November 4, 2009

Single-Finger Sign Language From 8% Of All Registered Voters

Proposition D Failed Billboard

With 100% of San Francisco precincts reporting, and a rather anemic 15.43% voter turnout at the polls (not including absentee), Proposition D to establish a special Mid-Market sign district has failed with 45.91% of those who voted voting Yes and 54.09% voting No.

San Francisco Election Results: November 3 [SFGov]
The City’s Prop D Pro And Con Via Video (And A Private Party Con) [SocketSite]

First Published: November 4, 2009 6:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

This city is really freaking stupid.

Posted by: nottimhawko at November 4, 2009 7:26 AM

It is amazing that a prop measure essentially led by a single RE developer made it this far at all. new supervisor candidate at the end of Mr Daly's term?? He has one issue already .

Posted by: Louis at November 4, 2009 8:04 AM

So we cant allow private property owners to put signs on their own buildings but we can sell the naming rights to an entire stadium... which by the way - wasnt that whole idea soundly rejected only a few years ago?

Posted by: Joe at November 4, 2009 8:56 AM

i should have voted.

Posted by: EH at November 4, 2009 9:03 AM

Agreed, I can't believe this even made it on the ballot. Like Gavins attempt to elevate himself to Gavinator status, this was dead in the water before it even began.

Posted by: dr. who at November 4, 2009 9:06 AM

Thank goodness Prop D lost ... piss-poor written Proposition with no accountability. Promises, promises .. like the Naked Eyes song. Before Citywide propositions grant individual Community Benefit Districts such powers to remake neighborhoods, there need to be assurances that residents are the majority voice on these CBD boards.

I'm happy to say that the voters of San Francisco were not hoodwinked by the Democratic Party of San Francisco and all the other folks who basically were sucking up to political consultant Jim Stearns when they endorsed this turd of a proposition.

Posted by: jamie at November 4, 2009 9:09 AM

I was amazed at how many big named were endorsing this measure. Most of the Board of Stupes, Dee Dee Workman (now a "paid consultant"), virtually all the alphabet organizations... and I didn't see it as anything but a big handout to a few property owners with some dubious promises of neighborhood investment. I'm very relieved that the voters have a bit of common sense.

Now the losers will whine and say that the vote indicates that people want that stretch of Market St. to stay the way it is, which most certainly isn't what people want.

Posted by: Dave at November 4, 2009 9:21 AM

The premise that new blight (electronic billboards) would push out old blight (hookers & dealers) was pretty weak. Only certainty was that we'd get some new blight. Prop D was stupid enough to get me to vote in an off-year election.

Also discovered certain clueless idiots switched me from the polling place one block from my door to one half a mile from my door. I feel bussed.

Posted by: Delancey at November 4, 2009 9:33 AM

Speaking as a georgist, Instead of banning them outright billboards should simply be taxed. Could even establish different rate schedules depending on the content (regulated "bad stuff" paying a premium over desirable stuff).

Posted by: Troy at November 4, 2009 10:00 AM

Prop D is the only reason I went out and voted yesterday. I agree that it's a amazing that a couple of property owners can put something so singularly beneficial (to themselves) on the ballot -- and I heard it only cost $150K for them to do it? The whole ballhoo about money going to "arts" programs was such BS with no accountability -- I can just see the "programs" run by the same poverty pimps who've created other ineffective programs. And the blight of "broadway-style" signs -- don't even get me started. What scares me is that this measure even got 45% of the vote!

Posted by: marco at November 4, 2009 10:32 AM

it's a relief that SF residents are not so dumb as to vote for this self-serving trash. Not that anyone actually knew what was in the legislation, they're just smart enough to know that billboards are more blight than panacea, and they're offended by clearly shallow and fake "do it for the children" blizzard campaign that clearly had nothing to do with the proposed law related to billboards and inflatable gorillas on top of buildings. (yes, the legislation was very explicit as to allow used-car lot inflatables).

That sloppily-drafted legislation had loopholes big enough to drive a continent through, and they weren't particularly hidden either. The proposed ordinace (and I'm not joking), said that "up to 40%" of the billboard revenue "could" go to community programs. Know what's "up to 40%"? Zero.

Posted by: intheknow at November 4, 2009 10:34 AM

Thank goodness. The astroturf on the last thread was as brown as could be.

Posted by: eddy at November 4, 2009 11:24 AM

What amazed the hell out of me is all of the people the 'Yes on Proposition D' got to endorse it; people who normally are able to think clearly about municipal issues and see things like the fact that there was no guarantee that the children's arts programs would ever see a dime of the revenue still went on record as supporting prop. D. What were they thinking?

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at November 4, 2009 1:38 PM

As a resident of the area I totally supported this idea. That stretch of Market is dark and scary at night and needs lighting. If the city won't allow billboards they should at least light it up enough to walk down safely.

Posted by: trendyloin at November 4, 2009 2:01 PM

So enlighten me, the same type of argument was/s being used to close market to cars. Only transit and bikes allowed.. this "would push out old blight (hookers & dealers)..." and evidently that is/ok and will cause renewal of Market. Hummm lets see.

Posted by: Bikes win? at November 4, 2009 2:10 PM

Prop D was moronic. Show's lack of understanding Market St. Speaking of billboards, what's with the large lit-up advertising on sides of small corners stores in quiet neighborhoods. Bright flourescent placards (seemingly 10' high) casting white reflections on Edwardians and Vics across the streets. Pedestrians walking by are enveloped in these message boards larger than themselves. Who's minding this year-round summer camp?

