2015 Election Ads

Posted Sun 18 October 2015 16:30 under category politics

You may or may not know this, but 2015 is shaping up to be a big election year in San Francisco. Yes, it's an off-year. Yes, there are "only" nine propositions on the ballot. Nonetheless, if you believe the rhetoric, this is the year that's going to make it or break it for the city of San Francisco. How do I know all this? It's because I read through all 46 pieces of printed advertising that I've received so far this season.

Election spam

Candidate/Issue Count
Yes on Aaron Peskin/No on Julie Christensen 15
Yes on Julie Christensen/No on Aaron Peskin 8
Yes on Prop A 2
Yes on Prop D 2
Yes on Prop F 1
No on Prop F 7
No on Prop I 6
Voting Slates ("FDR Democratic Club", etc.) 5

At a conservative cost of 35¢ for each glossy full-color card-stock (plus another 0.1¢ for pre-sorted standard in-zipcode postage, but that doesn't matter much), the candidates have already spent $16 advertising just to my household. If you assume the same cost to every one of the 33,400 registered voters1 in District 32, that's $537,740 spent on just paper mailings in just my district for this off-year election. Clearly, either it's important or a lot of people have a lot of money to burn.3

I'm particularly amused because I made my decisions on most of these issues quite a long time ago; my mailbox is just a pit in which various special interests are burning money. Although on the District 3 Supervisor vote, the ads have swayed me a little bit — I intended (and probably still intend) to vote for Christensen because I fully support increasing the population density of San Francisco and the surrounding suburban wasteland to normal city levels4. However, the absolutely idiotic attack ads on both sides are making me wonder if I should vote for Pang. I mean, she's a Republican and doesn't seem to have ever published any meaningful positions anywhere5, but at least she isn't sending me attack-filled junk mail.

Anyhow, early voting has started, so hopefully the ads will start to taper off. If you haven't gone through the literature and decided how you're voting, now's a good time. At the very least, you can enjoy some typical [ridiculous] Dr. Terence Faulkner, J.D. rants.


  1. Data from the SF Department of Elections, processed with https://gist.github.com/Roguelazer/3c0600e36731b948296a. I know that many households (including mine) have more than one voter in them, but my wife and I received identical duplicates of most of these flyers, so I'm going to assume that they just mail one to every registered voter without de-duping on address. SO WASTEFUL! 

  2. http://sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/PrecinctServices/maps/2012/Citywide_8-12.pdf is the official map if you're curious which district you live in. 

  3. If you do have several hundred thousand dollars to waste, why not just give it to me? Or, you know, to charity... 

  4. San Francisco's population density is 18,000 people per square mile. Santa Clara County sits firmly in the "rural" category at 1,381 people per square mile. Paris, France (to pick a city with tons of open space and no problem maintaining "culture") hosts 55,000 people per square mile. Anyone who complains to me about how San Francisco is "overflowing" or is approaching Manhattan (71,672 people per square mile) should actually try visiting any other major city some time. 

  5. She answered an SF Chronicle survey in 2012 and got a really short profile this year, but she does not seem terribly interested in campaigning. 


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