Category Archives: Politics: 2010 Election

Maybe This Works In California

… but I don't think this would work in Florida: Stay Jerry, My Friends

Not to mention that an ad like this about either Alex Sink or that crooked CEO bald guy, well, you just can't imagine it.

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 1 Comment

Pam Bondi Video

If the polls are to be believed, the state of Florida is gearing up to elect a dog-napper as its state Attorney General instead of Dan Gelber, the sane candidate endorsed by most newspapers in the state. In the hopes of heading this off, the state Democratic Party has prepared a short video about Pam Bondi and the St. Bernards: The Real Pam Bondi

The only vaguely hopeful part of this story is that suggestion that undecideds break the way of newspaper editorials in down-ticket races. But I'm not feeling confident that it will be enough.

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 3 Comments

Voting Guide

Miami-Dade county provides a service that allows you to see what your ballot looks like. Given our crazy-quilt administrative structure, and the plethora of ballot initiatives, local races, and local ballot questions, this is almost a necessity.

Here's some voting advice on the more generic items on the local ballot. The most exciting stuff is down-ballot, so be sure and read that part.

Senate: This is hard. If Charlie Crist could squeeze out Kendrick Meek, there might be a case for voting for the utterly unprincipled Crist in order to keep out the evil-principled Marco Rubio. But the squeeze, although it is happening, doesn't look like it is big enough (yet). Meek has a fervent Democratic base, and both Meek and Crist played chicken too long, attacking each other in the hopes one would break and start attacking Rubio.

I think I'm going to vote Meek, because only a near-certainty that it might hold off Rubio could persuade me to vote for Crist. But this is why I'm not voting early.

Congress (FL-18): Another tough choice. The Democratic candidate Rolando A. Banciella seems pretty unattractive to me. For example he believes “Social Security is not bankrupt, it is just mismanaged.” It is not bankrupt, true, but it's also one of the best managed agencies in government. He has promoted views on various local issues that have nothing to do with Congress. He believes in term limits for Congress. On the plus side he opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and would bring the troops home.

The incumbent, Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, is a hard-core Republican on pretty much everything except gay rights. She's a leader in the pro-Cuba embargo brigade, and Cuban revanchism generally.

I'm either not going to vote in this one, or vote for Banciella. It doesn't matter. He won't win.

(Of course if you live in FL-25 vote for Joe Garcia! And if you live FL-22 vote for Ron Klein. Both are good candidates running against bad people.)

Governor: Alex Sink is not my kind of Democrat. She's pretty far to the right of the Democratic party. She's sorta boring. But her opponent, mega-millionaire Rick Scott would be a total disaster. Vote for Sink and pray she wins (polls are very close on this one).

Attorney General: Dan Gelber would be a great Attorney General. Pam Bondi would make the Tea Party very happy. She's ahead.

Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Scott Maddox wants to make something of the job. He's trailing in the polls, but would be the best choice.

State Representative District 111. Incumbent Erik Fresen has voted with the bad guys in Tallahassee. Challenger Cristina Albright has run a spirited campaign and deserves your vote.

Non-partisan Judicial Retention Elections. Three Justices of the Florida Supreme Court and two Judges of the 3rd DCA face retention elections. They all deserve a “YES” vote to retain them.

State Constitutional Amendments

Amendment One

Repeal of Public Campaign Financing Requirement.

Proposing the repeal of the provision in the state constitution that requires public financing of campaigns of candidates for elective statewide office who agree to campaign spending limits.

VOTE NO.

A Yes vote here is a vote for more millionaires and billionaires running for office, as no one will have a hope of answering their domination of the airwaves. No thanks.

Amendment Two

Homestead Ad Valorem Tax Credit For Deployed Military Personnel

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require the Legislature to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption by law for members of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard who receive a homestead exemption and were deployed in the previous year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of military operations designated by the Legislature. The exempt amount will be based upon the number of days in the previous calendar year that the person was deployed on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of military operations designated by the Legislature. The amendment is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011

Vote how you like. This is a perfectly sensible policy idea, but one that has no place in the state constitution. I'm guessing it will pass. I'll probably vote against it on the grounds that state constitutions shouldn't be cluttered with stuff like this, although I'd certainly support it if it were legislation.

Amendment Four

Referenda Required For Adoption And Amendment Of Local Government Comprehensive Land Use Plans

Establishes that before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, the proposed plan or amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body and notice. Provides definitions.

The amendment’s impact on local government expenditures cannot be estimated precisely. Local governments will incur additional costs due to the requirement to conduct referenda in order to adopt comprehensive plans or amendments thereto. The amount of such costs depends upon the frequency, timing and method of the referenda, and includes the costs of ballot preparation, election administration, and associated expenses. The impact on state government expenditures will be insignificant.

Amendment Four has probably generated the most heat. Developers are fervently against it, and have predicted that the world as we know it will end if it passes. In particular, they argue (almost but not quite entirely unconvincingly) that it will create too many obstacles to even routine projects.

Supporters argue, much more convincingly, that too many localities are allowing too much development against the wishes of local citizens because developers are major campaign contributors. Certainly here in South Florida, that pretty much describes the situation. So if we're to have an Everglades, or any sensible development strategy, vote YES on Amendment 4. You can read more about why to vote yes at Eye on Miami.

Amendments Five and Six

Amendments Five and Six go together. They are about banning the pervasive gerrymandering that has turned a more or less 50/50 state into one with a permanent partisan majority. I think they may be the most important state constitutional amendments ever to go on the Florida ballot — certainly the most important since I moved here in 1992.

Amendment Five

Standards For Legislature To Follow In Legislative Redistricting

Legislative districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.

The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases beyond the number or complexity of cases which would have occurred in the amendment’s absence.

