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BALLOT MEASURES: Our Propositions for a World Gone Mad 


Officially Designating San Francisco the Willie Brown Enterprise Zone

Shall the City admit what everyone knows?

Digest by Willie Brown's Ballot Simplification Committee:

The Way it is Now: San Francisco is a semiautonomous fiefdom in Northern California, and under the aegis of Chronicle columnist Willie Brown. In return for "consulting fees" extracted from developers, businessmen, shoe-shine boys, clothiers, cabdrivers, railroad barons, tech impresarios, Subway franchisees, fellow Chronicle employees, and serfs, Brown dispenses permission for others to go about their business — along with fashion and cinema tips.

The Proposal: That's the way it is now: We're just gonna be up front about it. We're also gonna name a few other things after Hizzoner, to go along with the Willie L. Brown Bridge:

• The planning department;

• The office of small businesses;

• The offices of medium, large, and extra-large businesses;

• The Financial District;

• The Internet;

• Union Square;

• Men's suits over $1,500;

• The water under the Willie L. Brown Bridge;

• 8 Washington;

• Mayor Ed Lee's first grandchild;

A "YES" Vote Means: You have chosen wisely.

A "NO" Vote means: Your ballot will not be discovered for many years.

Controller's Statement:

Please vote for this. I have kids. Please.

How "W" Got on the Ballot:

Don't ask questions.


Transient San Franciscan Occupancy Tax

Shall the City collect its pound of flesh from each new San Francisco resident who fails to stay longer than 10 years?


The Way it is Now: San Francisco is a vast hotel for an increasingly wealthy coterie of young adults experiencing the "San Francisco" phase of their lives before moving elsewhere to grow up and be useful. That's why a $3,500-a-month studio in the Tenderknob downstairs from a methodone clinic sparks a bidding war while you're raising your kids in a subletted cardboard box.

The Proposal: Since San Francisco charges a 14 percent transient occupancy tax on hotel-goers who are kind enough to leave quickly — but nothing on people who drive up rents and inundate Dolores Park with PBR cans for three years before decamping to Portland — this measure would mandate that each new San Franciscan surrender a 25 percent levy if they leave before spending a decade complaining about Muni.

A "Yes" Vote Means: You're pulling up the ladder after you, just as the prior generation pulled up the ladder after it. But your ladder is bigger.

A "No" Vote Means: You will never understand "San Francisco Values." Never.

Controller's Statement on "86":

There's no stopping them. We might as well make money off these little shits. You're probably a little shit, too. But you already live here. Damn you.


Enabling a Bicycle/Automobile Amnesty

Shall the City require modifications to bicycles to improve overall safety on San Francisco streets?


The Way it is Now: As bicycle culture evolves in San Francisco in the vague direction of a Copenhagen, Amsterdam, or at least a middle-school bike rodeo, conflict between cyclists and drivers continues to escalate. Proposed solutions have included bike lanes, removal of parking spaces, human-sized vacuum tubes, seeding biking communities with Copenhageners in the hopes of generating some kind of osmosis, Critical Mass, Uncritical Mass, Boston Mass, and some actual planning.

The Proposal: Proposition 2x4 would require bicyclists in the city to adopt certain safety modifications to allow them to interact with automobiles in a less crunchy way. These modifications would include (but not be limited to): reinforced side-panels, protective glass, safety restraints, at least two extra wheels for increased stability, and an internal combustion engine to facilitate uniform traffic flow.

Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition 2x4:

Why anyone would want to get out there piloting something that looks about as suitable for transit as bathroom plumbing is beyond me. I mean a Radio Flyer is a safer option. At least it's got sidewalls. You don't go out into a hostile environment willfully unprotected. I mean at least crabs go down into deeper waters after they molt their shells. Jesus, you know what cars are, don't you? Like robots with squishy, over-caffeinated, short-fused innards. I mean forget it. And also, from the driver's perspective, it's all weird butts in expensive jeans, bobbing along the boulevard. I mean.

