Crash Tax??

That’s what people here call it.
And here’s what WBAL 11 News (at 11pm) Cover Story reports on it.

Let’s see now, the state (legislature) nor city council can’t seem to want to employ success stories from other states to actually help the citizens here. Such as more efficient government, more for less cost, ease on tax burdens, transparency on budgeting and earmarks, and on and on.

But we can use precedent setting legal issues from other states to squeeze more money from us – even though a portion of our property taxes goes towards highway maintenance as well as fuel taxes.

Something is wrong with this picture, I’d say.

Now that other states are passing laws to rid themselves of this headache, do you think we will follow suit?

Don’t hold your breath, but this sounds like another possibility for correction via a Constitutional Convention.

What do you think?

UPDATED: One More Thing

Early Voting.
Yup. That starts next year.
Sept 3 (Fri, 10am to 8pm) through Sep 9 (Thu 10am to 8pm – Last Day of Early Voting)
Oh – excludes Sunday.

Yet, voting also is set for Sep 14 (Tue) at the regular timeframe of 7am to 8pm.

And, we go back to using paper ballots and the OCR machines. (connect the lines, remember?)

UPDATE – Received a recent Harford County Bd of Elections newsletter saying that there will still be a touch screen available to those with disabilities that want/need to use that. Other voters can choose between that and the new OCR machines.

Should be interesting.

Oh, also another thing, that Constitutional Convention question?
That shows up in the General Election on November 2, Tuesday.
Early voting for that timeframe starts on –
Oct 22, Fri 10am-8pm and ends on Oct 28, Thu 10am to 8pm
Yep, excluding Sunday here, too.

Then the regularly scheduled General Election on Tuesday, November 2, 7am to 8pm.

Term Limits: Just My Opinion

Do they work? Can they work? How best should they be determined?
The one that I figure most are familiar with is the two-term limit on the President’s Office.

So if that has been a good idea since FDR, how is it this is only for one major office??
Some would argue term limits aren’t needed, as voting would (hopefully) be such an effective tool. But is that really? How can that be, when typical voters – on a very good turnout – only amount to about 35% of all of the registered voters (usually, per precinct).

This says to me that of the remaining 65% that could have voted, but didn’t, could actually have changed outcomes.

But here’s the rub. The most common reasons for not voting is due to – 1) my vote won’t matter, 2) I don’t like either of them, 3) I’m too busy, 4) he/she doesn’t get my vote because he/she (whatever the single reason is), 5) not interested.

I’m sure there are more reasons.

But does anyone consider that trying to convince others, friends and family members to go and vote might actually make a difference?

Or, perhaps those of us who regularly vote just wish there was more of a choice than what they have seen so far?

Maybe that’s exactly what we need.

This could turn into effective term limits. Just having enough civic minded friends and neighbors that decide to take the jump and run against someone. Maybe this is what we need more of. At both the local and federal levels of government.

This would be eminently practical, particularly considering the not-so-likely scenario of hoping to get legislation passed at any level to institute term limits for any elected position.

So. Short answer – we really need each other. And more of us & each other, to vote.
In the primaries especially, where the competition actually lives. (Before it gets whittled down to the, ahem, chosen few that will show up in the General election.)

Enough of that. Have a good evening and rest up for September 14th, 2010.

Early Ballot?

It sounds like there is going to be an interesting Primary next year.

UPDATED: Speed Cameras

Governor O’Malley is claimed to have said, “The law isn’t designed to catch speeders or be a cash grab, it’s meant to get drivers to slow down.”

Then why, according to Delegate Bill Frank, is Baltimore City writing into its next fiscal year budget – revenues from such cameras?????

Update: News video from the Baltimore City Council meeting on this topic indicated that, should speed cameras be placed ‘only’ within one-half mile of schools and work zones that this would cover at least 80% of Baltimore. At least one council member found this to be unacceptable. The same argument FOR the cameras was quoted as it was heard from Gov. O’Malley (above) not that long ago.
Still, no one is being honest about the attempt at a “cash grab” from motorists to a city with budget problems. They think we don’t get it.
You DO get it, don’t you?

UPDATED*3: Knock Knock – No No

Remember this story? About Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo and his family? His two dogs being shot and killed by the police?

Well, apparently there has been resolution in this case just recently.
Chances are no one is going to like it.

This isn’t just a problem here. It is nationwide.

Short history:
Atlanta, GA November 2006 – Kathryn Johnston killed in a botched no-knock raid
Howard County, MD January 2009 – Mike Hasenei’s home, Australian cattle dog killed, cops found nothing

Just to name a couple.
I would think laws need to address this properly. As it stands, cops make a mistake like this, they don’t pay, the innocent victim does.

Update: The Mayor intends to respond to this latest review by the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Division.

Update*2: Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo announced Monday that he is filing a lawsuit against Prince George’s County authorities.

Update*3:  SWAT Gone Wild in Maryland. The author of this article also has chronicled similar instances of no knock raids throughout the USA. If you aren’t aware of what the SWAT teams are doing and have done here in Maryland, read Radley Balko’s piece.

ID Theft Without Actual Contact

There is a recent article on Drudge Report that I have read that – I feel – is very, very important for everyone to understand.

The advances in using RFID technology are being tested and used within passports and soon to be in drivers licenses. (REAL ID anyone?)

An important paragraph within the article – On June 1, it became mandatory for Americans entering the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean to present identity documents embedded with RFID tags, though conventional passports remain valid until they expire.

We need to be aware, and possibly attempt to prevent widespread acceptance of this technology – or face untold privacy and theft problems.

This technology is NOT foolproof.