What is with the media?

I have been watching the results this election night and watching MSNBC and CNN call races. They have called Senate races for Democrats when the reported polls are showing the Democratic candidate losing. One case is Maryland where Michael Steele is leading, but they are saying that Cardin is going to win. They are not calling Senate races, except a few solid wins by the Republicans, for Republicans. They are being very cautious. They seem to be trying to solidfy the term of liberal media and ride a semi-Democratic wave tonight.

Navteq to Buy Traffic.com

Today, Navteq announced that it was going to buy Traffic.com for $179 million. Their goal is to bring maps to life.
My question is if they are going to do that, why are they buying Traffic.com? Traffic.com’s service is horrible. Here in Denver their reports are bad and generic. They tell you there is a problem, but not what the problem is and what to expect. They use a weird rating system to rate how bad the traffic is, but it is not relevant to anything and they don’t tell you how long it was going to take to get where you are going.

Navteq could have done better with different technology. Traffic.com is a site that should just go away.

How I am Voting…

I haven’t been able to compare and describe all the issues, so I am going to present how I am voting this election.
Federal Office
US Congress District #2: Udall

State Offices
Governor: Ritter
Secretary of State: Coffman
State Treasurer: Hillman
Attorney General: Suthers
State Board of Education, District #2: Hudak
State Representative District #33: Berens
Colorado Court of Appeals: Retain them all

State Ballot Measures
Amendment 38: No
Amendment 39: No
Amendment 40: No
Amendment 41: No
Amendment 42: No
Amendment 43: Yes
Amendment 44: No
Referendum E: Yes
Referendum F: Yes
Referendum G: Yes
Referendum H: No
Referendum I: Yes
Referendum J: Yes
Referendum K: No

If you have any questions or would like to comment, please leave it in the comment area.

Colorado Amendment 43 Ad is False

I have seen many different ads for politicians, amendments, and referendums. But this has got to be the worst one ever. It makes so many false claims, it is ridiculous. There is no way that this Amendment was put forward to create distractions away from other issues, including Iraq. This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen.

How you can the war in Iraq and say this Amendment was created to distract voters from that in this election takes it too far.

Operation Education – The University of Idaho Does A Good Thing

The University of Idaho has done a good thing. It has launched Operation Education. Operation Education was launched on June 20, 2006 and was established US Military personnel who were severely or permanently disabled while serving our country since September 11, 2001 by providing an opportunity to earn a college degree.
The program provides funding that is not offered by the Federal Government and scholarships for the disabled veterans to attend the University of Idaho. It also provides opportunities for their spouse to attend college also on a scholarship.

According to the Universities news release, “The university will provide wounded veterans with financial support and resources – such as tuition, fees and books, on-campus housing, transportation, medical assistance, child care, adaptive equipment, tutoring and mentorship – at its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to assist veterans and their families as they re-enter civilian life. The university also has plans to partner with corporations around the country to offer internships and assist in job placement.”

Nothing beats giving our military an opportunity after a life-changing event and to give them some thanks for the sacrifices that they have made.

If you know of a person who was injured and is interested in attending college, let them know about this program. If you feel it in your hear to donate, please do.

Referendum J – School District Spending Requirements

Referendum J is pretty similar to Amendment 39, but there are a few things that Referendum J offers that Amendment 39 does not. I spoke about Amendment 30 yesterday.
Summary
I spoke about Amendment 39 yesterday. Referendum J does everything Amendment 39 does plus it adds a few things.

They both have a at least 65-percent funding for the classroom, but Referendum J adds in Principals, Support Staff, and Support Services provided at the school level. Referendum J also adds an out for school districts by allowing voters to exempt them from the 65 percent requirement and it adds a requirement that standardizes format for school district budgets and the school districts must submit them to the state.

In comparing spending, if these were to pass, 166 schools would have fallen short by a total of $278 million under Amendment 39. Under Referendum J, only three districts would have fallen short by a total of $1 million.

If both Amendment 39 and Referendum J pass, any provision of Amendment of 39 is in conflict with Referendum J, the provision of Referendum J will not be enforced.

My thoughts
I think that Referendum offers a better deal for the State of Colorado. It puts in spending regulations for the school districts, includes more in the 65 percent mandatory spending, and if the local voters feel that 65 percent is too much, they can vote out of the 65 percent requirement. Referendum J also standardizes school district budgets, allowing for a good comparison and understanding on how our schools are funding their operations.

