I sent my mail ballot in a while back and voted a nice big “NO” on all these ridiculous propositions for this “special election” next week. Most people don’t know what they’re about, or that there’s even an election. Political nerds like me who actually tried to read this garbage found even more not to like, and voted no.
The whole concept of ballot measures at the state and local level has devolved into a joke. When the railroads ran the state and early 20th century reformers wanted to break their hold on government, the ballot measure idea was a good way to circumvent their hold on power. But today, it’s a cruel joke that’s making our state a laughingstock, and it may be time to pull the plug.
Today, the only people who can afford to put some crazy idea on the ballot are the wealthy special interests these things were supposed to fight. Worse, when someone gets one of these things passed, there’s no accountability. Want to make up some budget busting rules for the state? Put it on the ballot and who cares about unintended consequences? Want to make up some zany law declaring San Francisco a “sanctuary city?” Go for it, and when we have illegal alien felons having their “rights” protected from the long arm of the law, well whose ass do we kick for that? No one, that’s who….because it was a “vote of the people.”
Worse, whenever one of these bogus things get challenged, politicians and the courts are always fearful of “overturning a vote of the people.” Hey guess what? If “the people” vote for something truly stupid and unconstitutional, it should be tossed out with the garbage, because it’s unconstitutional. Who cares if “the people” voted on it? “The people” barely pay attention as-is, and their only information is from a slew of political ads. Not exactly a model of democracy, I’d say.
However, I think the best way to make a point about this is….to put a ballot measure up for a vote of the people. To paraphrase Sideshow Bob, I’m aware of the irony of using a ballot measure to point out its silliness so don’t bother pointing that out. Simply put, I think it’s time a group of Concerned Citizens put up the craziest “advisory” ballot measure ever to point how how useless it is. (Although in San Francisco, perhaps no one would get the joke).
Anyway, here’s a few ideas I’m spitballing here….feel free to come up with your own….remember we’re going to use the election system to take a poll about something completely ridiculous, so the zanier the better:
-An advisory measure asking the City to consider making Alcatraz Island into a facility for the cloning of dinosaur DNA and making a world-class dinosaur zoo in San Francisco.
-An advisory measure stating that San Francisco stands as a “sanctuary city” for unicorns, rainbows, and heart shaped stickers.
-An advisory measure asking the Mayor to wear a different colored tie than those blue ones he’s always wearing.
-An advisory measure declaring San Francisco’s support for JJ Abrams’ efforts to improve pop culture via Star Trek, Fringe, and LOST. Maybe make him an honorary mayor or something.
Anyway, you get the idea. Let’s get crazy!
Does it not strike anyone else as odd that the only person willing and able to call this kind of nonsense by alleged “journalists” at CNBC, et al, works on a comedy show?
Glad he’s doing it, but another example of why the media is dying. They can’t criticize anyone in the fraternity and just go with the pack, never questioning anything…
These days, everyone has stars in their eyes about “social networking” and feel a need to jump on every new thing out there to do their thing online. Today I’m going to give you an example of how NOT to use Twitter, the micro-blogging service that many people enjoy.
Over at The N Judah Chronicles, I have been using Twitter to supplement blog posts, especially since now I can’t always update the site during the day when I’d like, and have to put it off until the evening or the early morning. Plus, I’ve been testing out Twitter as a way to create an online community about MUNI and the funny things we all see around town. Many other local bloggers and I “follow” each others micro-posts, and it’s a nice little diversion while I’m stuck on the N and can find something to do with my iPhone.
Anyway, today, Brittney Gilbert at alerted her Twitter followers that one of the CBS5 reporters was now on Twitter and I decided to “follow” his Twitter posts. I think it is cool when journalists use Twitter as a way to talk to their readers/viewers and use it to get alternative points of view.
Anyway, I noticed he’d been talking about a story on cell phone robo calls and I posted a response, indicating that I used to sell robocalls and offered my expertise in said subject, such as it is. Cool.
Then, out of the blue, I get a direct message from someone who a) I don’t follow and b) I don’t know and c) obviously didn’t read what I’d Twittered. All I got was this random posting from the guy who runs some website devoted to killing poltical robo calls.
Basically what he did was look for anyone using the word “robocall” in Twitter, and then sent out this anonymous blast Tweet to me. He didn’t bother to read my comment, he didn’t know what I was talking about, and basically spammed my Twitter feed for his own site. Ironically, by doing so, he was as annoying as those robocalls he claims to be against!
