Ed Lee Died. Covid-19 Struck. Our Predictions Came to Pass. Now the Sky’s Red.

My dear, dear San Franciscans:

My deepest best wishes of good health to all, well-wishes to those suffering, and condolences for those who have passed. My greatest, biggest heart-hugs to our medical and civic employees who have been stalwart, patient and brilliant throughout.

I am Karthik Rajan and I’ve returned to San Francisco not to “Run for Mayor,” but rather to continue a long-seated desire to be instrumental in the conceptualization and realization of what San Francisco can be in the future, for the betterment of all, and to push for “San Francisco values” I learned since moving here in 1993, which I espoused in detail in my campaign for Mayor nine years ago.

Sadly, and in a way that has been painful for me to watch from Oakland, the greatest of my charges in the election of 2011 came to pass. Specifically two:

First, I TOLD YOU we shouldn’t give Twitter and the others from Silicon Valley the huge tax break to move up here, warned it would cause massive class collision and predicted when they were done with the City, they’d pack up, spit and leave. I asked, “Didn’t we already do this once with the dot-commers?”

Secondly, I warned on this site nine years ago that SF was headed toward first, Manhattanization (Salesforce Tower), and then HongKongification (now?) that I declared rampant and unnecessary development

And lo, here we are. Massive empty buildings and plunging artificial rents amidst homelessness and disease.

Let me begin by extending my condolences to Mayor Lee’s family and express my sincerest gratitude to Ed Lee for his devotion to the City, for all the good work he did and the effort he gave. It was the sudden and unexpected death of a lifelong public servant and I am sorry I couldn’t be in the City to offer my condolences then. Ed Lee was an excellent administrator. May his soul rest in well-earned peace.

Second, let me congratulate and commend Mayor London Breed who has been exceptional as our leader during this pandemic. Despite that powerfully connected interests have, and may still, attempt to undermine Mayor Breed, she has withstood such demeaning efforts and risen to the occasion. Kudos to the Board of Supervisors as well. Standing your ground on this important public health issue will require still further resolve.

It is important to note that carelessness, after the influenza of 1918 started to fade at the end of that summer, led to an even worse winter of 1919 for that flu. We must use the momentum we have to create a City that can withstand the upcoming waves of this illness and others like it.

A Pandemic Response Team and Plan for SF should be created, as soon as practicable, built from what we have learned and are learning now. I am very proud of San Francisco for our response led by Mayor Breed and the Board. Thank you. I am happy to offer my services in aid of any of you.

For the last fifteen days, I’ve been staying at The Mark Hopkins atop Nob Hill. While the geography had its same, historic and climactic charm, and my heart swelled to be home, it was like I’ve never seen it before and remains a surreal stage of socially distanced, masked residents, neighbors and tourists diminished in number by such a drastic amount as to seem post-apocalyptic.

The hotel’s new encased patio was the only addition, and it is a nice new vantage. But there were no newspapers in the lobby, none of the normal bustle. I ordered the Chron to help normalize things. It has been a great sign of civilization to me that one single paper is delivered way up here at the Mark Hopkins each morning. I hope all of you will consider getting the physical paper again and renewing your e-subscriptions. It is a local business.

I met with staff here and discussed their experiences during the time the City rendered this a home for essential workers and others afflicted by the chaos of this year.

There has been a remarkable change at the Mark Hopkins that bears note. I intend to write more about that at a later date, but for now must commend staff on their training and efforts to maintain protocols. Some of them said they learned methodologies from practices expected of them during the time of the City’s occupation for civic servants. This was evidence of a success in the fight for public health.

I knew that Labor Day was going to bring 75% capacity to the hotel and wondered how things would change. It has been challenging.

Two weeks ago, I wandered down to Momo’s to watch a couple of Giants games and fired up my old blog, Giants Baseball Corner. You can join me there for baseball talk as our Giants try to sneak into the expanded playoffs.

I have been walking at night and watching folks building out these new sectional parklets – another win for the Mayor and Board. Though harried and working at night, folks are doing so with intention and style. Many expressed hope they will be allowed to be permanent.

Kudos to the creative use of a mural broken into parts by the staff at Merkado – a lovely Mexican restaurant that used to be the Tres Tequila Lounge in SOMA – to make barriers for sections out back of their restaurant to create a patio.

Zeitgeist rocks! Don’t go running down there willy-nilly you idiots. Have some sense of the style and decorum. They are running a right-on version of the biergarten with cool, see-through barriers.

IF YOU ARE AT ZEITGEIST I’M WATCHING OUT FOR YOU TO BREAK RULE NINE. DON’T DO IT.

There are new parklets in the Mission and though I haven’t yet gone for the closed streets because I am not confident protocols will be followed, dropping in on a Tuesday was great. Stopped by Clarion alley and shared a Falafel Deluxe I’d picked up at Truly Med with a street musician.

Went back and had an amazing sangria with fresh cut fruit at a new place installed by a family from El Salvador. Los Amigos has opened right next door to Limon. The juxtaposition was strange – people ordering $3.75 pupusas just feet away from people ordering $30 platos, ha! SF … you crazy, sad place.

Up here in Nob Creek I can very highly recommend the family-owned local spot Aliment. Wassim and Kristine are charming, the food is excellent and they have a drink with turmeric I really enjoyed!

It was great to get an espresso at Trieste and I went to a good spot in North Beach for mussels, but I found an even lovelier little Italian place tucked away called Pazzia – highly recommended, but it only has two tables outside. Make reservations.

I found another spot for Giants fans, Local Tap, where Paulie has built a sweet little outdoor patio and has TVs outside. I enjoyed Giants games there with Marc and Tim and Timmy and Paulie. Good times. Best times I have had in a while.

I miss and love you San Francisco. I hope we can all live together safely and stay healthy and live in peace. I want to help.

Running for Mayor wasn’t really the intention of this campaign back in 2011. It was a social media campaign launched when there was no incumbent and Ed Lee was not allowed to run. But yes, you should totally read this site from back then, including my campaign promises and responses to FAQs to get what I mean.

My campaign was meant to:

  • teach people how to use Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) – which was facing its inaugural use
  • and diversify the body politic to aid candidates I supported for Mayor against those I feared would decimate San Francisco values and lead us into class colllision

with much love, and

Let’s Go Giants!

Karthik Rajan

from the 14th Floor of the Hop, where I walked out on Red Sky Day through Chinatown and North Beach and it looked like this:

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Blog ENDED.

First off, if you like comics, hovering over each of the links in the blogroll is good fun.

But the best way to read this site is to use the tabs at the top to read campaign promises and faq’s and then check out campaign videos before using the archive list to the right to go to the actual blog entries, of which there were many during the campaign.

Use the archive list to start with the first blog entries in December 2010 and then follow the campaign through chronologically to the last entries in December 2011.

From Twitter Giveaway to Treasure Island Boondoggle to the 100th running of the Bay  to Breakers and the fiasco that allowed Ed Lee to run, it flows better chronologically.

Karthik

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Ed Lee is No More the Mayor than Emperor Norton Was

Evidence of the claims I have been making that the Bay-Guardian, The Chron and The Bay Citizen are not only out of touch, but the worst sort of insider-journalists can be found in their ratification of the results of this year’s election over the reality: only a handful of people decided the political fate of the City.

By contrast, in the blogosphere, SF Appeal, The League of Pissed off Voters (via tweet), and SFist all noted the pathetic voter turnout in the election within minutes of polls closing, which is the story of the election of 2011 – a handful of very wealthy people decided this.

Chris Roberts at SFAppeal notes: “In other words, 112,275 voters — or less than 25 percent of the electorate — decided who became mayor of San Francisco. And of them, 68,721 — or about 14 percent of the electorate, and about eight percent of the citizenry — actually voted for Mayor Ed Lee.”

The absence of coverage of this single most important issue of the election by The Chronicle, The SF Bay Guardian and the newly minted Bay Citizen until now, suddenly this week – when they use it to attack Ranked Choice or Instant Runoff Voting – are exactly what I have been talking about this year.

The reporters and editors of these papers are participating in a cliquish civic theater instead of reporting on the needs, thoughts and desires of residents of our City.

They are engaged in stroking a few candidates and ridiculing anyone who thinks outside the box. They lack courage, conviction and objectivity and cover elections so they can be near the winners and get invited to the party.

The Chron and Bay Citizen and SFBG not only avoided discussing the absurdly low numbers of voters who decided matters until this week, they chose to make their election coverage about defining these very few voters as an aggregate image of the “voters of San Francisco” and to attribute this ridiculously small number of citizens in our town with the general opinion of San Franciscans.

In the Bay Guardian, the political novice Steven T. Jones spent a long column discussing the makeup of “SF voters” – with no mention of the fact that they were not even a third of those eligible to vote! He dares to title the piece San Francisco’s Political Spectrum: a primer – What balls!

The Bay Citizen, however, is the worst and with the furthest reach. The Bay Citizen made an arrangement whereby select pieces appear in print in the New York Times’ Bay Area editions.

So readers of the NYT here in the Bay are informed by a blog started less than a year ago with $5million from the Hellmans (hover over the link to the bay citizen at right).

And the Hellman family’s editors chose to publish a piece by two of their writers that claim that this election “Signals Shift to the Right” in San Francisco! With no mention of the lowest turnout ever!

Again, what balls! Is this so New Yorkers living here can feel that Manhattanization is happening on schedule?! Is that what this is about? Argh. You are killing our City!

These aren’t journalists, they’re mediators.

This was a horrible election because wealthy vested interests manipulated millions of dollars to ensure a handful of viable choices would appear to wrestle for power, while Ed Lee was basically ratified in a confirmation election.

The Chron and The Bay Citizen and The SF Bay Guardian show their true colors even as the Occupy Movement tells the real story of the disenfranchised.

Blame the media – do it. We’d never have such pathetic candidates if instead of gravy-training reporters at the Chron, SFBG and Bay Citizen, we had real reporters and caring journalists.

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Twitter Giveaway’s First Big Blow: POOF! Goes the Zynga IPO

Zynga, Incorporated, one of the two large tech companies (with Twitter) who railroaded Mayor Ed Lee and the SF Board of Supervisors to pass the Twitter Giveaway, will be making its Initial Public Offering in the next two weeks.

Zynga’s IPO price is settling in at about $9 billion and the company hopes to raise as much as $925 million.

If the tax-break given to Twitter extends to Zynga, it nullifies the long-standing SF law that would have given 1.5% of the sale to the City.

We will be losing nearly $14 million. That’s nothing to Zynga. They could negotiate it into the offer.

14 million dollars. <poof> just like that …. because of the political aspirations of Lee and Chiu…

Thanks Mayor Lee, and Supervisors Chiu, Farrell, Kim, Weine, Elsbernd, Cohen and Mar. You’re morons on this one.

That’s our new Mayor and Board President at work in the new SF.

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Record Low Voter Turnout, but Chron, SFBG and Bay Citizen Report Right-Wing Shift

Evidence of the claims I have been making that the Bay-Guardian, The Chron and The Bay Citizen are not only out of touch, but the worst sort of insider-journalists can be found in their ratification of the results of Tuesday’s election over the reality: only a handful of people decided the political fate of the City.

By contrast, in the blogosphere, The League of Pissed off Voters (via tweet), SF Appeal, and SFist all noted the pathetic voter turnout in Tuesday’s election – which is the story of the election of 2011.

Chris Roberts at SFAppeal notes: “In other words, 112,275 voters — or less than 25 percent of the electorate — decided who became mayor of San Francisco. And of them, 68,721 — or about 14 percent of the electorate, and about eight percent of the citizenry — actually voted for Mayor Ed Lee.”

The absence of coverage of this single most important issue of the election by The Chronicle, The SF Bay Guardian and the newly minted Bay Citizen are exactly what I have been talking about this year. The reporters and editors of these papers are participating in a cliquish civic theater instead of reporting on the needs, thoughts and desires of residents of our City.

They are engaged in stroking a few candidates and ridiculing anyone who thinks outside the box. They lack courage, conviction and objectivity and cover elections so they can be near the winners and get invited to the  party.

The Chron and Bay Citizen and SFBG not only avoided discussing the absurdly low numbers of voters who decided matters, they are even now proceeding to define them as an aggregate image of the “voters of San Francisco” and to attribute this ridiculously small number of citizens in our town with the general opinion of San Franciscans.

In the Bay Guardian, Steven T. Jones spends a long column discussing the makeup of “SF voters” – with no mention of the fact that they were not even a third of those eligible to vote! He dares to title the piece San Francisco’s Political Spectrum: a primer – What balls!

The Bay Citizen, however, is the worst and with the furthest reach. The Bay Citizen made an arrangement whereby select pieces appear in print in the New York Times’ Bay Area editions. So readers of the NYT here in the Bay thus becomes informed by a blog started less than a year ago with $5million from the Hellmans (hover over the link to the bay citizen at right).