Also, if both were to pass, we could have many lawsuits seeking clarification and guidance from the court on which parts of Referendum J conflict with Amendment 39.

My Vote
Yes on Referendum J.

Beware of the Key Bridge Marriott in Washington, DC

I recently just traveled for work to Washington, DC, and stayed at the Key Bridge Marriott.  I had heard some good things and like its location near Georgetown and was looking at staying someplace new.  But I was soon disappointed.
I had a corner room with a good view, one of my windows looking at the buildings of Rosslyn, VA, and windows looking across the Potomac towards Washington, DC.  But this view soon disappeared because as soon as I turned the heat on, the windows fogged up with condensation and I couldn’t see anything.  And the two windows leaked cold air like they were open.

The problem was that the fan that is supposed to exhaust the humid air from the bathroom, didn’t really work too well.  The moisture just hung out in the room.  The only way to clear the windows was to run the air conditioner while I was gone during the day.  But as soon as I returned and turn the heat on, the windows fogged up.

The Key Bridge Marriott needs to get with it and improve the circulation in their hotel.  Until they do, I wouldn’t recommend staying here.  There are many other places to stay in Washington, DC, that provide a better room and service.

Amendment 39 – School District Spending Requirements

SummaryAmendment 39 directs each school district in Colorado to spend at least 65 percent of their operating budget in the classroom, specifically teachers, classroom aides, and tutors; libraries and librarians; books and other instructional materials; classroom computers; and field trips, athletics, arts, and music. A school district may request a one-year waiver from this Amendment.

There is a similar bill that will be voted on this year, Referendum J. I will tackle that one tomorrow.

My Thoughts
I think this is a noble bill, but it does not meet the needs of all Coloradoans. This puts a one-size, fit-all approach to education and I don’t think that is correct. Also this bill does not include required funding for support staff that are as important to education as teachers. Many of the rural school districts have higher transportation costs then the urban school districts. Also, no matter what, school districts would have to go along with it. Local citizens and school boards would lose the local control that they should have.

My Vote
No!

Amendment 38 – Petitions

SummaryAmendment 38, if passed, will expand the current law and allow citizens to propose and challenge laws at all levels of state and local government. It will also changes existing procedures for placing a measure on the ballot by petition and applies to all levels of government.

What it does:

  • Limits ballot title to 75 words.
  • All disputes go to state Supreme Court and must be decided within seven days of filing.
  • Requires signatures of five percent of votes cast in the state or local government for secretary of state in the last full-term general election for the office.
  • Petitions are not really verified. They are counted and protests may be filed. If an individual signature is protested and proven invalid by clear and convincing evidence is not counted.
  • If you want to protest a signature, you have 10 days of filing and it must be resolved within 10 days.
  • Random sampling may not be used and signatures may not be disqualified for technical defects or minor variations or omissions.
  • You have 12 months to gather signatures and if you don’t collect enough for the upcoming election, they may be submitted for the next November election as long as it is within the 12 month period.
  • Elected officials may place a restriction on laws exempting them from challenges, but three-fourths of the governing body must vote for it.
  • They may elect to exempt 12 per year and if the voters successfully reject a law, the voters may only approve a similar law.
  • Measures may appear on any November election ballot.
  • In voter information materials, proponents may have up to 1,000 words while opponents must limit their comments to the number of words the proponents have submitted.
  • Not require that the ballot title be on the top of each signature page.

My Thoughts
In my opinion, this amendment weakens our government. It makes the citizens the elected body and the elected body almost worthless. There is a reason why we have an elected body to carry out our day-to-day government legislative and administrative functions. There is a lot to do and our representatives represent us.

It will also eliminate safeguards to check the signatures on the petitions by restricting the election official’s ability to verify the signatures will increase the likelihood that an erroneous signature will get on the ballot. Also, the Amendment would not require the petitioner to place the ballot title on each signature page, leading the potential of people not being clear on what they are signing or signing for something they don’t want to.

There is a law already on the books that allow for citizens to propose and challenge laws and it tends to work pretty well. There are certainly plenty of amendments for people to vote on this year. Let’s not weaken government and allow the government to work for the people.

My Vote
No!