Monthly Archives: August 2012

The (866) 540-3140 Mystery

Every day — every day! — for the last eight or so days I’ve been at home I’ve gotten a robo-call from an outfit that identifies itself as “Independent Voter Research.”

Every day — every day! — the robot asks me the same demographic questions (age, party, likely voter, race) and then asks me who I plan to vote for. Once I think it maybe also asked what I think of the President’s job performance. At the end of the short quiz, it gives a number at which ‘Independent Voter Research’ can be contacted: (866) 540-3140.

Something odd here. What kind of poll calls the same person every day? Is it looking for a different demographic, hoping the other registered voter will answer the phone? Is it some weird new type of tracking poll where they are looking to see if a given fixed population changes its views over time? Some unfathomable scam, looking for old folks to rip off? Some polling outfit ripping off some campaign? Some campaign with more money than sense?

After last night’s call, I’d had it. I called the number, and got a recording saying that they were sorry they had missed me, but were just calling to get my opinion; obviously a message for those with caller ID. Same thing again today.

So it seems that “Independent Voter Research” is not a group that really wants me to know about it. On to the internet, where they have no apparent web page. But looking up the number leads me to frantic discussions between Ron Paul supporters about a plot to get info about delegates in Virginia and elsewhere. More interestingly, it also leads me to a Rolling Stone article from Februay, Romney Camp Tapped Volunteers For Deceptive Polling Effort in Michigan in which I learn that the “Independent Voter Research” monicker and the same phone number were in fact used by the Romney campaign in a shady project in Michigan. But that project involved live callers; this one is a recording.

So, assuming this is a Romney project, what on earth do they stand to gain from robo-calling me daily?

Posted in 2012 Election | 21 Comments

The Case for Class Warfare

Rich Kids Of Instagram is the sort of thing that just might upset the proles.

Even a Forbes staffer is reacting strongly: “the hashtag #RKOI (rich kids of instagram, for the uninitiated) is making me feel murderous.” But her solution is just to hide the evidence: get rich kids to stop using social media!

Posted in Econ & Money | 6 Comments

I Voted

I voted today around 9am. I was the 15th voter in my precinct, which given that the polls had been open since 7am, and most voting happens in the first two hours, lunch hour, and the last two hours, does not suggest a real impressive turnout. But then again, my precinct is one in which there are relatively few partisan offices on the primary ballot this year, and basically none of those are likely to be close contests except maybe, can I dream?, the challenge to Erik Fresen in the GOP primary. Not that I have great hopes there.

I learned from the poll workers that they do a whole-day shift, from 5:30am setup to post-7pm close. That’s a long day.

Posted in Miami | 1 Comment

Downballot Recommendations for the Aug 14 Miami-Dade Primary

Figuring out who to vote for downballot is a lot of work. The judicial part is especially hard for voters — even for a lawyer like me who isn’t very plugged into the local scene.

My rule of thumb is to vote to re-elect incumbent Judges unless there is a strong reason not to. That bar is amply met in one race (vote FOR Diana Gonzales and against Pando); otherwise I’m voting for the incumbents. The more difficult cases are the open seats.

For Circuit Judge, that would be Groups 15, 47 & 49

In Group 15 I prefer Robert Coppel, a former PD with extensive trial experience; the other candidate sounds bad to me, not least for the endorsement by the Christian Family Coalition.

In Group 47, Alex Labora (MBA Wharton ’83; JD U.M. ’82) has a wide range of experience (he is also the husband of sitting Drug Court Judge Deborah White-Labora); Maria de Jesus Santovenia (JD U.Penn ’88) has been working as an assistant city attorney in Miami and North Miami Beach. The Herald prefers Santovenia. According to the Herald’s questionnaire she spent much more of her own money on the campaign, and also has more civic endorsements. They both seem like serious candidates. She’ll likely win, and I’m OK with that.

In Group 49 pits ex-Miami City Commissioner Victor De Yurre (JD St. Mary’s University School of Law [Texas] ; LL.M Tax, UM) against Teresa Mary Pooler (JD UM). Both are experienced lawyers; De Yurre has political and extensive civil law experience; Pooler has a criminal law background. On the other hand, De Yurre’s political career had extensive smoke (but no fire) when it came to corruption – he was investigated over and over … but always exonerated. The Herald prefers Pooler; the New Times points to De Yurre’s ownership of a troubled business. How you vote on this one probably depends on how you feel about De Yurre (or even if you remember him!). Pooler is not endorsed by the Christian Family Coalition, De Yurre is…so I guess it’s Pooler.

