Friday, October 22, 2010

Election Day Picks Part 1

This is where I lay out my November 2nd voting picks for Florida District 24 Titusville and why I will vote they way I am. Bold will indicate the ballot item and italics will be used for how I am voting. For electable positions I will only write the position and the candidate I support, and not necessarily every candidate listed on the ballot. For ballot initiatives I will write the text that appears on the ballot.

Let's get started, shall we?

United States Senator
Alexander Andrew Snitker
I think there's a good theme in Florida's U.S. Senate race this year. Six out of 10 of the candidates listed on the ballot consider themselves Constitutionalists or small-government conservatives. That says that at least in Florida there is a feeling that government is out of control, and a lot of people have taken up that call.

The reason I like Snitker over all other candidates is that I just think he is the most devoted to shrinking government. I don't even dignify Meek with a thought in this race because he probably won't even get a majority of the Democrat votes. Crist is an opportunist who would throw his own mother aside if it got him into a higher office. I like a lot of what Marco Rubio has done as Speaker of the House in Florida, and his stances on property rights and education reform sit highly with me. But some of his other views like being unerringly pro-Israel are kind of a turn-off for me. It's okay to view Israel as a friend and potential ally, but I don't like the idea that we're on the hook for any danger they put themselves in. Israel, after all, is the Lord's nation; they should be able to handle themselves. (They have multiple times in the past)

Of the third party candidates, Snitker and Bernie DeCastro had the most similar views to my own who also looked a little more legit than the candidates that remind me of the hobo under the bypass warning about the dangers of radio waves. I like Snitker's campaign promises to abolish the Department of Education and the IRS and instead enact a FairTax to collect from everyone within the country, citizens and aliens alike. DeCastro is also in favor of repealing the 16th Amendment (direct income tax) which would result in more money in an individual's pocket.

I suppose Snitker gets the vote for me because he is a former Marine and therefore knows the folly of our current foreign policy. A strong military is necessary, but I believe America should first and foremost be a defensive nation. DeCastro makes a play for the Monroe Doctrine, but in my mind that was the first instance of us setting actual foreign policy on the notion that we should police the world, whether nearby in the Caribbean or across the world in Iraq. Our military presence overseas is a huge drain on our economy, and so much money could be saved by removing ourselves from the hundreds of bases we have in foreign lands.

Representative in Congress 24th Congressional District
Sandra "Sandy" Adams

Sandy Adams supports a flat tax rate that could eventually eliminate the need for the IRS (pipe dream I know, but it's nice in theory). I think low taxes are important for jump-starting the economy and keeping it going. But it is just part of the solution; huge slashes in spending (and not slashes in the budget from last year's, but actually cutting and killing wasteful programs) are needed to reduce the size of government, free up capital for businesses, and overall get our country back in to fiscal security.

Because all economic bills start in the House of Representatives, this is potentially a more important choice--given the state of the union--than the Senate race. Believe it or not, Suzanne Kosmas and Sandy Adams are very similar on a lot of the issues, such as NASA, small business support, and energy policy. But their voting records tell a bigger tale.

Kosmas voted to give $40B to green schools. I don't think schools should be funded on whether or not they are ecologically stable. Kosmas also voted to enforce against anti-gay hate crimes. I've laid out my stance on legislating against hate crimes before. And she also voted for the massive expenditures known as the 2009 stimulus and TARP.

Sandy Adams isn't perfect though, either. While she did vote to privatize toll roads and voted to continue to allow the teaching of evolution in schools, she also voted against certain gambling measures, which generate a lot of money for the public school system (so much so that schools are often underfunded by state sources).

It's actually unfortunate that only two candidates are running in this election, as it turns certain issues which aren't so black and white into pretty polarizing topics. A third or even fourth candidate would have helped to draw the lines a bit more clearly.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor
Undecided still... sorry

This is the most difficult to vote for because there are so many candidates and so little known about them (at least by me). While he won't get my vote, I do like C.C. Reed's candidacy, who says we should change "Politics" to "PEOPLE-tics." Unfortunately, he also has the ridiculously expensive idea of "provid[ing] available personnel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays) to address taxpayers' concerns and issues." There's also Josue Larose who was the Chairman of the United States Billionaires Federal Political Action Committee.

Farid Khavari sounds like he makes sense until you see some of his extremely expensive ideas like free higher education for all students in Florida, and solarizing the entire state. Daniel Imperato has a lot of experience in promoting businesses but he doesn't have any other information about how he stands on additional issues.

Michael E. Arth (Earth?) is an interesting case. For every sane idea (like decriminalizing drugs and taxing the hell out of them) he has THREE insane ideas (like "taxes are the price of admission to live in civilized society" and abortion can be used as a last resort to overpopulation concerns). Still, I love his un-Politically Correct writings. John Wayne Smith is a libertarian candidate, and unfortunately as someone else said, his website looks like what you would expect from a libertarian candidate. Still, I think he speaks his mind about a lot of the topics and takes the same stance I do on most issues. On healthcare, for instance, he says this: "Most people think that this system needs to be overhauled when in fact it doesn't; it simply needs to get the government out of the business to begin with."

