Taking Part in Our City

Below is an email I sent to the Mattermark team earlier today. I thought it would be good to share with a broader audience, as I hope all San Francisco residents will register to vote and exercise their right to vote in the coming election.

By Andy Sparks, Co-Founder & COO of Mattermark

Mattermark Team,

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the Bay Area, you have experienced our city’s growing pains first hand. You’ve experienced the absurd rent prices, the gentrification, and the countless conversations about the technology industry’s hand in this whole mess. As I sat in the airport last week, I read an article on The Bold Italic titled “An Open Letter to Anyone Moving to San Francisco for a Tech Job.” The author, Dan Moore, pointed out how so many of us, in the technology industry, live in this city passively. I encourage you to read it and make up your mind.

For me, this article was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve been guilty of not using public transit enough (I BART to and from work almost every day now), not getting involved in my community, and I also haven’t voted every year I’ve been here (I did last year). More than anything though, I am deeply guilty of sitting on the sideline airing my frustrations over rent prices and tech-directed hate without actually doing anything to fix the problems we face.

There is a myriad of opportunities to get involved and make San Francisco a better place, but one of the most important ways is to exercise our right to vote. While I don’t agree, I understand how it’s easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter in national elections. In November of 2014, 231,214 people turned out to vote in San Francisco. That means only a little more than 2,000 people can move the needle by a whole percentage point. Our votes matter a lot in this city.

I’m not asking you to vote one way or the other, but I am begging you to please register to vote. In accordance with California Elections Code 14000, “Voters may take time off at the beginning or end of a shift to allow for sufficient time to vote, with up to two hours of that time being with pay.”

San Francisco residents can register to vote here. Election day is a month away, so if you need to renew or get a CA Driver’s License, you should make an appointment at the DMV now!

Additionally, I recommend each of you research what you’re voting for using the City & County of San Francisco’s Department of Elections’ website.

Originally published on Mattermark’s blog on October 1, 2015.

Published in The Daily

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