Friday, October 26, 2012

Vote Up the Ballot

You can see the sample ballot for North BayVillage here.

You can read my take on the North Bay Village Charter Amendments here.  

And for other views, check out Mario for North Bay Village

And Robot Bhandari here.  

It turns out there are more that just North Bay Village issues on the ballot November 6.  Who knew?  What I have below is my take on the county amendments and the school board questions.  All of these affect our lives in North Bay Village pretty directly so this might be useful for you.  At the very bottom, I put my views on the judges and statewide consitutional amendments. 

School Board

My View
School Board Question
Funding Modernization and Construction of
Public School Facilities Through Issuance of
General Obligation Bonds
Shall the School District of Miami-Dade County
fund a plan for modernization and construction
of public school facilities throughout the district,
including educational technology upgrades, by
issuing general obligation bonds in an aggregate
amount not exceeding $1,200,000,000, in one or
more series, bearing interest at market rates,
maturing within thirty years, and secured by the
full faith and credit and ad-valorem taxing power
of the district
Yes. Miami-Dade schools are improving rapidly. We are the fourth largest school district in the US and our school board needs to modernize the facilities and manage the educational improvement.
County Charter Amendments

My View
Home Rule Charter Amendment Relating to
Term Limits of County Commissioners
Shall the Charter be amended to provide that
County Commissioners shall serve no more
than two consecutive four-year terms in office
excluding terms of service prior to 2012?
No. I realize I stand nearly alone on this but I firmly believe that we already have term limits – they are called elections – and if a commissioner is not performing, he or she should be voted out.

For North Bay Village, Sally Heyman has been a strong and useful advocate. If she runs again, I want her in the position.
Technical Amendments to Home Rule
Shall the Charter be amended to clarify the titles
of subsections, correct and update
cross-references between provisions, and delete
references to offices and agencies which have
been abolished?
Yes. This simply cleans up the charter language. It's actually a cost saving measure as there is less work trying to figure out what archaic and obscure references must be included or ignored.
Charter Amendment Requiring Extraordinary
Vote to Include Additional Land within the
Urban Development Boundary
Shall the Charter be amended to require a
two-thirds vote of County Commissioners then in
office to include additional land within the Urban
Development Boundary established by the
County's Comprehensive Development Master
Yes. This is half a loaf but better than nothing. The Urban Development Boundary in a delicate environment matters. We have to control sprawl and requiring that this be at least be made more difficult to change is a step forward.
Charter Amendment Pertaining to Changes
in Municipal Boundaries and Creation of
New Municipalities
Shall the Charter be amended to:
Require the County Commission to consider
the benefits of any proposed annexation of
commercial areas, when approving or
authorizing an annexation
No. This seems like a good idea at first glance, allow unincorporated areas to create new cities for more local services and representation, but it ignores the reality that adjoining unincorporated areas will be impacted. It does not fix the issues of annexation and could cost taxpayers more not less to serve the county as a whole. The whole idea needs to be revised and part of a larger package.
Charter Amendment Regarding Penalties
and Enforcement of Citizens' Bill of Rights
Shall the Charter be amended to eliminate the
provision providing for forfeiture of office if a
public official or employee willfully violates the
Citizens' Bill of Rights and allow, in addition to
suit in circuit court, the Commission on Ethics
and Public Trust to enforce the Citizens' Bill of
Rights with penalties authorized by the Code?
No. This is a great idea that will be ruined by bad company. The Commission on Ethics is a deeply political office, favoring the powers that be, and has been proved worthless in addressing municipal corruption. There is no indication that they will be any more effective at protecting our rights than they are at addressing abuse. The Commission on Ethics needs to be removed and replaced by people who actually practice the ethics they pretend to enforce.
Charter Amendment Related to Option for
Filling Mayoral or County Commissioner
Shall the Charter be amended to:
Extend the time to conduct an election to fill
a mayoral or commissioner vacancy from 45 to
90 days from the decision to call such election
and provide a timeframe for qualification and
any necessary runoff;
Temporarily transfer, during a mayoral
vacancy or incapacity, certain mayoral powers
to the Commission Chairperson, Vice
Chairperson or Commissioner chosen by the Board?
Meh. 45 days is enough to run an election. That it is not convenient for the candidates or administration is not a particular concern of mine. I'll probably vote no.
Charter Amendment Regarding Mayoral
Conflicts in County Procurement
Shall the Charter be amended to provide that
when the County Mayor declares a conflict of
interest in a particular procurement of a County
contract, the chairperson of the Board of County
Commissioners shall exercise all authority
provided by the Charter or the County
Commission to the Mayor with regard to such
procurement including the authority to
recommend a bid waiver?
No. It just transfers singular power. It's a bad solution to a real problem. The problem should be addressed by the commission and administration as a whole.
Referendum Regarding Structures and
Modification of Existing Agreements for the
Tennis Center at Crandon Park
In accordance with Article 7 of the Home Rule
Charter, do you approve as set forth in
Resolution R-660-12:
Erection of permanent structures and
expansion of existing structures at Crandon
Park Tennis Center for public park and tennis
tournament use, which shall be funded solely by
tennis center and tournament revenues and
private funds; and
Modification and extension of agreements
with operator of Sony Open Tennis Tournament
or its successors?
Yes. Okay. It's funded by user fees and corporate sponsors to update the park.
Non-Binding Straw Ballot on Funding
Improved Animal Services Programs
Would you be in favor of the County
Commission increasing the countywide general
fund millage by 0.1079 mills and applying the
additional ad valorem tax revenues generated
thereby to fund improved animal services,
Decreasing the killing of adoptable dogs and
cats (historically approximately 20,000
Reducing stray cat populations (currently
approximately 400,000 cats); and
Funding free and low-cost spay/neuter
programs, low-cost veterinary care programs,
and responsible pet ownership educational programs?
Yes. It's non-Binding and maybe it will call attention to the near out of control animal problems in the county. It does not replace personal responsibility of pet owners and I hope the county does address this issue.
Non-Binding Straw Ballot on Contracting
with Companies Doing Business with State
Sponsors of Terrorism
Would you support, to the extent permitted by
law, prohibiting further the use of taxpayers'
dollars to procure services or capital
improvement projects from companies actively
doing business in countries that are on the U.S.
Department of State's list of state sponsors of
Yes. This is a national Federal issue that is not being addressed. It would stop the country from doing business with companies like Mitt Romney's Bain Capital who invest heavily in companies doing business in China, Iran and Cuba, while pretending not to.

