Newspaper Ads for Ballot Measures for November Election

Hi All! In Saturday's meeting we decided to allocate up to $1K to spend on this election. I said that I would research our local neighborhood newspapers to see what the rates are as we are considering running a postcard-sized ad with our ballot recommendations, party name, logo, and a referral to our website for additional information. While I'm still waiting to hear back from the Epoch Times and the SF Express (SF State), here's what I found out in the meantime. It's quite feasible to run our ballot recommendations in 2 different publications. I think the first week in October would be about the best time, since that's when many of these papers come out, and that's just about the time when the Voter's Handbooks are mailed out. Naturally every paper seems to have unique sizes for advertising rates, so I picked the closest ones to the postcard size for comparison purposes. Here's what I found:

1. Westside Observer (West Portal): $185 for 6x5-circulation of 20,000 with 12,000 delivered door-to-door, and the rest to racks, stores, etc.
2. Guardsman (CCSF): $150 for 8x4-90,000 readers-this one is the best bang for the bucks, but with our NO on A vote, most students will be turned off by our recommendations, and we would be unlikely to make many points with our ad.
3. Noe Valley Voice: $265 for 4-3/4x7-3/4-circulation of 10,000 includes The Mission, Bernal Heights, and Glen Park.
4. El Reportero: $300 for 4x3-couldn't find circulation-printed weekly.
5. Richmond Review: $200 for 4x5-1/4-circulation of 25,000.

Some papers have deadlines of September 20, so we have some time, but not too much. Having a set-aside of $125 for our normal postcards going to Libertarians in SF, that leaves $875 for ads and literature for canvassing. We have lots of Gary Johnson and LP door hangers, and the Ron Paul folks will supply the John Dennis material, but I will have to make quite a few copies of the Plan Bay Area flyer and the ballot measure recommendation sheet made up by Les. If we have lots of canvassing help from the Ron Paul people, we will probably have to buy more literature, so we want to allow for a few hundred dollars for additional campaign materials. All in all, to me it looks like we can run ads in 2 newspapers, send out our regular postcards, and do lots of canvassing and distribution with our $1K (and not one penny over, per Marcy Beancounter). Please advise your thoughts.


Hi All! Thanks for your comments and ideas. I received one more response in my attempts to get pricing from local newspapers--the Golden Gate Xpress from SF State came through at a decent rate: 2x5 (1/8 page) for $105.00 or 3x7 (1/4 page) for $220.50. They print 10,000 copies, which are distributed in 37 newstands and also in coffee shops around the area. School population is 32,000. I never heard back from the Epoche Times (Asian paper), but Starchild is making contact with them, so he will try to see what they can do for us to give us a decent rate.

Thanks to Starchild (whose internet pooped out, so we will be seeing less emails in our inboxes for a while--he's working with AT&Tto solve the problem) for valiantly speaking on our behalf tonight at the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood meeting against A, E, and G. Another conclave of Democratic Socialists! One kid, however, came up to us (Les and I were there also) and was moved by Starchild's comments and arguments and left his business card with us and got Starchild's, so you never know when outreach might actually do some good. (Unfortunately while I was helping to stack the chairs after the meeting, I lost the kid's card--I was so upset with myself--but we had given him Les's ballot recommendation sheet with the website address, so hopefully he will find his way to us.)

Also thanks to Marcy for speaking at the Seniors Action group today and covering 3 issues too--apparently a thankless job.

There are several upcoming events related to the election that we have been invited to. This coming Monday evening September 17 we actually have two going on at the same time: San Francisco Beautiful at 6:45 PM--Marcy will speak against C, the Housing Trust Fund; and a homeowners' association near CCSF has requested our presence to speak against A (parcel tax) at a meeting at the Ingleside Police Station starting at 7:00 PM. I'm pretty sure Starchild will speak. Also we were invited to have a table at the Fashion Design Institute on Tuesday October 16, and either Starchild or I or both of us will attend. Anybody who can attend these events, even if not to speak--this is helpful to the speakers to get moral support when you're surrounded by statists, so please attend if you can. Lots of chances to spread the word.

