00.37.41 - Mark
Normally I only rant about national politics, but in the upcoming elections I'm really focused on the local races. My experience has always been that local elections suck. Low turn outs and few races, but for some reason what would normally be a pretty quiet low turn out local election has become a furious wave of ignorance and lies (and a fair bit of namecalling). If you're willing to stretch the truth it's almost as entertaining as a Californian gubernatorial race. We might not have a stripper, but one of the candidates is a belly dancer.
Like California's races, majority of the six candidates for the three city council seats are so ignorant of what their powers would be that it's downright scary, and the few that seem to have a clue about what is involved in city government are proposing ideas that are either totally dangerous dangerous, or your average political promise of change to gain a few votes.
One candidate has proposed closing down a water plant when our surplus of water (even in the current drought conditions) is one of the city's strongest economic selling points, while another (the only incumbent) is proposing an economic development czar, someone who would likely just wine and dine potential employers, when we already have a competent economic development partnership.
At the candidates forum a few weeks ago, many of these potential leaders were under prepared, from not knowing what roles council members play in relation to other boards and commissions receiving city funding. All but one (who lost in a primary election a week later) didn't have any idea about a referendum that would appear on the same ballot they would (those comments boiled down to "I support schools" and "I don't support taxes").
The only thing more frighting than the politicians are the supporters. While it's a little hard to get good information out of either local newspaper, the blog that the Surry Messenger is running makes for some amusing comments, from allegations that candidate A is incapable of working, to regular comments that voting for candidate C is a vote for business as usual. They're demanding the city being in jobs, water prices get reduced, cancer be cured and world piece established. The citizens, just like the candidates have no idea where limit of the government lies. City councilmen don't author the budget, they don't bring in businesses, they don't have much say in big projects. They make formal proclamations and approve rezoning requests (after being advised by the city manager). Their big decisions are about what bagels to order or who makes the first closing remark at the biweekly meeting.
If these supporters put a fraction of the effort they're exerting to elect so-so candidates towards effecting actual change it wouldn't matter if a dog was elected. I'm fairly convinced that Government doesn't solve problems, people solve problems.
As If I Really Forgot...
20.19.31 - Mark
I've got the democratic presidential debate on the TV right now. As anxious as I am to get Bush out of office, watching this political jockeying feels like watching a slow motion train wreak. I mean we've already had people announce and drop out, and as pointed out above we're seeing presidential debates 18 months before the election - and like all politicians they're doing a splendid job of not saying anything. The only thing I'm learning from this is that right now I really don't want to vote for any of the candidates, even if I do like and agree with what they have to say.
By the time the actual election comes around we're going to be tired of this batch of f**king jokers that no one will want them sticking around for 4 to 8 years. It's a shame that there's no way to stop this whole BS engine and put it on pause for 6 months or so.
01.36.17 - Mark
Today is election day. I'm honestly not looking forward to it but I've finished researching the canidates that I can/are worth while. Aside from the local paper being almost entirely offline tonight and the local gov site making it a pain to find the sample ballots (for some reason they choose to develop a flash based website in a county where majority of users are lower income families and dialup is common). Even if I can't get my head around voting for judges, I think I've made OK decisions there.
I know I'll complain about elected officials and the like when they are actually in office, but it stikes me that one of the main reasons people may be discouraged from voting (at least for canidates and not party tickets) is that its near impossible to tell candidates apart. 99% of the sites and ads I've seen all boil down to the same 3 second blurbs. I support family values, I'm a strong leader, I care about the community, blah, blah, blah. I don't want to hear what some campaign advisor says will get votes, I care about issues and candidate viewpoints.
I despise my current congress critter Virginia Foxx because in every correspondace I've had with her she keeps backing the Republican lines about securing our borders and fighting terrorism. Not only am I more likely to get killed by drowning in a supersized soda than I am in a terrorist attack, I'm not willing to sacrifice my personal freedoms and rights for her so called security. Then again I'm not big on the idea of fencing in the United States either. If a candidate tells, or better yet shows me that they care about those or even similar issues I'll give them my vote (and happened at least once when I was researching the candidates)
I wish more people would vote and vote wisely. Unfortunatly, its too complex, too uninformed, and most of all, too fake.
My name is Mark Welker, and I approve this message.