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Who to Vote For in the November Election

October 17, 2012

For me, the top of the ballot is a no-brainer:  Barack Obama deserves re-election.  I have previously stated my reasons for supporting the President, and last night’s debate confirmed my view that Mitt Romney is a snake-oil peddler who will say absolutely anything to make the sale and constantly changes his line depending on the audience.  The bottom line is that Romney’s economic prescriptions (about which he never actually reveals any details) would not produce anything resembling a balanced budget, would protect and expand the unfair advantages enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans, and would eviscerate the social safety net built up over the last eight decades.  We know that the Republican agenda is to cripple and eventually dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  As Obama pointed out last night, the Romney/Ryan program is the George W. Bush program with a mean streak.  And besides, Romney is just such a prick!

But that’s just the beginning of a very long and complicated ballot.  If you’re voting in person, you really need to be prepared before facing the bewildering array of questions on this ballot.  It’s really ridiculous!

The next question is the Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Connie Mack IV (whose real name is Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV).  Apparently about half of Mack’s supporters are under the illusion that they would be voting for his father, former Senator Connie Mack III.  In my book, Nelson’s voting record is generally mainstream Democrat, while Mack’s positions veer off into Tea Party craziness.  Nelson deserves re-election.

Then come the three questions on retention of Florida Supreme Court Justices R. Fred Lewis, Barbara J. Pariente, and Peggy A. Quince.  If you don’t want to give Rick Scott total control of the state supreme court, you need to vote YES on all three.  Everything I have read tells me that all of them are stand-up justices who deserve to remain on the court.  See here and here.

Next are the questions regarding retention of District Court of Appeal judges.  Again, vote YES to retain all of them.  See here and here.

Then on my ballot is a run-off for County Judge, Group 24 between Greer Elaine Wallace and Andrea R. Wolfson.  It’s not easy to get a lot of information to make a decision on these judicial races, but in this case a compelling factor for me is that Wolfson has accepted the endorsement of the odious anti-gay Christian Family Coalition.  As a gay man, that’s a huge red flag for me, and I urge all gay voters and fair-minded straight voters to vote for Wallace.

And that’s just the first page in a 9-page ballot!  Next come the full texts of no less than 12 proposed state constitutional amendments, and there is no explanatory synopsis to tell you what you’re actually voting for.  Some of them are quite insidious.  Discourse.net has a very helpful analysis.   Amendment 1 is a Republican attempt to nullify the Afforable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).  Amendment 3 is a “starve the beast” measure to limit growth of state revenue.  Amendment 4 is another one, but worse.   It’s intended to kill local government services by choking off revenue, but presented in the guise of helping homeowners avoid property tax increases.  Amendment 5 is basically about giving the legislature the means to intimidate judges.  Amendment 6 would prohibit public funding of abortion (which doesn’t happen anyway) but also exempts abortion from privacy protections under the state constitution.  Amendment 8 would undermine separation of church and state by removing the prohibition against using public funding for support of religious institutions—it’s also an indirect attack on public schools.  Even the few that have some merit would be better handled by ordinary legislation.  Bottom line:  Vote NO on all of them.

Then comes the Miami-Dade school bond question which would authorize issuing $1.2 billion in bonds for public schools.  I’m generally supportive of better funding for schools even if it might mean a slight property tax increase.  So I think this one deserves support.

Then there are various proposed Miami-Dade charter amendments.  (I know, eyes are probably glazing over by now, but stick with me!  Some of these are actually important.)  Here’s the Miami Herald’s editorial opinion on these questions, which makes sense to me.   The third question regarding the Urban Development Boundary looks particularly important.  So YES on all of them except the fourth one (new incorporated cities) and the seventh (county procurement)—NO on those two.

Okay, almost done now.  Then there’s a county question on expanding the tennis center in Crandon Park on Key Biscayne using non-public funds.  I don’t really see the harm here, so YES on this one.

Finally, there are “non-binding” straw polls on improving animal services and “Contracting with Companies Doing Business with State Sponsors of Terrorism”.  I’m not sure there is a need for the first, and the second is just silly and aimed at companies that want to do business in Cuba.  So I’m inclined to say NO on both.

Phew, that’s it!!

One more thing:  Vote for Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Congress in District 23, and for heaven’s sake vote for Joe Garcia against David Rivera in District 26.

For another opinion that I respect on this election, see the Eye on Miami post here.

12 Comments
  1. Kelly permalink

    I just wanted to making a comment on the animal services question. Miami Dade Animal Services is gravely underfunded, so much so that they are not always able to provide adequate care for the huge number of animals that go through animal services every day. Due to this gross lack of funds, animal services definitely needs more funding so as to improve their care of the animals.