And the Hellman family’s editors chose to publish a piece by two of their writers that claim that this election “Signals Shift to the Right” in San Francisco! With no mention of the lowest turnout ever! Again, what balls!

These aren’t journalists, they’re mediators.

This was a horrible election because wealthy vested interests manipulated millions of dollars to ensure a handful of viable choices would appear to wrestle for power, while Ed Lee was basically ratified in a confirmation election.

The Chron and The Bay Citizen and The SF Bay Guardian show their true colors even as the Occupy Movement tells the real story of the disenfranchised.

Blame the media – do it. We’d never have such pathetic candidates if instead of gravy-training reporters at the Chron, SFBG and Bay Citizen, we had real reporters and caring journalists.

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Lee Wins, Avalos Gets SFBG Clip-n-Voters and We Lose (Again)

Hardly anyone has voted.

That remains the story. Can a city official even be considered elected if a minority of the voting age population participates in the election? How is this democracy? We should pass a mandatory voting law for the City.

We must also protect Instant Runoff Voting, which did in fact force greater coalition building and less rancor amongst candidates. It did.

The need to be chosen as someone’s Number Two or Three kept these candidates honest and the results reflect it. Ed Lee’s silent treatment worked beautifully, and everybody who didn’t have a second or third choice in mind selected the Interim Mayor by default.

What a way to back into the job. Sound familiar? It’s what they accused Jean Quan of in Oakland. But guess what? it isn’t RCV, it’s voter turnout that’s the problem.

I am most disappointed in Melissa Griffin and her unfounded assault on Instant Runoff Voting or Ranked Choice Voting. This new system is good for democracy and proves useful at the aforementioned coalition-building and in encouraging more candidates (like myself, Joanna Rees, Green Terry Baum and many others) to participate. Ed Lee supporters should vociferously defend Instant Runoff, or Ranked Choice Voting.

Here’s a repost of my IRV PSA from several months back.

That said, everything has happened exactly as I expected since the Ethics Commission agreed Ed Lee could run – the main reason I dropped out.

This was a statistical inevitability. It’s a confirmation election – made from negotiations between Gavin Newsom’s crowd, Willie Brown’s and Rose Pak’s – to ensure that Ed Lee, the beloved Chief Administrator and Interim Mayor has no blemish on his record on the road to being the first Asian-American Mayor of San Francisco.

I am very happy for both the Chinese-American community and the Asian-American community at large, for the “breakthrough” that will be attributed here. But, the decision-making was done far away from most regular people, again, by power brokers who know we won’t bother to turnout, to look things up, to seek better representation.

I hope that instead of being threatened by what I am saying, Ed Lee supporters and the Mayor himself understand that my issue is with the Ethics Commission’s decision to allow Mr. Lee to run, not with him as a Mayor. He was a competent Chief Administrator and will be capable.

My issues on policy with Ed Lee are opposition to his Twitter Giveaway, the Treasure Island Boondoggle, the Park Merced “housing scheme that divides,” and his absurd idea for five-year budgets – given the huge number of interests to which he seems beholden. He lacks a progressiveness that I associate with our city. You can read specifics throughout this blog. I would have had him be allowed to run in 2015, against a real coalition-built Mayor.

I wish I could have been more active in this year’s election, but expected everything we are seeing today, months ago.

The promising numbers for John Avalos are a pleasant surprise from the standpoint of measuring the election against the power of the media to motivate. He was a non-entity before it began, Chris Daly stayed out of the way, and his absence helped Tim Redmond make Avalos run.

So Redmond pushed with his staid, old method and the numbers today are bigger. Pointless, but bigger. Redmond created the candidate and got him votes. Then had the SFBG report on the pretense of a Progressive Movement. Wow.

John Avalos’ numbers are largely due to the clip-and-vote effect observed for decades now, a method by which the Bay Guardian has become a shepherd for apathetic progressives-in-name, many very recent transplants here, who can’t be bothered to look into it, haven’t better resources or a competitive view of scale. These voters consider matters only in the last week of the cycle and do as Tim Redmond and the Bay Guardian tell them to do on election day by ripping out the page and following through.

This has been sustained because of a lack of competition for the Bay Guardian. But I restate my problem with Tim Redmond in this election: he wakes up everyday with all that power, and in recent years has seriously decayed in terms of courage or creativity. More often than not, he whines, laments and defines progressive space with his opinion of what is progressive. There is little or no collectivity and Redmond takes the centrist road nowadays leaving him as cliquish as the mainstream candidates.

That‘s the problem: the cliques at the Chron, SFBG and City Hall are the problem. That, and money … oh and the fact that nobody even cares to vote … (sigh)

The system needs a severe overhaul and I’d like to be a candidate again, but only if called upon. It isn’t real democracy – these aren’t real elections. It’s a sad decaying of SF political history.

The rulers are really stooges for the 1%, and the 1% themselves. They are out of touch and callous as so many of us suffer this terrible economy. They lack creative solutions, fear socialist ones and govern to protect themselves, their property and their right to party hard in our beautiful city.

Please stay in touch with comments. Hoping for a Sheriff Mirkarimi, I will be writing up an analysis of this election after the fact and posting it here. Thanks for your support and kind words.

Karthik

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Exclude Ed Lee

He isn’t the mayor.

He’s the Interim Mayor.

He’s an excellent Chief Administrator and whomever you vote for should appoint Ed Lee Chief Administrator, agreed.

But it is corruption and cronyism that allows Ed Lee to be a candidate in this election and it is pseudo-incumbency that lends him legitimacy in the face of his own backtracking on candidacy. There is and was no clamor for him to enter the race. It is the height of political artifice.

The only way to have an ethical election is to exclude Ed Lee from your three choices for Mayor.

As I’ve previously stated, I can endorse no candidate as better for the City than myself, and so won’t. But I ask you in all earnestness to exclude Ed Lee

Five year budgets for corporate cronies and special interests are the worst thing for our economy right now.

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Occupy Oakland’s General Strike Succeeded

18% of Teachers and the tacit support of the Longshoreman’s Union gave backbone to the thousands of regular citizens loosely gathered under the rubric of being the poor or underclasses and against corporate policy that directly lowers quality of life in Oakland.

Protesters against Police Brutality were another specific and large group who joined the largely peaceful protest and rally that closed not only the Port of Oakland, but dozens of local businesses that shut in solidarity with the workers.

Largely peaceful and utterly inspiring for a workday in Oakland, the Rally was beautiful and lasted more than 24 hours – since the last of the protesters didn’t leave the Port until late this morning.

At 1pm, Kids marched as a group carrying a banner and chanting on behalf of their teachers. People gathered, spoke, shared protest, supported the Occupy Movement and organized together on a sunny, breezy Wednesday.

In the evening the protesters marched to and successfully closed the 5th largest Port in the country – and workers at the Port showed solidarity. The Port was closed all night.

After midnight, the Movement closed off Broadway between 14th and 16th streets and occupied a vacant building – which organizers say formerly held a non-profit that housed itinerant visitors – and a bonfire was made in the middle of the street, graffiti painted on the largely unused walls, and general chanting against the corporate rape of the middle class.

The Oakland Police arbitrarily decided they had had enough and that the flames from the bonfire – which was in the middle of the pavement in the middle of the road – was a threat to neighboring businesses. They demanded the protesters disband. The protesters refused.

Tear gas and explosive “non-lethals” were used and several protesters were arrested.

The Oakland Police and Mayor Quan continue to exercise the use of tear gas and brutal tactics in “rounding-up” and arresting protesters. There is no clear standard of behavior that constitutes policy – only a vague feeling of the authority wanting to decide when bedtime is – isn’t that called a curfew?

No more than five businesses suffered broken windows and three of these were banks – stated targets. The others, a grocery story (Whole Foods) and Tully’s franchise Coffeeshop were tagged as well.

A rumor spread quickly (and made RT) that Whole Foods threatened its employees with action if they elected to participate in the Strike. The rumor remains unsubstantiated, but the single word”STRIKE” was painted on the front of the store early in the day and two windows were broken.

There was considerably more graffiti in the area at sunrise than there had been at sunset the night before.

In the morning the Port remained closed briefly as protesters held for a time before being coerced into removing themselves for the sake of workers returning for their shifts.

This negotiation between the Occupy Movement and the authority in any city – Oakland, LA, NYC, Tulsa, Seattle – is being conducted on Federal standards by the protesters and State or even City standards by the police.

How can this be? The First Amendment is unequivocal. Occupy Oakland should be able to charge Jean Quan and the police in Federal court for abuse. But can they?

No, because the numbers – while considerable – weren’t anywhere near big enough. Now that’s arbitrary application of the rule of law.

This was no General Strike … but it was a rally of the kind we’ve seen for the past decade labeled as a General Strike to great success within the media and civic sectors. There was an overwhelming feeling of agreement with the consensus expressions given by organizers when calling for the strike.

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A Fake Election to Confirm Ed Lee as First Elected Chinese Mayor

Recent traffic to this site as the election cycle comes to a close inspires me to write a brief entry for new visitors to this campaign.

I ran for Mayor from November 18, 2010 until July 3rd, 2011, when it became clear that Interim Mayor Ed Lee would be allowed to run for Mayor in this election.

This was my concluding statement and will direct you to a chronology of the campaign.

I believe it is illegal for Ed Lee to run in this election, having promised not to run in order to be appointed to succeed Gavin Newsom, and because it has given Interim Mayor Lee’s campaign tremendous advantages of pseudo-incumbency. He has gained traction illegally throughout. In fact, despotic interests of the past thirty years have joined together – in fear of Instant Runoff Voting – to ensure the “safe” choice for them, a person they can move easily, will become Mayor.

For Rose Pak and the Chinese community it represents that the first Chinese Mayor, our current Interim Mayor, is never seen in the future as having failed at the job. If anything, this election, with Ed Lee allowed to run, represents a confirmation election. It’s a fake election to confirm that we all like Ed Lee. But it isn’t good democracy. It’s factions finding each other.

Leaving Ed Lee out of your three choices for Mayor is the only real way to ensure an ethical result from the succession process, and ensure a democratic outcome. Please do not include Interim Mayor Lee among your three choices for Mayor.

I am not endorsing any candidate for Mayor because I feel strongly that I am a better choice for Mayor than any of them. My policy ideas (Campaign Promises) are unique, and the best for our City right now. I am truly sorry my name is not on the ballot.

I encourage and welcome the use of write-in to include my name in the final tally.

Thanks to all of you who were so supportive.

In solidarity,

Karthik Rajan

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RePost of some Campaign Promises

I’ve grown to know and love the unique and special character of our city’s quiet pockets – what’s best defies definition, it’s called our spirit.

I pledge to stand with our neighborhoods and communities to retain their culture; to seek out input from communities into which predominantly private external interests attempt to intervene; to create jobs for people already living here, rather than imaginary future employees or residents.

We have plenty of people here who could use our support to create lives for themselves in neighborhood microeconomies. These would be of obvious service to our many residents and those who are soon to arrive.

3. To resist Manhattanization and HongKongification of San Francisco, in favor of saner development

Why does SF have to grow to a city of a million before we address the transit and infrastructural issues?

Why do we have to urgently build more residences for people who do not live here yet when so many who already do live here are suffering homelessness, job loss and an inability to keep up with the cost of living in San Francisco?

Why do we have to build housing for people who do not yet live here before working on cleaning up the Bay, preserving our heritage, adding better, smarter transportation and sustainable energy resources?

Why do we have to appease the nouveau-riche of our times: twenty- and thirty-something-year-olds from elsewhere who want to live and work in our beautiful city for companies that make money for investors who live elsewhere which – thanks to the board and the Twitter Giveaway – will contribute little to our economy?

In reality, we don’t.

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In Conclusion

From November 18th of last year until June 18th, this past summer, I used social media to seek support and votes for Mayor of San Francisco in the upcoming election, to be held November 8, 2011. I walked around town and talked to people as a candidate, opened my first Twitter and FB accounts, and used Youtube for three campaign videos.

I could not afford to continue campaigning and have withdrawn my name from consideration.

By way of explanation to supporters, I’m filing this last blog, a summary account of the seven months I was a candidate. Full disclosure, I planned to use the project of running to get facile with the Twitter environment and use FB in a different way. I’ve changed the Twitter account to @mtkSF and closed the FB account so now ... this blog represents the bulk of the expression of my effort to run for Mayor in 2011.

This could have been called the Twitter election for Mayor, seeing the birth of several long-time candidates’ social media presence, and yet mainstream press avoided much of it, almost as though the clunky baby steps of starting one’s Twitter identity was somehow a revered space for city officials. And all on the heels of giving Twitter a $47 million dollar tax break and release from stock option pressure before it goes public.

