No Election This November Means No Dumb Measures

With no voting in San Francisco this November, we look back on the dumbest, strangest ballot measures of recent years.

Shockingly, ballot measure-happy San Francisco has no city or statewide measures to vote on this November. “There is no November 2017 election,” a San Francisco Department of Elections spokesperson tells SF Weekly. “The next scheduled election is June 5, 2018. This is particularly due to the passage of Proposition D from November 2012, which altered the election cycle for City Attorney and Treasurer so that they would be elected at the same time as Mayor, Sheriff, and District Attorney.”

With no ballot initiatives to clog our mailboxes with election flyers, let’s get nostalgic about some of our dumbest San Francisco ballot measure of recent years. Some of them were real dummies! Like, literally dummies.

1993: Puppet Officer Brendan O’Smarty
If Fox News had existed in 1993, they would have had a field day with this one. SFPD officer Bob Geary was fond of carrying a ventriloquist’s dummy he called “Brendan O’Smarty” while he was on duty. Then-chief Tony Ribera ordered Geary to stop carrying the dummy, which just sent the situation even more hilariously out of control. Mayor Frank Jordan and the Board of Supervisors intervened in favor of the puppet, and Geary collected enough signatures to get a voter referendum on his ventriloquist’s dummy.

The measure, whose literal wording was “Shall it be the policy of the people of San Francisco to allow Police Officer Bob Geary to decide when he may use his puppet Brendan O’Smarty while on duty?,” passed by a 51-49 margin. The dummy outsmarted the police chief.

2008: George W. Bush Sewage Plant
On the day that Barack Obama was elected to succeed George W. Bush as U.S. President, San Francisco voters declined to name a sewage facility after President Bush. Proposition R from 2008, which aimed to “change the name of the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant,” was flushed in defeat by a 70-30 margin. That measure was co-sponsored by local provocateur “Chicken John” Rinaldi, who himself had run for mayor in 2007.

2011: San Francisco Circumcision Ban
We didn’t actually vote on the 2011 ban on male circumcision in San Francisco, even though it did get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. But a San Francisco Superior court judge sliced the measure off a couple months before the election, ruling that local elections cannot undo state healthcare regulations.

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