Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rachael's 2006 Florida General Election Voters' Guide

(For those of you outside Hillsborough County, I recommend going to any search engine and typing in your county and "ballot" to get information about your sample ballot. For those of you in other parts of Hillsborough County, I recommend going here for your sample ballot. If you have questions you don't want to look up yourself about candidates, free to ask me and I'll see what I can find out for you.)

For what that's worth...

US Senator: Bill Nelson
- Not only does Bill Nelson represent my concerns and issues well in Washington (or as well as anyone does), his letters to me aren't patronizing like other elected officials letters are (::cough:: Bilirakis ::cough::). I think he actually is a good man and as honest as a politician can be and that he does his job, which is to represent his constituents in the Senate.

US Representative, Dist. 9 - Phyllis Busansky
She's not Bilirakis or his son (who might as well be the same people, since Gus is running for the seat his father will be vacating), for starters. She's a new face, which is something I think we need in the the US House, and my parents kinda know her. She used to attend our synagogue here in Tampa.

Governor - Jim Davis
He used to be my Congressman before the redistricting right around 2000. He was always very responsive to my letters, and despite commercials to the contrary, he seemed very conscientious about voting and doing his job. He gave my 8th grade class a tour of the Capitol Building as well and was very nice to us, not at all condescending, and his children attended the same elementary/middle school I did. As for his bid for governor, he's been very firm and consistent in his stance on the issues, which are very close to being in line with my stance on the issues.

Attorney General - Walter "Skip" Campbell
Not my first choice. My first choice didn't win the primary. But Campbell is far from the worst 2nd choice. He's been endorsed by Equality Florida and he also scored high on the Organic Consumers Fund Survey.

Chief Financial Officer - Alex Sink
A woman, to let you know. Also endorsed by Equality Florida. She was my choice for the primary, and though I can't remember why right now, all of my decisions about the primary were very conscientiously made. Type her name in and the office she's running for into any search engine to get her campaign site.

Commissioner of Agriculture - Pending responses from candidates... probably, Eric Copeland.

State Senator, Dist. 12 - ... Victor Crist?
- There are issues with the election for this office. There are no good candidates, only the lesser of two evils. Amazingly, there is no Democratic candidate. I have determined Victor Crist, Republican incumbent, to be the lesser of the two evils because he's an evil we know and not one that we don't. His opponent, C. Burt Linthicum, is running on the "Constitution Party" platform, a third party candidate. Let me tell you, the Constitution Party sounds innocuous... good, nice, even friendly... but it's not. It is like "Concerned Women for America" and "The Culture and Family Institute" (the guy who heads both of those organizations, Robert Knight, said that AIDS is a homosexual conspiracy and that AIDS isn't easily transmitted through heterosexual sex because (and I quote!) "the vagina can take a lot of punishment." Go to the Daily Show's website and look for the interview with David Rakoff (part 2) in "most recent videos" to hear it for yourself. I wish I were kidding.) Anyway, the Constitution Party is so extreme that the Republicans aren't even conservative enough for them. They are Right of the Right. Not good. I have received an e-mail from Linthicum himself on the issues I will now describe. He is for enforcing our borders, kicking out illegal aliens, and protecting against invasion of privacy and invasive or redundant government policy. However, he does not find it at all ironic that he opposes same-sex marriage or the right of women to choose to have an abortion while purporting himself as someone who will protect against invasive government policy. I told him he was a hypocrite for this and he disagrees because he's doing this out of duty to G-d. Well, I serve my duty to G-d through my duty to my own well-being and the well-being of my fellow citizens. He also called homosexuals "deviants" and didn't have nice things to say about women who accidentally get knocked up either. So because it is unlikely that the rest of the legislature would listen to his views and pass legislation on illegal aliens, enforcing border security measures, or protecting against invasive government, and (since it's Republican controlled) would be much more likely to have Bills on same-sex marriage/civil unions or abortion come to the floor, I must say I can't support him. One might say that I should respect him for standing by his opinions and not being swayed in order to get votes, but I say he's wrong in his opinions and so should be swayed by sound argument if he were a logical person. After all, look at what the President does when he stands by his opinions against all logic and good sense... So Victor Crist, while also against same-sex marriage and abortion, is a much more moderate kind of evil... We know what to expect from him, whereas, if Linthicum were elected, lord only knows what he'd try to do, and I for one don't want to be responsible for it. At the very least, Crist knows better than to say that gays are "deviants" in public even if he believes it in private. I will probably abstain from voting for this particular office.

State Representative, Dist. 60 - Karen Perez
- She answered "yes" to all of the questions on the Organic Consumers Fund Candidate Survey... and I figure a run-of-the-mill Democrat is still better than a moderate Republican as far as coming closest to my mostly liberal values...

Voter Confirmation for Justices of the Supreme Court of Florida
Justice R. Fred Lewis - Yes
Justice Peggy A. Quince - Yes
Justice Barbara Joan Pariente - Yes
- All Justices up for approval seem to have clean slates as far as scandal in their background and to the best of my knowledge, after due diligence, have always done their jobs as far as checks & balances and upholding our State Constitution go.

Voter Confirmation for Court of Appeal Judges
Darryl C. Casanueva - Yes
Charles A Davis, Jr. - Yes
Edward C. LaRose - Yes
E. J. Salcines - Yes
Thomas E. Stringer, Sr. - Yes
- All the judges seem to have clean slates as far as scandals go and they have done their jobs to safeguard the civil rights of people prosecuted under Florida state law.

