Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Interesting election precedents

I confess to being so preoccupied with current financial initiatives as well as other individual ballot initiatives (both local and afar) and the national races that I simply ran out of time and did not parse our League City candidate races as thoroughly as I should have. 

But it appears that the good people of League City did some of that due diligence fairly thoughtfully, electing new Council members with fiscally conservative stances.

That's both supportable and appropriate, I think. There is a powerful argument to be made that League City has been playing too loose and fast with public funds, as these now-successful City Council candidates both alleged.  Galveston County Daily News (GCDN) made that same argument last summer when it basically asked, albeit in an understated tone the paraphrased question, "Whoa - where the hell did this come from?!" in reference to the $75 million loan that LC secured without voter approval. 

And I continued the thread in October, asking why the Public Safety Building ended up looking like the best-kept secret since the beer can house

I mean, the whole thing was a bit surreal, wasn't it??  There was all this PR and media hoopla going on about these financially-insignificant upgrades to City Hall, and meanwhile, nobody was talking about the elephant across the streetthe $33 million monument to public debt that got slipped onto our collective yoke without anybody really realizing what was happening (including GCDN, which according to my communications with them, had no idea what was going on even after construction preparations had commenced). 

I felt like I had been duped, that the City Hall renovations were an intentional decoy, a Trojan horse designed to divert attention from the real financial issues that were in play.  Perhaps this is not what League City ever intended, but that's how the whole thing came across to me. 

And that's not right.  And what happens when the voters feel that things are not right?  They turf out the people responsible.  For all of its flaws and limitations, our democratic process does tend to work this way, which is good to see.  In some ways, the American system may indeed be broken - but it obviously ain't completely broken. 
This was a fate-sealing public statement if there ever was one, eh?
Phalen was defeated by Heidi Thiess
Screengrab from this previous post.
So with that said, for posterity and future reference, here are a few memorable photos of this memorable election - to be followed by a description of an election precedent that is brand new and positively enchanting!!
Approaching the scene of the non-crime yesterday on foot of course! across the Bridge to Nowhere, I noticed a KTRK news chopper hovering above the League City muni complex.  "Holy cow - I hope nobody got shot," I thought to myself. 
Say what??  I don't remember commercial news boom trucks at any previous election.  But I've only lived in League City for about four years now. 
No obvious police presence or tell-tale bullet holes, but hmmm.....
How very craptastic... glad to see so many people exercising their rights, but it was a bit inconvenient to have to stand in that line!
All that being said and shown, here is the Election 2012 moment that utterly won my heart:
THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is John Kelso
If you've ever lived in Austin, I don't need to tell you who he is.  For those of you who are thus far uninitiated, he's a well-known humor columnist and commentator.  A veritable institution unto himself, much like Keep Austin Weird
Photo screengrabbed from the Austin American Statesman
In a stroke of utter brilliance the likes of which I haven't seen manifest in the political arena in decades, Kelso determined that it's not illegal to vote dressed as Big Bird.  In many states, it's apparently illegal to present yourself at a polling station in open advocation of any party or candidate.  It's considered to be a form of electioneering which is not fair (in Texas we have a 100-foot distance marker which restricts that kind of thing). 

But apparently wearing a Big Bird costume is subtle enough so that it's not considered to be electioneering.  He dressed as Big Bird so that he could protest Romney's stated intention to cut funding for PBS (and he got national news coverage for doing it).  But a voter would have to know the issues intimately in order to understand what was being said (wordlessly) here, so no fowl... er, foul.

You know what this means, don't you?  It means that I would have been within my legal rights if I had voted yesterday dressed as a human sidewalk segment!!  

Especially because that would have represented an even more subtle political statement, given that no candidate for public office had expressed any concrete position on sidewalks.

So Kelso has hereby done me a greater favor than he ever did during the three years I lived in Austin: he set a ground-breaking precedent of which I may indeed avail myself in the future. 

Of course, this plan has the obvious aesthetic drawback.  I could easily craft visually-convincing sidewalk segments out of high-density painted styrofoam and strap them onto my front and back, but the answer to that age-old question, "Do I look fat in this?!" would be a resounding "HELL, YES!!!"  My size 8 Levis may be hanging loosely off of my middle-aged rear end, but it's simply not possible to trot about dressed as a human sidewalk and NOT look fat in that. 

Oh well.  That's just the type of sacrifice that a person has to make sometimes for the public good, ain't it?

Happy election hangover day!!

Your friend,
The Trash Whisperer.

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