The moral to the story? Communicating on Twitter isn’t a top down, message blasting service. Twitter is an ongoing conversation of sorts, and your best bet is to find ways to interact with Twitter users that is context-sensitive. Blasting out crap like this guy does not only is ineffective – it got me to post something online saying so!
PS: As for the concept itself – while I did sell robocalls in the past as a cheap way for low budget campaigns to reach voters when they otherwise could not, I no longer do so because I don’t know that it’s particularly effective from a communications point of view. There’s better low-cost ways for campaigns to communicate that weren’t available when robocalls were in fashion just a few years ago.
That said, I don’t like the idea of banning political speech, no matter how annoying, based on technology. This road-to-Hell paving crew kind of stuff sounds great, but always ends badly. Plus, the “holier than thou” aspect of it all is annoying.
And in an added level of irony, I’m sure the Google Ads over here are advertising…robocalls. YMMV.
I mean, really. Lots of explosions, noise and whatnot. Saw all the promos at Comic Con last July but now it’s finally happening…tack on BSG at 10pm on SciFi (or for me, iTunes) and there’s really no reason to go out of the house..
Kind of a strange way to start the new year, but I was just reading in the Blog Herald that the free blog hosting service Journalspace.com is dead. You can read more at what’s left of the site here.
Journalspace wasn’t the best blog service – it was often behind the times, techonology and feature-wise, but it had a niche. It was where I started trying out “blogging” 6 years ago (and virtually all the posts from that site are now here). I also test-marketed a number of ideas for blogs, one of which ended up migrating to this server and became the successful “N Judah Chronicles.”
I hadn’t checked in on the site in a while, but back in 2003-2004, it was a fun little place where I got my start and learned through trial and error what makes a blog readable, etc. so it is sad to hear it just sorta got killed off in a flash.
At the same time, it’s a great lesson for anyone doing anything online – back up your stuff offline, no matter what services you use. You never know when an Act of God (or OS) might frak up your day.
As you cast your ballots for the myriad of local ballot measures, candidates for Supervisor, and so on, you should be aware of how the votes are being counted for school board and college board races.
While candidates for supervisor are using the so-called “ranked choice voting” scheme, candidates for the school and college boards are not covered by RCV/WTF. Instead, all candidates run city-wide, for a specific number of seats. The top vote getters then get to take office. So in the case of the SF Board of Education (k-12 schools), there are 4 seats, and the voter picks 4 candidates to fill those seats.
There is, however, a danger in doing so – by voting for 4 candidates, you could inadvertently undercut one of your choices, since your 4 votes go into the pile, and get counted. If you really want to help someone out, you’re better off voting for only 1 or 2 candidates, because, in a weird twist of counting, your votes will have more of an impact.
So, while there are many fine candidates for office, I cast one vote for Rachel Norton because she’s a parent, she’s really nice, and she has some good ideas for making schools better for students. By doing so, I’m not undercutting my vote with votes for the other candidates.
The same applies to college board candidates – if there’s someone you really really like, just vote for them and let the chips fall where they may.
By the way, this is how we used to elect supervisors, and in general it’s a dumb way to do so. No one can target specfic incumbents for defeat, and you have this mass of candidates all running against each other.
The hippies usually propose some district system, but in a small city of less than 800,000 people that’s not always such a great idea. A compromise, one that works in cities like Seattle, is to have “numbered” seats. That way the candidates all file for specific seats on a board or city council, and voters know who is running against each other. Seattle does pretty good with this – maybe it’s time we applied this fix to city-wide boards and make it clearer to voters who is running against whom.
For Your Saturday just a few days before Election Day…the guys from an old Budweiser commercial have reunited…to talk about something other than Bud. And yeah it really is them. So, in case you hadn’t had enough of an ad that was on a while ago that might have annoyed you during football, well here’s a reboot with a little more to it than just selling beer:
It’s things like this that remind me why A) San Francisco “politics” is petty BS wrapped in a so-called liberal wrapper, and b) why Obama, faults and all, won the primaries, and is positioned to win the Presidency.
But more importantly, Obama ain’t doing this all by himself. This was a perfect match of old-school organizing and the ease of the Internet that allowed what we’ve been waiting for a long time -a mass movement funded mostly by small donations, over and over, finally happened, thanks to technology created by the Defense Department.
Of course, we can also thank the GOP, who after 8 years running the Executive Branch and 6 years running Congress gave us a war they tried to do on the cheap (costing American lives and dollars) and a financial crisis of EPIC FAIL proportions. And now, the Other Side’s folks are crying and screaming like the liberals did in the 80s. Boo Hoo.
And now, the video, thanks to YouTube: