Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Election Day 2007

November 6th was a special election here in Oregon and voter turn-out was disappointing but better than expected. Weather is no longer a factor in whether folks vote, as Oregon has abandoned polling places. The old gathering spots in garages and church basements have been replaced by mail-in ballots. The postal service brings them to your house and you either mail them back or drop them in one of the secure ballot boxes strategically placed around town.

While it may be more efficient, it sure takes the fun out of voting. I have many fond memories of the polling places of my past. And of standing in line to cast my vote. The first time I marked a ballot was in 1960 when I stood for hours in the rain to cast my vote for John F. Kennedy for President. I have not missed voting in an election since then.

Yesterday’s issues in Oregon were a major land use measure which passed by a large margin and an attempt to tax cigarettes 85 cents a pack to fund children’s health care which failed by a large margin. A huge amount of money (probably enough to fund health care for children) was spent by the tobacco companies to defeat Measure 50.

I love following politics in places I have lived, and San Francisco always offers a very colorful race for mayor. From the SF Chronicle: “San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared victory Tuesday night in his almost effortless bid for re-election - confident that the cast of characters running against him won't catch up - and pledged the start of his second term will be marked by major environmental initiatives and an attempted reconciliation with his critics at City Hall. ... The other candidates were Chicken John Rinaldi, a professional "showman"; Grasshopper Alec Kaplan, a homeless taxicab driver; George Davis, a nudist; Michael Powers, a sex club owner; H. Brown, a blogger and former teacher; Harold Hoogasian, a florist; Lonnie Holmes, a Juvenile Probation Department manager; Wilma Pang, a music professor at City College of San Francisco; Ahimsa Porter Sumchai, a physician and personal trainer; and Josh Wolf, a journalist and blogger who was imprisoned this year for refusing to surrender to authorities video he shot of a violent San Francisco protest.” What can I say?


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