Election Special

As there seems to be little going on in the news except the election at the moment, I thought I would bring you a Palo Alto election special.

Of course, there is a presidential race going on out there somewhere, but there is no real evidence of it around here. As California is not a ‘swing state’ it is of little interest to the presidential candidate – it will certainly go democrat. Judging by the posters in people’s yards, the locals are much more concerned about all the local issues which will also appear on the November 2nd ballot paper.

American elections are interesting in that there are so many things to vote for. In Palo Alto, voters will be asked to choose their choice for President, for the Senate, for State Assembly, for City Council and be asked to vote on a number of local and statewide propositions. For the representative for State Assembly, there are two main candidates, Ira Ruskin (democrat) and Steve Poizner (republican), although, as so often in California, it’s really a choice between the liberal and the more liberal guy. Interestingly, the republican candidate will not say who his choice for president will be.

Of chief concern amongst these options seems to be Proposition I, which is a proposal to maintain and increase a parcel tax that is used to pay for Palo Alto schools to $521 per year (with certain groups of people, such as the over 65s exempt). It is refreshing to see so many homes really interested in this issue – many people who haven’t bothered with Kerry/Edwards or Bush/Cheney posters are displaying a Yes on I poster. It is interesting that amongst the discussion of the presidential race and how it is all likely to come down to a few hundred voters in a couple of states, there is little room for the fact that Americans have a great deal of control over their politicians at a local level, where it might actually impact their lives.

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