OT: Proponent/Opponent ballot arguments filed today for SF ballot measures

Maxine and I were at the Elections Department today to file the proponent's argument for Proposition K (that's the letter which they randomly assigned to the prostitution decriminalization measure this morning), and I was later selected in the lottery as the official opponent of Proposition O, the emergency response tax. I don't think anyone else submitted an argument against that one, which was partly why I chose to go after that instead of the payroll tax. Sadly, members of the Board of Supervisors preempted the opponent slots for the measures I would have more preferred to write against, in particular the Community Court measure. I did indirectly reference prostitution decriminalization in the Prop. O argument, by way of noting that funding for emergency services could be found in the current city budget without relying on a tax.

  The Proposition K argument is not what I ideally would have liked to see filed, although it could be a lot worse. It was kind of written by committee in a hurry, and consequently feels a bit disjointed to me; I feel it focuses too much on trafficking and not enough on police priorities. I'm not even sure I have exactly the final wording below, although it's pretty close -- changes were being made up till the last minute. I never feel prepared for the short time window given to file arguments and I'm not the only one -- I felt like we were all in headless chicken mode this morning! Between working on the two arguments last night, I didn't even sleep until getting home this afternoon. I was glad however that Maxine as the official proponent was open to others having a hand in crafting what was filed, recognizing that writing is not her own greatest strength, and I think the joint approach did enable us to cover many of the bases. The biggest bummer was that we were unable to turn several important endorsements -- most crucially that of the Democratic Party, whose governing body the Democratic County Central Committee (or "D Triple C" as many folks call it), voted in our favor last night -- into people signing the ballot argument.

  I missed the DCC meeting due to having a client, but wish I'd been there, as there were apparently over 100 people and everyone got to speak, Democrat or not. Our measure and the JROTC were the two most hotly debated items, and we pulled off a real coup. If I heard the numbers correctly, we won with 18 yes votes, 12 nays, and 2 abstentions. Something like 20 people spoke in favor, far outnumbering opponents. Four Supervisors have signed on -- Daly, McGoldrick, Mirkarimi, and Ammiano. (The Republicans, who met a day earlier, failed to endorse, to no one's surprise.)

  Unfortunately none of the endorsers we wanted could be tracked down at the last minute to sign our argument (although we didn't seek Daly, fearing he might be more a liability than a help in this context, given the animosity he inspires in some quarters). Latina activist Renee Saucedo endorsed and would have been happy to sign on, but it turns out she no longer lives in SF, making her ineligible. Barbara Meskunas didn't want to sign on without being able to properly read the measure and get approval of some folks in the Taxpayers Union. PUC and DCCC member Laura Spanjian was unreachable, housing activist and prominent Democrat Debra Walker was down the peninsula or something and could not be reached, sex worker Annie Chen who I'd hoped to tap to appeal to Asian voters got back to me too late to file, etc. Hopefully we will be able to get some of these folks on the rebuttal for Monday.

  On the bright side, we didn't get anyone prominent like the Mayor or the D.A. opposing us. The woman who got the opponent slot, Wendy Collins of the Mission Merchants Association is not very well known to my knowledge. She filed an argument that all but conceded the basic premise that prostitutes shouldn't be arrested, limiting her arguments to why this particular legislation is supposedly flawed. An old tactic of those who lack the courage of their convictions or faith that others will support them. It may make her more persuasive on the ballot, but I take it as a good long-term omen in our struggle!

  REMINDER - Paid ballot arguments are due at noon on Monday, August 18! Please think about writing an argument or contributing to the cost of someone else filing one. I will be filing a separate paid argument in favor of Prop. K, and maybe a short one against the Community Court measure and/or the "Clean Energy Act." This will be more likely if I receive some donations to help.

Love & Liberty,
          ((( starchild )))


Good job Starchild...count me in for $200.


$50.00 is all I can afford without selling one of my eyeballs or
something. So, please count me in for that amount, to defray the cost
of the paid ballot argument.



Thanks very much, Mike and Marcy! Let me know if you have any input on argument content.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))