Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Why Not?

A/G Beshear (and that’s also candidate Beshear) has urged lawmakers again to consider legalizing casinos and sports betting in Kentucky as a way to finance our pension problems.
Why Not?
We have a lottery already, with its funds dedicated to education, so why not more of the same with funds dedicated to the pension problem?
Bevin and the GOP majority in the legislature is the easy answer, but it makes little sense. We already have legal betting in the successful state lottery. We need the money, though let’s admit it won’t solve the pension problem, it can get us started—and in a big way.  Opposition by conservative “family” groups, also, but see my argument # 1, we already have a successful lottery.
The GOP, the party of Business, seems content to let a lot of business leave Kentucky and go to Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and other surrounding states that have, or may soon have, casinos, sports betting, etc., draining this money from our state and our business. That is shortsighted in the extreme. And bad politics.
Gov. Bevin says its time to take a new look at solving state problems, especially the one he has hung his hat on—pensions. He won’t Like the Beshears (dad also proposed the same thing when he was governor) getting any credit here, but what is best for our state: credit in a campaign or solving a festering problem that is only getting worse?
I'm just sayin'

Monday, November 19, 2018

Election Thoughts - Past And Future

Almost every election, reporters interview someone who didn’t vote and the reason why is often “my vote won’t count.”
EVERY election, the one just past being no exception, races ARE decided by one vote; both this time on the federal level as well as local. Yup, someone’s headed to Congress because one person voted.  And here in Kentucky, we had one race end in a tie, decided by a coin flip.
Enuff of history, and the miserable turnout, about 46%, let’s talk about all the problems the US had; from not enough ballots, to jammed machines, to one polling place that didn’t exist (it was foreclosed on and padlocked before the election!) to not enough machines causing long lines, to not enough election workers showing up, to machines with NO paper trail in 3 states (and thus no way to check on fraud or human errors!) to some political chicanery but no real evidence of fraud.
That said, why aren’t our elections better run???
After the”hanging chad” debacle of 2000, Washington promised us help. We got some more money (not sufficient) and some new electronic machines (not always easy to operate and again, some without a paper trail---such as right here in Fayette County!!!) and as I write almost 2 weeks later, some races still have not been called, and I don’t mean just Florida.
BTW, we have a small race here next year for governor. And the nation has one in two years for the top job.
What can be done?  A lot, and while Washington must help with more $$$, and some UNIFORM voting rules for federal races, let’s talk about the Commonwealth.
1---get rid of all machines that do not have a paper trail. The Herald-Leader reports that means FayCo..and the city seems to have some surplus funds which could solve this problem (plus grant money from state and US sources.)  Let’s do it! And if we can’t get simpler machines with paper trails by next year, let’s go back to paper ballots, read by machines, instead.
2---pass legislation that whenever the Secretary of State is a candidate, he/she must turn over the duties of overseeing elections to someone else. Let’s not have the disgrace of what happened in Georgia happen here. We have been warned; let’s get ahead of the curve.
3—take a good hard look at early voting..which has some advantages, but also some drawbacks. Do NOT go in for mail ballots as some states have, which I suspect is too open to fraud. Do consider in person voting over several days or even shifts or longer hours—and gear up for that.
4---consider AVR, as several states already have. Basically Automatic Voting Registration is where if you go to any state office for any matter, you are or can be registered to vote then and there.
5---plan NOW for a non- or bi-partisan commission of experts who will draw the lines for all state/federal voting districts when the new census figures come out, more and more states are going this way, Kentucky needs to as well.
and, above all,
6---join the movement to end the Electoral College and elect the President by popular vote. Then, one Kentucky vote will no longer mean less than a vote in Tenn., or Ohio, or Indiana.  ALL votes will be equal!
I'm just sayin'...

Friday, November 9, 2018

Free Advice For Amy McGrath

Years ago, as a young reporter, I interviewed James F. Byrnes, once the “assistant president” to FDR and a former Secretary of State, a name now largely forgotten.
One of the things he told me I have never forgotten:  “Free advice is the commodity in greatest supply—and least in demand.”
Nevertheless, I will now offer some to Mrs. McGrath:
DON’T run for governor.
I know your campaign manager, (a professional here as I am not) wants you to (and maybe increase his employment,) but don't.
Right now you are a new, fresh, and exciting face on the body politic, and a loser after an excellent, hard fought campaign against an incumbent, backed by a popular President, (at least here in these parts.) Many will suggest “strike while the iron is hot” and, yes, there are a lot of not-so-exciting Democrats in the wings ready to run. But, many did question why you ran, fresh out of service without much current experience in state issues and policies.  Take your time. Go to Pennyrile and Paducah; go to Harlan and Bowling Green; meet the people there---out of your home district. Tour the Commonwealth. Get better known throughout our state.
You’ve already antagonized the Gray clan, no need to take on the Beshears. Or the Lundergans.
Besides who really wants to take up the issue of our state pension debacle. Let someone else continue to screw it up.
Wait a while.
Come back in ‘20...and take on the Big Dawg!
I'm just sayin'...