Friday, October 29, 2010

2010 Clio Award Winners

 

Here are this year’s best ads, as chosen by the 2010 Clio Awards - another crop of winners from the mad men and women who create desire.   

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Voter Guide for San Francisco and CA Ballot Initiatives

CALIFORNIA BALLOT INITIATIVES:

19 – Legalize marijuana production, sale and consumption for 21 and up

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  You want to stop wasting money and lives by arresting and jailing people for pot.  You’d rather have the state stay out of personal decisions that don’t hurt others.  You can’t wait to see what pot sellers do with their Federal tax returns. 
  • Why to vote against it:  Alcohol is bad enough – why legalize more drugs?  Because Singapore’s economy is growing more quickly than ours right now.

20 – Extends the authority of Proposition 11’s redistricting commission to congressional districts (it covers state legislative offices and Board of Education now)

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  Same reasons we voted for Prop 11 – it will give political challengers more of a fair chance against incumbents, and will probably produce more pragmatic political candidates.  Also, you want insurance in case Prop 27 passes.
  • Why to vote against it:  You’d like to test the idea first with state legislature.  You’re a lobbyist and you don’t want to have to find new people to bribe every few years.

21 – $18 annual vehicle license fee surcharge to help fund state parks and wildlife programs

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  You believe that the state doesn’t have enough money, that state parks are important, and that the state will actually apply this revenue to state parks.
  • Why to vote against it:  See Prop 22 – the state will just dump this fee into the general fund, then waste it on huge public employee pensions.  Voters should not be trying to design state budget.  California has plenty of money, but the legislature is not spending it wisely.

22 - Restrict government's ability to redirect fuel and local property taxes

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  You want to stabilize city budgets by preventing the state from taking funds previously earmarked for cities.  The gas tax was passed on a promise to apply revenues to fixing roads, and you want to hold the state to this promise.  You have no faith in state legislators' abilities to construct an effective state budget.
  • Why to vote against it:  Legislators should have the flexibility to apply state revenues where they are needed, even if they've done it poorly so far.  Voters are even less likely than legislators to construct an effective state budget.

23 - Suspends state greenhouse gas limits (limit to 1990 levels) imposed by AB 32 until California's unemployment rate is under 5.5% for a year

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  California is too small and open an economy to make this a positive-revenue proposition.  You believe we will still have adequate laws in place to protect our air and water quality without AB 32.  It will make California less attractive to employers while doing little to no global good, since polluting businesses will just move to neighboring states.  You realize that having oil companies back a bill doesn't mean that it is automatically a bad idea.
  • Why to vote against it:  Global warming is a problem, and California should do its part to slow or reverse it, even if that means symbolic acts.  You believe that air and water quality are insufficiently protected without AB 32.  Imposing stringent limits will create new clean technology business opportunities in the state, and some California firms will probably benefit.  California's unemployment rate may not hit the bill's target for 10 years or more.

24 - Close various recent (2008-2009) tax loopholes for businesses

  • Vote:  NO OPINION (leaning toward YES)
  • Why to vote for it:  You're against tax loopholes in general, and see no reason why businesses should have financial losses publicly subsidized through tax loss carry-backs.  The state is running a huge deficit.   
  • Why to vote against it:  You're worried about California's ability to attract and retain businesses.  The state has plenty of revenues, but needs to manage its spending better.  Competent legislators should design corporate tax rates, not voters who put an average of 0.3 minutes into researching each ballot initiative.

25 - Allow legislators to pass a budget and enact new fees with only a simple majority vote, instead of the present 2/3 requirement.

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  You believe that the 2/3 vote requirement creates gridlock, and the resulting budget uncertainties are damaging to schools and agencies that depend on predictable budgets.  You want the legislature to get around Prop 13/209 limits on raising taxes.
  • Why to vote against it:  Effective single-party rule in Democrat-dominated California.  Even though the law clearly states that it is not intended to alter the 2/3 vote requirements for new taxes, the legislature can just define all sorts of new taxes as 'fees'.  You may be rightly terrified of handing legislators this option before they show themselves able to confront hundreds of billions of dollars of unfunded pension fund commitments and other liabilities.

26 - Defines a range of fees as effectively taxes, subjecting them to 2/3 majority vote before imposition

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  You believe that Propositions 13 and 209 are important bulwarks against government spending bloat, and want to end loopholes that allow governments to raise taxes with simple majority votes.  Making end-runs around these propositions in tough times may sound like a good idea, but legislators have proven already that they spend your money to buy votes and keep themselves in office, and that they have as a group little respect for the financial best interests of the state or its voters.
  • Why to vote against it:  You can't turn down ice cream, cocaine or under-aged women, and you'd feel like a hypocrite holding your legislature to higher standards.

27 - Eliminates the state redistricting commission, returning redistricting authority to elected officials.

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  You think politicians are inherently honest, and that they're totally unconcerned with being voted out of office.  You are an elected representative, or you're the representative's family member who manages campaign funds.  You've misplaced critical medication.  You can't read.
  • Why to vote against it:  Whether or not it is perfect, you believe Prop 11 was a rare and hard-fought chance to create a better democratic system in California.  You want to see new political candidates have a fair chance against incumbents. 

