Trigger Warning: This is a Political Post. This may have opinions that you may or may not like, and as such could be upsetting. If you do not wish to read a Political Post, please avert your eyes and go check out my pictures on Instagram where cloudpr0n, dogs, cats, and Other Lovely Things exist. Check back for Non Political Posts later on! Thanks!
If you live in San Francisco, and you’re a registered voter who chose “Democratic Party” when you signed up, chances are you’ve been inundated with those pesky DCCC mailers (and sometimes Instagram ads!). I’d already posted about this once (and hadn’t planned to EVER AGAIN), but seeing this billboard while walking home from Andronico’s was that “lightning bolt” moment I didn’t know I needed for another post.
I mean, seriously. There’s enough money being spent on these things that candidates can afford BILLBOARDS? For a PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE? What?
The level of spending on these races has become pretty outrageous, when you consider that for decades people spent very little to vie for a position that doesn’t pay, and spends most of its time on Boring Democrat Stuff Nobody Cares about. At best it’s functioning as a full employment act for consultants, printers, designers, and hacks. At worst it is allowing for some Jimmy McGill like shenanigans, such as candidates for Supervisor running simultaneous campaigns for the “DCCC” with large donations (as are some incumbents up for re-election). Big Money has found a new outlet to shower thousands of unregulated dollarydoos to get something from City Hall.
Worse, you’re paying for this circus, even if you’re not a Democrat. That’s because the County of San Francisco’s Elections Department has to administer this “election” for the Democratic Party. (They do so for the Republican Party too, but no one cares about them the same way no one cares about a Democratic Central Committee in East Jesus, Texas). We keep hearing how the city “has no money” for things like a better Muni or for parks, or anything people might like.
Yet, somehow, we have money to spend on what amounts to a private group’s internal decision-making process. Since the Democrats and Republicans get free service from the City to admin their internal nonsense, why not all other community groups and whatnots in the City? Elections for Everyone! Paid for by you! Even if you’re not in the group!
Between the nonsense of seeing special interest money pouring into these races, and the idea that a perpetually broke* City Hall pays for these things, a bolt of inspirartion hit me as I gazed upon Angela Alioto’s smiling face on a billboard in the Inner Sunset/Westside Treat District – a ballot initiative to make political parties pay for their own “Central Committee” elections.
Such a measure would apply to all parties: Democrat, Republican, Green**, Silly, or whatever parties do these things. The parties would have to pay for the entire cost of their private club’s internal elections, instead of the taxpayers. The money saved could be used to pay for some escalators to be cleaned downtown, avoid Muni “surcharges” on Those Who Pay With Cash, or make San Francisco parks free to taxpayers for their use. Politicians who opposed this would look pretty lame for insisting on MOAR MONEYS for their little club’s elections that only their “members” can play in.
This sounds more and more like a sure winner – I can’t imagine anyone voting “no,” and the people of San Francisco would be the winners, as they wouldn’t be on the hook for political party insider contests anymore. Of course, the parties might not like it because they’d have to pay for the use of City facilities and personnel, and some might not be able to afford it, in which case they may decide to do their business Some Other Way.
Which, of course, would be their business entirely. After all, it’s their party, right?
* It is surprising at a time when we have such Good Economic Times, with booming Tech This and Tech that, entire neighborhoods full of “million dollar homes” and apparently a whole lotta people Making Money, that the City always still finds a way to be “broke?” Well, when it comes to basic services – making sure they have money for endless political appointees and their pensions? Always money for THAT!
** Seriously, the Green Party in SF, is this still a thing? Just because they share a name with a political party in Germany that briefly made a name for itself doesn’t mean it’s still a thing. Their party co-founder, Ross Mirkarimi, left the party to support Obama, and their local elected official, including Eric Mar and Jane Kim, also left long ago to become…Democrats. That has to suck for them – even as their people move up the ladder, the first thing to go is…their Green Party registration.