Broke-Ass City: Independent media is more valuable to society than potato salad 

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Crowdfunding is exhausting. I’m at the tail end of my very first Indiegogo campaign and the only thing I can think is: “I can’t wait for this to be over.”

All I’ve been doing every day for weeks is calling, messaging, emailing and close-talking with friends, family members, acquaintances and strangers, all in the name of raising money.

My site,, has been a major Bay Area arts and culture destination since 2009. We cover things like bars, restaurants and music, while also focusing on more important things like renters’ rights and living in a tiny apartment with a new baby. And, of course, we sprinkle poop jokes in there because everybody needs poop jokes.

With something like 17,000 Facebook fans and 16,000 Twitter followers, I thought hitting my goal of $30,000 would be easy. If only 1,200 of those people gave $25 each then I would raise that money in no time. Plus, with the recent closures of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and The Bold Italic, I thought people would wake up and realize the value of independent media.

As of this writing Tuesday morning, $16,000 was raised with three days left in the campaign. I still have a very long way to go.

So why am I writing about this in The San Francisco Examiner and how does this relate to The City? Well, I would obviously like you to donate, but my predicament also epitomizes San Francisco right now. How? Because of potato salad. Allow me to elaborate.

All of you probably heard about the guy who raised $55,492 on Kickstarter to fund a potato salad. It made all the news circuits and was chuckled about around the modern equivalent of a water cooler. That said, it’s the crowdfunding equivalent of a 25-year-old wearing a “World’s Coolest Grandpa” shirt. We’ve gotten to the point where irony is literally worth more than sincerity and hard work.

As I type this, both Root Division (a nonprofit that gives artists discounted studio space in exchange for working in the community) and 48 Hills (San Francisco’s only independent, nonprofit progressive news source) are crowdfunding so they can stay alive. It is ridiculous that organizations that are so integral in making San Francisco a special place have to continually ask for money when an app like Yo gets millions of dollars in funding for basically wearing a “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” shirt.

The other day, my girlfriend was filming me giving a heartfelt thank you to the people who have supported my campaign so far. We were standing outside of the Flying Pig Bistro and a guy interrupted and said, “You’re Broke-Ass Stuart?!? My name is Robert Louthan and I just donated $100 to your campaign today!”

It turns out Robert is a native San Franciscan, an artist, and someone for whom $100 is a lot of money. It absolutely made my day to hear how much he believed in what I’m doing, and it also solidified a trend I’ve been noticing. San Francisco has something like the third-highest density of millionaires of any U.S. city, yet it’s the people like Robert who are consistently donating money.

I can even think of a few personal friends of mine who are millionaires but have yet to give a single penny. To say it’s disappointing is an understatement.

So here’s the thing: If you’ve been upset at all over the past few years about the direction San Francisco is headed, then donate money to someplace that is trying to keep this city amazing. Give it to Root Division or to 48 Hills. Or donate to me by Googling “Broke-Ass Stuart Indiegogo,” since by the time this publishes we will have only one day left.

Just stop funding stupid shit. Potato salad isn’t even an entree.

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in The San Francisco Examiner.

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