Election Thoughts

I just came back from voting, and had a few thoughts about the issues and process.

First, I got over there about 8:15 and while there were several cars in the lot at the Lion’s Club, it turned out they were all election judges.  I don’t know if I was the first voter of the day, but I was the only one at that time.  While I was there only one other person showed up, and it turned out he was at the wrong location. 

This year Tarrant County replaced the complete-the-line optical scan ballots with a new fill-in-the-box optical scan system and they also offered the Hart InterCivic (the one I call “The Etch-a-Sketch”) for anyone who wanted to use it.  Despite (or perhaps because of) working in IT, I want nothing to do with computer-based voting systems.  I prefer paper ballots, and I find that the optical scan system provides a good middle-ground between automation and creating a paper-based physical record.  My only gripe about the new system is that filling in the box (at least with the pen they provided) seems to take forever.

I noticed two R-n Pa-l (one dare not speak his name online, lest his groupies be summoned forth like lesser demons from the pits of hell) signs out in front of the Lion’s Club.  I was a bit perplexed by this, since there was nothing concerning him on the ballot.  But I suppose it was a chance to try to advance awareness of his existence.  [ Note: Should my obfuscation above fail to work, I want to make it known right now that any and all comments regarding the afore-unmentioned candidate will be summarily deleted.  My blog.  My rules. ]

Of the constitutional amendments, I voted against the $3-billion cancer research item.  Not that I don’t worry about cancer, nor is it not a worthy cause.  I just don’t see it as the business of the State of Texas to be funding this sort of research. 

Really, the only puzzler for me on the ballot was the library bond issue.  I’ve flip-flopped back and forth several times over the past month or so, but I finally decided to vote for the bond.  It will probably raise our taxes a bit (once we get to the point of considering the big infrastructure issues), but I think it’s time to get started on doing something with the library.  I’m still concerned that the whole thing was rushed and a bit too sparse on specifics, but I think that can be managed by watching the final proposal closely and making my thoughts known to the council.

For reference, my thoughts on the whole sordid library affair can be found in the Keller Library category.

Finally, I’m a bit annoyed at the City of Keller’s misuse of my email address(es).  I signed up for the Police Department’s E-SAFE mail program several years ago.  When the city created its own “enews” service, I signed up for it using a different address.  I also specified that I wanted email in TEXT format (I’m not a big fan of HTML emails).  Lately, someone at city hall has decided to appropriate Scott Bradburn’s E-SAFE list and subscribe everyone on it to the city’s newsletter.  It’s quite obvious and annoying, since I now get TWO copies of every city emailing, one in Text and another in HTML.  I should also note that their Text version looks like ASS.  It’s obvious that they aren’t paying any attention to their Text-based users.  This is related to the election in that they sent out a missive at about 6:45 this morning reminding us about the ballot issues.

For those who might be interested, if you’re on the city’s enews service and you get HTML-based emails, you are being tracked.  The city is using Constant Contact, and the email contains web-bugs (tracking images) as well as tracked links.  If your email client automatically loads images in HTML-based emails, Constant Contact will know that your email address is active, that you opened the email, when you opened the email, as well as logging your IP address.  If you click any of the links in the email (such as to get more information about the bond proposal), they will know that you did so.  There’s nothing really nefarious going on here, but I just thought I’d point it out because most people do not know it’s happening. 


  1. Phelps says:

    Oh, c’mon.  It’s fun to draw them in and then bat them about the head for a while.

  2. Mike Sivertsen says:

    Constant Contact Crap (CCC): another reason why I refuse to sign up for email alerts when the parties behind an Internet site are either too dimwitted to use RSS feeds or, worse yet, want to track our movements like some Internet version of the Stasi.

  3. Jim Carson says:

    My guess is that 90%+ of the library’s ultimate improved value will come from the first million dollars—technology and improved staff space.

    I’ll do my part to do the best we can with the remaining $3 million.

  4. Mike says:

    The cancer initiative is a nicely disguised corporate welfare initiative intended to draw new high technology companies to the state – much as semiconductor firms were lured here in the 80’s & 90’s.  So while it is an end-around tax, and labelled all in PC gibberish, fear not: the thing is designed to make Texas money in the long run. 

    What? you thought our state govenment couldn’t chew gum, walk and plan for the future at the same time?