The question has come up of targeting our audience. After attending 3 of these neighborhood group meetings that are voting on their recommendations in the last 2 weeks, the question is very pertinent. The older folks--and by older I mean 30 and older--are hopeless, so while it's good to "show the flag," we will never make any headway with those who have been brainwashed for years to believe that government involvement is the way to make things better when reality points otherwise. Noe Valley is the worst. The Ron Paul folks I worked with hated tabling out in Noe Valley and found extreme aversion to Ron Paul and the suggestion of liberty. The meeting where Starchild presented our arguments against the four measures last week-end--they of course voted for all the local measures, even B which has been getting some opposition from established Democrats like Aaron Peskin. We should definitely target younger folks, which is why I think we should
run at least one of our two ads in the Golden Gate Xpress. Starchild has been encouraging me for some time to help him table or put up his "illegal" posters at SF State, and I think he's right to push in this direction. He's also for running one of our ads in the Hispanic El Reportero, which is kind of pricey, to target Hispanics (who should like the Libertarian position on immigrants) or the Epoche Times, which targets the Asian community (where our emphasis on personal responsibility might fare better than the population at large).

As for what proof do we have if the advertising will do any good, I suggest we try it this election cycle and monitor the results for evaluation. More calls and hits on our website would indicate that something positive is going on. We know for 100% certainty that winning the lottery has been bringing in almost more "business" than we can handle, so hopefully the ads will do even more.

I disagree with the comment that leaflet/campaign distribution will be seen by more folks than our ads. With only a handful of us doing the actual canvassing, we couldn't possibly expect to hit more than a few thousand households, if that, between now and the election, while one attractively designed and interesting ad with our ballot measure recommendations and, yes, definitely something prominent pointing them to our website, will reach a lot more people. Duly noted on the color, Chris, and thanks for mentioning that--we don't want to be boring!

Our ad will come out either in the last week of September or the first week in October, so while the website could have our recommendations anytime from now on, they would definitely have to be in place by the last week of September ready to be seen and read by folks seeing our ads. Starchild has promised to help me put together an interesting ad with graphics and such to spark folks' interest.


P.S. Canvassing still on for this week-end for sometime Sunday, September 16. So far it's only Marcy, Jawj, myself, and hopefully Starchild. We could always use more helpers. While it might seem like it's too early to get out there, many folks vote early and by mail these days--and that's not many weeks away from now. Better to get our stuff and ideas out there before they start their voting in 3 weeks. Please let me know if you can join us. Thanks!

When you have a conflict and have to choose between groups, I agree
that targeting younger or otherwise more sympathetic groups is good.
However, don’t underestimate “showing the flag” — the worst thing the
LPSF can be is irrelevant. By being visible, being a player, you
raise the stakes and shift the debate. When one group advocates for
no taxes, an advocate for less tax seems less extreme... and everybody
(except the state) wins. This is also a path to individual
recognition; if you apply for appointment to some city commission or
other or run for office, name recognition can be a big help.

- --
Chris Maden, text nerd <URL: >
LIVE FREE: vote for Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President.
     <URL: > <URL: >
GnuPG fingerprint: DB08 CF6C 2583 7F55 3BE9 A210 4A51 DBAC 5C5C 3D5E

Totally agree. It is so frustrating to speak to glazed or downright hateful eyes (one woman said I offended her with my comments on the need to restructure pensions at CCSF, since my comments would apply to all pensions, including hers). However, we need to continue our efforts to be recognized and counted. I also believe that if we continue to appear before groups, etc. we will have a better chance to get involved later in appointed positions, etc.

All this being said, I will again express my suggestion that we always be at our best behavior, presenting as best we can the "why" for our views, refraining from guerrilla activism (such as posting our posters and other literature without permission on campuses), since our aim is to upgrade to a real political party!


Hi Aubrey,

Thanks for all that research. I hope we can meet the deadlines for placing ads. I am assuming the prices you quoted are for a one time ad; so we would want that ad to be when? Some of the publications are monthly, others weekly.

Most publications specify ad format, and anything different is charged more; so we might want to make our ad conform to what most newspapers require.

I summarized below what I understand we have so far, with my personal suggestions. If we want to include the Epoc Times, we would need to remove something else.

Westside Observer(West Portal)6 x 5 $185 20,000 circulation Monthly. I would give priority to this paper, since it covers your neighborhood, you have spoken at your local homeowners' meetings, and you neighbors might be a good target audience for "no" on the parcel tax.
Guardsman (CCSF) 8 x 4 $150 90,000 circulation Bi-weekly
I share your concern about Prop A, but I am wondering if this might not be an excellent venue to explain to the kids we are not against their well being; we are urging CCSF to become more efficient so it can serve them better.

