I have a veritable catch-all of little feature items best handled in a paragraph or two, so I’ll get cracking!
First of all is an important update from the state Board of Elections with the ballot language for the seven statewide issues as well as a number of local questions (including four from Wicomico County.)
At first read, it doesn’t appear there’s any effort to deceive people into voting in a counter-intuitive manner (e.g. voting for an issue to repeal a particular law.) It appears that those who want to repeal certain laws would indeed vote against them at the ballot box.
I am a little concerned about the way Question 6 is worded, though. Here’s how the same-sex marriage bill is presented:
Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
Of the seven questions the state presents to voters, this is the longest. Actually, if you removed the first clause it’s not a bad law but the part about gay and lesbian couples is a non-starter, which is probably why that language was added – people will say, oh, okay, the churches don’t have to participate. But that’s not the point, and the additional language obfuscates it.
I also wonder why the term “same-sex” wasn’t used. With the possible exception of Question 3, it’s just going to be down-the-line “against” for me. But on a local level, I’m all for two of the proposed changes – not quite sure about the last two questions quite yet.
I’m very disappointed, though, that the term limits proposal for the County Executive did not make it through County Council. Apparently several Republicans don’t have the spine to return the county to a citizen-based power structure, ensuring no individual would run the county for more than eight years. I guess we will have to primary them, won’t we?
Of course, last night the County Council heard testimony about the county’s redistricting plan for a work session today. I happen to think the plan put in place by the Redistricting Committee is quite sound and well thought out because it uses a number of significant natural and man-made boundaries (like U.S. 50) to define districts as well as making change easier in the future.
But scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that a second plan is in the works; one which will be more favorable to certain incumbents on County Council. While it’s true that about 1/4 of the county’s population is displaced by the Redistricting Committee’s plan, the goal is to establish more permanent district boundaries which won’t change as much in future years. One thing I like about the Redistricting Committee’s plan is how it keeps most of the communities together – obviously Salisbury has to be divided into at least two districts based on population and this map puts the heart of the city into either District 1 (the majority-minority district) or District 4. (Since I began work on this post last night, I have learned there is a second plan, drawn up by a county employee. While I haven’t seen it, my impression is that it’s closer to the old map.)
Speaking of elections, this tidbit came to me from Cathy Keim of Election Integrity Maryland. It’s “even better than being a poll watcher” and it goes right to the heart of the problem.
I asked Anthony Gutierrez, our local BOE head, if you have to be registered in the county that you serve as an election judge. He said no. As long as you are a Maryland registered voter, you can be an election judge in any county that hires you. He also stated that Baltimore has a terrible time recruiting enough Republican and non-partisan election judges. The goal is to have one chief judge from each major party at each polling place. If they cannot do that, then they try to get a non-partisan judge. If they can’t do that……then it just has to be two of the same party! This holds for regular judges also.
Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election. Please bring this up to the GOP that they need to be filling these positions in Baltimore and PG County and maybe other counties. I know that this is a regular problem, so the GOP should already be aware of it, but it never hurts to get people working on a solution sooner rather than later.
In Wicomico County we only have about 38 precincts, so presumably they only need 38 election judges from each party. But if you’re armed with the poll watcher training and are an election judge in a “problem” county it’s indeed possible to give the Democrats fits by insisting the letter of the law be followed.
Apparently they’re not going to follow the letter of the law in Tampa during the Republican convention. If you believe the Accuracy in Media group and writer Tina Trent, agitators funded by radical left-wingers including George Soros are plotting to disrupt the proceedings – of course, they’ll get plenty of press coverage if they succeed. Meanwhile, during the next week there are going to be protests in Charlotte at the Democrats’ shindig (some by unions bitterly disappointed the convention is being held in a right-to-work state) but you won’t hear a peep.
The President’s campaign also has the laughable idea that seeing five years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns are enough. This is part of a missive from Obama
For Against America’s Jim Messina:
Friday morning, I sent a letter to Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, asking that Romney release just five years of tax returns. And I made a commitment that, if he does, this campaign would not demand more.
You should add your name. Here’s why:
Right now, our opponent is proposing a $2,000 tax increase on middle-class families with kids in order to pay for tax breaks for millionaires like him.
He’s asking Americans to put him in charge of their taxes, while refusing to come clean about his own.
This isn’t going away because voters deserve better, and everyone but the Romney campaign seems to recognize that.
Romney’s refusal to release his returns is raising more questions than he’s been willing to answer.
According to the one full year of returns he has released, Romney paid 13.9% in taxes on his income. Thursday, he said he went back and looked, and has never paid less than 13% over the last ten years.
Now we’re asking him to put his money where his mouth is.
It is absolutely relevant for us to ask how much a presidential candidate paid in taxes, if he sheltered his money or tried to get out of paying taxes at all, why he started — and continues to own — a corporation offshore in Bermuda, why he keeps his finances offshore in the Cayman Islands, and why he opened a Swiss bank account.
This issue isn’t going away, and for good reason. Tell Romney to follow 30 years of precedent and release his tax returns.
Next thing you know, they’ll be asking for ten years’ worth. Meanwhile, we don’t have any of Obama’s college records, never mind the whole birth certificate thing. Of course, anyone can Photoshop any sort of “fake but accurate” documents they want, but that’s not the point, either.
I truly don’t give a damn whether Mitt Romney has a Swiss bank account or money in the Cayman Islands. It’s his money and he can do as he pleases with it. And paying almost 14% of his taxes on his income? Just ask an average American who scores a big tax refund check, complete with earned income credit, what rate he or she paid and I’ll bet the answer may surprise you. Sorry, Jim Messina, that class warfare card is no good here.
That’s Obama’s America. And to that effect a movie will be shown locally beginning Friday – showtimes are here, and the trailer is below.
I may have to go see this one, and I am not a movie buff.
I’m going to close with a little encouragement from a fellow blogger – Marianne (aka Zilla of the Resistance) has been through a lot with her late stage Lyme Disease. Well, not only has she found improvement with some of her most painful symptoms of late, she’s also received some cheering news from the Mitt Romney camp as he’s making what Marianne terms a “bold stand” against those medical professionals skeptical of some possible treatments for the disease. (Maryland is one area affected more heavily than most.) Perhaps there’s light at the end of the tunnel for her, and it’s not an oncoming train.
The light at the end of this post is also here, but it’s only the next post down. I encourage you to keep reading.