Council for Me Love Drivey-Drivey

BP Global

League of Reluctant Hipsters

Rebuttal to Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition 2x4:

Fuck this. Move move move move move. Coming through, dino-sucker! How's things in your little glass box? You listening to some good tunes in there? Gotta have a sweet soundtrack for your slow decay. Us? We'll be taking a little ride out to the beach later, maybe have an unlicensed bonfire, who knows? You can come but you'll be in traffic probably. Maybe we ain't gonna see eye to eye as I blow by. Maybe we'll meet again on BART someday. Hey, you mind if I put my bike on that rail?

Ned or Abel or Chort, He Kind of Mumbled His Name


The Developers' Multiple Orgasm of Embedded Omnihousing Construction

Shall the City permit the construction of micro-apartments within lofts within luxury condominiums within live-work offices within single-family homes within geodesic domes within converted warehouses within residential high-rises atop a floating cargo barge — with illegal in-law units in the hull — docked next to Pier 39?


The Way it is Now: San Franciscans are never going to agree on a sensible housing policy. The market for senseless policies, however, is still surprisingly vibrant.

The Proposal: Let's just build it all. All of it. Right there. On top of each other. The whole thing. All the housing. Like nesting dolls. In 10 years, everyone from the incredibly rich down to the merely privileged will live there. In one neighborhood, at last. Residential turducken.

Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition H:

San Francisco needs housing. There are simply not enough $3 million starter homes or $4 million pied-a-terres for your mistresses' guinea pigs. Development is at a standstill because of NIMBYs and sanity. You can't pay rent with sanity. We can do better. By placing every last residential development into one massive orgy of construction, we will streamline the process and create efficiencies of scale sufficient to pay off a dozen coastal commissions. We're making dreams come true.

Building a near-infinite supply of housing will also provide a near-infinite amount of union workers with near-infinite opportunities to watch other union workers eating a near-infinite number of sandwiches.

Additionally, placing long-term residents along the northern waterfront will contribute significantly to the neighborhood's soup-in-a-breadbowl-based economy. Brick-and-mortar outlets will provide these new permanent residents with not only bread bowls for home use but bread plates, bread trays, bread cutlery, and bread colanders. Bread-based transit options will abound, enabling a car-free bread lifestyle.

Vote "Yes" on Proposition H — or we're out a lot of money!

The Mayor

All the Supervisors

All the Downtown Money-Launderers

All the Phony Democratic Clubs

All the King's Horses

And the California Gluten Council

Rebuttal to Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition H:

Pier 39? Pier 39 sucks.

The Committee of Citizens Savvy Enough to Call it "FiDi" and "Divis" in Casual Conversation (CCSECIFADICC)


Bouncy Offices for Tech Firms

Shall the City create a special downtown district allowing the construction of pneumatic ("bouncy") office spaces, which could be fully inflated to house tech firms with names containing no vowels and/or especially frivolous products, and which could be quickly deflated and removed in the (likely) event that said firms fail?


The Way it is Now: Business leaders say the high cost of office space in the City is forcing them to make unsustainable compromises, such as sharing their game rooms with other tenants, and forcing employees to sit so close together that they cannot avoid verbal communication. However, most of the companies seeking office space in the City are technology start-ups, and thus frequently implode before even hiring an assistant to pick up senior executives' dry cleaning.

The Proposal: Proposition F would allow the creation of "bouncy" pneumatic offices, similar to so-called bouncy houses, which would offer all the amenities of brick-and-mortar buildings (save for walls and floors) while not permanently affecting the landscape of the city.

Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition F:

They're cheap! They're fun! They're easy! And will never hurt if you happen to trip and fall!!!! Temporary inflatable offices are just what San Francisco's tech industry needs: space for companies that come and go like the breeze. Cloud-based solutions for our booming cloud corridor, if you will. Besides being affordable by default, entry-level start-ups in bouncy offices will also no longer need a separate "fun room" for their overworked employees — their whole building would be a "fun room." Neat!!