  2. Ingrid permalink

    I agree with Kelly. I think it would be in your best interest to do more research on the animal services question. I believe you should vote YES on 240 to stop the killing of 20,000 cats and dogs in Miami-Dade. I’ve also included a link to an article that talks more in depth about our animal over population situation in our area. Please reconsider your position on this.

    http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Animal-Lovers-Show-Up-to-Support-Barkupy-Florida-139180139.html

  3. Arletha permalink

    Thank you the helpful tips I am voting by absentee ballot and I have been researching all of the caragiries and candidates.

  4. Rei permalink

    I agree with Kelly- the animal services department dearly needs the funding.

    Also, re: the Crandon Park tennis center: you have to consider the fact that the lands on which all of Crandon Park sits were given to the county under the promise that they would be used as PUBLIC PARKS. The construction of more permanent buildings, specifically for public use, sounds good, but the problem is in the second half: “Modification and extension of agreements with operator of Sony Open Tennis Tournament or its successors.” That means that for all of their mouthing about public use of the tennis center, it will only be made MORE inaccessible to the public, due to the sheer volume of the crowds there for the tournament, and the fact that the tournament might be there for up to several months. During that time, the rest of Crandon Park also suffers, due to the tennis crowd overtaking all parking lots, and the simple time frustration of attempting to get onto Key Biscayne to go to Crandon Park.

  5. nise permalink

    THIS IS GREAT!!!! Thank you for helping me!!! You made it simple and easy!!!! Just voted by absentee…

  6. I entirely agree that the ballot is long and complicated and at times quite ambiguous. Amongst other things initially I was not sure what a ‘general obligation bond’ was until you clarified to a certain extent. I don’t the lay person which is most of us – has been educated on the ballot issues. I think it is something that should be addressed well before going to vote. Thank you for educating me. The article is very helpful. Tamara.

  7. Gretel Rabczak permalink

    Thank you! Very helpful and very interesting!

  8. Rebecca Watford permalink

    Great picks – agree with all except for the the strall poll on animal services — vote “YES” for that one.

  9. Adriana permalink

    Wow, I found this page when my ballot was almost filled out, I was doubting on the County Judges, we agreed on practically everything, I would add the: Yes to saving the animals lives. very helpful information! Thanks!

  10. Cella permalink

    I’m currently filling out an absentee ballot and am concerned about the second item: reducing stray cat populations. How will they do this? Euthanasia? It seems to contradict the first point, decreasing the killing of adoptable dogs and cats. I can’t help but pause at the thought of voting for something that could kill innocent cats, given that the majority of stray cats are probably not adoptable…

  11. Rick permalink

    Hello do more research please before you vote:

    5. Charter Amendment Regarding Penalties and Enforcement of Citizens’ Bill of Rights
    (Shall the Charter be amended to eliminate the provision providing for forfeiture of office if a public official or employee willfully violates the Citizens’ Bill of Rights) and allow, in addition to suit in circuit court, the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust to enforce the Citizens’ Bill of Rights with penalties authorized by the Code?

    Why on earth would we want to eliminate what I parenthesiz. I do not understand why anyone would would not want to get rid of an official or employee who violates the Citizen’s Bill of Rights. Maybe I am missing something. This is a 2 part question with one part being unacceptable.

    6. Charter Amendment Related to Option for Filling Mayoral or County Commissioner Vacancy
    Shall the Charter be amended to:
    • Extend the time to conduct an election to fill a mayoral or commissioner vacancy from 45 to 90 days from the decision to call such election and provide a timeframe for qualification and any necessary runoff;
    • Temporarily transfer, during a mayoral vacancy or incapacity, certain mayoral powers to the Commission Chairperson, Vice Chairperson or Commissioner chosen by the Board?

    Another 2 part question with the first part being unacceptable. I do not believe we want the Commission Chairperson to be our mayor for 3 months. The Chair can do damage in 3 months. We did not ALL vote for the Chair, only one of 13 districts did. Too long for him/her to be acting Mayor. Also the extended time frame hurts because people’s memories are short. Seijas might still be in office if this were 90 days (if you are recalled you can run again).

    Can’t allways trust the Herald….

    Oh and for State attorney 11th judicial circuit there is a candidate… his name is Roderick Vereen-look him up.
    If your tired of Katherine Fernandez Rundle you can write him in…

  12. Carol N. permalink

    You can reduce stray population by spaying and neutering. I think animal services needs the funds for that.

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