Peter Allen looks like he's trying to appeal to everyone with his candidacy, since he's all over the place on the issues. He says healthcare should be provided for all Floridians, but they should also be able to purchase whatever healthcare they want. His website is also in dire need of an editor: "Decriminalize the use and procession of small amounts of Marijuana. [emphasis mine]"

Neither Alex Sink nor Rick Scott look promising. Scott is embattled in cases that pin him as either an idiot for not knowing what happened with his company or as a mastermind that scammed millions in Medicaid. Sink talks the talk when it comes to fiscal conservatism, but as Chief Financial Officer the state lost billions. Sink does seem better on civil liberties like equal rights for gays, and Scott comes off as an idiot saying that children are better off "if they're raised by a married couple."

This election is a doozy, that's for sure. If I had to pick one now, I'd probably go with Smith, who has a very Ron Paul vibe to him. But it will probably end up being a GTD (game time decision).

Attorney General
Pam Bondi

My vote for Attorney General is going to someone who I believe will follow in Bill McCollum's footsteps and continue the federal lawsuit on Obamacare. The individual mandate that all Americans must buy health insurance is unconstitutional, and any attempt to knock down that massive piece of semi-aborted legislation is an A+ in my book. So that essentially knocks the Democrat Dan Gelber out of the race.

Pam Bondi has a few things going for her. She's pretty hot, and she's the owner of Beethoven. She is a prosecutor and claims to want to crackdown on Medicare fraud cases. So anyone who wants to stick it to old folks scamming the system is Aces in my book as well. She is willing to take the challenge to Obamacare as far as she can as well.

Jim Lewis comes across a lot like Pam Bondi at first--minus the attractive face and giant dog--but he says one of his goals is to "urge our Florida law schools to reduce enrollment by 25% for the next 4 years" because of an overpopulation of lawyers and too many civil litigation cases. Since my goal is to become a criminal defense attorney in the very near future, this does not sit well with me. There's also the fact that Lewis would have no actual authority to propose such an idea, making him slightly absurd.

Chief Financial Officer
Independent candidate. Ken Mazzie or Tom Stearns

When I hear Chief Financial Officer, it sounds like a glorified name for Treasurer. Like the kind the chess club has. Well apparently even that is giving the position too much credit. But this job is about money, and partisan politics should have no place in this position. So that's why I am voting one of the two independents, and more likely Mazzie since he is a Certified Public Accountant, not a career politician, and knows how to handle money.

Commissioner of Agriculture
Thad Hamilton

I'm sad to see badass Charles Bronson not running again. This is another one of those positions where I just can't comprehend why a political affiliation is necessary. Not that I thought there were any "issues" involved in being Plant Commish, but Scott Maddox has a section for them on his site but nothing listed. Ira Chester looks like a cute but angry grandfather. I'm going with Hamilton because he seems to have the most experience in agriculture, whatever that means exactly. Plus, I don't think I've voted for any black people yet.

State Senator, 24th Senatorial District
Toss up. Steve Edmonds or Thad Altman

Both candidates support measures I like and talk about both in detail. Education reform in the way of merit-pay and school choice vouchers have the most potential. Despite currently living and voting in east central Florida, I am not a big fan of NASA. That is not to say that I don't support the space program. I just don't like government in our country trying to monopolize the space exploration industry. More competition and tax break incentives to bring contractors to the Space Coast are a plus and both candidates are for that.

Member Canaveral Port Authority, Districts 3, 4, 5
No vote

My feeling on these types of positions is that they should not be the voter's choice. 1) There is no reason that someone for the position of Port Authority member should have a party affiliation. You're either for protecting the port and interests of the community, or you're not. B) We elect officials to handle these kinds of appointments so that we don't have to worry about them. While I don't think the system will change anytime soon, I can't vote for any of these candidates knowing they are only using the position as a stepping stone for future office.

Shall Justice/Judge ______________________ be retained in office?

I vote "NO" on all of these because I am not a fan of long incumbencies, especially for the judicial branch. Also, these judges and justices are such a low level that any decision they make has the potential to be appealed and overturned, thereby essentially making who is actually appointed unimportant.

Circuit Court Judge, 18th Judicial Circuit, Group 3
Jessica Recksiedler

When you get down this far, the candidates' websites are pretty basic. I suppose I chose Recksiedler because of a little snippet on her homepage that said she knew she wanted to become a lawyer because of a project on the Constitution and Declaration of Independence she did in 7th grade.

Member School Board, District 1
Robert Jordan

Not just because he is the author of one of the best fantasy series of all time, but because he knows things and has a tie. Also, Krupp was my principal in high school, and I really didn't like my high school.

[In writing this, I saw how many officials are elected and it is absurd. I thought we elected certain people (i.e. mayor, city council, state legislature) so that we didn't have to elect all of these other petty positions. Makes me think the people we elect do even less than I originally thought.]

Most importantly, it is our responsibility as citizens to educate ourselves before we vote. A good website to check on voting records is Project Vote Smart. But as voters we can only do so much. The people we elect should be held to a high level of responsibility to uphold the mandate passed on to them by the people who elected them.

I will offer my takes on the ballot initiatives and amendments over the weekend.

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