Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Other candidates - Nov. 2008

U.S. Senate:

Dick Durbin: I've always liked this guy - a downstate Democrat - the proper heir to Paul Simon. Though I wish he were - um -- a little more of an original maverick. And I wish his website would be more informative about what he's done rather than what pie-in-the-sky he's going to advocate.

Steve Sauerberg: Why is this career physician running for U.S. Senate? Because no serious Republican contenders could be found? BTW -- as a physician -- what has he ever done to expand health care beyond those who are insured ? Since he mentions nothing about that on his website -- we can assume the answer is that he has done nothing.


U.S. House of Representatives 7th District:

Danny Davis: Is there any reason to consider him anything other than a Chicago machine politician?

Steve Miller: But what kind of a candidate is this? What has been his public service to date? "Currently involved with the Skinner Park Advisory committee to develop a safe tax-free, self managed dog park for nearly 2,500 resident pets"
This guy is a joke.


Rep. In State Gen. Assembly :

Karen A. Yarbrough -- running unopposed.

(this is not the way a democracy should function -- once again the Republican party is too narrow to run a credible candidate in my district)

Water Reclamation Commissioner:

Avila seems to be the most qualified -- while this seems like the perfect job for people from the Green party -- so that's how I'll vote it: Avila, Ailes, Bogolub


States Attorney:

I can see no reason to vote for a Democratic state's attorney in a county run by Democrats -- so I've got to vote for Peraica

Judicial retention:

Here's the ones that were declared unrecommended by the Bar Association:

Anthony Lynn Burrell
Evelyn B. Clay
Vanessa A. Hopkins
Casandra Lewis

plus this one who was dissed by the Tribune and Chicago Council of Lawyers:
Edward Pietrucha

None of them has chosen to respond to that opinion on the internet - so I'm going to have to go with it.


Illinois state constitutional convention:

No -- I don't care for a procedure to impeach the governor - and I'm not hearing a lot of excitement for any other proposal. So -- maybe it's best to leave the state constitution alone for another 20 years.


Countywide referendum on procedures to recall an elected state official: -- that's what elections are for -- this referendum just looks like political nonsense

Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain Vs Obama

It being 60 days before the election -- I guess it's finally time to sort this one out.

And once again -- my first complaint -- is that the campaign websites are so worthless regarding what each candidate has actually done -- for which the most useful authority seems to be Wikipedia.

O.K. -- all advertising must sell the sizzle not the steak -- but still, it would seem that a sincere concern for public life would motivate a candidate to have at least some part of their website offer serious discussion of their role in recent history.

Here's my pros and cons for each candidate:


Pros: The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. -- whether it can survive the Republican Supreme Court is another question -- or ever be effective -- but you've got to respect the drive to end quid-pro-quo legislation - even if it must be a perpetual activity. McCain gets big points for this -- and maybe only a man with his hero-status could have taken it as far as it's gone.

Pros: Educational Choice. This is part of the Republican platform -- and I don't even know if McCain has ever given it a second thought -- but still it gets some points -- even if Republicans have never been able to do anything about it, even when they ran the show.

Cons: Universal Health Care: McCain has spoken up against it -- saying that it "puts a bureaucrat between you and your doctor". But what about people who can't afford a doctor (i.e. major medical treatment) at all?. I was one of those -- being dropped by my insurance company and then un-insurable for 6 years due to a precondition. This is a major issue for our country at this time --and McCain's sloganeeering can only be called callous and thoughtless.

Con: What else has he accomplished ? what more will he accomplish ? Returning a Republican administration to office for another four years so they can continue to serve the interests of big business? I don't really see any serious purpose here other than "I want to be President" --
any more than his reason for flying planes in Vietnam was "I want to be an admiral like my father" (he's admitted that prior to his capture, his motivations were all self centered)

A man of extraordinary personal strength ? Yes
A man who deserves to be honored as a hero? Yes
A man who will use that reputation to benefit the public rather than just himself ?

I'm not sure.

(and yet -- if he had beaten Bush in the 2000 primary -- I would probably have voted for him as President)



Pro: Mostly -- to return a Democratic administration to Washington -- with its historic role of serving the bottom rather than the top of society-- including/especially appointing Supreme Court justices who will protect the campaign finance reform effected by McCain -- and to work further towards universal health care (not that it's achievement is a cure-all -- but it's a step in the right direction)

And yes -- I do like the idea of a black man as President. Much of what a President does is to exemplify America. (that's why Bill Clinton was such a failure) -- and having grown up in a Jim Crow city (Cincinnati) -- I would feel very good about a black American President -- and that's how I would like the rest of the world to see us.

