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Under the Big Top

Aug
22
2003

There’s a growing feeling out there that Arnold Schwarzengger is in a race, not a cakewalk, with Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante at his heels.
It’s enough of a sense that San Francisco’s liberal Democrats, a quarreling bunch, even on good days, might have felt the need to behave themselves. And it’s put instant run-off voting, the story that wouldn’t die, into a deep coma.
Federal judge Jim Warren ruled Wednesday and sided with the city’s decision not to use the new voting counting in the November election. That night, beleagured Elections Commission chairwoman Alix Rosenthal got to keep her job.
The always lively (in typesetting alone) Joe Fire gets it about right when he says that all the attention focused on Rosenthal’s possible ouster led to her keeping the job. So much attention was focused on the pressure that mayoral candidates were putting on the commission to support run-off voting — pressure that involved pushing IRV opponent Rosenthal out of the top slot — that putsch died under its own weight. Anti-Rosenthalers managed to round up only two votes.
Clearly, someone didn’t count quite right (redirects to The Ex’s homepage). Funny, that. But never underestimate the ability of politicians to think about themselves and their reputations before all else. And, come October and November, that’s what’s going to be on the line.
San Francisco voters are the least supportive of Total Recall, lagging some parts of the state by as much as 10 points. Meaning the city, as a Democratic stronghold with a strong cadre of union-strengthened voters, stands a very good chance of being very important when the votes are tallied.
So, imagine an election staff so distracted by changes in leadership — if Rosenthal had gone, elections chief John Arntz was threatening to go, too, and his staff was talking about a sick-out — had to tally Total Recall. Imagine if, well, imagine if they didn’t do a good job. Again. With the international press corps, the Republican and Democratic party infrastructures (and their lawyers) all looking on…..
Can you say media circus? Sure you can. Bring in the clowns.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 1:45 PM | Permalink

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