well as for the Save JROTC campaign (both won!). This was all in the early days of just three years ago in the world of online political ads.
We’re up for one this year too. But in between work duties, I shall tweet at @gregdewar when I can if anything crazy happens.
If you saw any of the Daily Show’s coverage in 2008 (which was hilarious by the way) you know what I mean. If you missed it, slide on over to the Comedy Central site to see Part I and Part II (which was a true gem) and have fun. This year is an off year so there’s not as much going on, but like I say, if I see or hear anything tweet-worthy, I’ll be sure to let you know.

A Few Clichés and Another Annoyances I’d LIke To See Die

Because this is such an important issue, far more important than say, the historic toppling of Middle East dictators, the earthquake in Christchurch NZ, impending snow-pocalypse in San Francisco, and so on, I thought I’d just jot down something I’ve been thinking about lately – how some clichés need to DIE NOW.
First off? The use of “more on that later” in a written article, essay, blog post, whatever. Too often, lazy writers will write something, introduce some New Idea, then say “More on that later.” It is an example of lazy writing, and it’s getting more and more common. It also doesn’t make any sense. If the writer wants to elaborate on something later in in the piece, then just frakking DO IT, we don’t need a “more on that later” to tell us that. Or, organize your thoughts better.
Next, we have the lazy TV writer’s chestnut: starting a TV show with some wild and crazy scene, stopping, then having a caption come up saying “36 hours previously” or some similar nonsense. Almost every mediocre tv show does this now, and it’s starting to become common (Along with cutesy ways to reference scenes during the show). News flash: This isn’t good drama, it’s just stupid. It doesn’t make the story any better, and it needs to stop. Now.
Finally, now that it’s Election Season, journalists seem to be infatuated with using the cliché “pull papers” to describe someone who plans a run for office. Not only is it not entirely accurate, it’s an annoying, cutesy term that over-dramatizes something that doesn’t merit the drama. Again, journalists, knock it off, and be a bit more original, if you can.
I’m not sure how important any of this is, but at least I didn’t tease you with the end of this post, then go backwards.

Oh So You Dug Sen. Sanders’ Filibuster? Ok, Time To Act Locally!

floor speech.jpgThe Twitter was abuzz about Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his marathon filibuster of the Obama/GOP tax deal. Living in San Francisco, and being on The Twitter, and following so many Good People On Said Twitter, it was hard not to hear about it. There were all sorts of tribute websites and the like, and that’s wonderful.
The theme of Sanders’ 8+hour filibuster was the inequality in wealth in this country and the real-world effects this has on people who work for a living, versus those who play games in the financial markets and those that inherit wealth, and do not generate it. Etc. etc etc.
All red tofu for the left in San Francisco, and eye-opening statistics for the millionaire’s club known as Congress. However, while San Francisco’s population can cluck their tongues, the fact is that right now, San Francisco is poised to give away millions to a billionaire who makes record profits, all so he can have a billionaire boat race here in town.
The Mayor you just gave a promotion to, and whom you swoon over (boys and girls) is exiting his office early as a solid promoter of this deal. So-called “progressive” Ross Mirkarimi is swooning over this deal based on some sort of misguided nostalgia for his home town 3000 miles away, and the rest of the Supervisors are too busy playing political games to get into Room 200 or passing useless legislation to notice what is about to happen.
Make no mistake, San Francisco is as guilty as any DC insider in this use of the government to side with the wealthy and make the poor pay. The mayor, by decree/fatwa, eliminated a successful “green jobs” operation on behalf of a few NIMBY property owners (most likely recent transplants during Dot Com 1 anyway) with the specific intent of ensuring “those people” (aka the poors) can’t recycle bottles and cans for money.
This is a city that is doing everything it can, again on the behalf of the few, to over-regulate and to kick out plenty of community building operations in the City, all because the wealthy few deem it unseemly that those that aren’t wealthy landowners get to enjoy San Francisco as much as they do.
So high five Sen. Sanders all you like. Until you realize that your own government in So-Called Leftist San Francisco, and those self-appointed righteous knownothingknowitalls are literally selling out your poor, broke city on behalf of Larry FUCKING Ellison, and until you do something about it, you are no better than the President that sold you out for a few pieces of silver to the people he said he was going to fight.
It’s time to act locally, folks. We may not be able to do anything about the swamp that is Washington DC, but if we can’t even clean up our own messes at home, then we have no right to tell anyone else how to live their lives.