UPDATEx2: A Little Bit of Math

Okay, since the MD State Board of Elections hasn’t yet come to the final count, I thought I would try a little comparison.

So the figures I am now working with are as of “Last updated: 11/23/2010 8:35:05 PM.”

The only reason I make this comparison is to demonstrate how the percentages may shift. That, and the fact that the line of reasoning for one constitutional question shows the inconsistency when looking at other constitutional questions in recent past (2008). The prime reason for this comparison is that, at least, I can get an approximation of total vote counts (from 2008) to use as if they were 2010 (we will see how close this can be once we get the final numbers for 2010).

All that is being done is comparing the total votes for questions 1, 2 and 3 against total votes cast for each question. Then comparing the total votes “For” against the total votes cast for the winner in the 2010 Governor’s race, the total votes cast for all Gov./Lt. Gov. candidates [ed: updated] and, then, making the comparison of the “For” votes against the two winning questions on the 2008 ballot as well as the Presidential race.

In this way, you will see how the percentages fall when calculated against ever increasing totals.

Notice that, should the 2010 grand total votes cast (statewide) approach that of 2008, the majority votes for 2010 Question 2 falls well below 50%.

So, one question is – at this point, why is Question 2 considered a win when the totals haven’t yet been achieved and posted publicly?

Likewise, applying the “double majority” rule against all three 2010 ballot questions it looks like question 2 should not be declared a winner at all – given the grand totals have yet to be achieved and publicly posted. One last point to make here – the Constitutional Convention question only asks to determine if a convention is wanted. The other two ballot questions are actually determining changes to the Constitution. One question’s sense of majority is different from the other two. Allow me to be even more blunt. Questions 2 and 3 are being accepted by a simple majority, regardless of the overall number of electors. Question 1 is not being accepted by a simple majority.

Is that what you want? Is that acceptable?

Updatedx2: Let’s put another spin on this, shall we? As of the latest posted vote counts 209,418 voters have disenfranchised 897,239 voters that wanted a Constitutional Convention. Those 209,418 failed to mark For/Against for ballot Question Number 1. And this assumes that the grand total of statewide voters actually voted for a candidate in the Governor’s race. Just saying. That could well be true, but I wonder.

Hey, I’m just doing a little math here and posing questions. Anyone have a better answer? Anyone that is, except a member of, or working for, the General Assembly?

Remember now, the section in the Maryland Constitution (Article XIV Sect 2) reads as follows:

It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide by Law for taking, at the general election to be held in the year nineteen hundred and seventy, and every twenty years thereafter, the sense of the People in regard to calling a Convention for altering this Constitution; and if a majority of voters at such election or elections shall vote for a Convention, the General Assembly, at its next session, shall provide by Law for the assembling of such convention, and for the election of Delegates thereto. Each County, and Legislative District of the City of Baltimore, shall have in such Convention a number of Delegates equal to its representation in both Houses at the time at which the Convention is called. But any Constitution, or change, or amendment of the existing Constitution, which may be adopted by such Convention, shall be submitted to the voters of this State, and shall have no effect unless the same shall have been adopted by a majority of the voters voting thereon (amended by Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, ratified Nov. 6, 1956).

Here is the screen shot (click on the picture to enlarge):

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Taxpayer Protection Act

This Bill will require 3/5ths Majority in General Assembly to Raise Taxes

Annapolis –This week, Senator Andy Harris (R-7) and Delegate Steve Schuh (R-31), with joint support from the Republican Caucuses in the State Senate and House of Delegates, introduced the “Taxpayer Protection Act”. The bill numbers are SB 747 and HB 684.

This exciting piece of legislation would require a 60% vote in each chamber to raise existing taxes or create new ones. It is important to note that the damaging tax increases passed during the 2007 Special Session did not receive such a majority. Had this legislation been in place, Maryland’s economy would be better off today.

“Once again, the Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly have shown their dedication and commitment to the hard-working taxpayers of Maryland,” stated Chairman Pelura. “Governor O’Malley is dangerously relying on bailout money from the federal government to balance his budget. When that dries up, he’ll be coming back to the taxpayers to demand more from them.”

Pelura continued, “I urge all Marylanders to call their state senators and delegates and tell them to support this legislation to stop Governor O’Malley and his Democrats allies in the General Assembly from taking any more of our hard-earned dollars.”

UPDATE: Traffic Cameras

This is just an FYI for any interested on this topic and what is happening throughout the country. Let’s look at L.A. for right now.


L.A. County red-light violation fines have jumped 65% to $446, Times review finds
February 4, 2010 | 7:14 am
In less than eight years, fines for red-light traffic violations in Los Angeles County have jumped nearly 65% from an average of $271 to $446.

With traffic school fees, the total now exceeds $500. Ever-vigilant photo enforcement programs run by nearly 30 agencies across the county have added a new degree of efficiency to catching violators and capturing revenue to fund a variety of government programs.

In November alone, Los Angeles County’s Superior Court system processed payments on an estimated 13,000 red-light camera tickets. And local agencies with camera systems generated nearly $1.6 million in revenue, with an even larger portion of the red-light camera fines going to a combination of state and judicial programs, according to the estimates obtained by The Times.

