Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nov. 5: Election Reforms For Thought - And a Word About the Yankees

By Sylvia Gurinsky

John Anderson is a one-time Republican member of Congress from Illinois and was an early example of the exodus of moderates from that party when he ran as an independent presidential candidate in 1980. He's also one of the most intelligent, rational voices about reforming the election process.

He's at it again this week, with a column that ran, among other places, in The Miami Herald:

We all know most elected officials won't vote to do anything that would compromise their own re-election chances - even if it saves millions of dollars, as this move would.

Perhaps the place to start with instant runoff reform is at the municipal level. In the coming weeks, voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties will schlep back to the polls for runoff elections in various municipalities. Spending millions of dollars to set up another election - or elections - at a time when the thoughts of most have turned to holiday spending (if they have money for it this year) is not anyone's idea of a good time. Wasting millions of government dollars when jobs, hours, etc. have had to be cut because of the economy really isn't smart.

Techology and its cost could certainly be a factor. Most of Florida has done a cha-cha-cha between punch cards, touch screens and optical scanners since the mess in 2000. Local governments probably don't have the appetite for one more change, unless it can be proven to save money.

It's time to get those calculations from other cities that are using the instant runoff, start with local governments and then begin a petition drive to get runoff elections reinstated at the state level in Florida.

Saving money, time and political credibility could be the result.


With apologies to Andy Rooney, ever have something pop up in your brain that hadn't been an issue before?

This week, it was unions and political endorsements.

Public employees, police, fire departments and others have unions. These unions often endorse political candidates.

Is it me, or is their something wrong with potentially endorsing for - or against - someone who could be your boss?

It creates a lot of problems at work.


Finally, one must tip a cap to the hard work of the New York Yankees, this year's World Series winner (and, she cynically added, the other baseball team in South Florida). There will always be the argument that they bought a championship. But champions still need heart and the will to win, and this group had plenty.

There is no problem giving credit to someone who hasn't gotten enough: Yankee Manager Joe Girardi.

Girardi is too classy to say, as pitcher Tug McGraw (a former New York Met) said in 1980 when his Philadelphia Phillies won, that South Florida, or at least Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, can take this championship and stick it.

But one wouldn't blame Girardi for having that sentiment after 2006, in which he won the National League Manager of the Year Award and Loria then fired him because of his own thin skin for criticism. That thin skin was on display again last month, when it looked like Loria was going to dump Fredi Gonzalez, the Marlins' current manager, and then backed off after widespread public and press criticism.

Girardi deserves many of the laurels for the Yankees' fine year.

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