Retiring Early

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Special Election Day Rant

yelling babyYou normally won't find me posting rants, but today I feel compelled. This one is about local politics, but I'm sure it applies to many other cities around the country. It's no surprise that I live in Washington state, so expect a healthy amount of the rant to be focused at the City of Seattle. I vote absentee every year because I'm not sure I'll be in town on the day itself, so I actually voted yesterday. That said, I have a few choice questions about the ballot and it's contents. They're mostly rhetorical -at the top of my lungs- questions that don't require any response whatsoever.
Ok, here we go:
  1. The ballot this year is apparently larger than last year, requiring more postage. Ok, an extra 39 cents -- fine. This point, however is just a setup for what follows :)
  2. 15, count them: FIFTEEN of the candidates on the ballot -- and 25% - 30% of the entire ballot was uncontested. Sure, I could use that handy "write-in" line to nominate Mickey or Donald Duck, but honestly, tell me when the last time a write-in candidate actually won an election. Seriously. Around the Civil War, was it? (I'm aware that this write-in mechanism is a vehicle for making sure everyone has the opportunity -- whether or not they got on the ballot or not. I just happen to think the concept is and always will be, just a dated concept.)
  3. Next up: Silly city council resolutions that they can't possibly need my help in approving. On these, I seriously feel like a micro-manager who's had too much coffee. If I recall correctly, there were 3 to 4 items that we voted on that removed language from the city code because the referenced xyz no longer existed. If the code doesn't make sense because you eliminated a job, update the freaking thing yourselves and stop wasting my time! I don't need to vote on this stuff!! I know, I know... "citizens need transparency." If it's transparency you want, send me a "notice of change" like my cell phone does when it changes my policy. If you're a citizen and feel compelled to vote on this stuff, you need more to do in life.
  4. Next: the transportation item: you remember it: this is the one where they promised to replace bridges, maintain roads, build tunnels, improve transit, coddle to bike riders, improve transit facilities, plant trees at park and rides, and do just about anything else that comes to mind. I don't want to vote on this crap. (told you this was a rant!!)... I want new bridges and I want to know what they are going to cost. What I don't want are inflated taxes being levied to handle everything under the sun, including adding a bathroom at a park and ride! I want this stuff broken down into consumable, specific chunks with real costs, and then I want them to appear on the ballot INDIVIDUALLY so we can vote on them. In their current form, I have no idea what I'm approving, and the taxes aren't cheap.
  5. Finally, and this is for the working man out there: Write the entries on the ballot in plain, straightforward English. Some of these were written with triple negatives and then asking a positive with a yes, no answer. Some of the items read like SAT puzzles! Now, I have a university degree from a very respected university, and I had to read some of these questions several times! If I had to read them a few times, imagine voters with lower comprehension skills than mine. (not bragging here, just acknowledging that voters run the gamut of educational levels and comprehension skills). Anyway, my favorite example is the first item on the ballot. I wish I still had the exact text, but after reading it I thought to myself, why didn't they just say "Do you want to remove the current state estate tax? Yes / No".
I'm sure there were a few more things that annoyed me about voting this year, but these are the ones on the top of my mind. My time is very valuable, so when 30% of the ballot is uncontested and I need to fill in little circles like a scan-tron exam, and then I have to pay extra to send in the ballot due to it's increased size... man, something had to be said. Rant off / end of rant. Thanks for listening, no replies required.
(photo courtesy of hannahs_mum)


  • At 11/12/2006 5:56 PM, Anonymous finance girl said…

    oh yah, it was a very very annoying ballot this year. I couldn't agree with you more on the points you raised, and found myself asking the same questions (why all these little ticky-tacky items to vote on?)

    I just want 520 rebuilt, viaduct rebuilt, and for it to not have to take yet even more property tax increases (which actually is what it will take).

  • At 11/13/2006 8:06 AM, Blogger fin_indie said…

    Thanks. Glad to know I'm not completely bonkers.


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