Because so many have asked...here are my opinions about most of the issues and candidates on the ballot in Florida, particularly in North Florida... that part of the state that isn't exactly Miami Beach.
Election Day is upon us. This is your opportunity to cast your ballot for the future of this state...and the nation. And the planet.
No, that is not hyperbole. Florida is in trouble with climate change and melting glaciers. "A Word from Mother Earth" was a skit and was poking fun at the issue. But sea levels are rising, and when large portions of your state are below sea level, it's time to quit laughing about it unless you like living underwater.
And this is why when you look at the race for Governor, which features the unnaturally tan and quick-silvered Charlie Crist against a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Harry Potter character Voldemort you should vote for the reborn Democrat Crist. The sitting Governor, Rick Scott, has denied that humans and our industries have contributed in any way to climate change. And his excuse for not taking action is grounded in the statement, "I'm not a scientist." That's pretty clear since he doesn't know the distinction between an electric device, such as a fan, and an electronic device, such as an iPhone. And then let's not get into the criminal past of bilking Medicare. Do I really have to help you any more?
Our Congressional District race is also an obvious choice, especially if you're a woman. I'm not saying that you should vote for Gwen Graham because SHE's a woman; I'm saying you should NOT vote for Steve Southerland because (despite his splitting hairs technicality that he voted for *a* version of the Violence Against Women Act) Southerland has opposed the VAWA, he thinks "the missus'" need to stay at home while the men drink Irish whiskey and smoke cigars, and he has done nothing but be an obstructionist while in DC. I went to a Gwen Graham house party. I listened to her concerns about our environment. I share her concerns and I have a sense that she really wants to go to Washington and serve the district, not her buddies. Let Steve Southerland go back to Panama City to bury the dead. Vote for Gwen Graham.
For some reason, George Sheldon seems to be running a campaign of silence. Maybe he's hoping that Attorney General Pam Bondi hangs herself with her record of fighting losing causes with great gusto. Or her famous concern for the Chesapeake Bay, which perhaps, through the workings of climate change, will become part of a Florida water system. Even though Sheldon hasn't put an ad on TV or come 'round knocking on my door, I am a lesbian, and I will not vote for a woman who is so expert at "traditional marriage" that she's done it three times already... all the while refusing to give up and acknowledge that the state's constitution discriminates against lesbian and gay couples wishing to marry. You don't have to be a lesbian to find Pam Bondi offensive. Vote for George Sheldon.
OK... now we get on to "the rest of the ballot." This will go pretty quickly. If you love your licensed massage therapist, if massage therapy has helped to aid your injured body in recovering from a motor vehicle accident, then you will vote for William "Will" Rankin for Chief Financial Officer. WHO?? The guy running against incumbent Jeff Atwater, who backed the legislation that Voldemort signed that doesn't allow you, the consumer and accident victim, to see a massage therapist under your PIP auto insurance. Atwater "has never heard of anyone getting better from an auto accident" because they went to see a massage therapist. Oh, really?! Rankin for CFO. It may just be a protest vote, but I'm protesting.
Commissioner of Agriculture: here I'll tell you to vote for Adam Putnam, the incumbent. The Democratic Party has fielded Thaddeus "Thad" Hamilton for a second time for this office, but then does nothing to get out information about the man. All I can find out about him is that he holds an undergraduate degree in Agriculture, has an extensive Army record and has served on the Broward Soil and Water Conservation Board. I suppose if you're a die-hard Democrat, you'll vote for him. Otherwise, I would just vote for Putnam.
Speaking of Soil and Water, let's skip over to those races. Group 2: this is a classic case of guilt-by-association makes me say, "Ewww." Apparently, William Helmich has worked for Marco Rubio; therefore vote for Stan Peacock. Group 4: Brian Lee is a Faust fan, friend of mine on FB (and I do know him), and he and his wife, Kim Ross, are passionate about this planet and protecting it. This time, "by association" leads to a "Vote for Brian."
Judges of the First District Court of Appeal. These always seem to cause voters the most heartburn. Of course, if we simply had appointed judges, that would eliminate the problem. But we have that marriage of appointment and election called "merit retention," whereby voters can reject a judge the Governor has appointed. We have five judges on the ballot: Robert Benton is a Yes; Joseph Lewis Jr. is a Yes. Judges Makar and Osterhaus were appointed by Governor Lord Voldemort and so...guilt-by-association...No. And then the last one, Clay Roberts.....my eye started twitching when I saw his name. Clay Roberts was the head of the Division of Elections under former FL Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and was in that office during the presidential election in 2000. Yeah, you remember that election? (commence with slow rocking back and forth). Not only is Roberts a No; he should be a HELL NO!
Constitutional Amendments: Well, perhaps you've detected that I care about the environment, public lands, taking care of our natural resources. And that's the gist of Amendment One. It establishes a dedicated funding source to protect things such as our drinking water supply, our forests, and the Everglades. Vote Yes.
Amendment Two, which I lovingly refer to as the "Reeferendum" is also a Yes. I don't smoke pot, but I have and I did inhale and I used to like it until I realized it heightened traits that I didn't like. But this amendment feels like Florida is finally catching up to things I was reporting on in the late 1990s! I'm sure the then-drug czar Jim McDonough must have thought I was a pothead. I was not. But, again, I am a lesbian and I knew people who were sick with HIV/AIDS and I knew that medicinal marijuana would have helped them with symptoms, including stimulating their appetite. Please vote Yes for all those who could really stand to benefit from a plant and not a pill.
Amendment Three. Please go back to my discussion of judges. Did you see where I say that Voldemort has appointed judges to the First DCA? Now, imagine giving Voldemort or ANY Governor the power to appoint a judge BEFORE the current sitting judge retires or otherwise vacates the seat. Does that sound like a good idea? I didn't think so! Vote NO!
I hope this helps those of you still scratching your heads and wondering what to do this election. Remember, these are just my opinions and you are not bound to follow any of my advice. But you will regret it if you don't. :-) Do the responsible thing: VOTE!