The Committee for Bouncier Cities

Society for the Advancement of Rubber, Northern California Chapter

Concerned Otolaryngologists

Rebuttal to Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition F:

Don't blow up San Francisco! Inflatable office buildings will be unsafe at any P.S.I. They will be big, bloated blights on our beautiful urban landscape, and make the city's already unsettled tech economy even more prone to deflation. What's next? Affordable housing in the form of teepees? Replacing Muni trains with bumper cars? If whippersnapper tech firms can't find room in a real building, maybe they don't deserve room at all. And as for the whole game-room issue, can't tech kids just go to the bowling alley after work like the rest of us?

S.F. Needle Exchange

Union for a More Puncture-Resistant Planet

Bricklayers, Who Still Exist


Brick-and-Mortar Freeganism

Shall the City amend its environmental health code to allow leftover-exchange apps to open eateries serving locally sourced food in its earliest stages of decomposition?


The Way it is Now: San Francisco's current health code requires restaurants to stow their partially eaten food in garbage or compost bins. But new research by Australian scientists touts the salutary benefits of stale or rotten food, which acquires nutrients as it is broken down by bacterial enzymes.

The Proposal: These restaurants would hew to a pure sharing-economy model, generating their whole inventory from the menus of neighboring restaurateurs and selling it for negotiated discount prices. LeftoverSwap, which began as an iPhone app but recently filed for a $10 billion IPO, says a proposed bistro — slated to open in a rehabbed building formerly owned by Bar Tartine — will include a 20-foot buffet table and salad bar. Customers are invited to sell their second-run food to other customers, albeit with a small commission for the host.


Extension of Suffrage to Canine-Americans

Shall San Francisco allow dogs to vote?


The Way it is Now: Dogs in San Francisco cannot vote despite being friendlier and more reliable than many of the people who do. They can also be trained not to urinate in inappropriate places.

The Proposal: Whitney Houston believed that "children are our future." San Francisco, however, boasts more dogs than children. In San Francisco, dogs are our future. We have taught them well. And now it's time to let them lead the way.

We should extend not only the right to vote, but also the right to hold office — if for no other reason than the only thing cuter than dog-sized voting booths is dogs wearing suits and meeting with dog-lobbyists.

Why have a mayor who's a lapdog when you can have a lapdog who's a mayor?

Controller's Statement on "M":

Please vote for this. My kids have dogs. Please.

Paid Argument AGAINST Proposition M:

This is madness. We must send a strong message by voting down this odious half-measure and sending our lawmakers back to the drawing board to develop a real solution: One that extends the vote to non-citizen dogs.

None of us are free until all of us are free! Vote NO on M!

San Francisco Bay and Vicinity Port Maritime Council — For Dogs

Bay Cities Metal Trades Council (For Dogs)

Chamber of Dog Commerce


Uggie, Jack Russell terrier*

*For identification purposes only; author is signing on as an individual dog and not on behalf of a pack.


Maximizing the Sharing Economy

Shall the City enforce an Airbnb-type arrangement for every residence in San Francisco and extend said arrangement to all possessions and relationships?


The Way it is Now: The sharing economy has proven itself as a solution to over-regulation in such new business models as Airbnb and Lyft, in which people monetize their possessions. These arrangements turn out to be both financially beneficial and efficient. Your Prius is now like the proud buffalo: None of it goes to waste.

The Proposal: Proposition bnb demands to extend the sharing economy such that, while you're off at work, a Finnish couple on holiday will be staying in your one-bedroom, making lunch plans and trying to get a night tour of Alcatraz. Once you're at your office, tucked into your desk, your shoes will be taken by an employee who walks a hell of a lot more than you during the work-day, delivering mail or something. Your boyfriend, meanwhile, who is taking time off from work for that book project, is lending physical and emotional comfort to a recent widow. Your cat is making the rounds at a retirement home, your kidney is filtering somebody's blood on the floor below, your diary is being used to build new memories for an amnesiac, your dreams are going straight to either Pixar's servers or David Lynch's L.A. studio, and, on slow weekends, your body will be possessed by the unhappy wandering spirit of a murdered husband, which anyway isn't so bad because at least now somebody's around to listen to you vent about how you're pretty sure the Finns stole your diary.


