Monday, November 9, 2015
Last Tuesday's Elections
The mid-Midyear even year elections are always very interesting, like reading tea leaves to predict the future. If Presidential lections are every four years, then the midyear elections are every two, even numbered years. The Midyear elections generally draw a much smaller, more conservative turnout. The turnout in the odd number years is even lower and more conservative. These elections only have a few Gubernatorial elections and no regular Senate or House of Representatives election. Here is a belated update on last Tuesday’s elections due to waiting for the final vote counting. Taxes are always on the ballot. Seattle voters approved by 60-40% a 10 year, subsidized experiment in public campaign funding. Every voter will receive in every election cycle 4 $25 vouchers to be used as campaign contributions for candidates in local elections. The candidates in turn will agree to lower spending and contribution levels and must agree to participate in 3 debates. It will be funded by a property tax levy amounting to about $9/year on a $450,000 property. The tax will be much higher in fact because of rapidly escalating property values in King County (Seattle). Washington State voters responded to a Washington Supreme Court decision which threw out a 2/3 requirement for voter approved tax increases since that requirement would have to be in the state constitution. The voters approved a referendum which cut the state sales tax to 5.5% from 6.5% unless the Legislature placed on the ballot a provision to amend the state constitution with the 2/3 tax approval for tax increases. The state, counties, and cities have been imposing $billions in tax increases in recent years. Paul Allen sponsored a referendum which substantially barred the trafficking in in animal products to product tigers, lions, marine turtles, elephant tusks, and rhino horns. Colorado voted to divert $66 million in pot taxes to school funding. Pueblo County voters imposed a 5% excise tax on pot, expected to yield $13.5 million by2020. The proceeds would cover the tuition of county residents attending the two colleges in the county. Ohio voters may be Buckeye nuts with a mixture of potheads, but they are not dunderheads. They voted down two marijuana legalization proposals, one of which would have given the sponsors a monopoly in Ohio. The vote was not even close – 64-36%. Neighboring Michigan voters had even less tolerance for two disgraced, former GOP representatives who sought redemption by running for the legislative seats they were forced to vacate earlier this year. The erstwhile Tea Party backed Representatives could not conceal their public lust for each other. Todd Courser came in sixth with 415 votes in his race and Cindy Gamrat came in slightly better in her race with 912 votes and a third place finish. They ran in the wrong state. Bridgeport, Connecticut returned to office former Mayor Joseph Gann who had served 7 years in prison for corruption. He was convicted in 2003 of 16 counts after serving 12 years as Mayor. Some voters expressed forgiveness. Flint, Michigan tossed out their incumbent Mayor, who presided over the contaminated water poisoning of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels. San Franciscans voted out their embattled, non-gun bearing, spousal abusing Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi by a 62-33%. Vicki Hennessy, the victor, will be the first woman Sheriff of Los Angeles. The voters retained Ed Lee as the first Chinese Mayor of San Francisco. San Francisco voters also voted down Prop P, an anti-Airbnb ordinance that would restrict short-term rentals with civil and criminal penalties. The measure was backed by the hotel employee union, but opposed by Airbnb, which spent about $8.5 million in opposition. Republicans retained their state Senate majorities in New York and Virginia. Matt Bevin, the Tea Party underdog, was elected Governor of Kentucky as Kentucky is rebelling against President Obama’s War on Coal. The Governor-Elect had mentioned his support for Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Yet, this past weekend he said he would change the Kentucky rule that requires the Clerk’s signature on the marriage licenses. The polls had him losing the election, but he won by a wide margin as only the second Republican Governor of Kentucky in 44 years. Democrats are now down to 17 governors. As widely reported, 61% of Houston voters rejected the HERO Ordinance, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. The turnout in African American and conservative white neighborhoods was large. Both groups are against gay marriage. In addition, the advertising campaign against HERO featured bathroom privacy; i.e. do women want transgender men with entering woman restrooms. Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker is gay, but that didn’t matter in this election. HERO was endorsed by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary Clinton. Texas voters made the right to hunt and fish a constitutionally protected right, becoming the 19th state to protect the right to hunt and fish.