Election Day is less than a week away, and I’m exhausted. I’ve thrown myself deep, deep into the raging forest fire that is San Francisco politics, and thus far I’ve managed to come out of it unscathed. Well, mostly unscathed. I’ve made some powerful enemies and drawn some magnificent scorn on the Internet, but otherwise things are better than can be expected. Plus, how does the saying go? Something like, “Judge a man not by his friends but by his enemies.”
If that’s the case, I should be both rich and powerful … or at least be able to afford rent.
With the election looming just ahead of us, I got to thinking about what the San Francisco I want to live in looks like. I mean, that’s what elections should be about, right? They shouldn’t be about egos or party lines or amounts of money spent, they should be about the democratic process playing out so that the will of the people is realized. But that’s not how it works, is it? Elections devolve into nasty personal attacks, dangerous misinformation and the spending of millions of dollars that could be far better used. And all for what?
For some, elections are a chance to better the quality of life not just for oneself but for one’s community. They are the opportunity to plant seeds that lead to an equitable future for everyone. For others though, elections are a chance to further the power of a select few and make immense amounts of money for an even more select few. Elections are how the people with the most power and the most money rig the game so they can get even more of both.
And that’s what keeps banging around in my head as I think about what San Francisco I want to live in. From the way the media tells it, the people who’ve garnered legendary power and wealth through the heartbreaking mess that San Francisco has become are poised to get all their wishes — yet again.
Ron Conway, a principal investor in many of the companies given tax breaks by the mayor he also funds, sent out an email recently telling all the CEOs he has invested in how to vote and asking them to do the same to their employees. Considering he’s invested in more than 500 companies, many of which are the biggest tech companies in San Francisco, Conway is trying to control literally thousands of votes, just so he and his billionaire friends can become even richer.
And that is not The City I want to live in. San Francisco is gold country. People have always made money here, lots of it, and by simply demanding tech companies and developers make a little bit less, we can build a city for everyone … not just the rich.
The San Francisco I want to live in focuses on getting our homeless neighbors into transitional housing instead of telling them to leave because the Super Bowl is coming. It doesn’t bow to terrifying ads when Airbnb tries to scare them into making the company more profits. It shuns candidates endorsed by the mayor because, by association, they have the reek of Conway all over them.
This city isn’t for sale.
When Election Day comes on
Nov. 3, ask yourself what San Francisco you want to live in. The one where our voices are used for the betterment of our community or the one where we give The City away to the people who already have too much as it is?
You can find my endorsements by Googling “The BAS 2015 Election Guide”
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in The San Francisco Examiner.