Update: by the by, if you try to leave a Comment below there are some rules. 1) Be respectful of other people leaving comments. If you wanna insult ME, fine. I went to Tarpon Springs Middle School, I've heard worse (and in Greek); 2) If you're going to leave insults, be honest and put your name to it. Anybody hiding behind an Anonymous login and trying to sh-t on me or anybody else gets those comments blocked. Have the balls to sign your work, people.
Revision to the Update (10/22): The stat tracker for the blogsite is telling me traffic on this article is coming in from a lot of new places. So to the viewers from China, Germany, France, Brazil, and this small dot in the middle of Central America, I wanna say to you "Hola" and/or "Opa" however that works, oh and uh please buy my books...! (quick, what's Chinese for "ow stop hitting me"?)
P.S. Where's Japan? I'm missing Japan. I got a sh-t ton of readers from Japan back in 2014's ballot article... :(
Addendum to the Revision of the Update (10/27): For Polk County residents only, I missed a half-penny tax Referendum. It's to help fund health care for indigent (poor) residents in the county, which covers a lot of disabled, elderly, and kids. It's a 25-year extension of an existing half-penny tax, so it's not like this will become an additional burden. It's geared towards those who need it the most, and it's not even a full penny on what you're buying anyway. I'd vote YES.
Just to note that we're pretty much a month away from arguably the most important general election our nation has faced since 1932.
So it's about time for the sample ballots for the various election boards - in Florida, that's at the County level - to show up.
Here's the one for where I live in Polk County.
If we go from top to bottom, both sides of the ballot (DON'T FORGET THAT, PEOPLE), we need to vote for:
You can argue about the merits of the Third Party choices or even the Write-In blank line, but this all boils down to two choices:
Republican candidate Donald Trump (and running mate Mike Pence) or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (and running mate Tim Kaine).
I think I have spelled out on multiple occasions why you SHOULD NOT EVER vote for Trump. I should point out the positive reasons for voting for Hillary - A) she's not Trump, B) she's experienced as a Senator and Secretary of State, C) SHE'S NOT TRUMP, D) many of the "scandals" pinned to her are exaggerated fabrications of a Far Right mudslinging operation that's been in play since 1992(!) that's right 25 years of this shit and her enemies still haven't charged her for any of the crimes she's been accused of which should tell you how fake they are, and E) what part of DEAR JESUS PLEASE DON'T VOTE FOR THAT DAMN CON ARTIST TRUMP are you not getting?
Look, if you think you have valid reasons for voting for Trump, I doubt I will dissuade you. But just remember that you're getting all the bad shit with Trump including the open racism, the open sexism, the outright bad business deals, the lack of empathy, his inability to respect others, his gleeful disdain for our foreign allies, and his utter ignorance. Even one of those bad traits should disqualify him for Pasco Mosquito Control Board, for God's sake.
Against all of that, whatever sins you think of Hillary - and those sins, again, are mostly false accusations from those who profit by railing against her - they are nothing compared to the sins of Donald Trump.
Just please, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, for the sake of the entire universe, Do Not Vote Trump. If you're voting Hillary like me, fine. If you're voting Johnson or Stein, fine. If you're writing in Beyonce on the Write-In line (she qualifies as 35 years old by Inauguration Day), fine. Just Please Do Not Vote Trump.
Here in Florida the race has a lot of candidates but again it boils down to the two major party choices:
Republican Marco Rubio vs. Democrat Pat Murphy.
The polling here is actually painful for me because Rubio is polling well. This is in spite of the fact that Rubio has the worst attendance record of any current Senator. He has no voting record or successful agenda to call his own. His disdain for the job is a matter of public record. The guy has a bad history of using Other People's Money via credit card abuses. And yet he's really only running for re-election because it boosts his hopes for a 2020 Presidential run.
If you have to vote for Murphy, it's because he'll most likely serve as a middle-of-the-road, maybe-Left-leaning Democrat along the lines of sitting Senator Bill Nelson. Murphy's biggest scandal to date is an embellished resume that doesn't help him win over undecided voters.
I have to admit this is a case - moreso than the President race because there I have respect for Hillary and am voting for her for positive reasons - where I am voting more AGAINST Rubio than voting FOR Murphy. But that's how this one rolls for me.
I'm just basically doing what I can to end Republican control of the Senate because A) they have been disastrous running both houses of Congress, B) their blocking of legitimate SCOTUS nominee Garland is an offense to the Constitution and the nation at large, C) their disdain for effective foreign policy handling during Obama's tenure deserves the greatest rebuke possible.
I think I've shown a bias for Democrats and against Republicans, and I'll give you three good reasons:
1) They're incompetent idiots;
2) They're obstructionist idiots;
3) They really need to answer for their idiocy.
So, wherever you are if it's in Florida or even outside of this state or even voting overseas with absentee ballots for your primary homestead back here stateside, just do us all a favor and don't vote Republican. Just don't.
For me, that's District 17 (I think). That makes it a choice between Republican Tom Rooney, Democrat April Freeman, and Independent John Sawyer. Just to note Rooney is descended from the owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers so as a Bucs fan I oppose him on that principle, but he's also someone who openly attacked people without direct evidence for questionable associations with Middle East groups. I am seriously opposing him for that. So I'm voting for April Freeman, who's campaigning on the standard Democratic platform of improving education, improving veteran care, and protecting Social Security.
