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One more election note

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Remember to go vote today! If you live in an area that's having an election, I mean.

If you need some inspiration, you might check out Vardibidian's posting of a brief Walt Whitman piece (from Leaves of Grass) about Election Day. Good stuff.

For those Californians (and those interested in redistricting) who don't read the comments in my journal, I wanted to call attention to Aphrael's writeup of Prop. 77, which is clearer and more nuanced than anything in the ballot pamphlet on the subject, and provides some useful information about the current situation that 77 is intended to replace. This writeup makes me much more interested in voting for 77 than I was before (though I still need to think about it a little longer); thanks, Aphrael!

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Thanks for all the proposition analysis and comments.

My comments:

1. Voting is so important. Our military personnel who died on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 (and at countless other places on other days) were probably not thinking at the moment they passed, "I'm dying to help preserve the right of US citizens to vote," but in a very real sense that is a crucial part of what they died for. Imho, to not vote is to dishonor their memory.

2. As Tom Stoppard and Stalin have said in various ways, "Democracy is not in the voting, it's in the counting." (Remember when Saddam "got" 100% of the "vote" of the Iraqi people?)

3. Teacher tenure. When both Arnold and Gavin Newsom agree on something, does that means it’s a good idea or a bad one? I don't know if Newsom has an official public position on the tenure prop, but in a private lunch in Los Angeles several months ago, he told about ten of us that he thought it was a great idea. I have volunteered in Los Angeles schools for the past 13 years, and based on what I have seen, we need much higher pay *and* much higher performance criteria for teachers...and cliche-but-true: school districts generally need less bureaucracy. Years ago, I spent an hour in the audience of a large, school-related presentation, sitting next to a guy who indentified himself to me as an "overpaid LAUSD bureaucrat." He slept fairly soundly through the second half of the presentation. I have worked with teachers who are so amazingly good that it practically makes me weep, but unfortunately the opposite (converse?) is also true: I have worked with teachers who are so horrible I have almost cried in frustration.

4. Walt Whitman. Everyone should check out Jed's link to the Whitman piece on Election Day on Vardibidian's blog. Last weekend, I saw a Whitman exhibition at one of my favorite places, the NYC Public Library. In the Whitman exhibit, there were all sorts of cool things, including some parts of Whitman's original handwritten drafts of "Leaves of Grass." Whitman was the original hippie and beatnik...and I know Peter was a big fan. Finally, since I am on the topic of the NYC Library, I have to mention that they also currently have a great exhibit on illuminated renaissance manuscripts (including the "Medici Aesop," you can buy a repro in the gift shop), and separately, a half a room full of great old maps on display, as well as an original Gutenberg Bible in a large glass case. Um, yeah, my local Manhattan Beach library has stuff just like that. Even with no exhibits, the NYC Library is worth a trip to see the main reading room alone, which will take your breath away with its splendor and size.



Yes, voted today! We had a tight City Council election (local politics is a BIG deal here, and there are some big issues coming up for the council). And we had a referendum on taking our power utility public. The 'vote yes' for public power group spent $16,000 on the campaign. The 'vote no'--the private utility, Mid American Energy--spent half a million bucks. Grrrr.


Just as a note, Jed, my comment posted just fine, but I got an 'internal server error' message on it. Typed in my name and email, and url, did not preview, did not 'remember personal info'.


I voted! I filled out my absentee ballot at 7:30 this evening, and dropped it off at my local polling place at 7:45. That's the only thing I left my house for today, 'cause I'm still in recovery mode from the flu. It felt great to vote, though. And, they gave me lots of "I voted" stickers, 'cause they were almost done for the evening, and they wanted me to impress my kids tomorrow at school.

Yay for voting!


Thanks Jed, and Jay. I've been posting Whitman on Election Day for a couple of years now. Anyone who is feeling all Whitman-y might also want to read a note on Democratic Vistas from a couple of days ago as well.

And in my own little town, the candidate for First Selectman that got my vote won by a plurality of fourteen.

Thanks,
-V.


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