Living in the Inner Sunset, and for some reason not on any mailing lists, I’ve missed out on most of the “fun” that is Political Dead Tree Mail this season. In particular, I’m missing out on the flurry of eastside mailers for the Democratic Central Committee, which include many current Supervisors as candidates.
The Bay Guardian’s blog reports that apparently the so-called “Change” Slate of candidates is sending out a slate card mailer with the Bay Guardian’s logo on it, implying an endorsement of Sen. Carole Migden (the SFBG in fact, endorsed Mark Leno.) There is a more detailed photo of the mailer in question over at the Wall discussion board as well.
I took a look at the pictures myself, and the “too-clever-by-half” design makes it rather easy for voters to be misled that it’s a Guardian slate card. Yes, it does say “all change initiatives and DCCC candidates endorsed by” above a logo that looks almost exactly like the Bay Guardian’s. At the same time, however, they use the logo as the return address as well.
Yes, there is a disclaimer, but to the casual eye scanning a pile of crappy junk mail, it seems to give the Guardian stamp of approval to all candidates. The fact that people are complaining about it to the Guardian indicates that whatever the alleged “intent,” if the end result is the voter is feeling misled or confused, the piece fails. Not being a mind reader, I don’t know if this was intentional or just plain dumb, but I wonder what progressives would say if the roles and candidates were reversed. I seriously doubt they’d be giving the Other Side the wink and a nod.
More interesting, though is how Supervisor Daly has taken a “do it my way or go F**K yourself” attitude, saving his best vitriol for people who’ve been on his side in the past. He has issued two heavy handed progressive fatwas on SF Labor Council director Tim Paulson – someone whom I’ve worked with in the past and always found to be an honorable, decent guy – and who, with the SFLC, did a lot to support Supervisor Daly in the past.
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Here we go again.
On the heels of some parliamentary wizardry that killed the latest tax credit package for “film production,” the Chronicle, right on cue, had had a front page article bemoaning the “loss” of film productions in town. Predictably, it talked solely about “tax credits” being offered by various local and national governments, and how SF is “missing the boat” because we’re just not offering up enough gimmies to Hollywood.
The problem with the article is that it narrowly defines the “whys” of the lack of film production in San Francisco without considering some very important facts that are important to any film producer, large or small, who wishes to film anywhere on location ( like the fact that previous San Francisco tax credits haven’t worked out at all like promised.) Yet nowhere in the Chronicle story is this noted, despite the fact this isn’t a state secret.
I’ve written about this issue before because like many of us, enjoy seeing Our Fair City in TV and movies. Bullitt and the first Dirty Harry movies remain some of my all time favorites, along with Vertigo, to name a few.
Having worked on a documentary about the Screen Actor’s Guild, I’ve had a lot of time to study the issue of film production here and abroad, and have had a chance to talk to a lot of people in the industry and in the unions who have studied this issue for literally decades.
So let’s do a little disinfo rehab on the subject and see what we get:
First, it’s important to remember that a tremendous amount of film credits in Canada cited in the Chronicle are given to film productions that are primarily created by Canadians to defend and enhance Canadian culture and “Canadiana” (yes that’s a word). Thus, to compare any incentive program offered up by a budget-challenged small city to that of the Mighty Canadian Govenrment Protecting Canada’s Culture is comparing apple and oranges.
It’s also important, up until the dollar’s recent decline, the weak Canadian Dollar made filming very cheap, which was the initial appeal for filming in the Great White North. (Ever wonder why so many Sci-Fi channel movies and TV shows look the same? Vancouver!) Don’t discount the additional appeal of doing your work in a nation whose cities look like America, but aren’t beset by violent crime and filth, either.
Also, as I’ve tried to tell the chess club brains at City Hall, filming in San Francisco is expensive for reasons you can’t give a tax break for. Crews are going to cost more, because rent and taxes here are extremely high. Neighborhood folks, well established in the siren whine of Today’s City, will complain about the inconvenience of a long film production, “jobs” be damned. Crime is out of control in San Francisco – we don’t even prosecute murderers here, much less property theft. Anyone wanna risk having their brand new movie camera stolen in SF? I doubt it.
And most importantly, we simply do not have the sound stages and related facilities that Los Angeles and its environs enjoy. That alone is going to make it much more feasible to come in to town for a week of exterior shots, then shuffle off to Vancouver or LA to finish the job.
All important topics worthy of coverage by policy folk and media folk. There’s plenty of more creative solutions to enhance our economy with jobs and investment from the film industry others have proposed.