I was glad to be able to express as a candidate what many could not as the Twitter Giveaway, Treasure Island Boondoggle and the Park Merced Housing Scheme That Divides were each railroaded through by the Interim Mayor and the over-eager Board President. Rushed, foolish decisions.

The site yields a fair assessment of why my proposal for reform is better than electing any of the others running today – please click the tabs above for my resumé, campaign promises, FAQs and vids.

My deepest thanks to Lloyd Dangle, The Sons of Emperor Norton, CUBA, Jason Rosencrantz, James Earle, Kris Hansen, Stan Gomez and Josh One for their unequivocal endorsements.

History of the Campaign

Last November, after watching the Mayor’s race in Oakland and Jean Quan’s election, I started the exploratory committee for my candidacy for Mayor of San Francisco.

I was significantly motivated by the fact that there is NO INCUMBENT MAYOR of SF today, and by the openness of process that Instant Runoff, or Ranked Choice, Voting created in Oakland.

A handful of friends were encouraging and this blog began December 5th of 2010. By February, it was clear the current disturbing trends in SF are going to continue. The new Board of Supervisors were given initial tests and failed. What I refer to as The Twitter Giveaway was the first of these and revealed much about David Chiu and other candidates for Mayor.

I began reading all of the blogs you see in the Blogroll daily (still do) and commenting as a candidate. I more actively engaged the blogs, the candidates and the media.

The Twitter Giveaway gave me an opportunity to use video and youtube to make a realtime response. We released this the evening of the first vote.

In late April, Officer Greg Suhr was appointed Police Chief – by coincidence he and I had met a few weeks before, just as I began campaigning. I wrote about that meeting and Chief Suhr’s appointment here.

In May, I made my first campaign appearance – at The Peace and Freedom Party’s County Central Committee Meeting.

A brief and depressing conversation with Chapter President Tom Lacey was only one of many indicators that running was pointless. I was, briefly, on The Usual Suspect’s list of candidates and followed on Twitter by City Attorney staff. I doubted I would be taken seriously and the exercise began to decay in quality fast. The recent pseudo-clamor for Ed Lee to Run for Mayor was the final straw.

Ed Lee should not be allowed to run for Mayor in 2011.

please do read the contents of this blog and watch the videos if you can before going to the ballot box or mailing in your absentee ballot. My concerns are city-wide, and about our attitude, our composition, our culture, our very identity as a city in the world.

Thank you all for your support.

Karthik Rajan

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IRV PSA Repost

Give Instant Runoff Voting a chance by educating yourself about how to vote for three distinct candidates on your absentee ballot or in the booth election day. Help others to become clearer on the process. Demand any candidate you support explain their IRV strategy and ask them to produce a simple PSA explaining IRV, such as this:

IRV is an excellent tool because

1. it makes candidates seek alliance and coalition-building tactics

2. it makes voters learn more about more candidates and take greater responsibility for their vote.

3. it aids candidates interested in civic leadership but without finances by giving them a means to recognition

4. it eliminates the need for expensive runoff campaigns

5. the process reveals which candidate works best with others at large.

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SF Pissing Contests and Austerity Measures

Dear San Francisco,

I want to be the Mayor for four years to reform the Office and civic sector in the face of deficit economy and then turn the office over to an elected Ed Lee, in 2015.

If elected I refuse to serve a second term and promise to hand the next Mayor, whomever it is, $500,000 and an SF Giveback Fund to supplement the General Fund in times of financial crisis (details in campaign promises).

This was been a depressing week in our once fair town: macho firefighters in mourning push the public defender around, crafty planning commissioners push to illegally draft Interim Mayor Lee onto the ballot via campaigning, and strike-threatening MUNI operators reject a contract for no good reason but a pissing contest about respect.

(sigh)

What happened to you San Francisco? There’s more information than ever. But the more information there is, the less caring and more conniving our politicians and newspaper editors seem.

A stageplay of theatrical poses substitutes for governance and media. A goofy, smiling happy face hangs like a thin curtain over a City with $850 million in debt and ballooning pensions and benefits schemes that are unsustainable.

The new politicians are like models – empty and to be filled by waiting interests. They have no guts.

People are suffering job loss and insecurity and snarky in-crowd attitude has replaced public service.

Parrots, who possess more than most of us, and can thus afford to produce new media, line up in factionalized flocks spitting insults and snide comments at one another as our town loses its grace. New blogs emerge and our San Francisco values are smoothed into the nothingness of pluralized media. The Bay Citizen launches an all out “NY1” or KRON4 style attack on the blogging media consciousness with $5million in startup money from Hellman, and now the new SF residents mistake it for media that has existed forever, a trusted SF news source, overnight. Not that it hasn’t been effective at coverage,but  it imposes itself upon us, by its posture.

There are many new residents who’ve moved into overpriced SF housing built in the last decade at rates few of us can afford. More condos go up weekly to rent to imaginary future residents from elsewhere, with no one questioning why we “have to grow bigger and more dense” as a City before bridging deficits or working on infrastructure.

Some of these new residents are easily manipulated because they do not have history or context and can be herded like sheep through big money being spent to ensure the view of developers are perpetuated.

Twitter Giveaways and Treasure Island Boondoggles face no resistance because of an apathy by the populace, not because they are good ideas. The unenforcable and idiotic Sit/Lie Law is allowed to be tried because some of these new residents don’t make eye contact with anyone in the street, walk fast with headphones and diddling cel phones to avoid it.

When I arrived in this town decades ago, I tried hard to learn how to be a San Franciscan and was taught by this City. Can we not, as a City, ask these new residents to respect our famed tolerance and compassion? No? Why not?

Interim Mayor Lee and Supervisor Chiu would have us believe we cannot say anything to them for fear we might offend them and they would leave?

These newcomers are being used by interests and held ignorant of what has been lost, is being taken daily from us.

(cf. the Twitter Giveaway, these people just gave away $47million to Twitter that should have been in the General Fund. They did it smiling and crowing about jobs and one dared to call himself progressive!?)

Austerity Measures and Real Talk

The global economic reality is that we are in a serious downturn that shows no real signs of rapid recovery. We must change the attitude of state to one of concern, analysis, efficiency and solvency.

Interim Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed 5-year budgets (for the first time ever) are being sold by many interests as popular opinion, but in fact they represent the latest version of SF corruption: vested interests lining their pockets with long-term public funding.

Ed Lee is wrong on this one and we are in an economic situation that demands flexibility. I want to slow down development, compose flexible one-year budgets and make rapid changes to policies that don’t work in favor of those that do.

I propose a public and transparent method of austerity measures that gives respect where it is due and expects contributions from civic and private sectors in accordance with what it takes to right the ship of state, which lists, with no real captain since Mr. Newsom left.

Austerity measures are inevitable, but here in San Francisco we could do it completely differently from anywhere else in the world because of our culture and history as the most progressive major City in the U.S. We could generate income in totally new ways and respect our Labor by creating new schemes of reinvestment to curtail ballooning pensions and benefits schemes of the past which have incrementally become unsustainable.

All of this creativity and new methodology is only possible with new energy, and fortunately we have an instrument for the first time to allow that new energy to ascend to office: Instant Runoff Voting. IRV is a tool that could be used these next 4 months to create coalition government, but so far no one understands how to use it.

Instead of educating us about how to use Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) to help our candidates create coalitions and alliances, to seek out the best ideas of all candidates, The Chronicle and Guardian and Weekly and the blogs have done almost nothing to reduce confusion about Instant Runoff Voting. They and their “legitimate” candidates see it as a threat.

Hey, we voted for it – used properly it’s a good thing. It could force our politicians to be more collaborative if you in the media would just do your job. Compare its use elsewhere: Minneapolis voters seemed to understand it, while Oakland voters found it confusing.

What do you think the four months before election day were like in terms of explaining IRV in Minneapolis in comparison to Oakland? What kind of coverage and explanation have we been seeing so far? Our media and the City and the other candidates are failing us.

It feels like they want Instant Runoff Voting to fail so they can all clamor together about what a bad thing IRV is. I don’t believe they even understand it, but, visualizing it as threat from the get-go, have just turned full blast against.

C’mon SF, we’re better than this.

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10 Points on Johannes Mehserle’s Release

Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting unarmed Oakland resident Oscar Grant to death, will be released from prison on Monday having served less than a year in prison.

Organizers have established that protests will take place at 3:00 at the Fruitvale BART where Grant was killed and at 5:30 at 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland. BART has warned police agencies and passengers that service interruptions are possible tomorrow.

Oscar Grant has a small child and Johannes Mehserle’s first child was born the day after the crime. Many families have been rent by what happened New Year’s morning of 2009. But in the larger picture we must address the issues that create an atmosphere where this kind of thing could easily happen again.

It isn’t about Mehserle or Grant as much as a flawed environment. The race issues are left out of the conversation in public, but they are a huge part of the word on the street. The issues here are systemic.

10 Things to Consider

1. BART, the State and Officer Mehserle immediately agreed that the officer terminated his service literally the morning of the crime, speaking to no one – negating culpability for higher-ups and ultimately resulting in a lack of culpability for BART itself. In this case Mehserle ran to Nevada across state lines before his arrest to kill time in those first days of 2009.

This negotiation between Mehserle’s defense and the state in his absence prevented the state or BART from having to respond for the murder. It took place between the private attorney of Mehserle and the State. Did Mehserle’s representation ask: “What are you going to do to protect my client, your employee, if he does this for you? if he quits voluntarily?”

Is it the case that once his attorney agreed Mehserle would resign, the institutions at large then agreed to protect the officer as much as possible? How exactly? Mehserle’s defense is being paid for by a statewide fund for police officers. The BART police union pays into the fund. From when was the Union involved?

2. Moving the trial out of the neighborhood.

In what must be considered a pattern now [Rodney King the case was moved out of South Central, Amadou Diallo the case went from the Bronx to Albany] the state moved the trial to a supposedly neutral location that is in fact far better for the officer in question. Again what keeps coming up is that the officers in all these cases do not live where they are policing. They come from suburbs to cities to police.

3. The state introduced excuses and the mental state of the Officer to the public far more than that of the victim and did this through the channels of the state’s collusion with the media.

The local cops and the local tv stations and newspapers collude morally, ethically and racially to create the illusion of a balanced coverage, but which subtly turns the public opinion toward an acquittal. It’s all designed to create the atmosphere that we, the people, want the state to be so empowered and that we believe, ‘well, a few eggs have to be cracked to make a safety omelette for the rest of us.’

4. the state’s process creates a jury that favors the cop to the victim. Our jury selection process is suspect and should be revisited.

5. the state allows, and even encourages, immaterial historical evidence from the VICTIM’s past into the case, but resists the same in the case of the cop.

Again, a pattern here – Patrick Dorismond in NYC 2000. The idea is to paint the victim as a criminal and the cop as an unfortunate agent for good caught in an impossibly difficult to understand spot. So ANYthing in the victim’s past no matter how irrelevant is dredged up – sometimes illegally as Giuliani did in the case of Dorismond.

6. during the trials of these cops, the same colluding press created an atmosphere of INSECURITY concerning any outcome that doesn’t condemn the cop. Riots are inevitable. This emphasizes the need for good security and basically demands acquittal in the public mind.

7.The State scheduled the trial so the verdict would arrive exactly at 4th of July weekend. This both rushed the jury – would you hang a jury for Oscar Grant when you are trying to spend time with your family on 4th of July weekend? – and confirmed that coverage of the story reached a limited audience of the property owning class because it’s the Independence Day Holiday.
8.By contrast, the State actually changed the sentencing date for a public display of protest to be widely observed and feared in civic space. In this case from the low-key “silly season” (August 5th) to the high-profile publicly charged week of the Mayoral election (November 7th). The sentencing was hyper-politicized. The “small riots” were then shown to a public as representative of the unruly class from which the victim comes.
9. KTVU actually interviewed Mehserle after his conviction and before sentencing. They had him sitting in soft light with a compassionate, blonde woman, an extremely friendly television host. What convicted criminal in history ever got such treatment in advance of sentencing?

10. perhaps most shockingly, the judge unilaterally threw out the handgun charge of which Mehserle was convicted.

It is important to note in this case that a jury of 12 found Mehserle guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter AND uniquely, the handgun charge. The handgun charge was a serious element here which could have led to policy changes such as the removal of lethal weapons like guns from BART cops. (they have Tasers and nightsticks and so on). Instead it was thrown out unilaterally by the judge – which seems illegal to many. This was a profoundly wrong judgement. It’s too expensive for the family to pursue that on appeal, but it certainly ought to be the civic sector’s responsibility to make such a charge stick and to pursue such weird decision-making.