Critics say the fines have become excessive and mainly a means for camera companies and cities to raise money. But some police and traffic officials, as well as motorists, contend the penalties properly reflect the serious injuries, death and property damage that can result from drivers running red lights.

Los Angeles’ red-light traffic camera program, which officials report netted more than $6 million last year after expenses, could be significantly expanded under a new contract to be negotiated over the next 14 months.

Although adding more cameras could offer a welcome boost to city revenue in the midst of a fiscal crisis, officials say any expansion will be based on safety considerations.

No goal has been set, but internal City Hall discussions have included the possibility of adding cameras to blocks of eight intersections at a time and eventually doubling the overall reach of the program to 64 intersections, Los Angeles Police Department officials told The Times.


Still think it isn’t about the revenue?


UPDATE: A Tennessee town has to get rid of its red light cameras because they aren’t making money. How about that.


David Davis
Managing Editor
Sunday, Feb 07, 2010

The Red Light Enforcement Program will end March 31. Traffipax notified the city of Cleveland it would decommission five cameras such as this one at Raider Drive and Keith Street because it was losing money.

In a letter, Traffipax has announced plans to terminate its agreement with the city of Cleveland to operate the Red Light Enforcement Program. The cameras will be deactivated by March 31, according to a letter to City Manager Janice Casteel.
According to the letter dated Jan. 29, both the city of Cleveland and Traffipax have operated the sites at a financial loss. The plan is to decommission the five traffic cameras before March 31. Citation data will continue to be delivered to the city in order to continue collecting unpaid fines.

March on to Annapolis Tonight

Sorry for the lateness of this post. Nevertheless, if anyone can spend the time to join those already there or just wants to be there on time for the 7PM event at the State House – here is some info:

http://site.marchonannapolis.com/

Be sure click the Buses link, depending on your county, some are leaving anywhere from 4pm to 6pm in order to get to Annapolis for the 7pm event.

I will offer to post some (not many) photos if anyone would like to share them here.

Thank you, and give our legislators what for.

DNA Testing Takes Too Long

Baltimore prosecutors dropped charges against a suspect that was caught last year (May/June 2008) and had been in jail since then until being released this last July (according to 45 Fox News).

This was because it took so long for the DNA test results to verify that the suspect’s DNA did NOT match that of the perpetrator of the crime!

According to Margaret Burns of the City Prosecutor’s Office there simply isn’t enough lab staff, and criminal analysts, to do the DNA testing on a timely basis. So there has been a request of stimulus money to help alleviate this problem.

So, the “suspect” that is now free – does he have a case to take the City to court? How about his year long incarceration? Our tax money supported him there, right?

Seems there is quite a problem with money in the City, and it is getting worse with a case such as this.

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?

Waste, however small in scale, still waste

Last evening’s FOX 45 News Cover Story focused on our tax dollars at work providing top officials security and state drivers.
Surprisingly, state law requires the Governor and Lt. Governor have a security detail and driver. Others?
Recently, State Comptroller Franchot (& party) visited a Bel Air new high school on a good will journey via a state car and state driver.
Franchot was quoted saying – “We want to make sure that money is spent efficiently, without waste.” “Actually we want to see how state dollars are spent.” “I think it’s important to have good protection and efficient transportation.”

Fox45 watched the Comptroller’s protection sit in the vehicle, waiting for 20 minutes. Never stepping out of the car. Except to open the door for Franchot.

Del. Anthony O’Donnel (R) Dict 29C also stated, “People are having a hard time paying electric bills, they don’t want to see someone being driven around …”
“Things like this kind of highlight the waste that goes on here.”

Dept of Legislative Services estimates over $3.4 million a year for driving and protecting a select group of elected state officials.

Most do not know that the Attorney General, Comptroller and State Treasurer all receive executive protection. The Senate President and Speaker of the House are entitled to year-round legislative security & drivers. A legislative session only lasts 90 days.

Christopher Summers, President of the MD Public Policy Institute says, “Why does the Speaker, Comptroller and Treasurer require a security detail and drivers?”

Each of the 42 Troopers assigned earn about $100K per year, which includes the benefits.
Franchot – “This is a very important way of getting around the state.”

But wasteful, according to Chris Summers.
“It sort of highlights the arrogance in Annapolis.”

It’s not just lawmakers who enjoy drivers. Drivers are also assigned to:
Univ System of MD Chancellor & President, 3 Univ MD campuses, Morgan State, St. Mary’s College and members of the state’s judiciary branch.

Del. O’Donnel introduced legislation in last session to prohibit any official, except for the Gov & Lt Gov, from using or receiving state police chauffeured transportation. The bill stalled in the House after failing to gain traction.

Dept of Legislative Services analysis of state agencies using tax dollars for chauffeured transportation found that getting rid of the drivers would only have a “minimal impact” on state expenditures.

Del. O’Donnel says that is not an excuse. “People need to know we are trying to save the taxpayer every nickel and dime possible.”

Franchot has said the he would not have a problem driving himself around the state of Maryland if lawmakers said so.

The state reimburses its employees $.55 per mile if they use their own vehicles for official business.

Excessive? I think so. One has to start cutting back somewhere.