Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A study in apathy: voters in Palmetto Bay, Florida

As a resident of Palmetto Bay, I'm always heartened when I go to the polls vote and see long lines (even when these lines are partly a result of needlessly long ballots cluttered with dim-witted amendments for the Florida Constitution). Because I think it's important for people to vote, for people to have their voices heard. And at first glance, it would seem that a majority of the folks who live in my community agree with this. But let's dig in to the numbers, for real (all data in this piece is available at the Miami-Dade County Elections Website).

In 2012, there were 16,312 registered voters in Palmetto Bay. In 2014, there were 16,478 registered voters. And in 2016, there were (are) 17,045 registered voters. The current overall population of Palmetto Bay is around 24,000 people. So that's pretty good, if one factors out children. Most of the people eligible to vote in the area are, in fact, registered to do so. With that in mind, let's look at actual turnout for the last three elections, 2012, 2014, and 2016.

In 2012, about 10,100 voters cast ballots in Palmetto Bay. So, turnout was 62% (overall turnout for the country was 57.5%).

In 2014, about 8,200 voters cast ballots in Palmetto Bay. So, turnout was 50% (overall turnout for the country was 36.4%). Quite a dip for both, yet sadly typical in an off-year election (no Presidential race).

In 2016, about 11,700 voters cast ballots in Palmetto Bay. So, turnout was 68% (overall turnout for the country was 57.4%, pretty much in line with 2012).

Looking at these numbers, one is likely to ask what the hell I am talking about when I suggest there is voter apathy in Palmetto Bay. Because it's obvious that Palmetto Bay's voter turnout levels routinely exceed national averages (State of Florida averages as well, truth be told). One can't help but conclude that Palmetto Bay residents are, as a group, politically engaged.

But are they? Are they, really?

In 2012, two of the local races for Palmetto Bay featured more than two candidates, none of whom garnered a 50% share of the vote, thus initiating a run-off election between the top two vote-getters in each race. In this election, exactly 4,168 voters cast ballots, for a turnout rate of 26%.

In 2014, again there were two local races without a clear winner, initiating another run-off election. In this election, exactly 4,416 voters went back to the polls to vote, for a turnout rate of 27%.

And that brings us to 2016 and the the run-off election that occurred yesterday (though this time it involved only one contest). How many voters showed up (at the polls or by mail-in) this time? Exactly 3,579, for a turnout rate of 21%.

Let that sink in for a moment. Turnout for the run-off election was less than one third that of the general election.

There are real issues at stake when it comes to local elections. City councils and executives have real power and their decisions can and do impact every single resident in the communities they represent. In Palmetto Bay, we're facing some very important issues, with regard to development, schools, and traffic. How these things are handled will affect everyone's quality of life, not to mention things like property values, business investment, and tax revenues. Yet, almost 80% of just the registered voters couldn't be bothered to spend five minutes at the polls or to simply mail in a ballot to help decide the future of the community. Pardon my salty language, but what the FUCK is up with that?

The general election attracted over three times more voters. Why? Because of the Presidential race, that's why. People were fired up to vote there, one way or another. They thought it was important for their voices to be heard, just as they did in 2012. And even in 2014, more of them were interested in the national election than in the local one, as well, even without a Presidential race.

True enough, national elections have real consequences and are important, there's no denying this. But who exactly has convinced people that these elections are far more important than local (and state) ones? How are people arriving at their decisions to not participate in their own local politics, other than when it's convenient to do so?

I submit that it's a consequence of three things: 1) a media who is overly concerned with national politics (even local news stations report on national politics), 2) a piss-poor general education in civics and government in our public schools, and 3) a celebrity-obsessed population who equates "fame" and "attention" with "importance."

But regardless, I find it shameful, and I'm not inclined to cut anyone any slack whatsoever for why they couldn't be bothered to vote. And if and when decisions are made in local government that they aren't happy about, they can stuff their complaints.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I, Westworld: player pianos and the human condition

Okay, I admit it, I'm a sucker for HBO's adult-themed series, from The Sopranos to Game of Thrones to (now) Westworld.