Noe Valley Voice 4 x 7 $265 10,000 circulation Monthly
Pricey, and serves a bastion of liberal thinking. I would suggest that given a budget we skip them.

El Reportero (bilingual) 4x 3 $300 Weekly
I like the idea of reaching out to the latino community, and Starchild did point out some good articles on the failings of government. But to stay within the budget, we might have to skip the more pricey ads or do fewer.

Richmond Review 4x 5 $200 25,000 circulation Monthly
If we can forgo something else, I would pick this.
GG Express (SF State) 3 x 7 $220 10,000 circulation Weekly
This might be a good way to target younger people (given our experience with the older folks in the general public lately).

Again, these are just my own personal suggestions. So, here is a summary:

Westside Observer $185.00
Guardsman (CCSF) $150.00
GG Express (SFS) $220.00
Postcards $125.00
Live Free Postcards $100.00
Copies Aubrey needs $200.00

Total $980.00 This leaves $20.00 in the budget


Thanks to Chris and Marcy for the thoughts. OK, to be relevant, we will live with the hateful eyes and smart-alec comments from the collectivists until we get some respect.


Hi All! Thanks, Marcy, for your input and good sense, as always. Here's an update on the money earmarked for this election. We've just gone through the first week-end of canvassing, and I have to totally revise my estimate of the costs involved. I was way off--where was my head?! A good canvassing and campaigning job requires more money than one would think. Thanks to Les for canvassing with me and for Jawj for coming over to help collate the 300 packets we distributed on Sunday. We did an area near Lake Merced just across from where folks used to park when they went to the zoo. A nice little residential area--single family dwellings, no mountains to walk up, and no apartment buildings to deal with. It took us less than 2 hours to distribute the 300. My original too-ambitious plan was to distribute 1,000 packets each week-end between now and the election. Each packet would include the Gary Johnson door hanger, our ballot
recommendation sheet, an article about Plan Bay Area and the VMT (vehicle miles traveled tax), a John Dennis brochure (if canvassing in District 12 only), and the Libertarian door hanger featuring the Nolan Quiz. After incurring copying costs of almost $200 just for 1,000 packets, I have now cut the number down to 500 per week-end to make the costs more reasonable. In addition I will have to replace the Plan Bay Area article (which runs 2 pages so I had both pages copied onto 1 sheet of paper front and back), which I'm really partial to due to it pointing out how sneaky and underhanded the MTC/ABAG folks are, because it's 2 pages worth of copying charges. Even cutting down the distribution and chopping the Plan Bay Area insert down to only one page, we're still way over budget. And because we don't have taxpayers to bail us out and we must live within our budget, please give your input on the following breakdown:

1. Copying costs-6,000 copies @ .06=$360 + $200 spent=$560
2. More Gary Johnson brochures-3 boxes of 1,000 each @ $50=$150
3. SF State newspaper ad-$220
4. Postcards to SF Libertarians-$125
5. Starchild's Gary Johnson "Live Free" postcards-$100
6. CCSF newspaper ad-$150

That's $1,305 right there. In addition, I agree with Starchild that running our ad in an alternative newspaper like the Hispanic/bilingual El Reportero or Epoche Times (Chinese) targeting different markets in newspapers that are already pro freedom-leaning might be a good way to do some fresh outreach. El Reportero is expensive at $300 and we have no quote from Epoche Times (Starchild still working on it), so this additional outlay would only be feasible if folks were willing to pitch in some extra dollars to help fund these activities. We will stick to the original agreed upon budget cap of $1,000. Is anyone willing to donate to the cause? I am. I am willing to pitch in $50 so we can do more during this election. We are on some kind of positive roll at this time, and I would like to see us make the most of it, if possible.

By the way, while I am partial to the Westside Observer because it's in my area, I actually read that paper when it comes out, and it's more reasonable on economic issues, I removed it from consideration to concentrate on the young, which are our best bet, and also because those papers suit our budget better. Even if you are unable to contribute, please weigh in anyway on what you would keep and what you would eliminate to help meet the budget. We will keep #4 since we voted on that at the monthly meeting. Cutting out our favorite goodies--no fun at all--no wonder the bureaucrats hate to do it!


P.S. One of these days I will write shorter emails at a decent hour.

I will contribute at least $500 and maybe more. We need to get our message out
and now is a good time to do it.


Hi Aubrey,

Best I can do right now is $50. Yes, this is a great opportunity for LPSF to shine.