Election Day is here, at long last.
As always, there are crucial issues at stake on San Francisco's ballot. Perhaps the most important, of course, is whether the city will rename what is currently the "Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant" as the "George W. Bush Sewage Plant." As I wrote in July when the sewage-plant-renaming measure made the ballot, some say the renaming would send an important message about the community's feelings about Bush, and also provide a new tourist attraction; others say it would be stupid. A spokesman for the Public Utility Commission pointed out that it might actually be sending a mixed message, since the plant "really offers extraordinary environmental benefits," which Bush has not been known to do.
Another SF ballot proposal would legalize prostitution, or at least restrict measures that law enforcement could take against sex workers and their clients. Some have argued that if sex for money were more widely available, this would encourage people to come to San Francisco with money, hoping to trade it for sex. But others say — well, actually everybody pretty much agrees with that, although you could debate the amount of the sleaze increase and whether or not that would outweigh the other asserted benefits of the measure. Yes, it would increase the amount of illicit sex, but on the other hand, it would increase the amount of illicit sex.
In the presidential race, with the polls still open and zero percent of precincts reporting, Lowering the Bar is declaring that San Francisco and California will go to Obama. Those are the kind of daring predictions I enjoy making. If you are still on the fence, one thing you might want to consider is the late-breaking news that Obama has finally taken a position about the continuing debate over criminalizing the wearing of saggy pants (see here, here, and here, for example).
MTV News, the logical source for such information, reported yesterday that the candidate had addressed the question in response to a question from "Eric" in California during an MTV interview on Saturday. Perhaps predictably, Obama took what you might call a "nuanced position":
Here's my attitude: I think passing a law about people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time . . . . We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, getting health care, dealing with the war in Iraq. Any public official who is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there.
Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You're walking by your mother, your grandmother, and your underwear is showing. . . . Come on. There are some issues that we face that you don't have to pass a law [against], but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people. And, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear — I'm one of them.
Obama also said that employers who ban sagging pants or similarly provocative fashions in the workplace have the right to do so. "I think that it's one thing if an employer discriminates on the basis of gender or sexual orientation or, obviously, race," he said, but "I think employers can set standards." It seems likely that the best way to address the sagging-pants problem might be not to pass more laws, but to vote for Obama. Something to consider, at least.
So far as I can tell, the McCain-Palin ticket has not yet taken a position on the issue. Time is running out . . . .
Link: SF Chronicle article re: Proposition R
Link: SF Chronicle's guide to state and local propositions
Link: MTV.com ("Brothers should pull up their pants"), Nov. 3, 2008.