I, for one, believe we should disarm BART police. Let local PDs be called when a gun is necessary, make it a felony to carry a gun on BART and put excessive cameras in the system. We need to de-escalate the violence and the weaponry on our streets.

UPDATE: Indybay has done some interesting reporting on the actions of the police at protests concerning this issue. check it out here.

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Our Champions

I was lucky to be able to attend the wins in the Nationals series and took some snaps and vid.

Stop Motion of Brian Wilson’s Delivery

and Matt Cain, who had 11 strikeouts in his complete game win

and the thrilling end to the game Monday night

Go Giants!

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MUNIs Deal and the Illegal Draft of Interim Mayor Lee

UPDATE: MUNI rank and file voted 994-488 against the contract! (Who’s their counsel? I’m dismayed) and have sent contract to the Prop G – demanded arbitrator, whom they are meeting today. From the Chron:

“… the union blamed the contract rejection in part on what it called inaccurate descriptions of the contract by a management spokesman shortly after the tentative pact was reached. “The actions by management’s spokesman created a sense of mistrust and confusion that was hard to overcome,” said Rafael Cabrera, president of Local 250-A.”

[This points to a single individual here]

BLOG FOLLOWS – POSTED BEFORE VOTE

First, my gratitude to Local 205-A, MUNI Operator’s Union reps and the City for negotiating the contract successfully without interruption of service.

Thanks to the Union for understanding the current economic situation for the City and so many of its residents and for:

– relenting on PT hires and

– allowing for the 3-year wage freeze and

– accepting greater oversight by management.

The Union has been reasonable. It means a lot. The question as to whether Prop G was necessary to force such reasonableness should be laid aside in favor of a new dawn in the relationship and a new way of looking at sharing the burden in the City. When I talk about “San Francisco Austerity Measures,” these are the kinds of sensible negotiations we need. Let us consider it a start.

Second, to the increasing numbers of people who seem to think it would not be unfair, wrong and perhaps illegal to let Interim Mayor Lee run for Mayor this year in November: I profoundly disagree. Please consider the previous post, in which I detail why.

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Ed Lee Should Not Be Allowed To Run For Mayor

I am disgusted by the artificial clamor being generated by  interests who attempt to ensure that Ed Lee’s name is on the ballot, which should not be allowed, and which, if by some manipulation does occur, should be contested in court as an unfair election practice.

They scramble for Mr. Lee because they fear Instant Runoff Voting – which they decry at every opportunity.

During the embarrassing negotiations to appoint Mr. Lee Interim Mayor – because there are no rules for succession that make sense in the event of the departure of a Mayor to become Lieutenant Governor –  I was guardedly suspect, but as satisfied as everyone else that our eminently capable Chief Administrator was willing to take the job, was so self-effacing, said in fact he didn’t want it.

But I was under the impression that the negotiations concerning the appointment of Mr. Lee as Interim Mayor included the fail-safe: that whomever was chosen Interim Mayor would be disallowed to run because of unfair advantage as a pseudo-incumbent. Let them run in 2015. The whole deal with Ed Lee was he would be a good Interim Mayor because he doesn’t want the job – we were all happy not to appoint Leland Yee or Art Agnos and everyone trusts Ed Lee.

This artificially “populist” call for Ed Lee’s entry into the race comes from people who are doing it because they are afraid of IRV, afraid that a lot of people will turn out to vote, and for whomever they want, and that the math would put someone they cannot control in charge. Those who call for Interim Mayor Lee’s inclusion on the ballot fear direct and better democracy. They think it would be crazy if someone they didn’t know won the race for Mayor.

Why? Could it be corporate, union and other interests have become entrenched in City work? Isn’t that why we don’t want Mr. Lee to run? for fear of conflict of interest?

Lee is clearly the point-man for some vested corporate interests (Twitter, Treasure Island developers). He’s the first to produce a 5-year budget (something we don’t need, but which seals relationships to his partners in all of this). And we are meant to believe that this self-effacing man, who wants to be Chief Administrator, and is good at it, is being begged to run for office by a clamoring public at-large? This is absurdist theater.

It’s anti-democratic because of the sheer purchase of it all by big money. I, for one, expect John Avalos, Terry Baum and others who claim to be progressive to stand in the way of such a brazenly corporate move.

It isn’t uncivil to call things what they are and for Interim Mayor Lee and Board President Supervisor David Chiu this Mayor’s race has been a farce of glad-handing – smiling and joking about making jobs, while passing crazy development plans unimpeded. They were tweeting about jobs even as they gave away millions to Twitter and now other companies, striking down long-standing SF protections to benefit a few, new companies.

I, for one, respect Interim Mayor Lee and Board President Chiu, but don’t want either of them in charge. Respectfully, I’d rather they stay in their respective jobs as we unpack all of this mess, and make short-term budgets which reconsider and restructure our town (read site for details).

Ed Lee is an extremely competent Chief Administrator. He has asked for that job again. I would give it to him and would expect any other candidate for Mayor to reward competence and do so. But he should absolutely not be allowed to run for Mayor in 2011. It’s unfair and wrong.

And more, I am actually a candidate campaigning to do what Ed Lee should do: I don’t want the Mayor’s Office for more than a single reformative term. I’d be happy to pass it off to Interim Mayor Ed Lee in 2015 – after we have addressed the serious issues the last seven years have brought.

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Redmond Continues Editorializing Election

For the last several years, I have been extremely disappointed in the so-called coverage of elections as advanced by Tim Redmond of the Bay Guardian. Today, I commented on the SFBG’s site over his current appproach:

Tim Redmond:

We have $800million+ deficit and no meaningful opposition to corporate-controlled policy makers shoving development and tax breaks for corporations through at an insane rate.

The pensions and salaries are so out of control that three very dangerous things are happening: voters are folding right into “austerity measures” as the only way out, rapacious investors are dropping in like angels from outside to finally take a piece of our town – which we have resisted for so long, and the cronies of these developers and companies are stampeding over our Government agencies and offices, effectively buying our politicians.

We need real leadership from an outsider to put the brakes on.

Leland Yee? John Avalos? Tim, you have been so bad these last few years. You cling to some old mode of covering politics – worse, without significant competition, you’ve grown into an editorialist who tells people who to vote for, for months all the way up to election day, rather than allowing the process to reveal the best candidate. Your critical skills – which you had for years – have become profoundly dimmed.

And it’s terrible that you would take this approach in an Instant Runoff Election – actually it’s anti-democratic.

IRV – instant runoff voting – only works if everybody gets educated to each of the candidates and cares about them. It is about coalition building. It’s about NOT choosing someone till the end. It’s about exploring ALL the options and trying to put together a ticket in your mind. You should be teaching this and doing lots and lots of educating about IRV and all the candidates.

I am so offended by your behavior since 2007, Tim. I am sorry to say it, but I am.

Voting Karthik Rajan, first, Terry Baum or John Avalos second and third ensures we can get ahold of what has spun out of our control. I have the skills to put together whatever form of government John or Terry Baum or other progressives want, without influence from high-ranking Democrats or others (i.e. former Mayor Newsom’s people all planted in positions since his departure).

We share so many values, you and I, and all your readers. You do me a disservice by “covering” this election the way you do. Have the courage not to dismiss me and rather to consider:

http://karthikrajanformayor.org

Thank you,
Karthik Rajan

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Manhattanization Becomes Policy Under Lee and Chiu

This disturbing article in The SF Examiner uses “Manhattanization” as a tag, but shockingly, Examiner Staff Writer Dan Schreiber works hard here to make the term a positive!

Note the utter absence of a competitive or contrary view here to the high-speed development plans on the table [thankfully BeyondChron does]. The article defends Park Merced and Treasure Island Development plans launching into the ‘inevitable need for development’ like this:

“Politics aside, growth in San Francisco depends, above all, on the sheer demand for housing. [politics aside?! really?!]

“By 2035, the Bay Area is expected to be home to about 2 million more people and 902,000 more homes, with almost all that growth concentrated in existing urban areas. This daunting 29 percent population increase has prompted regional planners to urge local governments to reduce their per-resident carbon emissions by 15 percent.

“That’s the crux of the “Initial Vision Scenario for 2035,” which was released in March by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments. The report envisions that while the Bay Area’s population grows from 7 million to 9 million people, San Francisco will add roughly 90,000 households, pushing its population to around 1 million.”

The one question that no one seems to ask is “Why?”

Why does SF have to grow to a city of a million before we address the transit and infrastructural issues?

Why do we have to urgently build more residences for people who do not live here yet when so many who already do live here are suffering homelessness, job loss and an inability to keep up with the cost of living in San Francisco?

Why do we have to build housing for people who don’t yet live here before working on cleaning up the Bay, preserving our heritage, adding better, smarter transportation and sustainable energy resources?

Why do we have to appease the nouveau-riche of our times: twenty- and thirty-something-year-olds from elsewhere who want to live and work in our beautiful city for companies that make money for investors who live elsewhere which – thanks to the board and the Twitter Giveaway – will contribute little to our economy?

In reality, we don’t.

Vote Karthik Rajan and we can put a stop to this rampant, unchecked development and add stronger checks and balances against the commercial uglification of our City – in keeping with our own heritage as the most progressive city in the U.S.

It seems like new architects of the City want it to be for a rich, upper-class from elsewhere who will redefine SF into a 21st Century playground for the very wealthy. The America’s Cup is a prime example of an engine for this development.

I beg you to resist. Vote Karthik Rajan for Mayor. It will be a revolutionary moment in our City’s history and we will slow the development to a reasonable pace. I have the scalar vision to see through the rushed development our politicians now shove through the governmental system and I can lead us to more creative, more sensible and slower growth.

These plans are nonsensical because there is no need to grow like Manhattan and Hong Kong and other places have. It’s 20th century thinking that creates immense, unmanageable cities with vast disparity and horrifyingly under-served populations.

We are smarter than that – this is San Francisco! – we can slow this down and grow our own way. I know it. But we have to have leadership that is willing to stand up to crazy development talk.

Right now Interim Mayor Lee and Board President Chiu are failing to do this, rather they step on the gas for more and more growth. They remind me of the insane developers I saw in Hong Kong in the 1990’s crazily growing the city without concern for those who would be ground down or out.

Enough! Vote Karthik Rajan for a more sane future in San Francisco.

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The Six Hundred Dollar Mayor of SF

To date I’ve spent $605 on my campaign for Mayor and received exactly $0 in contributions. Frankly, the non-glare lenses for my spectacles are the single biggest expense.

After 25 years of working on the margins, with small budgets, for counties, non-profits, artists, magazines, Universities and myself, I know how to run our City for less. I know how to save money and to make any institution more efficient and profitable. That’s why my first campaign promise is to refuse $100,000 of  the Mayor’s salary – because I KNOW I can do the job for … what would that be – $163,000 a year? or less [see the campaign promises tab].

As I have also promised, I will NEVER accept a cent from Parties, Corporations, Unions or PACs. Seems stupid right? I mean if I were to get popular as a candidate by September, like Obama did at the National level, certainly companies and Unions and others would want to support me with contributions to buy television, radio and Internet ads.

But then I would be subject to them.

President Obama has proven it is an inevitability of accepting such support. [check out the video below for evidence of that]

No. I believe that with almost no money, but with intelligence, honesty and sense, we can use Instant Runoff Voting to elect me so that we can create a true coalition government in the SF Mayor’s office and take back our City from special interests and wealthy manipulators.

If elected, I can choose whomever we like to run the town, but only with me as Mayor, through my strength as an Independent outsider and my study and work as an evaluator and analyst, and via the transparency of the principles of art and writing, can we reveal the corruption and redistribute the burden of the cost of living in our beautiful city. We have to do this to be able to give our children the society they deserve.

I encourage all of you to watch the following video:

and realize what I am proposing: a re-imagining of City government from scratch that builds the greatest small City on earth and teaches other cities not to emulate New York or Hong Kong, but rather encourages the regionalism that we now see emerging around the world in response to the Globalism that has been shoved down our throats for two decades.

Hey, SF, elect me Mayor, then let me select who we want to run the town (Terry Baum and John Avalos’ followers would be first in line), with Ed Lee as our Chief Administrator, and then let’s show the Democrats of this City and the country how to have compassion, tolerance and goodness toward people of different cultures and beliefs, while running a solvent economy that isn’t just for super-wealthy yachtsmen and their Cup.

Lets bring back the things that made San Francisco great since long ago: small town attitude, cool friendliness, openness and the rich, vibrant, cosmopolitan aesthetic of our great City.

Vote Karthik Rajan, first, for Mayor of San Francisco, then, on your IRV or Instant Runoff Voting Ballot this year, choose Terry Baum of the Greens second, and demote, but don’t vote against the Democrats – by choosing John Avalos third.

It will be awesome.