As for the rest of you across the state, if you're in District 13 PLEASE VOTE CRIST. If you're in District 12, just kick Gus Bilirakis out, damn bastard has been sitting there for ages and took over from his dad from the 1980s and 1990s, so screw that whole dynastic thing. I mean, c'mon people, bring some fresh blood and ideas into the office once in awhile... Basically for all 27 Congressional districts, no Republicans. Flush 'em out. Thank you.
Yeah, still saying PLEASE DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN at any level. The Party just needs to burn itself down without taking the rest of us with it.
Yeah, it's partisan elections at this level as well. Again, depending on your county here in Florida or in other states, just... honestly, unless the Democrat is a total crook legitimately worse than the Republican - I'm talking where the Democrat is an outright horse thief and the Republican is a pro-choice Presbyterian schoolteacher who volunteers at the local dog shelter to raise puppies - okay just don't vote Republican. So here in Polk County there's a vote for County Commissioner District 5, with Democrat Carol Castagnero to support.
JUSTICE / DISTRICT RETENTION
Here in Florida we vote to retain the State Court Justices and the Appellate district judges with a simple Yes/No. For the most part this is uncontroversial stuff unless there's a judge who's been acting improper to the point of disbarment, and that's been rare. The only time in my recent memory where this was an issue was when Rick "No Ethics" Scott tried to actively campaign on the removal of sitting Justices so he could then appoint his cronies as replacements. It was so out-of-norm that the Florida Bar openly campaigned for the judges for the first time ever, and thankfully the Justices were retained. On that matter, with Scott still sitting as Governor, we DARE NOT vote any Justices out. On the bright side I haven't heard of any of the judges needing removal, so that's all good. So vote YES across the board on retaining the judges.
Here in Polk County, there's just one name running - Grady Judd. You might know him from some of the nation's more high-profile ethical dilemmas of cop shootings - where he defended the killing of a cop killer by noting "that's all the bullets we had" - but he's also one of those county sheriffs who plays to the media for all its worth. The locals find him "colorful." He's not as bad as some of the other show-off sheriffs in the country, but you gotta worry... There's a write-in spot I think, but let's face it Judd's not going anywhere.
This is where people need to pay more attention. It affects us at the local level and these positions have a lot of power over our kids and families in terms of delivering improvement to our educational needs.
On my ballot there's two seats open, District 1 and District 4. Regarding District 1, the race is between incumbent Hunt Berryman and Billy Townsend. Townsend is with a local activist group that from what I'm reading is pushing for genuine reforms. I'm leaning on giving Townsend a chance at the office since Berryman's tenure has not produced results. For District 4, the choices are Becky Troutman and Sara Reynolds. I'm looking at their respective biographies and while I'm a little concerned about their political ties, at least Troutman has some teaching experience in special education that makes me think she'll be more sympathetic to related issues.
POLK SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
This is an elected position, and the nominees are William "Bill" DeHart and Brian Dockery. There's very little online or in the news about either person, which is a bit troubling. I am finding DeHart's name associated with previous Soil and Water board elections which may make him an incumbent. Thing is, what I'm reading is that the board is non-salaried with little or no authority, and was facing elimination by the state because it hadn't met in years (!) so I'm not even sure if this will have any effect on our region's environmental needs. For the heck of it, I'll probably vote for DeHart.
Been there, covered it. Basically, VOTE YES ON 2 for Medical Marijuana, VOTE NO ON 1 against the Energy Corporation Monopoly on Solar Power, and vote your conscience on the tax exemptions for items 3 and 5.
And for those of you who pine for any word on the PASCO COUNTY MOSQUITO CONTROL BOARD, here's what I got:
There's two districts, with Seat 1 contested by Sandra "Sandy" Applefield and Jerry Wells and Seat 3 contested by Shanon Holm and Gary "Buck" Joiner. I miss seeing the "Skeeter" guy running, unless he's already on one of the other seats. Anyway, Joiner's got a scandal wrapped around his reputation so there's that. His opponent Holm has been a regular campaigner for a seat on the board, but his rep as a fiscal conservative makes me worry he's going to shred an otherwise small-budget office. The final thing here is how Mike Fasano - local Republican political boss and actually a guy I've met several times and yes he's one of the few Republicans I respect - is leaning towards Joiner... so I kinda gotta go with Fasano's suggestion. As for Seat 1, Applefield is the incumbent and Wells I think has run earlier challenges. I'm not finding anything about either candidate otherwsie. Unless somebody knows of any scandalous behavior with the sitting board members - like say they allied themselves WITH the mosquitoes to destroy Port Richey or something - I don't see the harm in keeping Applefield in office.
So, that's what I got, Floridians. Basically, NO REPUBLICANS from Trump on down to County Commissioners. YES Hillary if you're so inclined, just NO TRUMP ever. YES Murphy if you're so inclined, just NO "No-Show" RUBIO. YES on Crist if you're in that district. YES on Freeman if you're in my district. Suck it Yoho, and suck it Bilirakis. Vote YES on all the judges. Vote for reformists at the School Board elections if you can find them. Vote NO ON 1 and VOTE YES ON 2. Look both ways before crossing the street. Don't run around the house with scissors in your hand. Don't tug on Superman's cape, don't spit into... what?