State Ballots Amendments - No to All

These include amendments to enforce theology on women, fund churches in proselytizing,  give homestead exemptions to investors rather than residents, and are generally an abuse of the ideas and goals of the electoral process.   These are designed to deceive not improve our lives.  

Supreme Court Justices Florida - Yes to Retain

A number of radical organizations have attempted to turn this into a referendum to intimidate justices who do not agree with their views by removing them from office.  The Florida Supreme Court has done a good job ensuring that the basic laws of this state are fairly applied and while I disagree with many of their principles as regards individual rights, removing them would be a mistake.    

Andrea Wolfson - No.  Send Her Packing

Oh, she appears reasonable.  But she deliberately sought and accepted the endorsement of the "Christian Family Coalition of Miami" who stand against the County Human Rights Ordinance, frame a Woman's Right to Choose as the State's Right to Enforce Prohibitions and actively seek public funding of churches (not services provided, the actual church.)   

That Andrea Wolfson lacks the integrity to stand for non-partisan justice and sought their endorsement makes her unfit for the judiciary.   

Other Races - 

President - I'm voting for Obama.  I just can't get to the magical place where cutting revenue improves revenue, where the first priority is to eliminate $700bn in Medicare savings and claiming that somehow reduces Medicare costs and I can't vote for someone who made millions investing in China, Russia and Iran, then hides the money off shore.   Seems like we need a president who is  invested in America, not Iran and Russia.  

Senator -  Bill Nelson.  We need realists.  

Congress - this one may be a surprise.  I think Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is a poor rep for us.  She spends too much time seeking the limelight and not enough on her constituents.  Unfortunately her opponent seems to be a whack job so I may not vote on this one.  

Okay, so there's my opinion for the election.  Early voting starts tomorrow.  

Kevin Vericker  
October 26, 2012  


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