August 7, 2014
Sorry, Kids: Mayor, Supervisors, Etc. NOT REQUIRED to Ride Muni

My official blog has a serious system failure that prevents me from posting. If you can help fix this problem so I can finally move to WordPress, please contact me ASAP!

So the latest in what is going to be several months of misinformation about the SFMTA, Muni and How the City Works exploded this week, thanks to a piece in the SF Examiner by Jon Golinger (he who profits from sorts of stupid crap on the ballot in the past), declaring that SF, in 1993 voted to “require” the Mayor and Supervisors to ride Muni twice a week.

As always, when it comes to ballot measures in San Francisco, you have to distinguish reality from fiction. In this case, when is a ballot measure somethign that has Actual Power to Do Something, versus a taxpayer funded civic feel-good session?

The key is to distinguish between a measure that amends the City Charter (aka our local government’s Constitution) and an advisory measure, which has no power at all to change policy or direct elected officials to actually DO something.

Unlike Mr. Golinger, who wrote some stupid nonsense in a local paper mis-representing the measure, I decided to look it up myself at the library. Upon reading the actual text of the measure it was clear that Prop. AA (1993) was in fact, just an advisory measure. In other words, people voted on this and got a warm happy feeling inside thinking they’d made a difference, when in fact they hadn’t done anything at all.

This fall you’ll hear a lot of chatter about Proposition L, the Cars First measure. Like Proposition AA, it too is an advisory measure. That means it has about as much effect on policy as, say Sean Parker (tech millionaire) and the Republican Party scrawled their declarations on sandwich boards like the crazies downtown, and marched in a circle around City Hall for 40 Days and Nights. In other words, it doesn’t mean squat.

For some reason journalists, bloggers, transit advocates, political activists, and the like keep treating this long winded joke as something serious, up to and including the opponents to the measure. As for me, I don’t take it too seriously, except as a covert attack on the transit bonds (also on the ballot) that would pay for infrastructure and repairs.

That bond measure has an Actual Power to Do Something, so for that reason when anyone asks me at Prop. L, I dismiss it as right wing propaganda by those too wimpy to take on the establishment honestly via the bond campaign.

#TheMoreYou Know.

PS: The one ballot measure we need more than ever is one that banishes these foolish non binding measures, both via ballot measures, and via the Board of Supervisors. They are a waste of time and divert attention from real solutions to problems that actually matter to people. If people want to have their “voice heard” on an issue, go have a demonstration, get a Facebook page, buy some billboards, or whatever. Don’t use the election system to force taxpayers to deal with your bullshit, thought.

May 5, 2012
Two Books I Just Read: The Autobio of Lord Alan Sugar and the Bio of Steve Jobs

I highly recommend both.

That said, both people, sucessful in business and in taking a regular biz and turning it on its head had two distinct ways of doing it.

Alan Sugar was always all about coming up with a mass product, fast, that was easy to make and of quality.

Steve Jobs saw what was, and amped it up a bit to create the products no one would have conceived of conventionally, then decided we NEEDED it, and convinced us we needed it. I mean, look at a chart of smartphones BEFORE the iPhone.

Better yet, listen to my brother’s reaction when we saw the demo back in 2007: every time he heard a siren it was “oh I guess more heart attacks are happening at {insert cell phone company here}.” He was right.

Both of them were straight shooters, altough WTF was up with all the crying and the food disorders with Jobs? The latter literally killed him. Sad.

Either way, both did their best to contribute to their nation. I admire that Lord Sugar stood by PM Gordon Brown, and pointed out how the financial crisis wasn’t his fault despite the media and political bullshit. I admire Jobs for calling out President Obama on HIS bullshit, re: manufacturing and education. Both meant well, but in the political world, no one wanted to listen. 

Both deserve respect, for different reasons. Both were successful, and both worked up there way from nada mucho. Again, Respect.

It’s also made me re-think what I’m doing now. I realize that one has to really give a crap about what they’re doing to be successful. I’ve been successful in blogging for some time now, but now, after almost 7 years, I’m frankly a bit burnt. I SHOULD continue but I’ve often said once it became a job or a duty, and not “fun” I would quit.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll quit, but I will say that something has to change. Part of that as I’ve discussed with those who cover SF politics and government is that at some point you want to bring a flame thrower to the place, and well, you need a break.

I’m no Steve Jobs, nor am I a Lord Sugar. I don’t have to be. But I do need to take a moment and stop playing the game of The Internet and take a break. So I shall.