Circuit Court Judge, Group 32
- Bernard "Bernie" Silver - He was my second choice for the Primary. The only reason that he was not the first is that he will have to retire within the next four years due to state law. Other than that, he seems like a perfect man to be a Circuit Court Judge.

Circuit Court Judge, Group 43
- Kimberly Fernandez - My Primary Election choice.

Circuit Court Judge, Group 44
- Samantha L. Ward - My Primary Election choice.

Circuit Court Judge, Group 45
- Gary S. Dulgin - Not my first choice, but he doesn't seem bad.

County Commissioner
District 5 - Joe Redner
- Endorsed by Equality Florida, and my personal favorite. He owns a whole bunch of strip clubs and a porn film company, but I adore him anyway. He's like Tampa's own Hugh Hefner, except he won't date any of the girls who work for him because he's gay. I've met him personally on several occasions at meet-and-greets and listened to several speeches he's given over the last eight years since he's been trying to get into local government, including one at USF in my Crime & Justice in America class, and I think he will do a really good job bringing some balance and reason to our County Commission (Yes, our county government is so unbalanced toward the Right that a King of Vice is needed to tip the scales back to reality!)
District 7 - Mark Sharpe
- Yeah, he's a Republican... Yeah, he's a conservative and I don't like the way he voted on the Anti-Gay ordinances that the Commission passed two years ago and have refused to even consider repealing. But he's more reasonable on other issues than his opponent, who is otherwise just as foolish and hard-line conservative. Also, the only reason his opponent is running for the District 7 seat is that he's served his limit in his current Commission seat... That's so close to cheating that I think it's close enough to not want him to stay on the Commission.

You can read more about the County Commission Nominees here.

School Board Member, District 6 - April Griffin
- Despite her annoying campaign signs with little crayons for the "i"s, I see no reason that she shouldn't be re-elected to the School Board.

Soil and Water Conservation Board, District 1 - Tammy Harman
- If you take my advise on no one else, I hope you take my advise on Ms. Harman. She is a Planner for an Engineering firm and has been politically active behind the scenes for many years. She also is really into sustainable agriculture and being environmentally responsible, good things for her to be into if she's going to be on the Soil and Water Conservation Board. I believe she will bring a new, fresh perspective to the board, reflecting the changing concerns of citizens such as myself. Read more about her here. The guy running against her is a son of Big Agriculture... not into sustainable agriculture - he's into the status quo and policies that keep the corporate farms doing what they've been doing... which is not really the best thing for the environment or the people of the state of Florida.

Ballot Initiative Amendments
No. 1. Yes.
- Will create an overseeing and consolidating Task Force to streamline the State budget.
No. 3. No.
- This initiative is backed by Big Business and special interests groups who are trying to keep their strangle hold on the legislature in Tallahassee tight. Not good.
No. 4. No.
- I'm not comfortable with this initiative becoming a part of the Constitution of the State. It could eventually start costing tax payers money and its level of effectiveness is uncertain.
No. 6. Yes.
- This amendment would increase the Homestead Exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 and it would only apply to citizens who own a home (which they live in), are over the age of 65 and make less than $20,000 per year. The increase in the property tax exemption would be optional for each county and the counties can all independently decide how much to increase the exemption, up to $50,000.
No. 7. No.
- Tthis would apply only to Veterans of a foreign war, who resided in the State of Florida at the time of their enlistment, and are now perminently disabled due to combat injury, and are over the age of 65. I think that if the Veterans *really* need the exemption on their property taxes, they will get it under Initiative No. 6.
No. 8. Yes.
- This will add further protections for home-owners to the existing laws limiting seizures of private property by eminent domain. It will prevent local and state governments from seizing property and reselling it to private developers for a profit (or at all!), which can only be good for home-owners.

Hillsborough County - Straw Ballot - No. They're just trying to stick it to Joe Redner... again...


Anonymous said...

Thank you sooo much. I am a conservative who did not have the time to do my research on all the candidates. Your explanation helped me to see how i should vote in some cases that I did not know the candidates. I just voted the opposite of you 99% of the time. Thank you

Anonymous said...

You might want to check amendment 8 again...If the vote is NO for amendment 8 then, "It would remain in its current form as stated in the Florida Constitution, Section 6, Article X, "prohibits takings of private property unless the taking is for a “public purpose” and the property owner is paid “full compensation.” " excerpt from http://www.votesmartflorida.org/mx/hm.asp?id=amendment8. Approval of the amendment makes it possible for private property to be handed over to private persons or entities.

Rachael said...

Anonymous... that's nice... I've also got another 10 friends plus my entire family who voted the same way I did. based on my research.. so far, I'm ahead there.

As to Amendment 8, it is my understanding that it will add protections on top of what is already in state statutes. Right now that "public purpose" can be applied in a very broad manner. Bringing more tax revenue into a community by taking crappy broke-down houses or businesses from the people who own them, and then turning around and selling it to a private entity which plans to build condos *could* be considered a "public purpose." The owners who have their property seized will be paid the market value of their property as it was, the local or state government sells it to the highest bidder (i.e.: a private entity), and then the developer makes beaucoup bucks off the resale. Uh-hun. Not Kosher. Sorry... Say "Yes" on Amendment 8! It will at least force local or state government to hold the property for 10 years, given owners ample time to take their case to the courts *and* it will prevent the developers from getting too predatory and underhanded in their dealings with elected officials. (I don't trust developers as far as I can throw them. As far as I'm concerned, the vast majority of them are all greedy, thoughtless, shortsighted jerks.)