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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chicken John Campaign Funds Denied by City of SF

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 at 5:50 PM

The city's most colorful mayoral candidate just got denied city cash thanks to campaign finance rules designed by liberals to help little guys compete. Nice one, douches.

By Benjamin Wachs

Chicken John’s going to be campaigning for mayor without public funds, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

“I haven’t heard anything from the Ethics Commission,” he said over the phone.

“Really?” I said, confused. “Because, um… if you call them … like I can call them …”

“Nah,” he said. “I’m the candidate. They wouldn’t tell you about my matching funds before they tell me.”

Oh. Oh. Oh. This hurts. I know I should have said something, but, dammit, I’m not that guy.

According to staff members at the Ethics Commission, the showman-cum-candidate came a lot closer in a second review to reaching the totals needed: in all, they said, he had about $20,500 in qualifying contributions from 272 San Francisco residents. He needed $25,000 from 250 residents.

Chicken John has, in fact, received over $25,000 in contributions, but the Ethics Commission disqualified too many of them. While Ethics Commission staff wouldn’t go into detail about why Chicken John’s contributions were disqualified, they did list some reasons why contributions from San Francisco residents wouldn’t make it: if the same individual gives more than $100, only $100 is counted towards the matching funds total. If a contribution is for less than $10, it doesn’t count towards the matching funds total. If a contribution is from a business – even a San Francisco business – it doesn’t count. And, they said, some contributions had – according to credit card statements – been made after the Aug. 28 deadline.

The final result: Chicken John’s got over $25,000 in donations, mostly from SF residents, in the bank, but won’t be getting anything from the city.

As I sat there, writhing in discomfort and wondering why the hell the Ethics Commission WOULD tell me before they told him, Chicken said it wouldn’t really matter if he got the money or not because the process has taken so long.

Tomorrow is the half-way point between the time when the application for matching funds was due and the election – 35 of 70 days have passed. “I don’t really know that I have enough time anymore to launch an effective campaign with their money,” he said. “I am actually considering not accepting it.”

Oh, this just breaks my heart.

Somebody TELL THE GUY! Don’t make him find out this way!

Meanwhile, Chicken said he’ll stay out campaigning: he’ll be doing a stump speech this weekend at the Burning Man Decompression, and starting next week he’ll drive around the city in his truck that he rigged to run of coffee grinds rather than gas. “I’ll be here and there and explaining to people that we don’t need petroleum, that we can run our city on bullshit and coffee,” he said.

Kind of like we do now, but with coffee.

He’s also issued a call for submissions from city artists to provide pieces examining the problems that San Francisco faces –especially in the arts. He’ll display the selections at his warehouse the week before the election.

It’s a novel – and serious – way to raise awareness of issues. At least, that’s one way to look at it.

“I’ve just asked artists in San Francisco if they have any issues,” Chicken John said. “Come on, that’s funny.”

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David Downs


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