November 2nd, 2004


Election Day in a Small State

I will exercise my rights as a citizen after work. Down with fascism, up with freedom. Not that the outcome is much of a question in Rhode Island. One of the nice things about living in a non-swing state is that I haven't had to put up with a lot of propaganda ads. We're pretty much in the Democratic column all for all the national races. I haven't even seen one for the congressional race in my district. I know that one of the independent candidates in that race is running on a "Bring back prohibition" platform. Good luck with that, although it is a shame he didn't run any ads.

There were some ads in the other congressional district, where the Republican candidate, an ex-Navy SEAL, put on his wet suit and actually swam around as much of the district as he could, which since it includes Aquidneck Island (aka Rhode Island) and a bunch of coastal communities is actually quite a lot of it. He did this to prove that he actually spends time in the district, something his opponent, Patrick Kennedy, rarely does. He still doesn't have much of a shot.

I haven't been completely barraged with phone calls, either, although a goodly part of that may be because I have no answering machine. I've gotten a couple of calls from the Governor, but I hung up before he could tell me who he was supporting. I got a call from one of our senators asking me to vote for the guy who used to run the Nineteenth Hole at the municipal golf course for my rep. in the General Assembly. He and his GOP opponent have been the only ones to ring my doorbell so far.

There are fourteen statewide referenda. The big one is to decide whether to add a separation of powers amendment to the state constitution. As it stands now, the constitution is hugely vague on the matter of separation of power between the executive branch and the legislative branch, so much so that when ruling on the matter, the state Supreme Court had to cite the original colonial charter given to Roger Williams by the King of England as the controlling document. In effect, our General Assembly is a parliament, and the Speaker of the House has more power than the Governor. It's a system that breeds corruption, and there is strong support for the new amendment from everybody, except, of course, much of the Assembly.

The rest of the referenda are bond issues. One of them is for further money to modernize the road system at Quonset Point, or in other words, further screw up my commute for the next ten years. I'm conflicted about that one.
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Election Day in Tiny Town

Ye Gods! It's even worse than I thought. In addition to the 14 statewide referenda on the ballot, my town has an additional 9 of its own. I was a little apprehensive, because I hadn't seen any of them yet, but after doing a little research, it turns out most of them have to do with amending the town's charter to change the name of the town's "Master" plan, to its "Comprehensive" plan. Oy.

Also, it seems we're voting on removing the phrases "slum districts" and "slum clearance projects" from the charter. That's a relief, because given the fact that my house is at the very low end of the price range in this fairly affluent town, I might actually be living in what would be considered a slum around these parts. The best part is that they're separate questions, so I can vote to remove "slum districts" and keep "slum clearance projects," or vice versa. It's tempting.