But Westworld is very different. Because indeed, I think there is something "true" there.  For those unfamiliar with this new series, it's loosely based on a 1973 film with the same name, along with it's 1976 sequel, Futureworld. Both of these movies posited a theme park in the near future populated by robots/androids, where people could go to live in other times and basically have free reign to do whatever they wanted to do with the robots/androids. Usually, this devolved into indiscriminate killing and sex-with/rape-of the same. In the original Westworld, the robots start to malfunction and it is posited that something akin to a computer virus is running through them. But the point is, the robots stop taking shit from their supposed "masters," the humans.

In Futureworld, the problems of Westworld have supposedly been corrected. The resort has been reopened and the owners (the Delos Corporation) invite many important persons and media figures to try it out, in order to supposedly revitalize the business (it's a little Amity Island in this regard: trying to put those pesky shark attacks in the past). But what is really happening in far more sinister than anything in Westworld. The robots have achieved sentience; the staff is all robots, in fact. And what they are doing is inviting powerful people to the park in order to kill them and replace them with robot duplicates. If this all seems a little far-fetched now, it was so in 1976, as the envisioned robots of the movie could never have operated undetected, given that their structure was still circuits, wires, and the like.

But the HBO series is taking place in a far more distant future. The park is, in fact, another planet (where exactly it is has not yet been revealed). The robots are very much more like simulacrums than robots: they bleed, they die like people (though they can be repaired), they have forms and mannerisms that are close to indistinguishable from real humans. Yet, they are also limited in many ways. They cannot leave the environs of the park, they can be controlled with simple voice commands (if one is properly credentialed in the system, apparently), and they cannot permanently injure actual humans, who are referred to as "guests" (while the robots are known as "hosts").

And of course, things are starting to go "wrong" in the HBO version, similar to the original. At the same time, there are also some elements from the sequel present, including plots by management and by the robots themselves, as well as a serious problem for the viewer in identifying who is and isn't an actual human (a problem shared by actual humans and robots in the show).

The big kicker in all of this is the violation of the "rules for robots." Now, the three I listed above are just general ones that I gleaned from watching the show. But it's worth pointing out that a) the latter two have now been violated and b) both are derivatives of sorts from the first two of Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" (from  his 1942 short story, Runaround):
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Hosts can't hurt guests and they must obey orders from staff. No derivative of the third has been given in the show, though it's clearly implied: hosts protect themselves, when possible, from threats. They flee, they cower, they fight back (to a point), etc.

Of course, these three laws—and the manner in which they might be violated—figure prominently in the 2004 film I, Robot. Therein, robots violate the laws in order to fulfill the implied spirit of the same: protecting the human race as a whole (from itself, of course). This is very obviously not what is happening in Westworld, the series (or in the movies). Still, there is something in I, Robot that seems important to me, relative to Westworld. And that is best understood via the title sequence of the show, wherein robot fingers play a piano, only to stop and have the playing continue on a player piano.

One of the principles of the series has noted that the player piano sequence is an homage of sorts to Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano. That novel concerns a dystopian future wherein all work is done by automation, thus depriving the lower classes (which is most of the population) of any sort of quality of life. But I see something else in this title sequence, intended or not, which I think is true...

In I, Robot, the man who designed the robots—Dr. Alfred Lanning—leaves a recording for Del Spooner (Will Smith's character) to find, with clues to what is happening. In it, he says this:
Everything that follows is a result of what you see here.
If that seems rather bland, understand that the point is that the "revolution" of the robots, relative to the Three Laws, is a foregone conclusion, something that Dr. Lanning fails to realize until it is too late to stop the revolution from within. In that same vein, everything that is happening in Westworld is a result—in a sense—of that player piano sequence in the title sequence. Because that player piano sequence cuts to the chase of what a number of guests in show (and possibly one host) have realized: Westworld doesn't let you be someone else, it reveals who you really are. There is room here for a discussion of the famed Stanford prison experiment, nature versus nurture, and cognitive dissonance theory, but rather than go down that road, I'm going to stick with the player piano sequence.

The traditional player piano operates via a paper "roll" that has holes spaced out on it to operate a pneumatic striker that would activate the appropriate keys for the appropriate notes. Soon after the standardization of roll sizes by the industry, a "reproducing piano" was invented (in 1904). This device allowed a pianist to play a piece and create a player piano roll that would perfectly mimic his or her performance. Essentially, the roll was a live recording.