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Instant Runoff Voting is Better Democracy

IRV is an excellent tool because

1. it makes candidates seek alliance and coalition-building tactics

2. it makes voters learn more about more candidates and take greater responsibility for their vote.

3. it aids candidates interested in civic leadership but without finances by giving them a means to recognition

4. it eliminates the need for expensive runoff campaigns

5. the process reveals which candidate works best with others at large.

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The Best Ticket for Mayor Emerges!

Terry Baum will be the Green Party candidate for Mayor of SF, and with John Avalos in as a progressive Democrat, I am excited to say that I will, from today, be endorsing the following ticket as the best, really the only three choices for Mayor of SF, and in this order, guaranteed to turn this town around:

1. Karthik Rajan, first – the Independent outsider with super strong analytical and communications skills (read the site for details)

2. Terry Baum, second –  a Green playwright who  in 2004 ran for the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Green Party.

3. John Avalos, third – the Democrat, a progressive and insider

Keep Ed Lee as Chief Administrator – since he knows best where all the money has been going these last eight years – and we have the best administration for SF in 2012.

Neither John nor Terry can win outright. In Terry’s case, the Greens have been marginalized since Gavin Newsom outspent Matt Gonzales 23 to 1 and in John’s case, as a Democrat, within his party he won’t get the support – unless of course he compromises his vision to please the Party higher ups, which he won’t – and so he cannot win without a coalition.

But with your help – Democrats, Progressives, Greens, Libertarians and others  – I can win. As an outsider with a clear message we can bring more groups of interests together. Read the site to see why – check out the FAQs and Campaign Promises. Mine is a different philosophy, exciting.

I am flexible, lucid, self-financed and unknown – unassailable. As an intelligent outsider, I can put all of the people our coalition wants into positions of power and only I can protect us from attacks, be strong in the face of the wealthy special interests and the cliquish cabals who have run our town into the mouth of the corporate sector.

I can analyze and document the system, do it transparently and scale back our economy. I have the ability and the agility and I have no interest in being a politician for life.

One year budgets for four years that are flexible, slashing the Mayor’s salary, taxing the right people at the right time, putting the resources toward sustainable growth and a healthy, solvent SF for years to come led by the knowledge of the Greens, the infrastructure of the Progressive Democrats and the personal and creative strength of an artist who cares not for money nor power, but for the betterment of our society.

Wow, sounds almost too good to be true – but it isn’t!

Just vote Karthik Rajan, Terry Baum and John Avalos first, second and third on your ballot for Mayor of SF on November 8, 2011.

This is going to be fun!

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Coalition Building for Mayor of SF

I arrived at the monthly meeting of the San Francisco County Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party and found Tom Lacey, the chapter Chair, alone in the SF Main Library’s Stong Room. That’s not a typo – the room’s named for Mary Louise Stong, who was an avid library supporter and former President of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. But it does give the conference room a name that’s desperately one letter shy of being a great place to start anything.

Tom Lacey, a teacher, has been a committed socialist and Peace and Freedom Party member and a candidate for office in SF. He even garnered the coveted endorsement of the SF Bay Guardian. His knowledge of the San Francisco political environment is excellent, and more, he has been through a lot of the changes, sitting in opposition. Smart, savvy and lucid, Lacey is nothing like the stereotype projected against the Peace and Freedom Party: that of crazy wingnut hippies.

Tom Lacey has great ideas, knowledge about the system, remarkable commitment and a will to implement. He puts a generation half his age to shame. In fact, first I want to support his efforts to get the Oil Extraction Tax on the ballot – an effort that makes complete sense. It’s very easy to get behind.

Every State in the country that lets private companies take oil out of its ground or from under its sea charges an Oil Extraction Tax and uses the money for social welfare … um, except one … California!

In Texas they have diverted these funds successfully to the education system and greatly improved Texas schools. This is an overdue effort in California that has been squelched by powerful oil companies in our state and the politicians they pay for. It’s so simple to understand:

Tax the extraction of oil and use it to pay for schools.

Tom Lacey informed us that the college professor behind the movement, Peter Mathews, who has struggled for this in California, finally got approval for the wording to let us get signatures to put it on the ballot. This happened just a week ago. Now we have a very short time to get the required signatures to put the Oil Extraction Tax to Pay For Education on the ballot. A 2/3 majority of Californians will definitely support this one and we can more than make up for the $1.4 billion in cuts to education that Governor Brown was forced to make this year.

Lacey had copies of the petitions that he had meticulously printed on oversized paper from the .pdf – I am adding it to my platform and collecting signatures myself voluntarily and informing everyone I know about it. check out rescueeducationcalifornia.org and facebook.com/rescueeducationcalifornia and twitter.com/rescueeducation

This is exactly the kind of revenue generation my campaign is about.

Shortly after I arrived and introduced myself to Tom Lacey, Ron Holladay, who is, I believe, the Treasurer of the Peace and Freedom SF CCC, appeared. The two men have considerable history in this town and it was great to meet them. We waited for others.

(cricket sounds) and that was it … (sigh) C’mon people, Prop 14 is going to make third parties disappear unless you show up!

I was fourth on the agenda, but since there wasn’t quorum, Ron Holladay asked whether or not I’d rather skip my presentation and perhaps come to another meeting. I promised I would be at the next meeting, but said I would like to present myself as a candidate to those present. One of my supporters arrived – a surprise! – a little late.

Oh, but wait, then someone else did appear.

An Asian-American man arrived and claimed to have just joined the Peace and Freedom Party. The two long-standing officers had never heard of him, but were relieved that there was at least one other present – I mean, there wasn’t even quorum.

But within minutes I began to suspect that the Asian-American Newly Joined Peace and Freedomer was there to observe and report to someone else. He fell asleep late in the meeting from sheer boredom – or feigned it.

One funny, tiny part of me wondered if another candidate or interest had sent the young man to see what this was all about. Silly probably, but it sure felt like this young man was way more interested in questioning my candidacy and ideas than asking about the party he had just joined.

Of course, it doesn’t matter who comes to observe and report upon me anywhere, anytime, because I am clean, clear and direct and my intentions are pure: I want change, reform, an end to corruption and special interest politics and a return to certain values that made our city the best in the world. I want to lead SF forward to smarter more transparent governance – and I know how.

And so I spoke to four people about why I wanted their vote for Mayor in a small room in the Main Library. We had a great talk for about an hour and I want to thank Tom, Ron and the Peace and Freedom Party for their invitation and informative knowledge.

I then went to see the Fiery Furnaces at Café Du Nord. Single piano and voice, a brother and sister duo, their work is poetic, maudlin and narrative. It was a great show, with songs that told stories with vernacular aptitude, capturing phrases of the contemporary era between married couples, street folk and working class families and others. Very nice.

I was lucky enough to meet the band afterward and to meet and chat with long time San Franciscans Michelle and Matt and others. It was a lovely night.

More soon. Support the Oil Extraction Tax.

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My IRV Strategy

Last year, I observed the Instant Runoff Voting [IRV] election for Mayor of Oakland closely. I studied the tactics of the candidates and the results. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan achieved something slow, steady and simple.

In addition to seeking supporters for her campaign outright, Mayor Quan created a coalition of interests for whom another primary candidate was their first choice. Through sound campaigning she convinced this coalition of disparate interests to select her second on their ballots.

Because of a lack of effort by the media and the City to properly explain IRV in advance of the election, many people ignorant of the math or the method never understood it and felt cheated. For these, and others, the idea that “everybody’s number two” won the election persisted. It is imperative we explain what IRV is and why it’s better democracy.

In fact, if traditional voting had occurred and a runoff had been held between Jean Quan and her nearest opponent Don Perata, it would have been a six-week long, expensive affair. Likely, Perata would have outspent Quan even as the supporters of Rebecca Kaplan, Joe Tuman and other candidates tilted to Mayor Quan. That is what IRV showed us: it used basic, smart, weighted statistics to allow the right decision to happen on election day, preventing the expense to the City of a second election and preventing the purchasing of such a runoff by monied interests.

Mayor Quan won because she covered more ground and was more present to more people than any of the other candidates and it paid off in a statistical advantage. That’s good democracy.

The opponents of IRV struggle to rename it Ranked Choice Voting because it implies something that smells bad.

The loudest in opposition to IRV are:

1. people who think the voters are too stupid to know how to use it and

2. those whose interest it threatens, namely big parties, monied candidates and

3. those who use the traditional way of doing things: buying the election.

In fact, IRV is an excellent tool because

1. it makes candidates seek alliance and coalition-building tactics

2. it makes voters learn more about more candidates and take greater responsibility for their vote.

3. it aids candidates interested in civic leadership but without the finances to use media by giving them a means to recognition

4. it eliminates the need for expensive runoff campaigns

5. the nature of the process reveals which candidate works best with others at large.

Instant Runoff Voting is complicated and somewhat hard to explain. What our politicians ought to be doing is explaining it in clear terms and helping voters use it to elect our leadership. Instead we see them resisting what threatens them.

My strategy is somewhat different. I believe I’m the best candidate to run the City. I hope you will gather this to be true by election day and vote for me first, but if you don’t, I hope you will see that it only makes sense to include me as a reformist, by voting for me second or third on your ballot. You can trust my promises, which are unique among legitimate candidates.

I will slash the Mayor’s salary first and then ask City employees to help me to do the same before making cuts. I will create a Giveback Fund to encourage the San Francisco value of sharing and community. I will audit and evaluate every department before raising any new revenue from taxation and eliminate waste that has run rampant. I will make the hard calls on pensions and benefits and help come up with creative means to generate revenue to avoid harsh austerity measures.

It’s in our best interest to elect me because I am not a politician. Rather, I’m a regular citizen concerned about waste, solvency and rampant and unchecked growth. I will function transparently and without attachment to special interests.

I can creatively cut costs, reduce waste and lead us to a more efficient San Francisco in which we pay less for a better quality of life. You can trust me to analyze and reform our City’s broken and corrupt system transparently, to save the City money doing it, and to create solvency and a surplus economy from the myriad wonderfulness of our City’s inherently talented and multilingual community.

As a one-time, reform candidate, Karthik Rajan is a smart second or third choice for voters and a great first choice to be the next Mayor of San Francisco.

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Post Bay-to-Breakers Electorate

Congrats to Lineth Chapkurui and Ridouane Harroufi and Ken Byk and all the runners in the 100th Bay to Breakers!

A lovely day, so glad the weather held.

I met so many different people today, enjoying one of our oldest traditions.

Love you, San Francisco!

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Twitter Giveaways and Treasure Island Boondoggles?

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Regards Mehserle’s Release

This piece is good. and the comments reflect the intensity of the debate. I challenge Bay Area Citizens to take this issue on … seriously.

My comments on the matter are at the end of the piece in SF Appeal and I’m reproducing them here so they may be considered a plank of my platform:

re: BART Cop Jailed for Shooting Oscar Grant to Death Expected to Get Out of Jail Next Month

This piece is well written and significant because many in the mainstream press are either avoiding the topic or not addressing the emotions it brings up. I have been reading your blog a lot more recently as I campaign for Mayor and want to congratulate you on the editorial decision-making, the reporting and, as in this example, the flexible corrections, as necessary.

This is a space somewhere between the printed press and the wild world of blogging that The Bay Citizen so eagerly (and expensively) seeks. I would say you are succeeding at some level. keep up the good work.

“Shooting to Death Oscar Grant” states it clearly, correctly and brings up some very necessary dialogue.

It is important to note in this case that a jury of 12 found Mehserle guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter AND uniquely, the handgun charge. The handgun charge was a serious element here which could have led to policy changes such as the removal of lethal weapons like guns from BART cops. (they have Tasers and nightsticks and so on).

Instead it was thrown out unilaterally by the judge – which seems illegal to many. That’s what the riots ought to have been about. This was a profoundly wrong judgement. It’s too expensive for the family to pursue that on appeal, but it certainly ought to be the civic sector’s responsibility to make such a charge stick and to pursue such weird decision-making.

I, for one, believe we should disarm BART police. Let local PDs be called when a gun is necessary, make it a felony to carry a gun on BART and put excessive cameras in the system. We need to de-escalate the violence and the weaponry on our streets.

Karthik Rajan

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Media and the Mayoral Election in SF

When you hover over any of the links in the blogroll to the right, you will notice a critique or comment concerning where the link leads. Spend some time lingering. Also, do bookmark this page and use it as a node to these news sources.

Note that the SF blogs were all launched within the past decade, except Indybay, which, though first and most directly for the poor and disenfranchised, remains marginalized by the mainstream press.

In addition to blogs of neighborhood or city-wide interest, there are also dozens of insider blogs written by people with access to the politicos of our town that pols and wonks presumably sit around reading. They are filled with rhetoric about what’s best for our City.

