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Election Etcetera

I was on the streets and at precincts throughout Sarasota County yesterday from about 7 am to 5:30 pm (with only a short break at my office to squeeze in some “real” work). I was also at the Democratic party at Gecko’s on Hillview Avenue in the evening hours.

Though all the precincts I visited were hopping, it ended up being a low voter turnout — big surprise.

Over the course of about 15 hours yesterday, I was everything from discouraged to dumbfounded by things I heard and saw. To wit:

***Is it really possible that representatives of one party would remove or knock over the political signs of another party at various signage spots throughout the country and at voting precincts? As cynical as I am, I find it hard to stretch my mind to a place that allows the idea that such people would exist. Yet person after person at the precincts and other places were telling me it happened — repeatedly and consistently throughout the campaign, and aggressively yesterday. It’s nearly beyond my already very jaded perspective to fathom that such cretins would exist and act in such a manner. I don’t care what political party they might be from, that kind of behavior has to be the lowest of the low.

***From nearly dawn to well past dusk, I heard the Sarasota Herald Tribune be absolutely trashed by both Republicans and Democrats — primarily for its political coverage during this election period, but generally overall. I heard varying degrees of this sentiment being yelled about by a woman at a voting precinct who was outraged over the “liberal slant” of the paper; being espoused by Kerry Kirschner on the radio; during a phone call from a politico who blasted the coverage of local races versus statewide; and in person from several people, one of whom said she’s “canceling my subscription” because the editors endorsed candidates in the paper (huh?).

I’m such a devotee of having a daily newspaper that it’s hard for me to hear people saying they “don’t bother” to read the H-T, or other papers, anymore. But what’s worse is the young woman I spoke with, who asked about my book, Sideways in Sarasota, — “What’s it about?” she asked, and I told her and offered to loan her a copy, and she said, “I don’t read books.” Flat. Neutral. No degree of embarrassment at this admission. Just a fact. She doesn’t read newspapers, either, she said.

***A reader of this blog let me know that he called SNN6 last night to register a complaint about the way they were presenting election results — apparently he was taking them to task for too much yada yada yada talking head stuff and not enough real reporting of local races and for not displaying and announcing results of races as they were happening. He told me that he explained to the person he reached at SNN6 that he was a regular watcher of SNN6 but felt they were dropping the ball on letting viewers really know what was going on in real time in terms of local races. According to my reader, the SNN6 staffer said to him, “Why don’t you just watch Channel 40 at 11 pm for the results then?”

Really? Wow. I guess they don’t need regular viewers at SNN6. And, um, when was the last time ABC 7 was officially called Channel 40 anyway? The thing with this response is this, as if I really have to spell it out, but anyway, is this — whatever happened to responses like “We appreciate your interest in our programming. We’re sorry you’re not satisfied, but welcome all viewer feedback. We hope you’ll continue to watch SNN6 and let us know when you enjoy it and when you think we could do better. Thanks for watching!”

***Driving in my car, on my way to vote, I heard Kerry Kirschner on the radio talking about Rick Scott’s promise to reduce property taxes by 19% and how that promise would probably have a positive effect on voters. So, I called into the show and asked Kirschner how he thought Scott would live up to that promise if elected and by the way, if elected, would Scott even have the power to fulfill that campaign promise?

I wasn’t able to take notes because I was driving, but basically, Kirschner explained that in all likelihood, Scott would be able to effectuate a 19% lowering of property taxes by moving education-based taxes out of the property tax bill, putting those education expenses in the hands of the state, and then raising the state sales tax rate to pay for education. He said a similar plan had been effectuated in, I think, South Carolina. (Kerry, if you’re reading and I got any of this wrong, don’t hesitate to write in and let me know.)

But here’s my question: Isn’t it disingenuous at best, and misleading at worst, of Scott to tell voters he’ll lower their property taxes by 19% while leaving out the part about raising their sales tax rates? Later, when asked about Scott’s ability to effectuate some of his plans — like putting 700,000 people to work in Florida — Kirschner said Scott’s success would be dependent upon the legislators he’s working with. (Um, isn’t that what has happened to Obama?)

Forget about who ended up with a political office after all the votes are counted — that’s almost beside the point.

My take on yesterday results? Well, with a voter turnout of 56% — one of the lowest ever, if not the lowest — for Sarasota County … perplexing and vexing attitudes about and from local newspapers and television media … human behavior that includes things like signage stealing, and playing fast and loose with truth, lies, and misinformation … wildly unreasonable and infantile expectations of the masses … and people who don’t read a newspaper or a book and think that’s a perfectly okay way to live … my take is that we’re all, quite simply, quite royally, quite fucked.

Posted on November 3rd, 2010Comments RSS Feed
6 Responses to Election Etcetera
  1. Hi Mary Catherine,

    1. Yes people steal/knock over signs.
    2. Maybe SNN6 will train their people better in the future – maybe not.
    3. I don’t think blogs can supplant true investigative reporting aimed at keeping government at all levels honest and open.
    4. “Democracy is the worst form of government…except all the others.” – Winston Churchill

  2. Well MC the shrink in me tells you to always have low expectations of people then you will never be disappointed….To me we are fucked because Barack has been such a major failure and the people have spoken even though 44%(in Sarasota County) don’t give a rats ass either way.No surprise to me as people are just plain numb and politics are the last thing on their minds to survive each and every day.It also doesn’t matter who is the is politics as usual…Just wait until 2012 when your girl runs for Prez..Yikes……..

  3. I agree with you, Howard, on #3 — even though I’m a blogger; you’re absolutely right. And of course, so was Churchill. Thanks for reading/commenting!

  4. I disgree with you Steve — that Obama has been a major failure.

  5. “my take is that we’re all, quite simply, quite royally, quite fucked.” Well said, M.C.

    “To me we are fucked because Barack has been such a major failure and the people have spoken” Well said, Steve.

    “I don’t think blogs can supplant true investigative reporting aimed at keeping government at all levels honest and open.” Well said, Howard.

  6. Being Held Hostage in a Blue State
    November 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Productive or re-productive that is the question. It’s not so blue after is it??


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