Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Free for All

Hi folks , it's been a while, I'm embarrassed for neglecting this site. Been keeping books for candidates. There is a reason I've never tried to make a living betting ponies at the track: I'd lose!

We had a low turnout, and I want to talk about that more than winners. I know Paul and Kendall and Chief Vasquez; they are good people doing a pretty good job, and I thank them for their service. Really.

That said, I don't love our new local election process. I have been a precinct election judge or alternate judge since '92: Judge/Alt goes by last election Gov. vote, and I've been on both sides of that in a minority/majority district. Really doesn't matter, my Democrat compatriots at Belmore Baptist were a joy to work with, all we wanted was an honest election.

When you go to vote, the people who process you do get paid; not a lot, I take a serious pay cut when I do it, but yes, we are paid. Promise you, nobody does it for the money.

That's background, now we move to nuts & bolts. City elections were limited to 8 polling places. Normal even with some cost-saving combinations, would have been 22 polling sites, 27 county-wide for Primary races May 29. Now we look at a process that for general (Nov) or Primary partisan elections we have the 22 places in the city limits. Then next year City, we are all supposed to remember the 8 places for Council or SAISD, and this I report of personal knowledge; SAISD is pissed!

Well think; I just found my way to a City polling place. NOW on Monday you expect me to find my way to the sort-of-usual, recently combined local precincts for the start of early voting on that race. As the late Mr. Rogers might have put it: "Children, can you spell Voter Suppression"

Tell you a short story, or I'll try to be short. Thursday I am going home a little early, rain-out. I cross that crater at Concho and Magdalen, decide to beef about it. For starts I call Street&Bridge, silly me, it is a street by a bridge, but Whoops! wrong Dept. I get kicked over to Inspections, I'm finally told "hey that was part of the sewer job, that goes to Water Utilities".

Pardon the language, but screw the hired help, I talk to Will Wilde. He tells me this is wrapped up in civil law trying to get the contractor to fulfill the obligation, please understand Mr. Ryan, these things take time.

OK, says I, but you stay up their ass, my concern is a drivable surface. BTW Mr. Wilde if it ain't happening soon here is my suggestion: We have signs all over the place promoting the Concho St. Historic Dist. Forget the expense of an actual repair (which my employer could do in oh, maybe three hours): No put up new signs designating that crater as the "Concho St. Historic Pothole". Wilde chuckles, I chuckle And I sign off thanking him for taking my call.

Now Saturday I stop by the Blues Festival on Oakes St and by accident run into a city staffer. I tell him this story and he says, " You haven't driven home yet today, have you" No, I reply but I'm about to".  he continues, " I wondered where that work order came from but you will find that crater has been filled in, packed and hot-patched with paving" and God is my witness, it was. A temp job, not something I'd want to hang my name on, but it's there.

Point of today's lesson: Yes you can "fight" City Hall. Trick is to work with them, come together and get something done. Somebody downtown did not want to hear me next Tuesday at Council meeting making that wise-ass crack about "Historic Potholes" for the camera; Don't know who or what shortcuts were taken, all I give a rat's about is the crater got fixed, thank you whoever. It really isn't so much "fighting" city hall as working with them. Old, old saying: squeaky wheels get the grease.