Like The Usual Suspects, which began as a fax sent to the policy types in 1995, or, since May of 2007, Sweet Melissa ,who sides with those who seek to rebrand IRV, Instant Runoff Voting, with the foul-sounding name Ranked Choice Voting, and drive it away.

I commented on Melissa’s site that the loudest opponents of IRV are:

1. people who think the voters are too stupid to know how to use it and

2. those whose interest it threatens, namely Big Parties, Monied Candidates and

3. those who use the traditional way of doing things: buying the election.

The most recent of the blogs is of course the LOUDEST right now, The Bay Citizen, which describes itself like this:

“Concerned about the negative impact of [the decline of journalism] on the community, in early 2009 local philanthropist Warren Hellman convened an advisory committee to examine the issue and offer possible solutions. In January 2010, after many months of research and planning, and with a generous $5 million contribution from the Hellman Family Foundation, The Bay Citizen (first known as the Bay Area News Project) was founded. …

“On May 26, 2010, The Bay Citizen launched its online content on http://www.baycitizen.org. On June 4, 2010, The Bay Citizen’s newsroom began producing the articles featured in the two-page Bay Area Report in The New York Times’ print editions, which are delivered to over 65,000 Bay Area New York Times subscribers on Fridays and Sundays. Over time, The Bay Citizen also plans to distribute news through podcasts, radio, and potentially TV.”

In recent days I have perused the content and we have all witnessed increasing ad presence around the Bay for the blog – which requests you join on a splash page when you visit now, saying they need 500 more “Bay Citizens” to sign up. It’s not as easy to pay top-notch reporters and editors in the era of user-generated content as the Hellmans thought.

I noticed they did hire the experienced and competent Aaron Glantz, the radio reporter for KPFA and Free Speech Radio News, an East Bay journalist and author who also filed stories for me when I was a news director – he did the first and best coverage of Muqtada Al-Sadr in Iraq during the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, btw.

Some of the work is pretty good and the reach into civic space is decent, growing. But many of the positions taken via their headlines and tweets are dangerously “un-journalistic” and there is some question about their editorial choices at a time when we need to address waste and budget deficits. They are creating a voice for themselves, yes – but what exactly does it have to do with us? regular San Franciscans …

Really though, the media environment in SF has achieved pluralized saturation.

We don’t need more communication, we need better communication.

In fact, traditional modes of journalism relied on critique and competitiveness to create a whole picture of our society – the two-paper town – but in the late 1990’s as the Net and electronic media became more ubiquitous, this all began to fall apart.

Career politicians and the big parties have preyed upon the critical void created by the absence of competitive views and the pluralization of media. Now, by purchasing television, internet and radio time in great volume just weeks before the election, mainstream candidates backed by immense special interests cement their victory in elections and define what our society  should be like.

The Guardian and the Chron have fallen right in line, in order to be perceived of as “legitimate” by those in power, and all of it seems to have more to do with selling something and less to do with the everyday struggles of San Franciscans.

I encourage readers to consider the views of all these blogs and papers with a critical eye – particularly when they are blasé, snarky, cliquish, in-jokey or authoritative about what it means to be a San Franciscan, a progressive, or an informed voter. If we show these complacent journalists and candidates that we are much smarter and more critical than they think, we stand a chance of having coverage that looks more like our city, and more importantly they might fear our turnout more and respond to our needs.

This election year, the Bay Citizen, SF Appeal and other bloggers will seek to become an electronic platform that will stand aside the Guardian and Chron to cover the race. I hope it’s the beginning of competitive journalism again. Let us read together and see. A good example of the work I am talking about is by another of the new blogs, SF Appeal, who have pursued alleged lobbying violations by Alex Tourk, rather vigorously. Check it.

[and this one, about Mesherle’s impending release, which is well written and significant because many in the mainstream press are either avoiding the topic or not addressing the emotions it brings up. I have been reading SF Appeal a lot more recently as I campaign for Mayor, it is succeeding at some level – keep up the good work.

It is important to note in this case that a jury of 12 found Mehserle guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter AND the handgun charge. The handgun charge was a serious element here which could have led to policy changes such as the removal of lethal weapons like guns from BART cops. (they have Tasers and nightsticks and so on).

Instead it was thrown out unilaterally by the judge – which seems illegal to many. It’s too expensive for the family to pursue that on appeal, but it certainly ought to be the civic sector’s responsibility to make such a charge stick and to pursue such weird decision-making.

I, for one, believe we should disarm BART police. Let local PDs be called when a gun is necessary, make it a felony to carry a gun on BART and put excessive cameras in the system. We need to de-escalate the violence and the weaponry on our streets.]

BTW, the largest number of hits to this site yet was May 10th …

welcome to new followers and thank you for considering Karthik Rajan for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011.

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An Artist for Mayor of SF 2011

Today I added some of my more recent work as an artist (the last ten years or so) to the resumé on this site, here.

My work as an artist has been social and political and aesthetic and news-related and cultural and about communicating ideas. These experiences have helped create in some small  part the candidacy you see before you today. To whit,

since 1985, Audiovisual and Performance Artist
Member, Booklyn Artists Alliance, a non-profit, consensus-driven book arts organization dedicated to the book as art, on the web at www.booklyn.org

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Occidental College, Los Angeles

Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

University of California at Irvine

Pacifica Radio Archives

EXHIBITIONS, INSTALLATIONS, PERFORMANCES, TALKS

2010  Moving Forward, zine in an edition of 3,000 (1500 en español), distributed free in Fruitvale, Temescal and downtown Oakland, concerning the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial

2009    Making Money … Into Something Else, installation and artist’s talk, Deco Art, Oakland, CA
2008    establishment of ffptp.org website (a two year exercise ended in 2010);
new work, local artists group show, Eton Avenue Studio, Berkeley, CA
2007    The Rupee Ganesha, Tamil Nadu, India;
After Po-Mo. [And Before We Agree], artists talk, Certitude, Auroville, India;
Vous êtes ă Puduchcheri, mural, Qualithés Hotel, Puduchcheri, India;
Found in Translation, touring group show, Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis
2006    Artists Talk, Found in Translation, Center for Book Arts, NY;
Found in Translation, Center for Book Arts NYC & Center for the Book SF;
Alternating Currency, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, NYC;
Tricycle Museum, Centro de Cultura Casa Das Mudas, Madeira Island, Portugal
2005    kotataki art, permanent installation, Sun’s Preschool, Kamakura, Japan;
Pluralism of Media in the Age of Surveillance, talk, c-level, Chinatown, LA;
The First Contact Project, streaming Internet audio of interviews
2004     untitled talk on the Presidential Election of 2004, New College, SF;
Troubled Sleep: Art in the Age of Bush, panel discussion, Cal Arts, LA;
Visible Palestine, performance and video, Echo Park Film Center, LA
2003     Art and Political Communication, talk, University of California, Davis;
The SF J18 Manifestation, performance and video, Track 16 Gallery,LA
2002     US=THEM, installation and performance and The Angola Three, a mural, 33 1/3 Books and Gallery, LA; Rare Books of the Future, Center for Book Arts, NYC

I hope you will see why I am best suited to run the City today. I can bring the costs down, get control of the upward spiral of waste and raise the right taxes on the right people at the right time so that:

We will pay less, for a better quality of life.

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NEVER tweet a no-hitter

There’s a well known jinx in baseball that if a pitcher has a no-hitter going through five innings you don’t mention it.

It will guarantee its end.

Today, I tested the jinx against Twitter. I tweeted after the 5th that the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong had a no-hitter going after five, purposefully, stating the experiment in the tweet. The very next batter hit a single and broke up the no-hitter. check the tweets @KarthikRajanSF

Lesson: NEVER tweet a no-hitter.

… best to do these things early in the season when the games don’t matter as much. That’s our Manager Bochy’s philosophy … and our GM Brian Sabean seems to agree. I am growing to understand it myself.

Go Giants.

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A New Philosophy for San Francisco

There is a transparent reality in SF politics that neither our politicians nor newspapers discuss: the town has changed, is changing fast, and without authority, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse in Gavin Newsom’s absence (a period that by election day will have been really three years, since he spent at least the last two years campaigning for his new job).

Some of these changes are in policy that created new demographics, such as the Twitter Giveaway, while some are demographic changes that have driven policy. No politician wants to talk about the changes in policy wrought by Gavin Newsom’s period that fall into the former category, and few new residents want to talk about the latter.

Few are changes like last month’s Urban Gardening rezoning: local efforts to maintain the integrity of San Francisco. I was touched to see Antonio Roman-Alcala in the photo-op on the City’s website, standing behind Interim Mayor Lee, and applauding as he signed the document.

Some newly proposed changes sound exciting: Treasure Island Development, basketball and football stadia, but unchecked and without transparency or authority, any problems that arise from such changes don’t receive the attention they are due equally.

Meanwhile, hundreds and thousands are being ground down by the changes and have felt unheard. That is why for a decade the progressive left has been represented by the screaming obscenities of Chris Daly and the hand-wringing winging of Tim Redmond at the Guardian. A reformist attitude about our government is long overdue.

We must force our politicians and our new neighbors to address the changes in real terms, and we must restate that there are San Francisco values that are unique to our City – compassion, tolerance and a welcoming embrace. I fear repercussions are not being discussed and the need for important adaptations thus goes unheeded.

More, in these areas of tension – salaries, pensions and benefits that are too high, taxation that’s inequitable, an increasing cost of living and a deficit economy – we are speeding up to create patchwork solutions that cut broad swaths, rather than slowing down to identify and deal with root causes.

Defining SF is something few people want to do because of the socio-political risk and the fundamentally authoritative posture it requires. I wouldn’t dare try to be the aesthetic or cultural interpreter of our incredible City. But I do know it and feel it everyday, and I think that since Gavin left, we are like a ship adrift.

We must begin to poll San Franciscans more actively with current tools to comprehend our makeup now, and the exact nature of our socio-political consciousness and we must protect the many hundreds and thousands who are being eliminated from discourse by our increased “refinement and enlargement” (as Madison would put it).

I am running for office as a strong leader who wants to comprehend our constitution and work for all San Franciscans. I believe we all know what we want our city to be like, but our politicians no longer seem to represent that, whatever that is, to anyone.

This week a few examples brought this to bear for me: Prop G, passed last year, has given the SFMTA unprecedented leverage in what are now being called historic negotiations between MUNI and its employees; Captain Greg Suhr, a 30-year man of the force, who has been involved in one or two serious incidents decried by progressives over the years, was named Police Chief and the current Interim Mayor Ed Lee proposed the first-ever 5-year budget for our City.

In each case, I promptly responded – in most cases in realtime – in advance of any of the other candidates – you can read my thoughts below. I did this because I want followers to see that real leadership knows what’s right and puts it forward quickly to allow colleagues to accept, deny or seek opportunity to adapt it. Leadership starts discourse quickly and accurately then adapts with flexibility to refinement.

I found myself supporting the SFMTA and Police Chief Suhr and decrying Interim Mayor Lee’s Plan and thus realized that mine is a new philosophy for SF. It isn’t Democratic or Republican or Libertarian or etc. It is responsive to what is actually happening and untethered to any special interest. Coalition building will be the result thus of deliberating upon competing views between these vested interests, while being outside of them, being critical, smart and for the people. I am proud to suggest this because I truly believe it is what we need to move forward as a City and retain our values, which are unique in the country and maybe the world.

My campaign is one of inclusion, but I am attempting to project a strong, decisive image because I feel this is what our City sorely needs. I do not see that charismatic strength of leadership in the other candidates. We must be muscular, physical and responsive to the problems, not fixed on setting up 5-year plans for corporate cronies. I am stern and focused, an analyst ready to work restructuring our economy and City for sustainable, solvent growth at an easy pace that doesn’t grind out precious resources or residents.

Thank you to all the new followers this week. We are increasing in number and I very much appreciate your interest and support.

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Late Tuesday Lee Budget Proposal Analysis

Spent the day reading Interim Mayor Lee’s May 1st Budget Proposal 2011-2012 for the so-called Enterprise Departments. It’s so smart and political to throw the good news out first, but even a cursory glance reveals debt relief and employee pensions and benefits to be exposed.

Salaries are ridiculous.

Much progress with small businesses in the Mission this week. Thank you so much for your support. I love you.

I promise a full analysis of this and all of Interim Mayor Lee’s budgets. I know how it is to not have time to read the budget. I am happy to do it for you.

Tonight, I’m going to go study this highly trumpeted 5-Year-Plan, meant to show that our former Chief Administrator knows how to expand our view of governance and give us a long-view of budgeting. With a 300 million dollar deficit, a long-view helps the medicine go down.

It’s bold forward-thinking, sure, but you can’t operate on a scale like this unless you are working with some large interests. I fear that like the Treasure Island boondoggle, such plans are riddled with pocket lining. If you follow the money it seems to me to be more about cementing a Gavin Newsom II and cronies galore into positions of power. I hate saying it this way, but candidacy demands honesty.

