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About My Candidacy

My son, Finn, and I made this totally extemporaneous video. A shameless self-promotion on my part. As you’ll see, sometimes that can be fun–1 minute 58 seconds worth.

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Endorsements:

Positions:

  1. Grassroots democracy.  Stop the revolving door, end the appointment/incumbent cycle.  Take back City Hall.
  2. Ecological wisdom.  Safe, well-maintained, grass play fields, not costly toxic turf substitutes.
  3. Future focus and Sustainability.  No Wall on the Waterfront.  No on B and C.   No condos for Billionaires on Public land.

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I’ve been asked on a number of occasions why I am running for the Board of Supervisors, District 4 (D4) as a write-in candidate.  It’s a tough road.  The law doesn’t make it easy for a write-in candidate to win.  A name isn’t on the ballot and voters have to ask for a list of write-in candidates at the polling place–you can’t just write anyone’s name, connect the arrow, and have it count.  It’s another one of those not for the fainthearted things.

There was a little weirdness.  I had been asked early on by a Green Party activist and community organizer if I would consider running for Supe.  I was flattered.  The idea stuck.  I did a lot of heavy soul-searching. I thought it better to spend summer with my son, as much of it as possible.  We’d gotten side-tracked a couple of previous summers and I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t get into any craziness.  Running for public office promised some of that, and a child only has one fifth summer.  A filing deadline got moved back two weeks from prior years.  I missed it and thought–Well, that’s that.  Still, the idea stuck.  Rather, it haunted me. 

Anyone who knows me knows that when I do commit to doing something, I do it.  No flaking, maybe some grumbling depending on my mood, but I do it.  A friend of mine used to talk about that attitude in terms of car batteries.  Who do you call when your car battery dies when you are in the middle of nowhere (and you don’t have AAA, and there’s no cell phone service so you have to walk or catch a ride somewhere to call)?   I get those calls.

This time, it’s our system of government calling.  This time it’s Nature calling (with a capital N, though our system of government sure looks like what happens when other euphemistic calls of nature occur).

I’ll do my part to fix some of what’s broken and to practice good stewardship of what of Nature remains .  No excuses.  I’ve had to deal with rolling eyes, disses and misses from the press, even the beginnings of a lefty firing squad.  I’m not paying some PR firm to do what I can do by looking people square in the eye and telling them what I believe in.  More often than not, I get thank you’s, because something in my expression is on common grounds.  99% of us Occupy a place where we share some common experience.  I am compelled to go there now and do my part, as I have at times in the past with lesser commitments, and as I wholeheartedly wished that I could have, but truly could not, with greater ones. 

I’m paying forward as many of us are.   I feel as if I’m in good company doing that.

h. brown asked me why I was running as a write-in candidate.  He’s worked hard to keep an eye on City Hall and deserved an answer.  This is what I wrote.

Couldn’t let another D4 election go by without drawing attention to the revolving door.  Family commitments and the fact that DOE changed the filing requirements for D4 made the decision for me.  I was encouraged to run as a write-in by a number of community activists.  So I am.  If you need more details, it’s a conversation.

I’m paying forward here…  The system’s broken.  I’m no political hack.  If I succeed as a political hacker, I’m happy.

I submitted an OP ED piece at the request of the editor of a real newspaper.  He’s a maverick, a really interesting guy.  He gave me about 24 hours to turn it around and laughed.  I sent it on time.  I called to see if he received it.  He hadn’t.  While on the phone, I checked the email address.  He told me that it went to Canada as he’d lost his original, more intuitive domain name when he went on hiatus a number of years back.  I said that I thought they might have some fun with it in Canada (they have more parties).  I offered to drop off his papers for him as I canvass the neighborhood.  I haven’t had a clipping or deadline in a decade.  Here’s hoping he takes a liking to it. 

I miss newspapers, substantial ones.  I miss getting the Sunday New York Times on a Saturday night in New York.  It was a heavy thing, like a lap dog–kept me company on the way home to Brooklyn from Manhattan.  I had a neighbor whose apartment was filled floor to ceiling with newspapers.  A narrow pathway led from his door which only opened to 90 degrees.  Nice neat stacks lined the path to his secret space somewhere in the interior.  The Chronicle or the Examiner on BART would not compare.  A digression. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “You should go back to New York”.  I don’t want to.  Even if I did, I couldn’t.  That New York is gone.  That neighborhood in Brooklyn is gone.  Last time I was there, I had to work to recognize discreet elements that were there back when.  That place that I lived in had character, some charm, and a diverse population of people who came together when things got rough.  Gone.  Replaced with glassy, modular, expensive boxes.  Millionaire worker housing.  Last time I was there, I got off the subway, looked around, turned around, bought a paper and got back on the train.  If you go to a place you remember and it’s gone the feeling sticks to you.  Maybe that’s what the neighbor with the stacks of papers had going on.  Maybe somehow he was desperately trying to hold on to his sense of place, to orient himself in space and time by collecting reminders of what just happened. 

