A Hard Look At The Ballot

Generally, on the Maryland ballot:

Questions 1 and 2:  I don’t understand what “state” qualifications have to do with the ability to decide what is the best for an orphan.  Because these are county-specific questions, I really don’t understand why a constitutional amendment would be of interest.

Question 3: assumes that the time frame of the legislative process is relevant to the removal of an individual from office, regardless of the work that must yet be performed, the capacity of someone new to perform this work, etc.

Question 4: is a move in the direction toward equal opportunities for education for everyone in the community.  self-improvement through education or work is of benefit to everyone.  people who do not have positive ways of directing their energy, may develop negative ways of channeling it.  Although the current education system is costly, it should be available to all in the community.

Question 5: is basically asking for popular support for something that has already legislatively passed in the state by represented parties, and as far as I can tell, is also legislated nationally by congress:  redistricting of congressional representation based on census results.  i guess the question is whether the redistricting adversely affects things.  this requires a closer look.  the current districting is shown in this map or perhaps better in this map.

As far as I can tell, the eastern shore district got bigger.  The Harper’s Ferry area was taken over by Western Maryland, which lost the area around Frederick.  Howard County acquired Baltimore County which was formerly part of the Western Maryland district.  The area around Baltimore became a little less pocketed.  District 3 which used to run from Baltimore to Annapolis, now runs from Baltimore to Washington.  Southern Maryland has stayed almost exactly the same.  District 4 which used to surround Washington from South to North, now goes from south Washington to Annapolis.  I don’t really see major problems here, but note that the more affluent part of the DC suburban area which is pretty green now extends northward to surround Frederick at the expense of Western Maryland.  So this geographical area’s representation or vote (district 8) is likely to move from farm-derived to suburban well-educated and environmentally sensitive.

So, a few different thoughts on this.

a) possibly I shouldn’t vote on this question, because congress has already legislated how the process should occur, and the state has already agreed through its legislative system, to validate the proposed changes which were scientifically derived through a census.

b) maybe I should vote, because the census counts people, and not other voiceless elements that I do care about like the environment, and wildlife, and animals.

To be objective, I should look at the voting record on each of these key issues for every congressional district, and try to find out whether in redistricting, that district has gotten larger in the case of a horrible voting record, or smaller in the case of a better voting record.

Basically, the question I would ask is: how well did each district protect its natural resources and wildlife?  are there any critical areas that are likely to transfer into “hostile” hands in the proposed redistricting?

Question 6: is again basically asking for popular support for something that has already legislatively passed in the state by represented parties.  Because it is a civil right’s issue (that of granting same sex couples the civil right to state-associated benefits of marriage), one must carefully consider the legislative process in the context of minorities, weighing in particular the pain and suffering of this group in the absence of this right.  Some issues transcend the democratic (or even legislative) process when it comes to the protection of suffering individuals.  That said, the legislative process has worked in this case to extend these same rights to same-sex couples.  They are asking for popular support.  I choose to respect individual free will and liberty in this case, asking the state to recognize, respect, and defer to individuals in the way they choose to live and wish to be recognized.

Question 7: The question is how best to raise revenue for education.  Some would argue taxation – but this makes for a lot of unhappy people.  I support the voluntary transfer of wealth.  With this in mind, what would people like to spend their money on?  One might think shopping taxes would be a way to collect money, but in fact, gambling is pretty green relative to shopping.  The problem is the house is going to win by a little bit, so on the average people do lose money (and sometimes it is poorer people), but it’s voluntary FOR MOST PEOPLE.  I don’t really see legislating people’s addictions, although it is important to have communities where those people who are behaviorally addicted can live unexposed to their addictive substances.  “Nanny states” are generally not my view of the ideal, although carved out “safe places” are.

Some local (county) questions on the ballot:

Question A: provides a county mechanism for those with disabilities to be actively recruited into employment.  18% of the population is disabled, and 12% is severely disabled.  I support having this population be representatively present in employment through affirmative action.

Question B: Collective (effects) bargaining in police units.  I support this, particularly because it encourages thoughtful and critical analysis of authority among police officers.

Question C: Only applies to voters in one of the few “dry” towns left in Maryland.  It is a request to repeal the liquor ban.  Because of the uniqueness and service of this location in the context of the general availability of liquor, I probably would reject the repeal.  I might also consider only voting if I considered myself to be at high risk from the consequences of the outcome of the vote, but I think I am more inclined to protect in this instance.  There are too many children born into addiction who probably need safe places to go through adolescence.

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