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An Open Letter to Those Saying Ed Lee is Running Unopposed

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image from SF Weekly

A couple days ago I got into it on twitter with Clara Jeffery, editor in chief of Mother Jones, over the following tweet:

Before I go further I must say that I have the utmost respect for both Ms. Jeffery and for Mother Jones. The work done by that publication is important now more than ever considering the lack of investigative journalism in the world. I even just donated to the magazine to help cover their legal fees. That said, comments like this (as well as Jon Steinberg’s insipid article) do a disservice not only to to non-mainstream campaigns, but to the entire idea of what opposition can be.

The point of opposition isn’t always necessarily to win. The point of opposition is to vocalize dissent. It’s to move the line of scrimmage forward, to disseminate ideas to people who wouldn’t hear of them otherwise, to build momentum for a greater victory, and to give people hope.

As I was commenting and replying to Jeffery’s twitter responses on the walk from the Castro to my home in the Mission/SOMA border, no less than 10 different strangers yelled my name from cars, stopped to shake my hand, or honked at me in support. They did this because of what I’m doing, and what the other candidates running against Lee are doing, is the definition of opposition. In a town where traditional politicians opted out of running for fear of what the Mayor’s billionaire backers could do to them, having the gall to stand up and defend our city is giving people hope.

And that is why it is so disappointing when media outlets keep saying “Mayor Ed Lee is running unopposed.” Not only does it discredit all the hard work that myself and the other candidates are doing, it’s also not even true. Over the course of the campaign I have put out videos that have collectively been viewed over 500,000 times on Facebook. Plus the Facebook group Vote 1-2-3 to Replace Ed Lee has over 10,000 members and the video done by AJ+ about my campaign has been viewed over 1 million times world wide. These are substantial numbers on their own, but they are even more impactful when you realize that Ed Lee only got about 60,000 votes in 2011. We are giving people a focus for their dissatisfaction and building momentum for a larger movement – 2016 could prove to be an even more important year for San Francisco politically since three progressives on the board of supervisors will be terming out.


So my question is, what do we have to do to be considered legitimate candidates? Is it just based on how much money we’ve raised? Because starting with this election that may no longer matter. If I get 25% of the vote from raising just $30,000 they will be studying my campaign in political science classes around the country. Why? Because it will be proof that the combination of social media and grassroots organizing is a power that the establishment doesn’t know how to reckon with yet. Traditional polling is no longer valid as fewer and fewer people have landlines and most people don’t answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize. On top of that, companies like CrowdPac and Countable are doing amazing work to bring the democratic process onto your desktop and your phone. This has the potential to empower alternative and grassroots candidates in ways we can’t even fully imagine yet.

Getting into this campaign I knew that my chances of winning were not very high. But I also knew how important it was that Ed Lee have opposition. Without it, the Lee administration would’ve thought they had mandate to do anything they wanted. Would I have liked to see Mark Leno or Tom Ammiano run against Lee? Hell yeah! I would’ve gladly supported either of them. But they didn’t run, and I did. As did Amy Weiss, Francisco Herrera, Reed Martin, and Kent Graham. And instead of the media mostly ignoring this (and ignoring that intimidation kept out more seasoned contenders), they could’ve recognized the opposition and shined a light on the multitude of San Franciscans who are wholly dissatisfied with the status quo and their current mayor. After Bernie Sanders won every online poll taken after the Democratic Presidential Debate, but all the major media outlets declared Hilary Clinton the winner…Why?  Seriously, why? Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a super pac?  Because Hilary has the right endorsements from the right corporations?

Here are some potential headlines for the SF mayoral race that would kill it:

For the First Time Ever, Three Candidates are Running for Mayor of San Francisco as a Team!

A Man Named Broke-Ass Stuart is Running for Mayor of the Third Most Expensive City in the World…and He’s Getting Lots of Traction!

I mean, the internet would eat that shit up. Everybody loves underdogs, especially ones that speak the truth.

People in the media: there are six days left until Election Day on November 3rd. You still have time to support those of us standing up in opposition to the corporate greed and crooked politicians that are ruining one of the finest cities in the world. I’m open for interviews and I’m sure the rest of the candidates are too. Drop me a line at and let’s set up a time to talk.

Everyone else: Use ranked choice voting to defeat Ed Lee by voting for Stuart Schuffman, Amy Weiss, and Francisco Herrera. Vote 1-2-3 to Replace Ed Lee!

Wanna learn more about ranked choice voting and the different propositions? Go here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. Nelrod
    October 28, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Preach it brother

  2. Raised Locally
    October 29, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Right on!!

  3. October 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm

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