Didya Vote?

The polls have closed in the East so I figure it’s safe to tell you how I voted as opposed to telling you over and over how you ought to vote. We have to whisper, though.

I voted for the old white guy instead of the young black guy or the other old white guys or all the other guys.

I know, I know, I said I was going to vote for Paris Hilton. And I did engender a brief flurry of interest in the Pick Dick campaign. I thought about Jimmy Buffett but his running mate never made the news. I would have voted for his uncle but he was never really a candidate.

Down here by the southernmost point in these semi-United States our ballots had 14 bona fide offices contested plus six judges up for retention. We also decided on six amendments to the state constitution, numbered 1 through 8. It’s Florida. Go figure.

I didn’t count how many candidates there were in total but 13 people wanted my vote for President. We have now elected a Congress critter, a state attorney, a state representative, a Sheriff, a property appraiser, the superintendent of schools I wrote about earlier, the supervisor of elections, three county commissioners, and two members of the mosquito control board.

The Mosquito Control Board is a big deal here simply because mosquitoes are. Here, that is. The Board controls about a gazillion dollar budget but no longer flies the old fleet of DC3s at treetop level to scare the mosquitoes to death. Now they drive around spraying from little pickup trucks and fly helicopters lower than Homeland Security. I did not vote for the candidate who was in jail at the time of the election. Joan Lord-Papy was one of three votes I cast for an incumbent.

Mostly I took my own advice to “Throw Da Bums Out.” The other two office holders I voted for were Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Property Appraiser Ervin Higgs, a Democrat. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen ran a reasonably clean campaign (a serious rarity in South Florida politics where the Diaz-Balart brothers, Raul Martinez, and Joe Garcia alone refilled Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades with mud). She may also be the only Republican who retains a seat in Congress this year if my vote has anything to say about it.

Unfortunately, every Democrat running will be returned to office, too.

The negatives were huge on both sides of the State’s Attorney contest so I held my nose and voted for the challenger.

State Rep. Ron Saunders will continue as the Keys representative. It’s nice that he seems like another of the good guys because Republican challenger Ernie Hernandez withdrew from the race in September. Hernandez was a mystery. He did not talk to reporters, attend candidate forums, or gladhand anywhere. His name remained on the ballots printed before he withdrew. The Elections Office will not count votes for Hernandez.

The Sheriff’s Office was an open seat but one candidate has served in that department for 27 years, is currently a Captain there, and got the retiring Sheriff’s endorsement. That’s as close to incumbency as it gets. I voted for the DEA guy.

Two of the three County Commission seats were open so I voted for one Republican, one Democrat, and one NPA. I figure party politics has no business on a Town. City, or County board. The Democrat I chose, Heather Carruthers, runs a “we are not gay” guest house for women only. She got hammered unfairly for that in the campaign. She has also taken the lead in reining in Citizens Insurance, the insurer of last resort who carries my hurricane insurance here at great cost to me. She seems like one of the good guys.

I’ve had trouble finding anything about the judges on the ballot. The Florida bar said their lawyers “overwhelmingly recommend” retaining all those on the ballot. Here’s how they define “overwhelmingly”: A secret ballot was mailed in August to 62,779 lawyers residing and practicing in Florida (the Bar has more than 84,000 members–I don’t know what happened to the other 21,000-odd lawyers). 4,132 lawyers participated in the poll. Yeppers, I’m overwhelmed alright.

The anti-abortion crowd asked, How does Justice Wells vote on pro-life issues? The anti-abortion crowd is, as usual, off base. He’s not a U.S. Supreme Court Justice so his position prolly doesn’t matter. More important in all the retention choices is how closely to the law did the judges hew and how well did they manage their courtrooms.

The spouse of circuit judge candidate Tegan Slaton is Public Defender Rosemary Enright; that requires him to recuse himself from cases defended by the P.D.’s office. I hated to vote against Mr. Slaton because he was the better candidate on paper, but his inability to hear the majority of criminal and juvenile delinquency cases took him out of the running.

In addition to wanting term limits for elected officials, I disapprove of changing a constitution every time the wind blows. Two amendments are life-changing.

Fortunately, Constitutional amendments need 60% support to pass.

Number 1 asks to delete the provisions that allow the Legislature to prohibit ownership of real property by aliens who cannot become citizens. In 1926, that meant Chinese immigrants. 80 years later, alien means anyone who remains a citizen of some other country.

You already know what I think of Defense of Marriage amendments. I expect Number 2 to fail here in Monroe County but this is red state Florida and it has a lot of advertising oomph around the state. The amendment failed to get enough signatures to make it to the 2006 ballot but the supporters pushed it on this year. It’s a bad amendment because it segregates citizens and because it will cost a fortune to defend.

That’s the only citizen-sponsored amendment on the ballot–the others are housekeeping, put there by the Legislature and a tax commission to “clean up” language that governs how properties are assessed: a couple of current use tax exemptions, 15 cents on the property tax to pay for the air ambulance, and the penn(ies) on the sales tax for community colleges. I apologize, but I did vote for allowing assessments based on current use. I voted against all the others.

Back to the old white guy.

<sotto voce> Denny Crane </sotto voce>, of course.

Unfortunately, the election is over. We all lost.

2 thoughts on “Didya Vote?

  1. Congratulations to Barack Obama. His election will bring a welcome change to our language. See, these United States are not allowed to have a foreigner as President. That means President-elect Obama can no longer be an “African American.”

    Now he has to be, simply, an American.

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