I've long resisted making any sort of political endorsement on this blog, solely because this isn't a political rag and we already have enough political propaganda hanging off our door knobs. However, I've spent a decent amount of time discussing the mayoral contest with my friends and neighbors over the past few months and the unfortunate truth is this: the majority of 20-something in the neighborhood have only lived in SF for 6 months-3 years, moved here to either work in tech/related marketing industries or go to school, and have no idea what's going on in the election. Many still don't know who they are voting for and barely know the names of all the front-runners, never mind the candidate's positions on the issues that matter.
This is not anyone's fault. There's something like 80 people running for Mayor. They're almost all Democrats who have worked for The City at some point (being either elected or appointed) and all pretty much agree with each other's views. The rest are a hodgepodge of activists, Valley VC's, Mission bar owners, and journalists. I think I even read somewhere that Broke-Ass Stuart was running as “broke-ass” write-in campaign.
There's just too much to keep up with, and our “Interim Mayor” has leveraged the confusion and lack of populist consensus for his own benefit.
He secured a bunch of fancy endorsements from out-of-town tech billionaires (none of whom are registered to vote in SF), sports celebrities (including the man trying to move the 49ers out of SF), and rappers (one from Los Angeles and the other being the poster child for fireball failure), had Napster founder and known-pervert Sean Parker donate $100,000 to cover the costs of producing a viral video, and had TechCrunch plug him with a thinly-veiled endorsement (the same publication also called Google Wave “the future,” but I digress).
And it worked! I keep hearing from of Mission Kids who plan on voting for Ed Lee because he released a goofy campaign video and Michael Arrington likes him and he saved Twitter from going bankrupt or whatever and Brian Wilson told them to “do it.”
The simple fact is Ed Lee is “the next in line” in the ineffectual political dynasty that Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom established 16 years ago. If you believe the direction SF has taken in those years has been a good one, then you should vote for Ed Lee—he's your guy. But if you're like the rest of us—those of us who believe that the technological epicenter of the world should be able to figure out how to make Muni functional, that mid-Market doesn't need to be a shithole, that events like Halloween in the Castro and Bay to Breakers and street fairs shouldn't be shut down because of civic ineptitude, that our roads shouldn't be covered in potholes, we shouldn't be selling out our city to big business, etc. etc. etc.—then Ed Lee is NOT your guy. He's just the next cog in the machine that hasn't been getting it done since the mid-90s.
There's a lot of great candidates to vote for today. While I won't say whom I'm voting for (although you can probably figure it out), I sat down with a few friends over the weekend to make a website explaining the reasons you shouldn't vote for Lee. Read it. Share it. Hopefully we make a convincing case.
Polls opened an hour ago. Get out there and do your thing.
[Photo via reader John J.]