Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Florida 2016 General Election Ballot: The Reckoning

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:

PRESIDENT

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.

SENATOR

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.

CONGRESS

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.

STATE LEGISLATURE

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.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

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.

SHERIFF

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.

SCHOOL BOARD

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.

STATE AMENDMENTS

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?


38 comments:

dinthebeast said...

I was just Googling around yesterday to see when they mail our ballots, and I think maybe they already have... We have prop 64 this year to legalize pot for recreational use, and I always love voting for Barbara Lee, and we have an open senate seat to replace the retiring Barbara Boxer where the choice is between two Democrats because our open primary system pits the top pair of vote getters against each other regardless of party and no Republican even got close to making the runoff...

-Doug in Oakland

MJC72 said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I just read how you voted and did EXACTLY the opposite. Very helpful.

Paul Wartenberg said...

So glad to be of assistance MJC72. I hope I can be as helpful when I warn you about riding on steamer ships through the North Atlantic during the Edwardian period.

Paul Wartenberg said...

And to the numbnuts who try to post insults to me under Anonymous, fuck you. If you're gonna waste everyone's time insulting me, have the balls to put a name to it.

Trailrider said...

I am not sure if you misunderstood no.1 or if I am. It reads, to me, that you should vote (yes) to allow people to own or lease solar equipment.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Trailrider, you need to look closer at the wording on Amendment 1.

While the amendment seems to encourage people to set up their own solar power systems, what it actually does is grant the state the authority to establish monopoly controls in the regional energy markets by allowing only certain equipment providers and funding sources. Meaning the local power companies like FPL and Duke Energy and others could prevent competition and set prices for their own solar equipment, as well as ignore pushing solar energy as an option.

You need to look at who's BACKING Amendment 1 (who profits from it): the list is headed by a PAC called https://ballotpedia.org/Consumers_for_Smart_Solar and that group is funded by Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power and Light, and Tampa Electric Company.

The Amendment 4 just passed this Summer - which provided tax exemptions for solar power - was a smarter amendment than this. This Amendment 1 is a bad amendment that needs to get denied.

Anonymous said...

Dockery is a self described Republican - vote Bill DeHart for PSWCD

Paul said...

While I've posted this one Anonymous leaving a "vote DeHart" message, that's because it's not offensive, derisive, or cowardly.

I've gotten a couple more Anonymous posting over the past few days as the readership for this article has exploded (thanks, everyone stopping by!), but they're all along the lines of "you suck" or "you liberal scum". And those I block out, because if you're gonna insult me or others, you better have the balls to put your name to it.

I've posted insulting comments, but I'll do it for people who SIGN THEIR WORK. At least they put a name to their sh-t.

JDG said...

Great post. As an absentee voter living across the country, this was helpful. I also supplemented this with some quick online research on these candidates. I agree for the most part with all of your recommendations. The only thing I was able to find on Supreme Court Justice Charles T. Canady is that he is endorsed by Donald Trump and is on a short list for his picks for supreme court. Does this change your decision?

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/222686-charles-canady-donald-trump

Paul Wartenberg said...

It is worrisome to have Canady tied in any way to the threat that is the Trumpsterfire. True, JDG.

Thing is, from whatever research I've done into the justices up for vote this election cycle, I haven't seen any unethical or illegal acts that would warrant removal from the bench. Canady is a hard conservative justice but that doesn't mean he's a bad jurist.

My concern is that removing ANY justice from their position is going to give Rick "No Ethics" Scott a chance to put in a crony who WILL be corrupt or worse on the bench. So, with that in mind, I'm not voting any of the justices out.

Anonymous said...

A reminder. We are part of a world, the majority of which considers women disposible/subservent pets. A women leader at this time will diminsh our place in this world. Don't really like Trump, but he will be respected/feared by many agressive countries/factions in our world. Think about it.....

Brett Upthagrove said...

Ok . . .the Soil and water board can do some great things. I chose all the members, we were going to run at the last minute and walk in by default. William Dehart, who seems to have a bad email address registered with the supervisor of elections has been impossible to find to invite him to the meetings. Brian Dockery was the person I asked to run for the soil and water board. He is a registered independent, his cousin is Paula Dockery and is a great guy and a great fund raiser, which is what our board needs. So I must, in good conscience disagree with you and say Brian Dockery is the BEST CHOICE. Your reasoning about Bill being an incumbent could be correct and if it is he was 1/5 the part that almost did away with the board.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Dear Anonymous:

A woman leader will not diminish anything. Go say that at Thatcher's gravesite, go say to the the current British PM May, go say that the German Chancellor Merkel.

Trump will not be respected at all: the foreign powers see him as an idiot above all and a disaster in the making. The only thing other nations fear is Trump's willingness to use nuclear weapons at the slightest provocation. That should terrify EVERYBODY into not voting Trump at all.

If you don't wanna vote for Hillary because of your dated sexism, so be it. But for the love of GOD don't confuse Trump's bullying as a means of getting global respect.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Hmm. Getting a bit of a tussle in the comments section over the Polk Soil and Water board.

Upthagrove is listed on Facebook and Google-Plus as a former vice chair of the Polk Democrats, and apparently he's currently with the Soil and Water board from what I can tell online. I am going to do a little more research into this to make sure I'm not getting wrong about all this, but there's really not a lot else online to find... QUICK TO THE ELECTIONS OFFICE FOR PAPERWORK FILINGS!

mvarde said...

Thanks for writing this- I was looking up info on the candidates for my absentee ballot and it was nice to find someone with my similar opinions to back up the other info I had found. Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This was most helpful as our views are similar.
Jen

Ginger Welch said...

Yes, me too.

Ginger Welch said...

I agree. It is worded to confuse.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe all the numnuts voting for Rubot but at least there'll be 2 of us voting against him!

