This is How You Start a Mayoral Campaign
This is how you start a mayoral campaign…or at least how we started mine. As you probably know by now, I’m running for Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco. I made this announcement on the front page of the San Francisco Examiner. The plan was then for me to write about the whole campaign for The Examiner, detailing the ins and outs of what the process was like and how corrupt the system is.
That didn’t exactly pan out: the Ethics Commission basically told me that if I were to do that, it would violate campaign finance laws and I would be fined a whole bunch of money. The issue comes down to campaign contributions. In the eyes of the Ethics Commission, writing about my campaign in the Examiner would be a “contribution” from them and campaign finance laws in SF state that no corporation is allowed to donate to any political campaign.
Besides the possible first amendment issue here, we have a larger problem: laws there were set up to keep campaigns fair are actually doing the opposite. My opponent, incumbent Ed Lee, is being backed by billionaires, so the only way for a guy like me to be able to equitably compete would be through resourcefulness, which in this case would mean writing about my campaign for the second biggest paper in the Bay Area. But then again part of this whole experiment is to show how the badly system is broken, and I guess I’ve certainly done that.
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After paying the fees to getting on the ballot and jumping through all the necessary hoops, we finally started doing campaign type things this past week. On Tuesday we had our first volunteer mixer at Woodbury. About 25 people showed up to meet me in person and and find out how they could get involved in the campaign. The volunteers represented a wonderful assortment of ages, ethnicities, and years spent in the city. They ranged from SF newbies who work in tech to old hippies who moved to here in the Summer of Love, and from people born in The City to people born in Eritrea. One thing everyone had in common though was that they were tired of seeing the cultural destruction of San Francisco and they wanted to do everything they could to save it. It was an amazing thing to see, too bad we forgot to take photos.
This first meeting was so that we could get volunteers together to help with Friday’s big campaign kickoff party. My friends at San Franpsycho and The Independent took it upon themselves to throw this party and it was a wild success. Hundreds of people showed up to drink, dance, and most importantly support the campaign. Ok, some of them just wanted this rad poster made by Lil Tuffy.
If you have business in SF and want to put one of these in your window, email me.
It was incredibly heartening to see so many friends and so many strangers show up. It’s a hell of a thing to have hundreds of people say to you “We believe in you and thank you for taking a stand.” I’ve spent my whole life using my voice to shout about things I believe in, but actually putting some action behind it, and seeing other people stand up to support it, is nothing short of incredible.
So that’s what we did. Last Friday night a few hundred people from all sides of the San Francisco spectrum came together to unite over our love for our city and the need to do everything in our power to save it (if you couldn’t make it but still would like to donate to the campaign, please go here.)
One of the things we did was have a photo booth where people could write out what their wishes were for San Francisco and what their messages were for Ed Lee. Look below, we’ve mixed in those powerful photos with other photos from the kickoff party (All pics by the excellent Morgan Parrick).
And, if you couldn’t make it but still would like to donate to the campaign, please go here.
Stuart Schuffman for Mayor 2015,FPPC ID #1377997