At the very heart of popular democracy as we know it lies four simple words: Low Education Education Voters. Also known as "LEEVs" (pronounced "Leaves").
LEEV's will vote on November 6. Proudly. Brashly. With day-long proof of their endeavor. Yet not once will they investigate any of the candidates running for Board of Education. Their decisions on this matter will be driven by two critical information points: 1) Order on the ballot; 2) Number of candidate signs between their home, workplace, children's school, and grocery store.
Lest we click our tongues, we've all had one of these blemishes on our ballot card. Investigate Judge of the Orphan's Court, did ya? Decipher the policy differences between Clerks of the Court, huh? And what, may I ask, drove your decision on the election of judges?
Ken Ulman attempted to address this by the most blunt means imaginable last Fall when he proposed that at least some portion of the Board of Education be appointed. This was presented under the shroud of "diversity", but most cynical observers would acknowledge that it had much more to do with LEEV's and their handling of the County's most valuable resource. The problem is that page one of the Political Rulebook says "Overt attempts to take away the public vote will be treated with stern punishment and ridicule." (Hence, redistricting).
But in terms of public policy, Ken was probably right. Personally, I would have rather looked down the path of preference voting ("single transferable vote"), as proposed by Frank Hecker, but this may be too wonkish for any politician to try to take on. Even then, the roving indiscretion of LEEV's would persist.
And let's not geek out of seeing that there are LE(Council)V, LE(Executive)V, and even LE(Presidential)V. That doesn't mean we're looking to shut down the democratic vote entirely (leaving the discussion of the Electoral College as a fail-safe for another day). In response, look at the results. I would undermine this argument by getting too far into the merits of candidates with questionable qualifications and backgrounds, but those who support persistent litigants as members of our body politic may also point to the near permanence of incumbents as a result of LEEVs. Overall, I think the system is broken and am not so sure it ever worked.
So what can you do about it? If you support a candidate, get their signs out. Now. Today. Tomorrow. This weekend. Encourage them to engage in the often humiliating activity of waving at cars to capture the "That's dedication" LEEV. Post about them on Facebook, every day, to capture the "Subliminal message" LEEV. Most importantly, make your friends and family aware of who you support. This is very micro, but very effective. I'll call these people the "proxy" LEEV. "I'm not doing any research about this goofy election, but I trust John over there and he supports Gertler/Giles." (Sorry, squeezing it in).
Then, pray. Because while the ceiling for what a Board of Education can do is firm, the floor is not. Pair that with an unpredictable voter base and dangerous ideas amongst the candidates and you have the makings of a disaster.
I still think it is too early to tell what the result will be from Tuesday's Election, but I would encourage you all to pay more attention to what happens in the State polls than anything going on with the General Election polls. The latter tends to trail the former.
Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold promises to repay taxpayers for the costs of his defense attorney in a civil sex discrimination suit should the Court rule against him. Right, because once he is disgraced and potentially removed from office, he will have all the motivation in the world to set things straight. We let our political class get away with a lot, folks. A whole lot.
Do NOT pee in public parking garages in Annapolis. Don't do it. The Mayor is on your case.
After Lance Armstrong had his second worst day ever yesterday, losing his Nike sponsorship and stepping down as Chairman of the Board for LiveStrong, the Ulman Cancer Fund may have indicated that it will continue to work with Armstrong in an unofficial capacity. The article doesn't include language from UCF to this effect, but it is mentioned in the first paragraph. This isn't a surprise. I respect the appreciation and loyalty shown by the Ulman Cancer Fund during a time when everyone seems to be washing their hands of Armstrong. The public embrace is a fickle thing.
Featured Blog Post of the Day: TJ looks at some points left on the table by Mitt Romney and the real concerns raised by the President's response to the Libya attacks. Although I read it on TJ's blog first, I've seen this argument pop up in other post-debate Op-Ed's and wonder if Romney's team pick it up for next week's foreign policy debate.
That's all for today. Have a great Thursday doing what you love!