San Francisco Besieged by Tons of Political Junk Mail

Photo: Stop Junk Mail Campaign
A colleague recently plopped his accumulated political mail of the last three-odd weeks down on our desk. Campaign fliers alone stacked more than an inch high and weighed around a pound. The voter information pamphlet for the city and state nearly tripled the poundage.

That's a ton of political mail -- isn't it? Yes and no, says a veteran campaign consultant.

"It's a lot of mail," says Jim Ross, a moderate political consultant and former campaign manager for Mayor Gavin Newsom. "But it's not surprising."

You may be hurling more political mail in the recycling box these days, however. First of all, the No on Prop. B forces have been more visible than the makers of the film Megamind were during the World Series. But, more than that, Ross chalks up an uptick in mailers to public financing of campaigns.

"You have more than a million dollars in publicly financed campaigns and people who wouldn't normally be able to get out mail can get out mail," he notes. That's especially visible in District 6; the pile of mail on your humble narrator's desk is peppered with material from Debra Walker, Jane Kim, and Theresa Sparks.

In the districts, mailers are still one of the best ways to reach voters. "Television doesn't make much sense," Ross says. "It's a very discreet universe of voters. You don't want to spend money on TV citywide."

Those of you in politically mixed households -- or in possession of two X chromosomes -- may also be receiving scads of Meg Whitman material.
Finally, it's time for extrapolation. If every last one of San Francisco's 468,658 registered voters received three pounds of political junk mail, that'd come out to 703 tons of mail.

That's the equivalent of a British G Class submarine. Down periscope, indeed.

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