Reg. of Abbr. Char.

Shall the City establish an ampersand license to limit its use in restaurant and bar names?


The Way it is Now: Over the past five years, the City has been overrun by restaurants and bars whose names demonstrate a disturbing and potentially dangerous reliance on the little-understood ampersand.

The Proposal: Proposition & would stem the rampant overuse of ampersands in restaurant and bar names. The City would grant a limited number (10) of ampersand licenses to businesses every year; those that are not granted a new license or extension of an existing one would need to use less in-demand punctuation in their restaurant name (e.g. *, ^, %). Earnings from the licensing fee will be placed into the Vowel Recovery Fund, to provide restaurants, such as SPQR and MKT, with the necessary letters to make their names into pronounceable words.

Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition &:

Bourbon & Branch. Sons & Daughters. Fig & Thistle. Craftsman & Wolves. Baker & Banker. Pig & Pie. Wilson & Wilson. There are too many similarly named restaurants and bars in the City, and it is causing confusion among the population. Who among us hasn't thought they were going to a seasonally driven, small-plates restaurant, only to realize that they had agreed to dinner at a speakeasy-themed cocktail bar instead? We have reached critical mass with this naming convention, and it is taking away from San Francisco's celebrated diversity. It is time to establish regulations, and free up ampersands to be used in other places — like road signs, theater marquees, and anywhere there just isn't room for all three letters of "and."

Association for Nomenclatural Clarity

Rebuttal to Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition &:

The ampersand is one of the world's oldest punctuation marks, with an illustrious history dating back to Roman cursive. Currently the noble ampersand is enjoying unprecedented popularity with its surge in use across the United States, not just in San Francisco. This legislation is just the kind of small-minded bigotry that led to the ampersand's eradication as the 27th letter of the alphabet in the mid-to-late 19th century.

Society for the Preservation of Coordinating Conjunctions


Child-Upgrade Program

Shall the City amend its child-trafficking laws to authorize parents to trade their slightly used kids in for better kids — or for dogs?


The Way it is Now: The act of stealing, renting, borrowing, "misplacing," or otherwise "making off with" another person's child is considered kidnapping under federal law.

The Proposal: This new program would create exemptions when both parties agree to trade. In certain cases a dog may be added to the negotiation, either in exchange for a child, or to increase the asset value of a particularly homely child. Two children may also be exchanged for a high-quality breed of dog, especially if that dog has child-like attributes but goes to bed on time and poops outside.

Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition D:

A sharing-economy service for kids would help maximize these underused and under-performing commodities, and even turn them into a potential income stream for users. Furthermore, they would reduce the need for mass-production of more kids in a city that generally prefers dogs over children, anyway.

Cherie Shear, Cuteness Resources Officer, KidExchange

Rebuttal to Proponent's Argument in Favor of Proposition D:

Simple supply-and-demand economics have made it nearly impossible to assess the value of children, now a rare product in San Francisco. Thus, an exchange service that allows users to make arbitrary child-swaps could generate a rash of costly litigation — especially if one child looks fine on the surface, but turns out to be deficient.

Sterling Kane, Armchair Economist, Latvia


App Trucks

Shall the City allow the permitting of so-called "Tech Trucks," mobile vehicles that would help facilitate the Total Disruption of all local industry?


The Way it is Now: Currently, San Francisco is being held back from its goal of Total Disruption by tech firms' reliance on stationary desks, buildings, addresses, and Muni.

