So Who Reallly Won the Election in San Francisco After All?

Please pardon the various changes here, as I continue to set up this blog on a new CMS. So far it’s looking ok, but there’s still so many details!

Now that the dust has settled from Election Day, and all of the quickie prognostications are safely filed away under the section “who cares?” it’s time to take another, more sober look at what won and why.

The Big Ol’ Muni Bond (Proposition A) passed. I reluctantly endorsed this despite my reservations about language in the measure, and I suppose it’s better it passed, warts and all, versus losing, and creating a new Death Spiral of increased costs. I was concerned that the campaign was in a bit of a pickle, since it started so late.

Now, the local organ for the City Family wants to anoint this as a win based solely on the efforts of His Highness, Ed Lee, but the sad fact is this – the campaign for A had this thing called money. Any opposition to it had none. Any time this is the case, the side with money to spend on endless brochures and ads, no matter how crappy, win. If people get no real reason to vote no, they vote yes in San Francisco.

Proposition B, the budget set-aside hastily put on the ballot by Supervisor Scott Weiner, also passed. In this case this measure passed despite having no money spent on its behalf, but was up against a non-existent opposition. That is, aside from the Mayor, who was angry that Weiner put this on the ballot, and vowed “punishment” for those who dared oppose His Highness.

It passed, despite his threats, due in large part to…the money spent on behalf of A, and some independent support from transit supporters. In fact, there would have been no need for this unfunded set-aside for Muni, had the Mayor simply honored his commitment to put a Vehicle License Fee.

Instead he said he’d put in on the ballot in 2016**, because “no one would vote for it.” This despite the fact he stuck a huge hole in the SFMTA budget by ending Sunday parking meters. Oddly enough, if he’d just kept his word, it’s likely the VLF would have passed.

Oops! Looks like the threats from the Mayor don’t seem to carry much weight with Supervisors or the public. Wonder what social programs he’ll cut to “punish” Scott Weiner?

Finally, there’s the sad case of Proposition L, a shady, deceptive “advisory” measure put on the ballot in part by one of the Mayor’s zillionaire tech pals, Sean Parker. It got some cash from the usual suspects downtown. However, it lost. In a classic case of Amateur on Amateur action, both sides on the L campaign weren’t very effective (oh the mail! awful!) but the No on L campaign did manage a better grassroots effort at getting the word out.

Despite many mainstream organizations and leaders opposing L, the Mayor and some of his Board allies quaked in their boots, in fear of enraging potential Big Money, and a few Big Mouths. They stayed silent. So much for the Mayor’s “power” in influencing things – now he can have things both ways and claim he did something, when in fact he sat on his ass. Not too good when L got its ass kicked pretty good, and derailed future attempts to confuse voters with nonsense advisory measures.

Go on down the ballot and in every case, the side with Big Money on its side won. In some cases, where there was some well organized opposition, the results were not a landslide, but the money people still won. The lesson here is simple – if you don’t have Big Money on your side, you better be very very well organized, use what cash you have wisely, and don’t just dump crappy door hangers on doors – do some Actual Organizing and talk to people and convince them that the mountain of junk mail is just noise, and that maybe there’s another way of doing things.

Now the house organ for the City Family is claiming that HRH Lee is somehow invincible in his re-election.

At a time when so much is going wrong, and when even people who aren’t super lefty are really starting to wonder what is happening to our city, they think all they have to do is more of the same? Replay that footage from the Giants Parade at City Hall and there’s your first ad against HRH.

Ah well. In the meantime, enjoy this snippet from the Daily Show, which sums it up pretty good.

Oh, one other thing: you know all that mail you hated this year? You know, the ones you never looked at? It’s been declared a success based on the results, so you can bet you’ll get a ton more of it in 2015 and 2016!

**Oddly enough, the Royal Mayor made this pronouncement, not realizing there was this bothersome election in 2015. Oops! (I predict many more OOPSes as we continue towards 2015. Like we already have so far.)

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