The problem is, no one at City Hall or at the Chronicle gives a damn about any of that.
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It’s that time of year again, when people decimate entire forests so that they may flood your mailbox with endless amounts of political mail. This June we’ve got all sorts of mayhem on the ballot, what with the Nation/Leno/Migden rage-a-thon in full swing, and an assortment of those ballot measures folks just love to put on the ballot, and assorted other electoral detritus and term-limited open primaries that makes San Francisco (and Bay Area) politics so much fun.
As always I don’t always get the latest and greatest political mail, or at the very least tend to only get certain pieces targeted to westside Democratic voters. So, if you get some particularly egregious piece of political mail, or if you wanna show off your mad mail skillz, or if you really would like to help me lead the charge in debunking politicos and their spin, feel free to send me either a) a pdf or JPEG of said mail or b) email me and let me know what you have and we’ll make arrangements to either have you mail it in or I’ll pick it up.
Most mainstream media outlets can debunk tv commercials rather easily, since they either end up on YouTube, the candidates’ websites, or can record them off of TV.
Mail, however, does not usually get noticed as easily, and passes “under the radar” and into the voters’ mailboxes. By publicizing what campaigns are doing, and discussing the tactics used to convince you, the voter, of what to do, we can all get a better understanding of what’s being said out there.
Check out our 2006 archive and our 2007 archive, and let the fun begin!
PS: For more information on how direct mail is created, check out this clip of my good friend (and super smart consultant) Jim Spencer, who appeared on the Daily Show a while back.
PS2: If you’re a support of Speaker Pelosi and like Our Fair City, I’ve been working on a new blog that’s in the embryonic stages in support of Our Speaker and City. I’m sick of people bashing our City like it’s some hippie dippie Disneyland, and bashing Nancy Pelosi. If you have suggestions or would like to help, please feel free to drop me a line.
Posted in Campaign Tactics & Analysis, Debunking Politicos Pundits + Spin, Political Direct Mail Archive - 2008
Tagged california, campaigns, consultants, democrats, directmail, disinforehab, fun, fundraising, jimspencer, politics, sanfrancisco, spin
Many people don’t realize that there’s an honest to goodness Special Election on April 8th. There’s been some campaign activity, to be sure, but even with all the nice pieces of mail from the Elections Department, et al, it’s easy to forget. Heck, I forgot to apply for an absentee ballot this time around, and now have to go vote in person!
As I noted on my way more popular blog on all things MUNI, right now we don’t have anyone in Congress representing the 12th CD (which includes part of San Francisco and San Mateo County) due to the death of longtime Rep. Tom Lantos. Now, if 50%+1 of the good people of the 12th CD vote for Jackie Speier, we can send her to Congress immediately (she doesn’t have to pass “GO” and doesn’t need to collect $200), and we can have one of the most effective members of the Legislature (yes, we’ve had a few and she was one of them) be representing us on some pretty important issues right now.
If, however, we don’t vote, and she doesn’t make the threshold, there’ll be a “Special General” election, that will coincide with the June Primary. However, she’ll win that one for sure, but we will not have anyone in Congress representing us. Besides, put it to you another way – how many of the current crop of candidates kicked ass on privacy issues and have a train named after them? Hint: Just one, and isn’t some hippie-dippie Green candidate.
Today (Sunday, April 6th) there’s an event for Jackie at the Machinists Hall down in Burlingame. For a mere $10 donation, you can enjoy a fine spaghetti dinner and meet the candidate and her many supporters. It’s an easy commute for those of you in San Francisco – you can take BART or Caltrain to Millbrae, and walk a few blocks to the union hall.
Whatever you do today, be sure to vote on April 8th! We can all talk big in San Francisco, but now it’s time to do something about all that big talk, and send an effective legislator to Congress who can shake things up. Go Jackie!
Wow. That was fast. The jury in the ongoing litigation between the Bay Guardian and Village Voice Media came to a rather sudden end as a jury awarded the Guardian $15 million and sided with its claim that its competitor, SF Weekly, was selling ads below cost in an attempt to put the paper out of business.
There has been an endless amount of spin from each side at their respective “blogs,” and the personalized vitriol between the Guardian’s management and the VVM management has been a bit over the top. More importantly, I, as the reader of local media, have not had an objective voice report on this trial, so it’s really hard to know who was telling the truth, and who was lying.
Re-reading some of the “blog” postings by Tim Redmond and Andy Van De Voorde, it was hard to believe each “reporter” was even talking about the same trial – it was spin spin spin. This is the mainstream journalism I’m supposed to fear the demise of, thanks to Evil Blogs and The Internet? Hmm.