SAN FRANCISCO BALLOT INITIATIVES:

AA - Adding $10 to the annual registration fee for vehicles registered in San Francisco

  • Vote - NO
  • Why to vote for it:  It's not much money per person, and the city needs money to repair streets and make traffic safer.  No matter what you vote, it will pass - this is San Francisco - and you want to be on the winning side of a ballot initiative just once.
  • Why to vote against it:  The listed needs may be legitimate, but most revenues raised by this tax (call it what it is) will be pissed away on useless programs and a continuing failure to address bloated city budgets.

A - $46 million bond to provide grants and loans to fortify private property against earthquakes.

  • Vote: NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Apparently, some property owners either can't afford to make structural improvements, or they don't find such improvements to be economically justified.
  • Why to vote against it:  This should be handled through regulations (let new property owners make the changes if current ones cannot), not through public subsidies.  It sets a very bad precedent, and the money will probably be wasted on cronies.

B - Public employees to be made to contribute more toward their health care and retirement.  Binds city government to follow certain formulas in negotiations with city employees.

  • Vote – YES
  • Why to vote for it:  Making employees share health care costs should lower health care costs immediately, and also slow their growth.  It would also limit city government's ability to increase total payroll costs, and the City has shown itself unable to control spending increases.
  • Why not to vote for it:  This is effectively a pay cut, not just a re-alignment of incentives, and a lot of city employees don't make much money to start with.  Layoffs and more effective restrictions on retirement benefits would be a more effective way to reduce the cost of government.  It may not be legal.

C - Mayor to be forced to meet with the Board of Supervisors

  • Vote - NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Because you think that forcing people into a room will create better government, or because you like micromanaging your elected representatives.
  • Why to vote against it:  It will only add pointless procedures to government.

D - Non-citizens with kids in school here to be able to vote for Board of Education members

  • Vote - NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Because having kids in school may give these potential voters a sincere interest in voting well.
  • Why to vote against it:  Because non-citizens shouldn't vote. 

E - Voters would be able to register on Election Day

  • Vote: NO
  • Why to vote for it:  It's an efficient way to register more voters (lots of political folks at work during this time), and why should Election Day be any different from other days?
  • Why to vote against it:  There will be boatloads of fraudulent activity as politicians and interest groups bus in loads of vagrants for registration, overwhelming the city's ability to check eligibility.  If you can't register in advance we probably don't want your vote in the system.

F - Cut in half the number of Health Service Board elections

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  It will save the city a little money.
  • Why to vote against it:  Staggered elections make more stable boards.  Sharp changes can be very wasteful in institutions.

G - Let the city bargain with MUNI employers instead of requiring that they are the 2nd-best paid public transit workers in the US.

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  It's bad enough that city budgets are subject to the stupidity of our own elected officials, but the current formula makes us hostage to the stupidity of voters in other cities.  Because you drive and SUV and you don’t care about public transportation or anyone else at all.
  • Why to vote against it:  Because buying that Prius didn't expunge the guilt as you expected it would.  Because throwing money at problems always makes them go away.  Because MUNI drivers have been mugging San Francisco for years, and everyone knows that the first thing you do when being mugged is hand over your wallet.

H - Prohibit elected officials from serving on political party central committees

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  Politicians use party committee affiliations to circumvent limits on campaign contributions, which helps lock even ineffective incumbents into office.
  • Why to vote against it:  Because you don't believe in limiting campaign contributions, or because you think this is a pointless gesture and the pols will find a way around it in less time than it takes to read this.  Because you're a fan of one-party rule.

I - Open polling places on the Saturday before Tuesday elections

  • Vote:  YES
  • Why to vote for it:  Lets people who work long Tuesdays vote without having to vote absentee.  Funded by private money (voluntarily given), so why not?
  • Why to vote against it:  Anyone can vote absentee, so why do we need this?

J - Increase the hotel tax to 16% (from 14%), and collect tax on the full rate of the room, not the wholesale rate (what it was sold to Expedia for).

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Shifts some of our tax burden to visitors, closes a revenue-reducing loophole that has been exploited by travel web sites.
  • Why to vote against it:  Tourism is a top industry, and golden geese are mortal too.

K - Hold the hotel tax at 14%, but charge tax on the full room rate and related charges

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Closes a revenue-reducing loophole and soaks out-of-towners.  Increases revenue by charging tax also on "related charges".
  • Why to vote against it:  Adding tax to $7 bottles of peanuts and $40 parking charges, room service and everything else is just money-grubbing that makes SF look bad to visitors.  The City has enough money, but needs to control spending.

L - Make it illegal to sit down or lie down on sidewalks

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Sometimes aggressive people block sidewalks and entrances to homes and businesses, especially in the Haight, and the police seem unable to manage this.
  • Why to vote against it:  It's too broad.  A better measure would prohibit the actual blocking of sidewalks and entrances, keeping a certain minimum throughway or free space around doors/steps, accomplishing the worthy main goal while still preserving personal freedom.

M - Requiring the police to adopt a community policing policy

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  Because you like micromanaging public agencies and think you know how.  Because you hate Prop M enough to embrace Byzantine measures against it. 
  • Why to vote against it:  Because city agencies need the authority to make their own decisions and be held accountable for them.  Because we want to attract competent people to head city agencies.

N - Increase real estate transfer tax

  • Vote:  NO
  • Why to vote for it:  You believe the city needs more money and should just reach out to take it.
  • Why to vote against it:  Because a city’s inability to maintain reasonable spending priorities is no excuse for reaching into its residents’ pockets again and again.