County Court

Group 1
Patricia Marino-Pedraza (incumbent). The CFC endorsed Marino-Pedraza, but I’m leaning to vote for her anyway. That said, I wasn’t impressed by Marino-Pedraza’s husband’s attempt to get her opponent, knocked off the ballot. And she has a relatively high (20%) of lawyers rating her unqualified.

Group 10
The CFC endorsed Diana Gonzales. (So did the Herald.) Vote for her anyway. Pando should go.

Group 20
Fleur Jeannine Lobree is the incumbent, and well-regarded.

Group 24
Andrea Wolfson is the incumbent. The CFC endorsed Wolfson, as did the Herald. Fellow lawyers rate her highly. Easy choice.

Group 27
Ivonne Cuesta (JD Nova ’01) vs. Jacci Suzan Seskin (UM ’02). The Herald endorsed Cuesta over Seskin, a nurse turned PD, citing Cuesta’s exprience of 75 trials. IMHO ten years since law school is on the light side for a judge, although we often settle for even less around here. On the other hand, Cuesta has been nominated for a judgeship four times by the Judicial Nominating Commission, which counts for something. And she has a higher rating from fellow lawyers. So Cuesta.

Group 28
Tanya Brinkley (JD UM ’95) vs. Enrique Yabor (JD “Ole Miss” ’99) (CFC endorsed). Herald-endorsed Brinkley has a wider experience, and impressive endorsements. She’s been nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission nine times (is that a record?) And she isn’t Yabor. No contest.

Group 33
Teretha Lundy Thomas (incumbent) (and the challenger is bad).

Group 40
Dan Cohen (incumbent)

My Downballot Palmcard
(clip and save!)

29 State Attorney: KF Rundle

Circuit Judges
79 David C. Miller (incumbent)
81 Robert Coppel
83-84 Pick ’em (Labora = 83; Santovenia =84)
86 Pooler
88 Marino-Pedraza (incumbent) (?)
89 Gonzales (!)

92 Lobree (incumbent)
95 Wolfson (incumbent)
96 Cuesta
98 Brinkley
101 Thomas
103 Cohn (incumbent)

Property Appraiser
106 Garcia

Pit Bulls
501 No

Posted in 2012 Election, Miami | 2 Comments

I’m Back (Herein of the Downballot in Tuesday’s Primary)

I’m back (temporarily). Almost half the messages on my answering machine were robocalls from the Gimenez for Mayor campaign.

I really pains me that I’m going to vote for this man, who seems very anti-worker, but the alternative is worse.

Similarly, I’m going to vote to re-elect Katherine Fernandez Rundle as State Attorney, despite being quite underwhelmed by the performance on public corruption cases over the years. But again, the alternative is worse.

I don’t get to vote against Erik Fresen, my local state rep (District 114), who has a contested Republican primary. This water-carrier for gambling interests does not deserve your vote if you have one in that primary.

I do get to vote against Senator Nelson if I want to, and I do, but the problem is that his opponent would be roadkill in the general election. So it’s probably Nelson or nothing.

I don’t get to vote in FL-26 congressional, but I’ll be rooting for Joe Garcia.

But then there’s the down ballot.

The Herald has endorsed Carlos Lopez-Cantera for property appraiser (perhaps because his wife works for the paper?), but Lopez-Cantera’s career in the state house and his chumminess with Rick Scott does not make me a fan. I think I’ll vote to keep the incumbent, Pedro Garcia.

This will probably get me hate mail, but I will vote No on 500 — which is a vote to retain the pit bull ban. Don’t like ’em, don’t think we need more of them.

Looking at the sample ballot for Tuesday, I see a ton of Democratic Party offices are up for election. First I’ve heard about it. How on earth do I get information about how to vote on these?

I may write up something about the judges tomorrow if I have the time. But in case I don’t, be sure to vote line 89, for Diana Gonzalez as Miami-Dade County Judge; this is vote to unseat Ana Maria Pando, who misused official letterhead to help a campaign contributor. In a poll of local attorneys, 60% (!!!) voted Judge Pando unqualified. 60%!

Posted in Miami | 2 Comments

Welcome, Paul Ryan

Here’s how the Obama campaign will welcome Paul Ryan:

As others have noted, Romney’s selection of Ryan is a gift to moderate and liberal Democrats: in the course of identifying why the Ryan-Romney budget plan would be so destructive, Democrats are likely to say things making a lame-duck ‘grand compromise’ (aka grand sellout) on social security and Medicare much less likely.

Posted in 2012 Election | Comments Off on Welcome, Paul Ryan