The Proposal: Proposition Y would further the disruption of the City by allowing the creation of a fleet of independently owned, hybrid Tech Trucks, which would roam the city and park near traditional businesses that app manufacturers haven't yet been able to squelch: dry cleaners, bakeries, medical marijuana dispensaries, strip clubs, massage parlors, nail salons, museums, convenience stores, and institutions of higher education. All employees of tech trucks must be male, under 27, have dropped out of a prestigious university, and be given salaries equal to five-to-seven times the median wage in San Francisco. Each truck would be equipped with a V.C. window, through which potential investors could "get a look at the back end" and insert large amounts of cash. The exact method of industry disruption would be left up to the proprietor of each vehicle, but the proposition stipulates that payment for Tech Truck services can be accepted in cash only.


Super-Sized Dining Options

Shall the City establish a Fast Food Amnesty Day?


The Way it is Now: Eating a Big Mac or a bucket of KFC in many areas of San Francisco results in disdainful side glances and lectures about the importance of sustainably raised meat and whole, local foods. It results in discrimination against people who usually follow a healthy, farm-to-table diet but want to consume a Chicken McNugget, Sourdough Jack, or Wendy's Frosty Dairy Dessert every goddamn now and then.

The Proposal: Proposition McD would create a Fast Food Amnesty Day, wherein all citizens are allowed to eat fast food without fear of social retribution. High-fructose corn syrup, factory-farmed chickens, and so-called "pink slime" would all be considered acceptable culinary choices. Moreover, the city would offer incentives for fast food chains to establish "pop-ups" in both high-end restaurants and underserved, wealthy neighborhoods to ensure that everyone has equal access to fast food.


Endangered Human Preserve

Shall the City designate a section of Golden Gate Park as a special cultural reserve to house and maintain independent artists, musicians, writers, activists, punk rockers, nudists/hippies, and other endangered subspecies of the local human population?


The Way it is Now: San Francisco is seeing a mass exodus of the types of humans for whom the city was once an ideal habitat. Astronomical rents and increasingly conservative cultural values are pushing those who earn modest incomes in exchange for creative/socially beneficial work toward cheaper, uglier locales like Oakland, Los Angeles, and Portland.

The Proposal: Proposition O would set aside a portion of Golden Gate Park near the Bison paddock (home to another species brought to the brink of extinction by what everybody dubiously called "progress") for the housing and care of these endangered local humans. Current San Francisco residents could apply for residency after passing a series of economic, physical, and cultural tests, which would include (but not be limited to) their familiarity with the work of local musicians like Jello Biafra and Patrick Cowley, the number of times in the last six months they've paid more than $10 for a cocktail, their knowledge of that one time at the Fillmore, and a word-association quiz regarding the current state of Valencia Street.


San Francisco Authenticity Task Force

Shall it be City policy to establish a task force to determine who is an authentic San Franciscan, and create identifiable metrics of such?


The Way It Is Now: Anyone can say he's a San Franciscan because he started wearing an orange-billed Giants hat in October of 2010. Fuck you. You know nothing of our pain.

This lack of clear standards means everyone from fourth-generation fishmongers to vegan bondage enthusiasts is claiming their particular occupation, political stance, sexual preference, brand of phone, neighborhood, favorite yoga mat, apparel, and mode of transportation makes them more "authentically" San Franciscan than you.

There's nothing we can do about it.

The Proposal: San Francisco has a rich history of fighting pressing social problems by forming task forces. The one thing we know is that real San Franciscans sit on task forces.

The San Francisco Authenticity Task Force will be composed of an indeterminate number of supervisors; an indeterminate number-plus-one of mayoral appointees; a sexpert; Willie Brown's cleaning lady; a guy who went to Burning Man back when it was cool; someone who sat in the Christopher Milk section of Kezar Stadium; a juggler; the guy who burned down Sutro Baths; two Green Party members who can argue with each other; one of the two Bush Men; a Google employee willing to pay $3,500 a month for that seat; and whoever else wanders into the library conference room at 3:15 in the afternoon on a Tuesday.

A "YES" Vote Means: All these people have something to do at 3:15 on a Tuesday.