I love this City.  San Francisco.  It’s changed since I arrived in ’96, lost bits and pieces of its soulfulness. What I’d really hate to see is to see it lost it wholesale.  That’s why when a developer buys off the City by paying a few million into the affordable housing fund and buys off the local political machine, in order to potentially reap $400 million in profit on a project like 8 Washington’s Super Deluxe Condos for Billionaires , and toxic AstroTurf goes in all over town, I get distressed.  Watching a world-class City become a shadowy, plastic version of its former self would do that. So, if you make it to the polls, say to yourself NO on B, NO on C, write my name and connect the arrows. We’ll feel better when the time comes to take in the view, and remember. We won’t be in Generia, we’ll still be home.

Here’s that other thing.

I am Mike Murphy and I am a Qualified Write-In Candidate for District 4 Supervisor.

My wife, my 5 year old son, and I have lived in the Outer Sunset since 2006.  I moved to San Francisco from Western New York State in 1996.  I am not a native San Franciscan, but my son, a 1st grade student at Sunset Elementary School, is.  When I explained to him that I was “applying for a job” at City Hall, he asked if the Mayor would be my boss.  To that I replied, “No.”

I was raised in a household in which interest in civics was encouraged.  I was instructed in the importance of exercising the right to vote.  I never registered as a Democrat or a Republican. I did, however, vote.  When I arrived in San Francisco in 1996, I made the decision to register as a member of the Green Party and have kept that affiliation ever since.

I firmly believe that our future and our children’s future is indeed ours to make.  Now, more than ever, strong, principled leadership is required.  I have made no compromises, nor did I need do any heavy soul-searching to find a belief structure that rests upon the principles of grassroots democracy, community-based economics, social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, gender equity, respect for diversity,  personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability.  These values, for me, were intuitively correct.  They are common sense.  They rest in the hearts of many San Franciscans.

I made the decision to run for District 4 Supervisor with these beliefs and feelings in mind.  It is precisely because many of the principles I mentioned are at stake.

On November 5th, in addition wrapping up a short campaign, I’ll still be voting.  So doing, if prior off-year elections stats repeat, I’ll be in the minority.  I hope that is not the case.  As citizens we should want to have a say in decisions that affect our lives.  In what has become a common downtown practice, the revolving door spins freely.  In what I’ve heard referred to as a common strategy, our Supervisors are promoted before they term out, the Mayor appoints their successor, who is elected, and reelected as an “incumbent” in our one party town.  A million dollars (max) goes to the winner.  The rule is…just don’t disappoint the mayor.  But, as I explained to my son, that’s not my party.

The other major issue which prompted me to run for Supervisor concerns the privatization of our public spaces.  For many of us (especially those with keyhole lots, like my family’s) Golden Gate Park is our back yard.  As an ecoliteracy teacher and an avid gardener, I shudder to think of a future in which I would be called upon to explain to tourists why San Francisco, advertised as the greenest city in the US, would install 7+ acres of artificial turf in Golden Gate Park at the Beach Chalet Fields, and light that industrial park up every night until 10pm.  Nor would I wish to explain the choice of material–Field Turf, a system which incorporates chopped up tires which leach heavy metals and which degrades (in the real game where Nature bats last) into styrene, a respiratory irritant, and butadiene, a class 2A carcinogen.  Worse still I would have to explain the impacts on wildlife and the environment, the absence of darkness, as well as the complex food web of contractors, a private foundation called City Fields, their wealthy donors and corporate supporters, other foundations who conduct lobbying activities in City Hall and, of course, Rec and Park.

This should not come to pass.  If it does not, we have concerned individuals and groups like SF Ocean Edge and the Sierra Club to thank for allowing the project to come to its logical demise with the CEQA suit still in the courts.  That way, none of us will have to explain why it is that we can’t grow grass in San Francisco.

As District 4 Supervisor, I will work to ensure that your voice is heard on these issues and others of concern to you.  I will make my positions on matters of importance public in order to foster interest and debate, and, encourage participation.  I will work to create an atmosphere which informs, illuminates, and, possibly, changes those positions.  San Franciscans deserve representative democracy–one that works on all levels, from precincts to the Mayor’s office, not a trickle-down version that maintains power and control at the top and affords access to the decision-making process to a select few influential investors.  I will continue the discussions about and attempt to bring to the table, or the ballot, as appropriate, legislation intended to quiet the chorus of complaints I hear so often about City Hall–by barring appointees from running in the election subsequent to their appointment, by moving bond money from projects earmarked for capital projects to operating expenses where that money may create good jobs within our communities, and by looking closely at Memoranda of Understanding that create public-private partnerships to eliminate those that are great deals for the private partners and bad deals for the public.  I would prefer to serve as an elected official in the City that Knows How rather than the City that Gave It Away.

There are decisions to be made this election year.  I urge you to exercise your right to vote.  Draw a line.  Connect the arrow.  Write “Mike Murphy” on the ballot.  Reopen the doors at City Hall.