19 May 2010

Jello Biafra for Mayor of San Francisco '79



[From Wikipedia] In the fall of 1979, [lead singer for Dead Kennedys Jello] Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco as a prank, using the Jello ad campaign catchphrase, "There's always room for Jello", as his campaign slogan. Having entered the race before creating a campaign platform, Biafra later wrote his platform on a napkin while attending a Pere Ubu concert. As he campaigned, Biafra wore campaign t-shirts from his opponent Quentin Kopp's previous campaign and at one point vacuumed leaves off the front lawn of another opponent, current U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, to mock her publicity stunt of sweeping streets in downtown San Francisco for a few hours. Supporters committed equally odd actions; two well known signs held by supporters said "If he doesn't win I'll kill myself" and "What if he does win?" His platform included unconventional points such as forcing businessmen to wear clown suits within city limits and a citywide ban on cars (although the latter point was not considered abnormal by many voters at the time, as the city was suffering from serious pollution problems). Biafra has expressed irritation that these parts of his platform attained such notoriety, preferring instead to be remembered for serious proposals such as legalizing squatting in vacant, tax-delinquent buildings and requiring police officers to keep their jobs by running for election voted on by the people of the neighborhoods they patrol. During a TV interview (reproduced on The Early Years home video and DVD), he had this to say to those who thought less of him running for mayor: “For those of them who have seen my candidacy as a publicity stunt or a joke, they should keep in mind that it is no more of a joke, and no less of a joke than anyone else they care to name.” He finished fourth out of a field of ten, receiving 3.5% of the vote (6,591 votes); the election ended in a runoff that did not involve him (Feinstein was declared the winner). In reaction to his campaign (and that of Sister Boom-Boom, a drag queen who also ran for mayor and handily won the third place spot above Biafra), San Francisco passed a resolution stating that no candidate could run under any name other than their given name.

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