Now, while they’re popping champagne corks over on Portero Hill, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that VVM will appeal said verdict. But let’s pretend for a moment that said appeal fails and VVM writes the BG that oversized Publisher’s Clearing House check. Here are some (real) suggestions on what to do with the money:
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So it looks like Ralph Nader’s running for President again, and we’re supposed to be worried or something, but I’m not.
True, I’m no fan of this charlatan. On my old blog, I wrote about his extreme dishonesty, and overall lack of ethics, and for a while got a bump on Google Searches. This time around, however, I think it’s pretty obvious his time has passed, and he’s so out of touch, his reasons for running just don’t add up.
My favorite line today was the one about “people being disenchanted with Democrats and Republicans.” Eeeyeahh. Funny thing though: Barack Obama is about to hit the one million donor mark (something Nader’s greedy hands would love to have but won’t because he sucks), and turnout in Democratic primaries have set new records, and blown doors off the turnout in the GOP primaries.
But the most telling sign of the total epic FAIL of Nader has been the response of local Green Party elected members to Nader the Liar. Green Party Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Green Party College Board Member John Rizzo, and Green Party School Board Member Jane Kim have all come out in force for Barack Obama. Non-Greeen “Progressives” like Supervisors Daly and Peskin also support Obama. Hell, the Bay Guardian, usually the only refuge for disaster candidacies like Kucinich or Nader, endorsed Obama.
It says a lot when the folks who should be on board a supposedly great cause like Nader’s bullsh*t are instead working for a candidate who’s succeeding in ways Nader could never imagine. (Then again it shouldn’t be a total surprise – Nader refused to campaign for Green poster-boy Matt Gonzalez in 2003, because, well, because Nader sucks.)
So let the fool run his little show. Every time he does this, he seems to invent new ways to screw up and fail, and every time he becomes less and less relevant to the national discourse. I can’t wait for him to throw a tantrum about some f*cking debate, and get arrested for trespassing. If good people like those in Our Fair City have decided to tear up their tickets and say “no” to the Nader circus, I think most folks in America will be doing the same.
Trivia Time: Here’s a piece of trivia that most of you might not be aware of (as you’re probably concerned with things that matter, and I mean that in a good way): when Nader’s spokesman ran for Senate, he got very little support for his bid, marred by problems and the fact that as Nader’s spokesman he elevated lying to an art form. He did however get loud and enthusiastic support from someone new to our city: Cindy Sheehan! Apparently she didn’t mind the lying and whatnot and threw her lot with Zeese. Very interesting!
You really have to hand it to Mayor Newsom and his team. They can pretty much get away with anything, short of murder for hire, and no one seems to really mind. Even more amazing, even when “progressives” are right on the issues, they can’t seem to get their message out.
This latest brouhaha, between Supervisor Peskin, the Mayor, the infamous MTA, et al gets the usual “political gossip” treatment, as always. But also, as always, we tend to forget a few salient points as to how we got here.
We’re in a situation where the city has a big budget deficit and Mayor Newsom has ordered awesome-sounding “across the board cuts,” sounding all fiscally responsible. Which is funny, because as Supervisor Daly tried to point out, this is the same Mayor who blew out the budget with big expensive pay raises and increases in the City payroll.
What’s even funnier is that as Daly was trying to point this out, his infamous “cocaine” line blew up into this Big Problem, and Supervisor Peskin was gamed into removing Daly from the Budget Committee. So even though in this case Daly was right, it was he who paid the price – and the Chronicle waited 6 months to note Newsom’s key role in blowing out the budget.
Now, to be fair, it was not that hard to push Daly aside – his acrimonious style, and his spending of political capital on symbolic measures made it easy for the Mayor’s people, and their friends in the press, to make it all about something Daly really didn’t say. Chalk one up for repeating the “mean Chris” meme, and one down for any serious budget reporting.
Likewise, as the Mayor is demanding we cut funds from things we need, he’s spending a lot of money on plasma TVs and fancy new offices. And to pay all these people watching ProRun on those plasma tvs, he’s swiping money from MUNI and other agencies so he can fill the chairs.
But once again, it really doesn’t matter if the Mayor’s people are doing anything wrong – they’re recasting this as a “personal attack” and upping the ante with all kinds of personal and legal attacks, so no one stops and thinks about the actual issues at hand. And once again, as in the case with Daly, Peskin’s temperament and style are being used against him. Suddenly we’re talking about he-said-he-said, instead of talking about whether the Mayor is breaking the law, or mismanaging the taxpayers’ money.
