Monday, October 29, 2012
UPDATE: If you are curious about the amendments, I concur with the conclusions here: http://cltampa.com/tampa/no-no-eleven-times-no/Content?oid=3452072#.UJLLPmd1GSo
If you haven't made up your mind by now, maybe you should skip this one.
Bill Nelson's done a reasonable job as a centrist Senator since 2000. He hasn't become a preening Blue Dog using his position as a means for self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. Connie Mack IV brings nothing to the table other than his legacy admission to politics as son of another Florida Senator. An easy choice, even if you don't factor in potential party control of the Senate.
US House District 14
Kathy Castor is one of my favorite politicians, a Democrat who takes reasonably liberal positions instead of lukewarm ones. I'm tired of having to vote for the lukewarm ones. A campaign worker for her opponent, "EJ" Otero, came to my door and while I listened politely I tried to explain that he wasn't telling me anything that would make me switch, and wasn't telling me much of anything about Otero other than he's conservative and Latino.
David Gee is running unopposed. I'm skipping this vote because I'm opposed to unopposed races.
Ronda Storms has long been an embarrassment to Hillsborough County and to sentient life. She has long flaunted her inexperience, lack of knowledge, homophobia, and power in public and private settings. Yet East Hillsborough has elected her again and again because Jesus. If you are not familiar with her work, there's plenty of examples in the local newspapers. The conservative Tribune reluctantly knocks her "self-discipline", but the subtext speaks loudly and hilariously. The Times is more blunt: "Storms regularly belittled people outside her circle — from urban residents to gay residents. Her slash-and-burn style was a principal reason the commission was described as dysfunctional by other elected officials — and by commissioners themselves. And her demeaning approach would hardly instill a culture of teamwork". I suspect she will win because the name of her opponent, Bob Henriquez, is foreign sounding to those fine, salt of the earth eastern voters, but I will relish finally being able to vote against her.
Supervisor of Elections
This is an office I've long thought should be a professional post and not an elected, partisan one. Here's the chance to vote a non-politican in, or at least as close to that as we are going to get. Craig Latimer is the obvious choice. He runs the office now as chief of staff and is widely praised and endorsed for his job of turning the office around from the dark days of that self-promoting charlatan Buddy Johnson. Rich Glorioso, a State Representative, is endorsed mostly by other party politicians, supports right-wing voter suppression efforts, and is one of those Florida Republican politicians who jumps from public office to office to office, complaining about government the whole time. An easy choice here.
County Commission District 6
Kevin Beckner is a first term incumbent who defeated the widely-hated Brian Blair. Now that we've finally gotten rid of Blair, here comes Blair-endorsed Tea Party nut Margaret Iuculano, bringing a history of homophobia and personal tax problems. Beckner's done a reasonable job, so this is an easy choice too.
Supreme Court and District Court Judges
There is a right-wing effort to oust these judges and replace them with far-right Rick Scott/wingnut acolytes. Regardless of your political orientation, a political effort to sway the justice system in either direction should be opposed by voting to retain all of these judges and justices.
In the primary election, incumbent Carol Kurdell faced four challengers of varying degrees of competence and sanity, including a former teacher. So who do the voters pick to face her in the run off? Tea Party bigot Terry Kemple. Good show, Hillsborough. Kemple has gained attention for his anti-Muslim crusades and his claims that CAIR has terrorist ties. The Times says: "He has distracted the district from its mission with bigoted campaigns against gays and Muslims, and he made the county a laughingstock in the process. He shows no genuine commitment to public education." Couldn't have said it better myself. The choice of Carol Kurdellis an obvious one.
Soil and Water Conservation Board
This one is tough, because the newspapers didn't bother to endorse or cover these races this year and two of the candidates don't even have web pages. I'm voting for Shane Holman over Sharon Collins because at least I can read about his stands on the issues and he is endorsed by the Sierra Club. Judging from LinkedIn, Sharon Collins has experience, but she's also endorsed by numerous wingnut voting guides, and that makes me nervous. The same thing with nursery owner Roy Gene Davis, who is in the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame and obvious has a lot of background in agriculture. But I also dug up newspaper articles with him regurgitating the typical right-wing complaints about bureaucracy, regulation, federal "harassment", etc. No web page or stands on issues I can find, but lots of wingnut endorsements. So I'm going with Joe Wendt's quixotic libertarian crusade to abolish the very board he's running for.