Amendment Six

Standards For Legislature To Follow In Congressional Redistricting

Congressional districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.

The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases beyond the number or complexity of cases which would have occurred in the amendment’s absence.

Gerrymandering has thoroughly undermined the representative nature of state government. These Amendments seek no less than to restore representative democracy to the State of Florida.

VOTE YES ON AMENDMENTS 5 & 6.

Amendment Eight

Revision Of The Class Size Requirements For Public Schools

The Florida Constitution currently limits the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in public school classrooms in the following grade groupings: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 18 students; for grades 4 through 8, 22 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 25 students. Under this amendment, the current limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in public school classrooms would become limits on the average number of students assigned per class to each teacher, by specified grade grouping, in each public school. This amendment also adopts new limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in an individual classroom as follows: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 21 students; for grades 4 through 8, 27 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 30 students. This amendment specifies that class size limits do not apply to virtual classes, requires the Legislature to provide sufficient funds to maintain the average number of students required by this amendment, and schedules these revisions to take effect upon approval by the electors of this state and to operate retroactively to the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

The Florida Legislature is not committed to public education. (See Gerrymandering above.) A few years ago the voters of Florida passed a class-size amendment designed to force the state to fund enough classrooms and teachers to keep class size down to a manageable size. The Republican establishment hated this, and has fought tooth and nail, year after year, to get out from the obligation to actually pay for schooling for people who can't afford private schools. Jeb Bush tried and tried to undermine it (see Democracy Be Damned: Fla Pols Won't Fund Small Classes for example).

Now the budget crunch seems to provide a chance to knock a piece of the stuffing out the proposal. Instead of capping class size, why not cap the average class size? Then a small AP class of ten can be balanced against that unfortunate general English class with fifty.

This amendment is really about just one thing: cutting state funding for education. Don't fall for it. VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 8.

Non-binding Resolution on Balancing the Federal Budget

A Nonbinding Referendum Calling for an Amendment to the United States Constitution

In order to stop the uncontrolled growth of our national debt and prevent excessive borrowing by the Federal Government, which threatens our economy and national security, should the United States Constitution be amended to require a balanced federal budget without raising taxes?

I have no idea how this even got on the ballot — I didn't know we could have non-binding resolutions in Florida. In any case, this is a brain-dead idea in multiple ways.

To take the simplest, if the US is involved in a war, Congress shouldn't be allowed either to raise or borrow money to defend us? So much for winning WW II.

Or if there's a second Great Depression, Congress shouldn't borrow the money to put the nation back to work, but just let people starve?

VOTE NO on this piece of agitprop.

Home Rule Charter Amendment

Home Rule Charter Amendment Regarding County Commissioner and Administrative Staff Communications

Shall the Charter be amended to allow the County Commissioners to communicate with and ask questions of the County administrative services to assist with the performance of their duties as County Commissioners by removing the Charter requirement that Commissioners shall deal with the administrative service solely through the County Mayor or his or her designee?

I feel least well informed about this one. The Herald thinks it's a bad idea, and so — emphatically — do the very sharp folks at Eye On Miami. In Voter Alert! Vote NO on the local Miami Dade Charter Amendment. By Geniusofdespair they write:

Keeping the commissioners from talking directly to staff is a GOOD thing. They tend to browbeat staff … . The Miami-Dade Home Rule Charter affords staff a little protection by requiring the commissioners to communicate through the Mayor's office. This amendment is a commission POWER GRAB trying to gut the charter provision!!

OK, I'm convinced: Vote NO on the Charter Amendment

Posted in Miami, Politics: 2010 Election | 12 Comments

Is This the Best Political Ad This Year?

Jerry Brown (D) casts Meg Whitman (R) as an echo of roundly disliked California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Could this be the best ad of this election?

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 1 Comment

Not a Witch. And Not a Constitutional Scholar.

Wow.

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 4 Comments

My That Shirt Is Looking Brown Today

One of the things that is worrisome about movements like the 'Tea Party' is the potential for fascism. That's not to say fascism is part of the ideology, or an inevitable consequence of it, but there's a certain fellow-traveler feeling that is hard to ignore. Here's an example relating to the Tea Partyiod GOP candidate for Senate in Alaska: Miller security guards handcuff editor. Note that the guys imprisoning the reporter/editor are private security, not cops.

And from Florida (via Political Animal), where Florida congressional candidate Allen West (R) is running his nutty (and very successful) campaign against the estimable Ron Klein:

NBC News ran a report documenting West's background associating with a violent gang of criminals, which the Justice Department believes is involved in drug running, arson, prostitution, robbery, and murder.

Yesterday, things managed to get even worse, still. West spoke at a public park in the South Florida district, and a 23-year-old videographer was on hand to record the candidate's remarks, which is hardly an unusual modern campaign practice. But things got ugly when West's gang allies were caught on tape harassing and threatening the Democratic staffer.

As the local NBC affiliate noted, “Threats can be heard on the video tape. The West supporters forced him to get back into his car.”

The threats worked — the Democratic party decided to take “videographer off the campaign trail altogether yesterday” because they felt they couldn't protect him.

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 16 Comments

Demcrats With Tough Ads

I tend to like tough Democratic ads, especially if they deliver the shiv with a gentle touch. I think this Joe Sestack ad (PA-Sen) hits the spot:

… but will voters agree, or will some be offended?

On the other hand, I suspect this Jack Conway ad (KY-Sen) will work for it intended audience, although it doesn't work as well for me:

Conversely, this Solomon Ortiz ad (TX-) has a good concept, but I don't think the execution is all it could be (especially as it stomps on the last point, which suggests the opponent could be a big target):

Posted in Politics: 2010 Election | 1 Comment