Brilliant. One thing progressives and their allies don’t seem to understand is that in these fights being “right” with the facts isn’t enough – you have to have the political capital to be able to fight back.
Blowing it all on symbolic measures and feel-good stuff means you don’t have it when you really need it. Now, the Mayor’s holding all the cards, and although his opponents may have caught his hand in the till, they’re losing the battle.
As this latest political battle escalates, it’s clear the Mayor’s people don’t mind playing rough with their opponents. There’s no “safe word” in San Francisco politics, and those who would oppose the Mayor would be wise to remember that.
Note: I wish I was clever enough to come up with that last bit, but it’s actually a paraphrasing of a comment I heard from a friend, so I wanted to be sure I mentioned that.
The LA Times has an interesting report on the record voter turnout we’re seeing in primaries, and in particular the lopsided increase in turnout on the Democratic side.
The article has some interesting facts and figures, but it pretty much bears out what I said last week – that if you have good candidates who aggressively campaign on issues and ideals that people actually care about, people vote. Who told?
(Oh, and I find it equally amazing that Sen. Obama has been able to run an incredibly close race fueled mostly by small to mid-sized donations…while lefty champions are once again left in the dust.)
It’s a stark contrast to the mind numbingly stupid elections we had in Supposedly Liberal Brainiac San Francisco, where “progressives” had a FAIL so complete and total, turnout was in the toilet. And now, of course, the progressives are crying about the Mayor’s shenanigans, not realizing that if they’d just bothered to run a real candidate, the election might have had a different outcome. Boo hoo for them.
Most importantly, these record turnouts of voters are coming out without any of the lefty electoral gimmicks out-of-state reformers are trying to peddle across the country as ways to “increase turnout.”
It’s really simple, people. If you run a good campaign, you win the election. If you inspire people to action, they act. If you listen to people and talk about the issues they actually care about, they get excited and feel like politics is an opportunity for change – not just a tired exercise that people don’t feel matters to them.
There’s a chance that local “progressives” might take a lesson from all of this in the upcoming elections in November, and perhaps try strategies that don’t involved running around in circles, gossiping like junior high girls in gym class, and whining.
News flash, progressives: THIS DOESN’T F*CKING WORK. Stop trying to game the electorate with phony reform bullsh*t. Run on a vision and an agenda that works for the citizens who actually vote in elections, and you might win. If nothing else, it would be an improvement over last year’s “act like gossiping dorks” strategy.
The real winner will be the voters of San Francisco, if they’re given an honest race between various factions who all strive to offer a cohesive vision of policy and politics for the next four years. We’ll see what happens.
So here I am, finishing off the Obama/Clinton debate, and I get this email from the good folks volunteering for Barack Obama in the 12th Congressional District (SF/San Mateo). It seems our good citizens working for Sen. Obama in SF are having a primary watch party just a few blocks from my house…at the Blackthorn Tavern!
Loyal readers of my way, way, way more popular blog The N Judah Chronicles know that this is my favorite bar in the Inner Sunset. I’ve been known to attend pub trivia here (which rocks), and overall it’s one of the friendliest and most fun places to hang out here. Since the new owners took over in June of 2007 they’ve really made this place a great place to hang out. Why go all the way into SoMA or Downtown when you can have a fun time out here? At least that’s what I think.
And now the Obama folks are having an event there. Smart. Very smart. Once again, the Obama folks are where the people are, and know how to bring folks in. If you’re going to have a vote watch party, why not have it at one of the best places in the Inner Sunset?
Then again, any time is a good time at the Blackthorn anyway, and this just adds to the fun. See you on Tuesday!
This just in: yet another crap-tastic crack shack has sold in San Francisco for $935,000. SocketSite has been following this one for a while so go there and see pics of this decrepit piece of real estate.
I seriously wonder if we should put this on a billboard, with a pricetag, on billboards that say “Memo to Hippies: The SF of the 60s is dead. Do not come here and expect to rent a room in a big nice house for cheap and live off of handouts. Unless you’re rich enough to buy this crapshack and renovate it to livable standards, please, stay away. Thank You.”
Or something. I mean, at this point, all the housing measures in the world (along with all the ones we’ve passed) don’t seem to mean much if even a craphouse like this is selling for almost a million dollars.
Put another way – how do you build lots of “cheap affordable” housing on super expensive dirt? More importantly, is it really feasible for anyone to build anything that’s not super expensive condos for wealthy childless couples anymore when you have garbage selling for almost a million bucks?