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Political Activities Page: The Election May Be Over, but the Fun Doesn't Have to Be! 

Tuesday, Nov 11 2014
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Spot the Differences!

Politics can be a childish game; here, we go ahead and present it as a child's game.

Among the fistfuls of propaganda tossed back and forth between the warring parties in this year's election, there was one Only-in-San Francisco moment. In this city, you smear a political candidate by Photoshopping the drag queens out of the shot.

Here are two images. On the left is a picture from the recent battle between drag queens and Facebook at which Supervisor David Campos took the podium. On the right is a picture from a baseball-themed David Chiu mailer in which Campos is wearing the blue cap and tie of either the Royals or the Dodgers, hated foes either way. Can you spot the differences? Things to look for: drag queens, team loyalties, Photoshopped hats.

Before and After!

In much the same way that newspapers kept obituaries for the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Maya Angelou on ice, the San Francisco Chronicle typed up an election wrap-up days before the actual vote. DiMaggio and Angelou probably wouldn't have taken kindly to reading their own obits, though — and neither did the politicians marked as losers when the Chron inadvertently posted its article online nearly a week before election day.

As such, Supervisor Malia Cohen and Mayor Ed Lee found their way into the article template with some placeholder text ("quote quote quote"). After the election smoke cleared, Cohen and Lee offered up actual words.

Can you draw a line from the placeholder Cohen and Lee quotes to the real ones inserted into the post-election wrap-up?

Weigh Too Much!

You weren't imagining things: You really did get more political junk mail in the mercifully concluded election season than in years past. Lots more.

Per the United States Postal Service, San Franciscans were sent 4.9 million pieces of political mail from June to November 2012 and 1 million pieces in that time frame last year. But this year there were a whopping 8.9 million pieces of mail!

That's a lot of mail. That's about a million more letters than the estimated yearly total written to Santa Claus! (Perhaps next Christmas we'll get our wish of no more political mail.)

Are you ready for a fun quiz? For each of the following, choose the best answer!

1) SF Weekly estimates an average political mailer to be 0.6 ounces. So, in 2012, the 4.9 million pieces of mail weighed 183,750 pounds, or almost 92 tons. That's as much as...

a. All the volunteers for the write-in candidates' campaigns in that year.

b. All the drones sold worldwide (to both private citizens and intrusive regimes).

c. The amount of salmonella-tainted ground turkey in a single recall by Cargill in 2011.

2) In 2013, the 1 million pieces of mail weighed 37,500 pounds, or almost 18.75 tons. That's as much as...

a. A single Muni electric trolley bus (running or, just as likely, not).

b. Soda poured into the streets of Berkeley as part of the popular, though (relatedly) often-misheard, "Berkeley Pop Party."

c. All the standup desks in San Francisco's "Downtown Startup Zone."

3) This year's 8.9 million mailers would weigh around 334,000 pounds, or nearly 167 tons. That's as much as...

a. The tank in the recent hit film Fury (including the weight of Brad Pitt and a very dirty Shia LaBeouf).

b. The amount of rock and dirt in a landslide that tumbled into a Utah copper mine in 2013.

c. The confetti blown onto Market Street during the San Francisco Giants World Series parade (water-logged).

4) Considering San Francisco is home to 436,099 registered voters, the average voter received around three-quarters of a pound of mailers, or about 20 mailers. That weighs as much as...

a. Five-quarters of a pound of contaminated turkey.

b. Three quarters.

c. A human heart, broken at last by democracy's many failings.

Answers: 1) c; 2) a; 3) b; 4) c


About The Authors

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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