Funny how being broke changes your perspective on things. Not so long ago, a goodly number of Californians still seemed to believe that Marijuana made you behave like flesh-eating zombies as depicted in the now-laughable film Reefer Madness. Yet now that the state's run out of money and our bond rating is "Top Ramen," the idea of legalizing pot and taxing it appeals to a healthy majority of Californians -- and Gov. Arnold "Is Numero Uno" Schwarzenegger says the time has come to talk seriously about legalization.
Similarly, back on election night, yours truly sat outside City Hall in the cold with Brian McConnell and Michael Jacinto, the forlorn duo who watched their measure to rename San Francisco's Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant after President George W. Bush fail by a 69-31 ratio.
Well, if McConnell and Jacinto are into schadenfreude, the last laugh is still theirs. Newsweek recently reported that the sewage treatment plant nearly named after Bush has still become a notable tourist destination (hell, we even posted photos of one of our staffers' tours through the sewage underworld). This forces the question: If almost naming a sewage plant after W. can cause a spike in tourism, think about what actually so christening the plant would have done.
You think the Ocean Beach-area eateries and convenience stores wouldn't have appreciated the bump? You think homeless folks wouldn't have benefited from the piles of shoes tossed at the plant by international tourists? You think a little spillover -- no pun intended -- wouldn't have helped out the nearby San Francisco Zoo? And, finally, don't you think the good-natured competition between the zoo and the sewage treatment facility on who could post the lowest number of mauled patrons/folks who fall into vats of human dung would be beneficial for everyone?
Quite seriously, however, many of the most substantive arguments against Proposition R seem even weaker now than they did at the time. I was never certain how the Public Utilities Commission determined Prop. R would cost roughly $50,000 for letterhead changes and the like, considering that the measure specifically noted that materials would only be changed to reflect the new name upon their exhaustion -- which is something you'd have to do anyway.
And the Guardian's Polonius-like lecture on how such a measure was disrespectful to the workers at the Oceanside plant neatly demonstrated two things: A. Sanctimonious lefties are not funny, and; B. The Guardian failed to contact the sewage workers' union, SEIU Local 1021, which endorsed the measure.
Finally, it warrants mentioning that this tourism boom was not unforeseen. McConnell and Jacinto pointed out the possibility in their statement in last year's voter information pamphlet.
Maybe McConnell and Jacinto will deign to submit another ballot proposition for us -- and perhaps we'll give it more thought this time around. In the meantime, San Francisco continues to flush money down the toilet. That and the other stuff, of course.
H/T | SFist