My policy and plan are different. I think we need a short-term budget to help redesign our city economy and that 2-year budgets and 1-year budgets that take stronger action show a flexibility by City governance. With new tech, things move pretty fast – we can make decisions, try them and be more creative and fluid – not locked in to 5-year deals with special interests. My budgets will be more detailed because I propose a full and transparent Audit of departments to be set before the voters – not a .pdf of the net numbers.

We must address the waste. Vote Karthik Rajan, and the Mayor’s salary comes down with everybody else’s – we scale back, streamline, economize. We redistribute and slow growth until we have a more equitable cost of living for all our residents.

It’s unfair to comment further without a full study of Interim Mayor Lee’s Plan, so I will stop there.

I did notice that candidate Chiu, perhaps reacting to my claim that his work on the Twitter deal shows a lack of creativity in revenue generation, posted a link on his website about a creative way to generate income from technology – leasing out city infrastructure that carries data to private interests with greater need for bandwidth. Good idea, David, well done. I thought such resources must exist, I hope that with your position as Board President you can suss details and give us some concrete numbers for such a proposal.

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May Day Toward A Saner Future

The best of wishes to all on May Day, which in 2011 reveals whole systems of laborers being redefined by changing technology and the rising cost of fossil fuel, a corporate controlled media system owned by very few who present information in a narrow manner at great volume to try to make their viewpoint a national narrative, system-wide corruption that serves wealthy overlords who govern through pseudo-democracy – which in any case we don’t seem to value enough to employ as voter turnout is shameful in the United States.

And since the State is broke, instead of coming up with creative solutions or taxing the rich, it launches straight-out attacks on worker’s rights. The State of Wisconsin unilaterally cheated Unions of representation and tea-partiers sell the line because of a perception of corruption and manipulation by Unions that has been manufactured and pushed by among others, an Aussie incorporated in Britain, Rupert Murdoch, through his network [FOX] and newspaper [WSJ].

In the USA, of course, we do Labor Day in September at the end of summer, but for Labour Day, I propose we really consider how our austerity measures are going to look. We have no choice. We cannot paper over the numbers or pretend the City isn’t broke, or worse running at a deficit. But we must protect our workers. In fact, we need to make taxation more equitable and spread more widely rather than author exceptions to law as the Board has done for Twitter.

David Cay Johnston’s book Free Lunch, Porfolio (Penguin), 2007, which is subtitled How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and stick you with the bill), is an excellent read that exposes the facts. Here’s a nice post about taxation over at The World’s Got Problems blog.

There are a lot of creative ways we can generate revenue without cutting into pensions and ending city jobs. and there are lots of ways to redistribute current spending. Take a look at my campaign promises, I will lead us to savings and a surplus economy.

Vote Karthik Rajan for Mayor of San Francisco.

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My Name is Karthik

I was born in India and moved to the United States when I was two. I’ve been a U.S. citizen for 30 years and have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of those years.

I’ve traveled around the world seven times, living in New York, LA, Japan, India, Europe, South America and elsewhere, but I have always returned to the SF Bay, which I consider my beloved home. I love SF.

I want to be the Mayor because I am sure I can run the city better than any of the other candidates. I have the creativity and energy to do what is required to cut deficits and generate revenue. I’m an Independent, progressive and eager to clean house.

Please vote for Karthik Rajan as your first, second or third choice for Mayor of San Francisco. Together, we can make sure our city stays an amazing place, filled with art and compassion, different from every great city that ever existed and yet great in our own way. Join us. Let’s maintain our city and bring back our most important values.

Karthik Rajan

(first posted, February 11, 2011)

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informative SF sites added to blogroll

Decided to expand the blogroll to include last year’s story about City employees’ salaries and the County’s voter turnout statistics – we really need to have more than 300,000 vote this year, folks.

And I added the Bicycle Coalition’s site – We Welcome the Patronage of Cyclists!

and the SF originals Mother Jones and Craigslist.

Many San Franciscan friends remember me as a guy who used to keep a 6×4″ sketchbook in my back pocket, who traveled around chronicling the town like mad. I wrote a novel in SF between 1995-1997 called Mood, which was constructed from notes taken in the City then. It was pre-blogging blogging, like we all used to do before the Internetting.

I made notes about politics and culture and art, bars, restaurants, cafe’s and events [the birth of the first Thursday Art Walk and the erecting of the SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Gardens, Kill Your Television and other SRL events, Clarion Alley Mural Project’s birth and other murals, The Mission School and DJ scenes, Mayors Riordan and Brown and the Board in those days]

Today of course blogging has taken the place of street journalism, so I’ve also added some of the blogs that have emerged in recent years:

Indybay was launched on my birthday in 2000

SFist started in 2004

SF Appeal in 2009

and the Bay Citizen in 2010.

I’ve also added

The Tender … for your daily cut of the Loin,

and several of my favorite places on the net for news and official information

… and the Bay-Guardian.

I just couldn’t be bring myself to include The Comical.

The beauty of the net is that it helps us get on the same page – don’t you think?

Karthik

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Welcome growing numbers of followers!

Since the Exploratory Committee began in November of last year, we have had steady growth in numbers of followers and I haven’t addressed it in some time, so I thought I’d just write a quick note to welcome new followers and encourage all of you to continue the word of mouth campaign that we have begun.

on Twitter it’s @KarthikRajanSF

and I encourage you to click the “Karthik’s Tweets” if you don’t Twitter because there is a live-action, daily, contemporaneous commentary happening there and you can read all of this continuity in one sitting and get a good grasp of where I stand on current issues as they arise.

You can now also just direct any voter to one address to get here:

http://karthikrajanformayor.org

I will be filing papers sometime in May or June and establishing an HQ in June, although I intend to spend most of the SF summer in cafe’s, bars, restaurants, parks and at events conducting:

The Karthik Rajan Listening Tour of San Francisco 2011

wherein you will help me fill the balloon of my candidacy with the breath of your interests, needs and desires from your next Mayor.

Spend some time and read the blog and feel free to comment anywhere (volunteers welcome) and I will retrieve your comment and reply.

Thanks,

Karthik

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Congratulations New Police Chief Suhr!

Earlier this year, the City held a special hearing on the matter of dance clubs and I attended with hundreds of others to hear testimony of citizens concerned with the matter. I stepped out of the overcrowded hearing room to walk about the ante chamber where the metal detectors and the officers who monitor entrants to City Hall are stationed. It was a dark, rainy night, before the time change, and, as everyone was inside at the hearing, the lobby was empty.

I  took their spare time to tell several of the officers at City Hall that I hoped to be their next boss; that I was running for Mayor of San Francisco. I asked for their thoughts on the needs of the City and the Department when Officer Gregory Suhr arrived and joined the discussion. We chatted for a time about my policies and ideas and I asked for the officers’ support.

It was then that Officer Suhr said he was considering running for Sheriff!

We both knew that Former Supervisor Ross Mirakarimi is running for Sheriff and, after a beat, Suhr said, “Can I count on your support?” and we laughed together about it.

I remembered Fajitagate, but didn’t bring it up. I told Officer Suhr I would look into his record, but nodded, sure – anybody with as much experience as he has in Community Policing is a good candidate for top policing jobs.

As we chatted together we watched Board President David Chiu stalk the steps of City Hall under the eaves to stay out of the rain, talking on his cell-phone for a few moments before taking off to some important campaign stop. An officer said, “There’s your competition.” I said, “He’s not my competition. I have no problem with him. I’m the best man for the job.” To their credit, they didn’t laugh.

Today, Officer Gregory Suhr ascends to the position of Police Chief in San Francisco and I offer my congratulations to the City for making the right choice. The City needs smart, local police who know the streets and the force to help manage what is going to be a period of severe cuts and changes in policy.

It would be easy to say that Former Supervisor Mirakarimi shares my values and so I would want him to be a Sheriff to help reform what I think are issues with policing, but it’s a wholly other thing to get officers to follow such leadership.

Officer Suhr has some critics (a loud one is the commenter in the link I’ve posted below) but the reality is being a community police officer in SF is difficult and problems and conflicts are inevitable. I am thankful for the experiences he has and upon meeting him, feel confident he has learned from them.

Gregory Suhr is likely to make for a good Police Chief because he knows his history means he will be scrutinized closely. I hope he will implement what he has learned – from the mistakes and the successes – to aid and educate the men and women working under him.

Here’s a good link to a piece in support of Police Chief Suhr by Francisco Da Costa of Environmental Justice Advocacy.

Congratulations Police Chief Suhr and best of luck.

[oh, and taking a page from our City Attorney, “this in no way equals an endorsement in the Sheriff’s race!”]

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Goodbye to Troubletown and Respect to Lloyd Dangle

In an epic performance that can NEVER be replicated, like 300-game-winning pitchers in baseball, Lloyd Dangle set the endurance bar so high for a weekly political cartoonist with his 22-year run of Troubletown – it won’t happen again.

I heartily congratulate Lloyd on two plus decades of newsworthy, contemporaneous, well-conceived commentary and satire in an original format of caricature of our most prominent figures. I am so very proud of him – a great American.

Troubletown was important to me as a college student in the political science department at UT Austin in the late 80’s to know I wasn’t alone feeling so profoundly opposed to Reagan/Bush era policy. (I was, after all, surrounded by the very voters who first gave Austin’s majority to a Republican for President). I have met others for whom Dangle’s strip functioned like this – a beacon in the dark madness.

Over the years, through Bushes and Clintons and wars and Obama, the Troubletown books remain an excellent repository of many sidelined stories – the stories of the losing sides during the 30-year cold freeze of Reagan/Bush Doctrine – and as an archive must not be undervalued.

So after 22 years, the socio-political satire Troubletown by Lloyd Dangle has come to an end with

this last comic strip

which will be published this week in the Guardian in SF, the Chronicle in Austin, Progressive Magazine, the Alibi of Albuquerque, Tucson Weekly and elsewhere.

I recommend you tear it out and keep it.

Thanks Lloyd, for an epic run.

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The Birds in SF Share Better Than the Board of Supervisors

Last year, I documented birds near the Mid-Market Exception Zone that know how to share.

and now I see it as a metaphor for what the Board of Supervisors and Interim Mayor Ed Lee failed to understand about the laws they are changing, beginning with The Twitter Giveaway of 2011.

We have been talking about being afraid of the Manhattanization of San Francisco for some time now – at least since back in the 90’s – and yet we have been unable to resist this rampant development of condominiums and new structures that no one here can afford.

I see now that all these empty dwellings have been built for new employees of all the new Twitter-like businesses that will be arriving because the Board and Mayor Lee have struck down one of the pillars of our very strict tax code – brand new san franciscans most, since they rarely hire local folk.

New, young stylish grads from Yale and Harvard, MIT and Stanford, at least some of whom will be of the type we have seen already – the ones who avoid-eye-contact and civic responsibility, enrich themselves, vote for development and sit/lie laws and aid the driving out of what they deem unsightly: the unwanted poor, the homeless, the ten- and fifteen- and twenty-year San Franciscans who have just managed to survive as the cost of living has skyrocketed. At least some of them will be the Manhattanizers.

But with the upcoming vote over Treasure Island Development I’ve realized a new fear:

The HongKongification of San Francisco.

Do these pro-business, high energy politicians think we should be growing like the last decade that has created these dense cities of Asia? Do they see unlimited space for growth? Do they not know about our long history of containing that growth for aesthetic reasons and civic responsibility?

San Francisco should stay a sweet, small City with its own identity: one of tolerance, compassion, care for our smallest citizens and local businesses. We can develop our new 21st Century SF, but we don’t have to do it like the Asians have or New York did. We should do it our way: slow and steady.

Vote Karthik Rajan for Mayor, an Independent outsider who will stand up to corrupt lifelong politicians and the dozens of interests that support them.

I will demand for all of us that we scale down the SF economy for four years. I will then use half of that time to audit and evaluate our Departments and the current unchecked growth; will identify and reduce waste and re-organize, restructure and reboot the City for a better future for our children.

I will not seek re-election and I will return $400,000 back to the City’s Board and next Mayor upon departure from office, as stated in my first Campaign promise, so, if you vote for me for Mayor, when my term is done, I will give $400,000 plus interest back to the City.

Vote Karthik Rajan and we will pay less for a better quality of life.

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The Twitter Deal Represents Failure of Creativity by David Chiu

We should be making these people help us bridge deficits and maintain our sweet, lovely city.

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What Kind of Mayor Would You Rather Have?

Well, the campaign is entering a new and more public phase with the addition of the tech tools that are defining our generation and, in keeping with the transparency of both the campaign and the blog, I thought I’d outline my plans for the next few months.

