Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My day of civic duty

On Tuesday, which was when our local elections took place, I was ordered to report for jury duty, in what turned out to be a wage/hour dispute. So I spent half a day watching a group of about 24 people get questioned by the judge, and then by the attorneys, about their experiences with employers/employees and their general feeling about litigants. I got excused after the first round of peremptory challenges when it seemed like they would have enough people to (eventually) form a jury. In my line of work, we practically never go to trial, so I'm gong to totally put this on my resume as "trial experience."

During voir dire, I was one again reminded about how ridiculously overeducated this city is. Of the 24 people on the panel, I would say about 4 did not have at least a B.A degree. And two of those were first generation immigrants who would eventually be excused because their English comprehension wasn't all that great. There were 3 attorneys (one was retired), a PHD and ex-professor, two scientists who worked for biotech companies, and a bunch of MBAs that worked in web development or something like that (my tech comprehension is far worse than the excused jurors' English).

And then I went and voted. In a city with that many educated people, you think there would be a large number of qualified candidates for mayor, right? Not so much. This city is also full of a bunch of nutjobs. Here are some of the candidates other than Gavin Newsom. And yes, these are really from the voter guide.

GEORGE DAVIS

My occupation is Writer/Nudist Activist.

My qualifications are:

This is a One Issue campaign which is to Make Golden Gate Park Clothing Optional like the major urban parks in Europe. For other policy issues, a well known City Manager will be appointed.

Thoughts for today:

You are free to be nude!!! You are free to wear clothing. By California case law (In Re Smith 1972 and other court decisions), you have a freedom of choice.

Nude is not lewd.

With San Francisco's ranked three choices, voting for freedom of choice is as easy as one, two, three. Give George Davis a ranked vote, preferably #1.

If anyone should think this is not a serious issue, explain why George Davis has been illegally harassed by the San Francisco Police Department with 4 full arrests (handcuffs, booking, jail) in 5 weeks of campaigning followed almost immediately with a discharge of the citations by the San Francisco District Attorney.

Voters, you have a clear choice. Do you want police harassment of a legitimate non-violent cultural movement and censorship? Or, do you want freedom of choice and civil liberties?

For more details on George Davis and this campaign, visit the blogs at: www.gonakedyoga.com Or contact George at: vote4mayorsf@yahoo.com

George Davis

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GRASSHOPPER ALEC KAPLAN

My occupation is Vegan Taxicab Driver.

My qualifications are:

Born – Moscow, Russia; English – third but only language. Grasshopper: Vegan, Bay swimmer, owner Grasshopper Taxicab. Lifelong musician; guitarist, singer/songwriter. Compassionate, tolerant, supportive, loving. 13 years here residentially challenged.

To Impeach Is Patriotic. Promote swift removal: Bush, Cheney, Gonzales; Repeal illegal war criminal “unilateral executive” policies.

Locally, most important challenge – providing affordable housing. If you work here, you gotta be able to live here, so you can come back to work the next day fresh. Strengthen eviction protection. Legalize alternative housing situations, like commercially-zoned buildings, where many allready live.

Legalize everything. Legalize prostitution and sex work; make it SAFE. Make everyone happy. No problems, only solutions. Legalize cannabis; greens for peaceful purposes. Fund schools, hospitals, parks, roads.

Separate paths for bicycles. Convert Muni into world-class public transit system. Downtown assessment district funding free Muni for residents.

Total amnesty for all non-citizens; people ain't illegal. Let's celebrate our hardworking labor force while treasuring, protecting cultural diversity, encouraging hope, mercy.

Restore festival, carnival atmosphere; musicians, Artists, fun, love. Remember to smile, laugh, celebrate our wonderful existence, our fabulous planet; create / make Grassland model – beacon of mutual understanding, hope. Gratefully,

Grasshopper Alec Kaplan

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JOHN RINALDI

My occupation is Showman.

My qualifications are:

Hi, my name is Chicken John and I'm running for Mayor because I have a vision for the future of this city. I want a city that attracts artists, not one that chases them away; where innovation wins out over gentrification. In other words, a city that actually has a future, and not just a celebrated past.

What are my qualifications? Small business owner, community leader, champion of the arts. I converted my truck to run on coffee grounds with zero emissions. I've spent the last decade bringing people together in artistic endeavor, helping to make this city a better place.

Am I dumb enough to think I can win? Not really. But I do believe I can win the losing vote, and that's why I'm asking you to vote for me for second place. Think of it as an intellectual exercise, designed to raise the level of conversation.

We stand to lose a lot more if we don't even try: more bad public art, more greenwashing, more of the same magician's misdirection. We must resist a city apparatus that resists innovation, and hold its feet to the fire.

C'mon, it'll be fun. Vote for me.

Tashi Delek,

Chicken John

I totally voted for Chicken John, cuz he was right about one thing. It was kinda fun.

3 comments:

Meatballs! said...

funny, i was also in jury duty this week, but dismissed today (phew). and guess who was on trial? mayoral candidate grasshopper alec kaplan. what a 3-ring circus, and in court on voting day... you gotta love san francisco!

the default attorney said...

You just brought my post so completely full circle I've got vertigo.

That is nuts. Completely nuts.

Melissa said...

Posts like this remind me why I love San Francisco so much. In DC everyone on the ballet for anything thinks it is the first step toward the presidency.