Con: I just don't know much more that's good about him So far -- he's been a go-along guy -- don't rock the Democratic Party boat. Of course -- that's what beginners have to do -- he's not a big war hero like McCain -- if he rocks the boat too much -- they won't let him climb on.

Perhaps he has been an inventive, effective legislator -- I just don't know the details.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Judicial Contests - 2008

O.K. -- I admit -- I'm totally at sea regarding this part of the ballot -- and never have done the justices justice (usually just leaving it blank -- or voting against all incumbents)

But a person can do a good job - or a poor one -- while sitting in judgment of their fellow citizens -- and those who do a good job should be re-elected -- if only I knew who that was !

What I'd really like to see -- is at least one essay for and against each candidate -- rather than just a sum total of endorsements.

Lacking that -- I'm going to go with what the candidate has to say -- figuring that if a judge can't express himself/herself in succinct, expository prose -- they have no business being a judge.

So.. for example.... in the Disko vacancy -- Dennis J. Burke has got the most endorsements -- but has some difficulty expressing himself. His website is minimal (at best) -- and the text that he put onto the website of the Cook County Clerk is .. well .. let's just say it's not very impressive -- and leaves me completely unconvinced when it reaches its awkward conclusion:

"As you can see, Judge Burke is a very well-rounded individual who is well-qualified for this position"

On the other hand, his opponent , Lauretta Higgins Wolfson, came up with a bit more tuneful speech --with something of a rhetorical flair:

"I bring to the Circuit Court the sum of my experience, in law and in life. I know there are no unimportant cases and no unimportant people. Everything that comes before me matters. Everyone matters. Everyone who comes to court – individuals, government agencies, corporations – deserves to be treated fairly and decently. I believe the way we treat people and the way we decide disputes has everything to do with trust and confidence in our courts. Without that trust and confidence our legal system would crumble"

So Wolfson gets my vote -- and so do these other judicial candidates -- judging from the text they posted to the Cook County Clerk's site:

Michael B. Hyman
Frank James Ryan
Debra B. Walker
Richard F. Walsh
Alan J. Greiman

Many candidates did not take the time to write anything at all -- which makes it very easy for me to prefer the opponent.

And incredibly enough -- nothing was written by any of the candidates for some of the vacancies. They must assume that some kind of party machine politics is going to carry them onward to victory.

I just hope they're wrong.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Democratic Primary February 2008

*U.S. House of Representatives, 7th District: Danny Davis (incumbent) vs. Robert Dallas.

Looking at Danny Davis on "On the Issues" website -- I'm not desperate to see him retire. (though I do wish he had voted on behalf of voucher school programs)

But regarding Robert Dallas -- why doesn't this man have a website ? Why would he expect anyone to vote for him ? I guess he just wants to make his name more familiar for future races -- but this seems to be a rather cynical abuse of the electoral system. If he has a reason to run this time --he should tell us -- otherwise, he shouldn't run. So I probably will remember his name --but not in a positive sense.

*Metropolitan Water Reclamation District:

Cook County Democratic Party endorses: Kathleen Meany, Frank Avila, Dan Maragos
Chicago Tribune endorses: Mariyana Spyropoulos, Derrick Stinson, Frank Avila

Why would anyone vote for those endorsed by the local Democratic party -- unless one is a loyal member ? So I'll vote against their candidates -- except for Frank Avila -- since he appears to be the only candidate who's an expert on the subject. The other two endorsed by the Tribune seem reasonable enough (reading their statments linked to the Board of Elections site) -- and the other candidates show nothing special to recommend them - i.e. no special expertise, no special ideas.

So -- I'm going with Mariyana Spyropoulos, Derrick Stinson, and Frank Avila

*Cook County Recorder of Deeds: Eugene Moore (incumbent) vs. Ed Smith.

I'm afraid that everything I've heard about Eugene Moore is negative -- as a player in the kind of county politics that rewards loyalty and punishes real public service.
(He's repeatedly listed as being the patron of the kingpins of our pathetic, Proviso District 209 school district)

So in this race -- I would vote for a horse instead of him.

*Cook County State's Attorney:

Thanks to the this wonderful site, presented by the Chicago Tribune, we get see a candidate forum.

Why aren't all candidate forums put up on the internet ?

It looks like the black and white candidates are split over whether the public needs to be protected more from the criminals or from the law enforcement system -- and it's probably a bit of both. But Larry Suffredin seems to be the candidate most concerned with running the office effectively/efficiently.

And yet -- there's his career as a lobbyist for casino and tobacco interests (as reported in the Tribune editorial that preferred to endorse Tom Allen) Is that the only way he could pay the bills ? This just doesn't look like the career of a devoted public servant.

Tom Allen has the personality of a dead fish -- but maybe I'll vote for him anyway -- at least his presentation was simple and direct.

(other contests to be discussed later)