Help Prevent the Board of Supervisors From Expanding Their Power at the Expense of SF Taxpayers!

Libertarian friends,

  On November 3, 2009, San Francisco voters will once again be
presented with a plan concocted by the Board of Supervisors to change
the city charter in order to increase the number of aides they are
permitted to have. Three days ago LPSF Treasurer Marcy Barry and I
submitted on behalf of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco and
myself what I believe is a strong and compelling argument I wrote
against this costly and ill-timed ballot measure, but unfortunately it
was not chosen in the Elections Department lottery to be the official
opponent argument.

  There is one last chance to get this language placed in the Voter
Information Pamphlet, and that is to publish it as a paid ballot
argument. However the charge for this is $200 plus $2 per word, so I
estimate it will cost about $780 (the exact figure may be a few
dollars more or less, as the Elections Department has its own rules
for determining word count). Myself and three other Libertarian Party
of San Francisco members have so far pledged a total of $230 toward
this end, but time is short. If this language against the Supervisors'
power grab is to appear in the voter handbook, it must be submitted by
TOMORROW, Monday August 17, at noon!

  I'll be honest here -- I do not think Proposition B will pass. It is
difficult to imagine voters rewarding such chutzpah in this economic
climate. But this is likely to be a low-turnout election, and in
highly politicized SF, that doesn't necessarily mean a more fiscally
conservative group of voters! If by a stroke of ill fate Prop. B
*were* to pass, it would likely be *here to stay.* In 2002, voters
removed the language mandating that Supervisor be a part-time job.
Subsequently, the Civil Service Commission more than tripled the
Supervisors' salaries, from $37,585 a year to $112,320. Voter outrage
got their pay lowered again -- but only slightly. Today they still
"earn" a whopping $98,660, and there is no sign on the political
horizon that this figure will ever be cut to anything near what it was
before the dam was breached. The passage of Prop. B would constitute a
similar breach. Right now, each Supervisor is limited to two paid
aides. This measure would make it so there is *no limit* on how many
aides could be hired. Imagine within a few years, people like Chris
Daly and his colleagues having three, five or even more aides to help
promote their agendas, at an annual cost to SF taxpayers of millions
of dollars!

  While $780 is a good chunk of money for a short print ad, dollar for
dollar there is probably no better way to reach San Francisco voters.
Hundreds of thousands of Voter Information Pamphlets will be published
and mailed directly to the precise individuals who are legally
eligible to vote. No doubt the Board members and those who wish to
curry favor with them will be sure that their misleading
rationalizations are included for voters to read. Will you help us
raise the remaining $550 of this sum so that San Franciscans going to
the polls in November will have the opportunity to read the following
language as well?


In sending out this fundraising letter, it occurred to me that we
could probably get more people to donate if the LPSF were to at least
offer a small matching grant -- say $1 for every $2 contributed, up to
a maximum party contribution of $175? With individuals donating twice
the party's maximum contribution, that would be $525 total, raising
almost all of the remaining approximately $550 balance needed.

  Ron and Marcy, would you be willing to vote to authorize the LPSF to
spend such a matching grant up to $175? (I assume Rob and Francoise
would support such an authorization, since they were willing to
support spending $250.) I got Republican Party chair Howard Epstein to
send me the language of his official opponent's argument to
Proposition B, which is as follows:

Sure, Steve. The proposal itself is about as simple and undetailed as
they get -- remove from the city charter the reference to each member
of the Board of Supervisors being allotted two aides, thereby opening
the door to any number of aides potentially being hired. (Of course it
doesn't say that's the reason for the change -- that's the
disingenuous part.) But here are a few links I hope you will find

Melissa Griffin's column in the Examiner which I quoted in the argument:

Ballot Simplification Committee's official description of the measure:

Legal text of Proposition B:

Controller’s Statement on Proposition B, which I cited in the argument:’s%20Analysis%20-%20BOS%20Aides.pdf

Link to my 2004 ballot arguments against their last attempt to change
the city charter to allow for more supervisorial aides, mostly still
as relevant to this year's measure as they were five years ago:

  Unfortunately the media seems to have said virtually nothing so far
about this year's measure. If you are able to find any stories
mentioning it, please let me know.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))