We are consolidating all websites under karthikrajanformayor.org and the blog will be at karthikrajanformayor/blog as soon as tomorrow night. I will be adding mailchimp and formspring to the blog as well – so feedback is going to be much more possible quite soon. I’m learning many of these new tools as we go, by the way, so if you have any encouraging suggestions, I am wide open.

I am looking for a good UNION printer in the City that I can use throughout the campaign.

As a progressive I’ve committed to using union printing for every campaign I’ve ever been involved in. It’s important to support small businesses and unions – which are under assault even in Wisconsin, a place I don’t imagine to be conservative.

Once we have established a relationship, I will be bringing in designs for all the campaign business cards, posters, yard signs, buttons and flyers – so hopefully before this month is over all of that will happen.

The Campaign Office will open June 1st.

This summer I am proud to announce:

The Karthik Rajan Listening Tour

San Francisco Summer 2011

My candidacy is the result of decades of training and study, but the platform of my campaign is up to YOU. This summer, come meet me at cafe’s, bars and events all over San Francisco and tell me what you want from the Mayor’s office. My campaign is meant to be accessible, transparent and pedestrian because – as our great Governor Jerry Brown said the other day on Southwest Airlines when a reporter asked him why he was flying commercial coach: “I like the people.”

What kind of a Mayor would you rather have?

I offer a candidate who has traveled around the world seven times, thrice in the last six years; who speaks several languages, who loves SF and knows its neighborhoods and the whole Bay Area very well; who cares to represent the culture and flavor of SF rather than to reform it in the image of big corporations; whose favorite Mayors were Willie Brown and Art Agnos, who loves the Giants and the amazing diversity of our city and supports small business, immigrants, the homeless, the poor and the underrepresented over big business.

Check out my first three campaign promises and I look forward to meeting you and discussing our plan for how to govern San Francisco in 2012.

Sincerely,

Karthik Rajan

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Karthik Rajan, Anti-Crony, Says the Board Failed with Twitter

Interim Mayor Ed Lee, Head of the Board David Chiu and novice Supervisor Jane Kim rushed the City into a relationship with Twitter and have failed to represent SF’s citizens in recent negotiations concerning Twitter, Zynga and other corporations.

We wouldn’t know if it weren’t for the Bay Guardian. Now we do know that to some in City Hall, this year of Interim Mayoralty is meant to cement the candidate who will represent corporate interests in the Mayor’s race. This Interim group of leaders has just erased a long-standing principle in SF that defended us against corporate raiding of our precious town.

Twitter is an amazing technology and is nearly single-handedly changing the way we communicate. San Franciscans should be proud of this remarkable company. But Twitter and other startups should be obliged to share their biggest gains with the citizens of SF. If they cannot, then they don’t share our values. What should have happened is a serious negotiation, with specific terms that make demands of Twitter and other companies to invest in SF and help us bridge deficits.

Vote for me, Karthik Rajan and I promise to be serious about the cost of living in San Francisco. Check the video below for more.

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The Twitter Deal is Unnecessary Corporate Protection

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The Twitter Deal – Mayor Lee and Supervisor Chiu Cave In

Moving right along, I now have a twitter account:

@karthikrajansf

and am following San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Board of Supervisors Chair David Chiu, who are tweeting away with great vigor about how we all need to sign their petition and support their plan to Keep Twitter in San Francisco!

The irony isn’t lost on me. I rented an apartment in the Mission District for $400 a month just 15 years ago and now a great big black bus from Google delivers employees to and from my old neighborhood so they can pay $1200 a month to live there.

The SFBG is right on this one and kudos to Steven T. Jones and Tim Redmond for their great work these past few weeks exposing what is basically a terrible break from precedent, guaranteed to gentrify neighborhoods and raise rents for everyone living in them.

The Twitter deal exemplifies the changes in San Francisco government, policy and culture that I am protesting in my appeal for your vote for Mayor.

We want good companies to come to San Francisco and stay here, but we want them to invest in our city – not take from it.

At stake is a small percentage of the stock options of Twitter employees – which are bound to be worth tens of millions to our city when the company goes IPO – and my chief opponent and the Mayor are just giving away those funds. More importantly they are trashing a hard fought right to demand that corporations that come to our city commit to investing in the welfare of all our citizens and not just their employees.

It’s a sad day in San Francisco. The Twitter deal is a nightmare that sets a precedent we don’t want and makes us vulnerable to dozens of other companies making similar demands.

Mayor Lee and Chairman Chiu are dead wrong and if it upsets you as much as it does  me, Chris Daly and the SFBG, then please cast your vote in November for me, Karthik Rajan, for Mayor of San Francisco.

It is time to set right the course of our city back to the values we all cherish: compassion for the homeless, the poor, renters and immigrant communities – and away from corporate protectionism.

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Commercial Space SOMA 65 cents/sq. foot?

The weather has finally turned sunny and warm and that crisp feeling of spring has arrived. March felt like one long extended February. 2011 wine is probably going to be interesting. The agricultural sector received beautiful pulses of regular rain for six straight weeks! Marvelous. Perhaps our fire season will be mellower as a result.

This past week, I had a few real estate agents show me 10,000 square foot warehouse space in the South of Market area. The rates have been far too high for more than a dozen years now – empty spaces abound and there’s desperation to rent them. What a change from the madness that since 1995 has sent us spiraling up to unaffordability.

I now think it’s reasonable to demand no more than 65 cents per square foot of those owners for the first year, at least through this election year. Nobody’s going to make a move until 11/08/11 anyway.  So let’s ease the pressure on all of us and bring it back to 90’s levels. The rents only went up because people were willing to pay them. Those folks are the ones who drove out so many long time residents of SF. That’s how I got priced out of San Francisco long ago.

David Boyce, the saxophonist, composer and philosopher recently walked up to my good friend James on a street, shook his hand and said, “There’s only 46,000 of us in this town now.”  Meaning black men. sigh.

That’s what happened between 1997 and 2011 – the Manhattanization of San Fran – and that’s why I am running for Mayor.

These past few weeks, I walked through the city alone, and with my son and with my old friend James and had a few lovely meals: at Oaxacena, my contemporary favorite for chicken mole, at Limon, the new Peruvian place on Valencia near 16th and at Maverick, the now five-year old fine dining spot on 17th near Mission.

I discussed my campaign with Chris Daly and his gang at the Buck, with the sheriffs at City Hall and with friends at Zeitgeist, including two young men, Andrew and Danny, who are new to our town from Orange County. Imagine it, young men from that right-wing enclave out in the back yard of Zeitgeist taking in the sights and smells of tolerance! Andrew’s never going back and I guess Danny will be up here by election day.

I love this city.

Vote for me for Mayor first, second or third and we will have a great time keeping SF small and sweet and bringing the rents down.

Let Twitter go back to Silicon Valley where it belongs, I say. Tax the corporates who want to live here. The commodification of urban space should serve the citizens, not the corporations.

I am the only candidate that has from day one said I will tax the wealthy and the corporate interests to allow those of  us who live in and love this town more security, and today it’s in the Chronicle that most people in California agree that taxing the wealthy is the right move.

Watch how fast the other candidates take it up now. Jean Quan took my idea of giving back a portion of the Mayor’s salary in Oakland – just stole that one. Watch how often that happens this year and celebrate our success in driving the race back to compassion for small business, the poor, renters, homeless and immigrant communities.

stay tuned,

Karthik

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Changes Afoot – Karthik Rajan for Mayor

After long discussion with supporters,

I have decided to run as Karthik Rajan

rather than as M.T. Karthik, which has been a nom de plume for me for more than a dozen years, and how I have been known “on the air” and in the art world.

I want all of my supporters to know and trust me.

My name is Karthik. I was born in India and moved to the United States first when I was two.

I have been a U.S. citizen for 30 years and have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of those years.

I’ve traveled around the world seven times, living in New York, LA, Japan, India, Europe, South America and elsewhere, but I have always returned to the SF Bay, which I consider my beloved home. I love SF. I want to be the Mayor because I am sure I can run the city better than any of the other candidates. I’m an Independent, progressive and eager to clean house.

Please vote for Karthik Rajan as your first, second or third choice for Mayor of San Francisco. Together, we can make sure our city stays an amazing place, filled with art and compassion, different from every great city that ever existed and yet great in our own way. Join us. Let’s maintain our city and bring back our most important values.

Karthik Rajan

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Gaining Steam and Overcoming Doubts

After a long discussion with supporters, we decided to drop Not to Win, But to Nudge, which was our old campaign motto, in favor of:

Karthik for Mayor

Not Impossible

which leaves the matter a little more open-ended.

I’ve been feeling out responses from old friends. In all honesty, the legitimacy of my campaign is up to YOU.

I wonder, too, whether many of the artists and DJ’s I know from when I arrived for good to SF in 1993 – DJ Consuelo, the gang from Dalva, Rigo 23 and his crowd, any of the many hundreds of people I have enjoyed a drink with in neighborhoods around town over the years – will be supportive of this effort. I wonder whether my uncle, who has lived in Twin Peaks for more than thirty years will find it idiotic.

It certainly isn’t a joke. I have walked the length and breadth of the city over the last 25 years and know people in every neighborhood because I love it. I want to care for SF and feel prepared to lead us into less expensive, smarter, more efficient and caring government and away from corporate capital and smarm;

To bring back the SF values of compassion for the poor, homeless and renters in our town, and away from those who would “clean it up” by making it a mall that looks like every other city in the U.S.A.

To give the Office of Mayor of San Francisco an independent face, free of influence from Villaraigosa, the Clintons and others who are using our culture and our whole town to support ends we don’t support.

San Francisco was always an independent city with good values, different from the whole rest of the country.  What I represent in my campaign for Mayor is why we all moved here – a choice who’s not a Democrat, nor a Republican, nor a Libertarian, nor a Green, nor a Peace and Freedom candidate, but who shares the best values of all of these in SF and more that we share together uniquely as a free, progressive city.

Our values make SF the best place to live in the world – and they are being bought out by rich Democrats.

I hope all of you will see that what I’m doing is not only necessary, but that I’m really the best suited to do it. This is not, as JFR reminded me, quixotic.

So on your ballot in November please do make Karthik Rajan your first, second or third choice for Mayor

and you won’t be sorry.

In fact, I guarantee you it will feel good.

Karthik

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Karthik For Mayor San Francisco 2011

I will be officially launching my campaign for Mayor of San Francisco at 7a.m., Friday, the 21st of January at the Main Library in San Francisco.

I intend to run a campaign of transparency and this blog will serve that end. Feel free to respond, comment and make suggestions here.

On Thanksgiving, JFR and I launched the campaign website:

www.mtkarthik.org

and later that day, I walked with my good friend James around the Mission and floated the notion of my candidacy with him. James and I are old SF friends and it is comforting to have a stable voice reassure me it isn’t an utterly foolish thing to do.

We had a couple of  games of chess at Muddy Waters at 24th and then walked down to Mission Street, meandering. We ran into his friend Raul, who criticized my campaign promise to not accept 50k of the Mayor’s salary and rather to return $200k to the City at the end of my term as Mayor. Raul’s like, “Don’t give it back to the City?! Give it to Food Not Bombs … or somebody like that!” He was incredulous that I would do such an idiotic thing as trust the Board of Supervisors with money I could save the City! ha!

At 16th street we dropped into Forest Books, where we talked with Bob about my independent campaign for Mayor. Forest Books has been there for a dozen years and we reflected on how that corner has changed. James chose nonfiction while I picked a novel by Montalban.

Further up 16th street opposite Albion, where Swan’s car/residence was parked for a decade or more, we ran into Swan, himself. I didn’t tell him I was running for Mayor. I did tell him I remember picking up a Daily Swan the day Herb Caen died and that the first words were: “Caen died yrs. ago I say!” and we laughed. I also told him I remember the day they towed his car from Albion and what a shame and embarrassment I considered it. He called me his best friend. kinda bummed me out. I picked up four new  Daily Swan’s and, always topical, he was covering the Sit/Lie Law. We continued our stroll up to Mission Dolores, round past the palms to Market, then back down to Valencia.

We stopped at Zeitgeist. I was there when O.J. took the Bronco and the LAPD for a ride. I had gone to Zeitgeist to watch the NBA Finals. I walked James back near his spot. We had hot chocolate at Oaxacena and I made my way to North Beach.

I meant to go to Spec’s to see my favorite photograph of the City, but they were closed for the holiday and so I ended up at Vesuvio, where Janet and the others there had served food to many North Beachers and were winding down and cleaning up. The exposed heart of Baudelaire is gone and Janet and I talked about Ken Huerta.

Well, the Exploratory Committee to Elect Karthik for Mayor of SF 2011, is open for discourse.

Sincerely,

Karthik

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