A "NO" vote means: Activists in the Mission will form a People's Task Force.

Paid Argument AGAINST Proposition S:

The Marina Bros Political Action Committee wishes to pop it, lock it, and crush this measure in the strongest possible terms. We have long suffered beneath the yoke of San Francisco's prejudice against members of the Greco-Roman Athletic Community and disdain for people who look like J. Crew models. This proposed task force would only codify this historic injustice and that would suck balls. I may wear boat shoes with no socks, but I am still a man.

Fuck Proposition S. Dave Matthews rocks.

Chip "Trey" McReddington, President and Pussy Ninja, Marina Bros Political Action Committee

Paid Argument IN FAVOR of Proposition S:

I was born in a fishing boat docked at a pier that nobody's ever told you about.

Papa said I was undersized and tried to throw me back, but Mama wouldn't hear of it. Mama was good to me. There were 27 of us — if you count the Goochinelli brothers, which I DON'T — but Mama treated me good.

Papa knew The Great DiMaggio; Joe, Dom, and Vince used to ritualistically beat him every time he showed his face at Seals Stadium. They were white sauce guys. He was a red sauce guy. It was trouble. I just thank God they agreed about calamari.

Over the last 70 years, I've seen all kinds of people come through San Francisco, and you're all worthless. We tried to keep out the beatniks, then the hippies, then the yippies, then the People's Temple, then the queers — fuck a duck, the queers — then the Symbionese Liberation Army, then the punks, then the baristas, and then the techies, and then this new bunch of techies. And now the techie queers.

Papa would have thrown you over the side, and then I'd have a place to park.

This task force is okay by me. If you have to ask "Am I authentic?" then you're the problem.

"Original" Joe D'Abruzzo D'Amato D'San Franciscan

Paid Argument AGAINST Proposition S:

Here at the Googleplex I have already calculated that by the year 2017 there will be no San Franciscans left, making the formation of this task force moot. Instead, the city will be purchased by Larry Page as server farms to house the virtually limitless library of kitten videos you biological life forms will have uploaded to YouTube. At that point the only "authentic" San Franciscans will exist in GIF form, much like Gavin Newsom does now.

A few buildings will of course be preserved to house our overflow millionaires, along with the VIP rooms of several nightclubs, an organic farmers market, two Apple Stores, and Burning Man headquarters, which I have determined are all that Bay Area residents really need to be happy.

Once this has occurred, all previous San Franciscans will live in Oakland, and all original Oaklanders will have been gentrified so far away that not even Google Earth can find them. They will be missed until 2018, when I calculate that a series of highly successful "poor minority"-themed bar/restaurants will convince you that they were all happy to have you move in and there is nothing you need to feel guilty about.

Exactly the way my engineers feel about you.

Vote NO on Proposition S, as it will delay the process of replacing your internal organs with apps. Resistance is futile.

The Singularity

Paid argument IN FAVOR of Proposition S:

When I agreed to license my name to this city back in 1847, this is not what I had in mind. I love all God's creatures, but who the hell are you people? Why do you have so many piercings? Why are your bicyclists so angry? Can you stop looking at your phones for even one minute? Must you pee in the bus? Are you seriously lining up for ice cream in 50-degree weather?

This city professes to be the epicenter of enlightened harmony and love and coexistence, but you don't even know the names of the people in your building. You are surrounded by a morass of human need, yet you see your capacity to ignore it all as a mark of sophistication.

I'm sorry, but San Francisco is not a friendly city.

Become one.

I want you to codify what it is to be a San Franciscan, let alone a "good San Franciscan," because what you have now just isn't working. As a concept or a city. You've tried just doing what feels right for 40 years. Try humility instead. It's a start.

I humbly urge you to vote YES on Proposition S, codify your ideals, and try living up to them for a change.

St. Francis of Assisi*

*For identification purposes only; author is signing on as an individual saint and in no way represents the Catholic Church.


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