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Monday, October 29, 2012

Jello and Boom Boom: Two of San Francisco's Most Famous Prank Political Campaigns

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Fake Presidential Campaign season will be over soon -- Kitty / Maru 2012! -- and while this has been a good one, there haven't really been any entertaining prank campaigns this year. Roseanne Barr, I guess, but c'mon. She's running for the Green Party, and she's transphobic to boot? Yeah, no thanks.

Thankfully, San Francisco has had its share of prank campaigns for local government positions in the past, all of which still have plenty of entertainment value. Today, we'll look at the ones waged by Jello Biafra and Sister Boom Boom.

See also:

This Election Season, We're Voting for Hello Kitty

Pioneering Queer Activist Jack Fertig, aka Sister Boom Boom, Dies at 57

Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra ran for mayor in 1979 because, by his own admission, it would be a hell of a prank and an opportunity to maybe shed light on important issues. Here's his platform statement from that year's Voter Information Pamphlet (PDF, 8.73MB):

He had a nicely haunting (if toner-depleting) campaign flyer, too:
Here's a KRON NewsCenter 4 report on his candidacy in 1979. Also, excellent eyebrows!
Biafra tells the whole story on his spoken word album I Blow Minds for a Living, and it's worth a listen. It's also a valuable crash-course in late 1970s San Francisco politics.

As he describes in the above video (and according to Board of Supervisors documents), Biafra came in fourth out of 10 candidates with 6,605 votes. Not too shabby.

One point he makes in his story is not strictly accurate, though -- specifically, that a resolution was passed by the Board of Supervisors a few years later which "banned anybody from running for office in San Francisco under anything except their Christian name." Actually, according to Sec. 210 of the San Francisco Municipal Election Code, the candidate is required to use their legal name, not their Christian name, which is a different creature entirely.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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