EmptyBillboard

Original picture here.

Mark Pincus wants to put my opinion on a billboard.

Last week I wrote about Win the Future, a project from tech founders and Bay Area residents Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman to save American democracy from politicians with too much experience.

Pincus reached out to me via email to suggest I summarize my recommendations for how to make San Francisco better for my very own Bay Area billboard, sponsored by #WTF.

I’m still not sure how I feel about Silicon Valley saving politics.

I’m extremely skeptical that a billboard is a particularly good idea. But I think Pincus reaching out to get my opinion and “amplify my voice” on a topic I know more about than he does speaks well of him. Plus, I’ve been bitching and moaning about politics in national publications since 2013 and how many times has a politician read an editorial of mine and reached out personally to talk about solutions? Zero.

So what should this billboard say?

As I’ve pointed out in this column in previous weeks, the empirical evidence is clear that building more housing eases displacement pressures, not the other way around. And yet voters believe new housing causes displacement. This misconception has a bigger impact on the housing crisis in SF than any individual politician, in my opinion. What if we focused the message of the billboard on showing that building more housing eases displacement pressures.

I’m thinking something along the lines of, "Housing causes homelessness like food causes hunger." Or "Hungry people need food. Thirsty people need water. San Francisco's displaced needs housing."

If you'd rather focus on getting someone new into elected office, there's no one I could recommend more strongly than Sonja Trauss.

I’ve only lived here for six months. When it comes to San Francisco politics, as my mother likes to say, I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground.

Let’s put yours up instead.

Sometime in the next two weeks, tell me what you want to change about SF politics. I’ll pick ten of your ideas, and let you vote on your favorite. Whichever idea gets the most votes is what I’ll tell Mark Pincus to post on his billboard. Let’s Boaty McBoatface this bitch.

What will feel even better is giving him the chance to listen to you, dear readers. Let’s do this.

Cathy Reisenwitz writes about software for a living, sex on the side, and policy for fun. Her column “Unintended Consequences” appears regularly in the Bay City Beacon. She’s pro-sex, pro-feminism, and pro-market. Sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Twitter.

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