Who to Vote For in the November Election
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.
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.