Voter Guide for November 5
Elections are times when principles and ideals are confronted with the cold fact that our choices are not who we'd like to vote for. For some who hold their personal principles high, the need to make a personal statement can involve not voting or selective voting for only those whose ideals match the voter.
Others see it as a defensive effort where you vote against the most repellent candidate and just hope the other candidate doesn't hurt you too badly.
The two party system as we have it now is pretty poor but there is a difference between the political parties to some degree, especially on social and environmental issues.
You can vote before election day, starting now, at the Supervisor of Elections office downtown in the County Administration Building at University and SE 1st St. Bring a friend!
Thus for those races between Democrats and Republicans and/or Libertarians, we endorse the Democrats until we get a better alternative. We won't go into names because within our divided county, the candidates vary ballot-to-ballot. We endorse the Democrats until we get a better alternative. The Democratic party headquarters is at 1204 NW 13th St. 373-1730.
And remember, it'll send the whole country a hopeful message to oust W. Bush's little brother Jeb. So get out there and vote for Bill McBride.
And if you're in Corinne Brown's district, vote for her & campaign for her not just cause she's the Democrat but because she voted against the war in Iraq.
Iguana guide for the non-partisan races (in the order they appear on the ballot):
We favor Gil Schaffnit over Glant for circuit judge. He's got high recommendation from those in the know and he was our second choice, close behind Terry Kann, who didn't make it into the runoff.
Retention of judges is on the ballot. We know of no campaigns against any of them. Usually they are retained in these mandated ballot appearances.
School Board. We line up with John Banks, Bill Boe and Heather Daine Danenhower. All are the lesser-funded outsiders, but well experienced outsiders who can move into our dysfunctional School Board and be fresh voices to clean up the mess.
Some folks in High Springs and Archer have local races too. We favor Jessica Hall and Kirk Eppenstein in High Springs and Roberta Lopez in Archer district 4.
There are three sides of the ballot devoted to amendments and referenda. The first 11 are state constitutional amendments, the last side contains Alachua county or Gainesville city amendments and referenda. Remember, your vote counts a lot in the local issues -don't let fatigue at all the state stuff burn you out before you get there.
Here are the recommendations as we've reached them from reading the amendments, talking to locals in the know, and the very useful translation provided by the League of Women Voters:
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS (statewide)
1. no Puts death penalty into state constitution (to protect it from pesky arguments it's cruel and unusual punishment.) Hell no.
2. no Cost of ballot initiatives sounds good, but is biased against publicly created initiatives. Those created by the legislature get a free ride. And the legislature gets to do the cost figures. Not good.
3. no Takes away home rule for Miami-Dade county.
4. yes Strengthens sunshine law by making exceptions harder. Supported by the press and public interest groups.
(There is no amendment 5--it was removed.)
6. yes Do you like second-hand smoke? Then vote against this cause it's banning smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces. Exempts stand-alone bars.
7. no Re adding living quarters to existing structures. Not the way to do this, messy to administer.
8. yes. Voluntary (universal) pre-K education for 4 year olds. The legislation doesn't include funding, but Georgia has implemented a similar system and it's working well. What we really need is universal childcare, but this is a good first step, essentially adding a whole year of public school. Supported by teachers union, feminists.
9. yes The struggle to get proper funding for education continues, this time by requiring smaller class sizes. Supported by the teachers and education advocacy groups.
10. yes Bans confinement of pregnant pigs. Animal rights groups hope this will be model legislation that can be followed in other states with a more substantial pig farming industry. And no, it shouldn't have to be in the state constitution, but there is no other public initiative process statewide. If we had a little more democracy, we wouldn't have to amend the constitution when the legislature ignores us.
11. yes Recreates a Board of Regents-like system for public universities. The new Jeb Bush-created system, in which each university has a Board of Trustees, is being used to bust faculty unions and pit universities against each other, creating pork-barrel politics.
LOCAL AMENDMENTS AND REFERENDA
Regulation of Campaign Financing YOUR CALL
Creates opening for Alachua County to enact more stringent campaign financing rules for offices such as County Commissioner, but doesn't create the rules.
Labor has a big problem with this one, as it opens up the chance that unions could not, as a group, contribute money to candidates. Business outspends labor 10-1 in local elections, however. There's no requirement that the rules be made more restrictive in an evenhanded way, however.
Campaign finance proponents say it will make it possible to restrict business expenditures on candidates and create the chance for more democracy in the county.
Support for Children YES Ad-valorem tax of 1/2 mill (property tax) to create services for children.
Nonbinding referendum on unification of emergency services-NO This one is driven by sprawl, development, and the Sun has been pushing it for years. Tries to equalize the benefits of living in the city with those not living in the city. But is that what we want to spend our resources on?
CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS
Equal Opportunity Director YES Yes, overdue. We need an equal opportunity (anti-discrimination) office with charter status so it can't be abolished at the whim of the commission.
Number of Commissioners & Districts YES If passed this would prevent the city commission from swelling to 7 commissioners as the city grows. We suspect this increase would favor business candidates.
Terms of Office YES If the previous one fails, and the seven commissioner city commission comes to pass, they should have staggered terms.
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