Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Elections Party 3: Election Day

Today is election day, err primary day. I voted this morning. There is a poll at the school right behind my house, so it was a short walk there to vote. Actually if I jumped the fence in my backyard, it would put me right next to the poll. Anyways, there were a lot more things to vote on than just the Democratic candidate for governor and the two state propositions. Most of these things were of a local variety.

Mayor of San Jose was one of the big draws, in terms of number of candidates. I've only lived in San Jose for a little more than a year, so I actually felt kind of guilty even voting for this. My short time in San Jose made it even more difficult. I did my best to identify some important issues in this order: road improvement, bike trails/parks, and urban development.

The first two are things that I think are exactly what should be looked for from governments: infrastructure. I probably would not have come up with the second one a year ago, but now that I bike a lot, it has become obvious to me that this need to be worked on. There are many trails in San Jose, but they are not connected and in many places are disrupted. As for urban development, I mainly want the government to stay out of it. Several of the candidates want to halt urban sprawl. Given the housing situation in the valley, I just can't agree with that. I don't want to government to prevent more houses from being built in an area that has way more people than it does houses. There are already government agencies that put up hurdles, that's enough (too much actually.)

As I read more about the candidates, I realized there was another important issue, or at least event. Current San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales was "caught" making secret deals with Norcal, a waste management company. There is not much worse than an elected official making non-public deals involving millions of taxpayer money. It seemed that several of the other candidates were complicit in this, only backing away from Gonzales once the backlash began.

So with all that in mind, I wound up voting for Michael Mulcahy. The only thing I wasn't real crazy with him was his stance on tax breaks for certain high-tech industries. I don't like government playing favorites in general, but this is not a terrible idea.

Besides mayor, there were several other local issues. There was a half-cent sales tax increase for Santa Clara county. I voted no on this, simply because there was no specification to how the money would be used. There was a measure to continue transferring money from the "general" fund to a fund devoted to parks. I voted yes for this. There was a similar measure for continuing a transfer to benefit the school district I live in. This was a difficult decision for me. If voting no would have meant a tax reduction, it would have been easy. But my desire for private schools won out, and I still voted no on this.

That's enough on the elections... for now. I'll need to get back to technology soon, and my new job has certainly provided a lot of material for that.

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