For court of appeals I am voting against the 3 Scott appointees because even though he'd get to pick a successor, I'd love to see his face if the 3 he picked got tossed out on their cans!

Voting Berryman and Troutman for school board as they support charter schools the most.

Voting YES on the solar amendment, not for any love of the deviousness of the question or of the power companies, but I'm not convinced solar users shouldn't support the grid if they are connected to it in any way shape or form.

Voting YES for medical marijuana cause if I ever have cancer I'd like to have the option of using this rather than oxy-whatever.

Amendment 3 and 5 is a NO

Polk country 1/2 cent indigent health care is a YES

Paul Wartenberg said...

Another reason why I hate Anonymous as a commentator name (I can't turn off the option for it if I want comments to work this way) is that there ends up being different Anonymous posters I need to reply to.

Okay, so for the Anonymous using the Rubot insult: it's tempting to vote against the Scott appointees, but I dread the possibility of Scott picking someone even worse (which he might do if he looks at the political landscape and feels his toxic legacy is threatened).

I cannot vote Berryman or Troutman if they are pro-charter school. My personal experience with charters has been nasty, brutish and unwelcomed. Everything else I've seen of charter schools tells me the whole thing's a ripoff scam job.

Voting YES on the Solar Amendment will not bring us more solar power: it will give the utility companies too much monopoly control on it to make solar too expensive an alternative.

Unknown said...

Me too!!!

Paul said...

You're not helping, Unknown.

Harambe said...

Your immature and pathetic.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Oh no, it's Harambe! my entire blog is doomed by Harambe's withering critique!
...
The immaturity I accept. I have to be childish in a way if I'm still running around in a Jedi outfit and a lightsaber going "woosh woosh".

Vaughn Hopson said...

This was also helpful. Knowing it advocates liberals, made sure my votes were opposite. Thanks!

Jennifer Newlon said...

You're not good at grammar.

Jennifer Newlon said...

Nope. Number 1 allows energy companies to charge fees on people who own/use solar to make up for their lost profits under the guise of saying non-solar customers shouldn't "subsidize" those with solar panels. It's clever wording, but considering solar's already legal and companies like Duke Energy are behind it, the motive becomes clearer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks..great help along with other research for my absentee ballot.

Denada said...

Glad I ran across this blog. This was helpful, especially with the mosquito board. Your commentary on the Justices is the best I've found. All of the major Florida media outlets recommend retaining the Justices primarily on the strength of votes from the Florida Bar. You went a step further and provided a compelling reason, with historical context, for retaining them all. Thanks. I'll need to follow you in the future.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Jennifer: My grammar is all about the bass, bout that bass, no trouble.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Again, about Florida's Amendment 1:
All you need to do is look at who is BACKING that referendum. It is all the utility companies, not a single pro-environment or pro-solar energy group. If the utilities want it, it's because they can make obscene profits off it. So, on Amendment 1, vote NO.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Just saying, here is today's stat count for blog views:

United States 672
Germany 42
France 31
United Kingdom 12
Poland 10
Ireland 8
Canada 6
Ukraine 6
China 3
India 3

Almost all of that to this article.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING.
Tell your friends.
P.S. I'm still deleting at least two Anonymous troll posts a day. Stop trying, fools. Put your name to your insults.

Mandolin93 said...

Amendment one was intentionally made misleading. It is designed to give the monopolies the opportunity to inhibit the growth of solar energy use in the state. It will enable them to actually charge people with solar systems to give excess energy back to the grid through net metering. That additional energy should reduce everyone's costs not increase it.

Mandolin93 said...

Sorry, don't mean to be repetitive... But with regard to the judges that allowed for the deceptive wording of amendment 1 to be placed on the ballot...Vote against retaining the first three on the list of judges: Canady, Labarga and Polston all voted to keep the deceptive language on the ballot Amendment # 1.

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters a whole lot, but "extramarital affair" Gary Joiner is the son of the guy who's on the Pasco Mosquito Control board. Two different people.

Robin Barr said...

Oh well, was hoping for some words of wisdom on the Pasco Mosquito Board candidates, but you have no more info than I already was (not) able to find. Reading the rest of your blog, we seem to jell pretty well. So I'll stick with the incumbents. Thank you for your blog, it's good to know there are other left leaning voters here in the Sunshine State. I knew I'd be an outlier moving down from Maryland, but now I don't feel so all alone.
Yours from Never Trumpland,
Robin

Paul Wartenberg said...

Sorry about that, Robin. I've actually had this problem in the previous election cycles I've covered. Honestly, there's very little reporting on the candidates for the Mosquito Control Board that I can find and use for info here.

The real reason I include the election reporting on that is part of a gag back when I got more pro-active with this blogging. It was actually from the time I was hanging out at TNC's place on the Atlantic during the Open Thread At Noon gatherings, when I kept my fellow Lost Battalion Hordelings informed of the Florida election results. It didn't help that back in... was it 2012 or 2010?... one election cycle for the open seats was actually the most competitive race in town. There were yard signs EVERYWHERE. They had enough signs in front of the West Pasco Gov't Center to forge a barricade. I had photos of it. Lemme recheck my blog. Okay, it was 2010 http://noticeatrend.blogspot.com/2010/10/thing-that-made-me-smile.html and this is the article that has the photos of it http://noticeatrend.blogspot.com/2010/10/they-took-that-sign-down-nooooooooo.html

Jean Johnson said...

Paul, thanks for your reviews. I was sitting here staring at my mail-in ballot and was confounded by the choices and names that were not familiar to me. I read your recommendations and comments, researched some more, and agreed with your evaluations.
I've stuffed the privacy sleeve, glued the envelope, wrote my name, signed the envelope and dated it. Off it goes into the snail mail system.