(imo)

Posted by: Invented at November 4, 2009 2:55 PM

AWESOME-O. Special thanks to the editor for raising awareness earlier about this dump PROP. The video sends out quite a strong message.

I had forwarded the link to all my friends and atleast 5 of us have voted against this PROP !

I heart SF :)

Posted by: Chad at November 4, 2009 2:55 PM

I also voted only because of this transparently stupid Prop. And if anyone says I "want that stretch of Market St. to 'stay like it is'" because of the way I voted, I'll toss my rumpled paper bag full of cheap malt liquor at their self-serving empty head.

Posted by: Kurt Brown at November 4, 2009 4:24 PM

I voted yes on Prop D. I was all for the billboards for a few blocks of Market. The support for the arts programs is all just fluff.

Clearly what's there now isn't working and so what if there are some billboards in a trashy area of town? Would the billboards lower your house value? Scare away tourists? Actually make that area worse? I don't think so. Personally I like places with different districts and energies. If I wanted everything to be the same I'd move to Rancho Santa Fe. Pretty as Rancho might be, it also makes me want to puke for its lack of diversity. And no, I'm not advocating a change for Rancho- there are places in this world for the Ranchos and there are other places in this world for more vibrancy.

Posted by: StockBoySF at November 4, 2009 9:47 PM

I voted no for most of the reasons previously stated - poorly written, no accountability, for the benefit of a few sponsors etc. While the current state of that stretch is unacceptable, there's no need to vote for the first pitch down the pike. If the board of Supes had the pressure of the people - change would happen next week. Not a top priority for most folks it seems.

Posted by: ph_goat at November 4, 2009 10:32 PM

ph_goat, nobody wants Market St to stay the same. This election showed that, thankfully, 55% of San Franciscans don't want it to get worse.

Posted by: Sb at November 5, 2009 6:38 AM

Sb, not sure how the election shows that no one wants it to stay the same as that is the net result of the no vote. But I'm with you that a yes would have made it worse. My point was, that if 55% (or more) really wanted it to change, they need to apply pressure to their elected officials to make it happen. Call or write today.

Posted by: ph_goat at November 5, 2009 8:54 AM

I don't get it. What's wrong with turning an area that is currently a scary dump into something potentially interesting? If you don't like the thought of Broadway in S.F., you can hang out in the other 99% of the City that wouldn't change a bit. Billboard "blight" seems far preferable to me to trash & hookers blight. Maybe if you make the area "cool," there will be more pressure on government to actually clean up the area.

As for me, whenever I see a show at the Golden Gate, the walk there makes me want to puke. I'd be perfectly happy with lighted billboards along the walk.

Who cares that community groups would have effectively gotten no money the way the proposition was written? Why should lighted billboards mean money for community groups? I don't see the connection at all. What's silly is that such a provision (even if disingenuous) would even have to be written into a proposition in this City just to have a chance at passing.

Posted by: NJ at November 5, 2009 10:42 AM

NJ, your "Broadway in SF" might be a good sound bite but the reality is that there were hookers and dealers all over Broadway with all of its glitz and glamor, billboards and lights. It wasn't until NYC realized that it's best tourist attraction was actually a filthy / dirty / dangerous area that was costing it millions in revenue did they finally decide to clean up 42nd street. Same story here. If SF could ever figure out how to monetize Market Street and put a compelling / comprehensive plan together to address the issues there -- I suspect that there would be a lot of support.

Posted by: eddy at November 5, 2009 11:02 AM

"Why should lighted billboards mean money for community groups? I don't see the connection at all."

Open air advertising creates visual blight in the public commons. It has the effect of degrading the experience a little bit for a short amount of time, but for a lot of people and 24/7. This was the reasoning behind historic billboard bans and limitations.

Since open air advertising takes something from the public, it makes sense that it should also give something back in return.

I'm not against a Times Square / Shinjuku / Piccadilly Circus zone within SF and this stretch of Market might be a sensible location. But we shouldn't just give the rights away as prop D would have. And as eddy and others have pointed out there's a confusion of cause and effect. The bright lights of Times Square didn't cause the eradication of the slime. The NYC Mayors office determination was a much greater factor.

I kind of hope that this idea resurfaces but built upon better law. Ensure that a portion of the ad revenues go back to the public. Even if the revenue only pays for two new street beat officers to patrol that stretch of Market, it might pay off for SF.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 5, 2009 11:37 AM

I'm not necessarily opposed to billboards, but prop D was using blatant lies, and was misleading in it's truth's. It would have done nothing to improve Mid-Market.

The only way to clean the area up is to get rid of the pimps, dealers, hooker, addicts, bums & thugs. The only way to do that is 24/7 heavy patrolling by the cops. If the prop had provided guaranteed funding for a heavy police presence, and not used lies in it's campaign, I would have voted for it.

Posted by: lyqwyd at November 5, 2009 1:10 PM

The final irony is that the area probably will improve with this new project -- in a way that is far better than the method this ridiculous proposition proposed.

Posted by: Alexei at November 5, 2009 1:56 PM

@sb. who said

This election showed that, thankfully, 55% of San Franciscans don't want it to get worse.

No. In reality it was 8.346087% of San Franciscans (55.09% of the 15.43% turnout), that didn't want to it to get worse, and did something about it by showing up at the voting booths.

The rest 91.653913 of San Francicans either 1. were ineligible to vote (ex. city of sanctuary illegal immigrants) or 2. were too lazy and didn't care to vote.

#2 is the category of people who complaint just about everything, but take ZERO action to change the situation.

Posted by: Chad at November 5, 2009 1:57 PM

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