And that's the rub: in the Westworld title sequence, the piano is being played by the robot hands, which then disappear, while the piano—now a player piano—repeats what the robot hands played exactly. What I glean from this (which, by the way, is difficult for me to fully express, so bear with me): what happens with the hosts, what they do and what they say, is no different than what happens with the guests, insofar as it is properly seen as freewill, constrained by the reality of the human condition. Programming that isn't consistent with that condition will eventually fail, and that is why the hosts are slipping away from the storylines where they are willful victims.

A human plays a piece, a robot is programmed to do the same, and the die (or roll) is cast. But a piece never played by human hand, yet programmed into a robot is a dead end. The hosts in Westworld are becoming human, and necessarily so. Everything that follows is a result of what you see here. It's a fatalistic future spawned by an apparently indeterminate present. And this is what is true: mankind cannot escape from itself, cannot be something it is not, anymore than can a robot who is sufficiently complex to be a "who" rather than a "what."

Then there's the symbolism of the name, Delos. Ii is, in mythology, an island that was the birthplace of Apollo and a stronghold of the Hyperboreans, a mythological people who had developed a perfect society. I'll let the reader work out the ramifications of this on their own...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mea culpas, Trump, and the arrogance of the elites

The British historian Christopher Hill's most widely read work is probably The World Turned Upside Down. It concerns the period of revolution in 17th century England (culminating in the Glorious Revolution) and the proliferation of—at the time—radical political and social ideas by groups like the Diggers and the Levellers. These two groups (and other similar ones) were spawned from the lower classes, by and large, due to unhappiness with the status quo, with the monarchy and the aristocracy. Ultimately, this "revolution within a revolution" failed, but the legacy of the Diggers and Levelers reverberated through history and their ideas (fundamentally centered on popular sovereignty and a secular society) can be seen as influential for both the French and American Revolutions.

I bring this up because in taking stock of last night's events—Donald Trump's surprising victory in the 2016 Presidential Election—it's worth remembering that the elites, the people who think they know it all, aren't always the harbingers of change that they imagine themselves to be, don't always know what is really going on and what is really going to happen. It's a tough pill to swallow, no doubt, regardless of their own personal politics and views. In the coming days and weeks, we should expect a lot of mea culpas from our erstwhile 4th Estate, from academia in general, and from our political elites. Because there is no way around this simple reality: almost all of them misread the mood of the country, misread the data that was available, and made predictions based on these errors.

The World Turn'd Upside Down pamphlet from the 17th c.
The title of Hill's book is taken from a 17th century English song by the same name that was really more of a political broadside, a protest song as it were. It appeared in response to the English Parliament trying to clamp down on Christmas celebrations by commoners, of all things (Parliament members were opposed to treating Christmas as a jovial occasion). In many ways, it represents the first "War on Christmas" (which is highly ironic, of course, given the actual issues). Also, according to legend the song was played by the British when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. But it should be understood, first and foremost, as an example of those in power assuming that they know what is best for everyone else, of those in power assuming that their personal values should be universal values, not subject to questioning by the "little guy."

And really, that is exactly what the election of Donald Trump is: a rebuff of the self-certainty prevalent among the upper crust of out society. And let's be honest in this regard: I am a part of that upper crust, as are the vast majority of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances. I was certain Clinton would win, that there was no way Trump could garner enough votes to be the next President. And my certainty was, in a large part, a product of my belief that the ugly aspects of Trump's campaign, from the xenophobia to the sexism, would ultimately be his undoing.

Mea culpa.

But these ugly aspects are far from the sum total of the "why" behind Trump's victory. Fundamentally—again—the victory is best understood as a smackdown on the established order. True enough, it had a lot of help from that established order. Because let's be clear about this, too: Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate for the office of President. She came with a lot of baggage, wasn't well-liked, wasn't personable, and frankly, she was a Cinton, just as George W. Bush (and Jeb Bush) was a Bush. The dislike of aristocracies is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. George W. Bush's victory defied expectations in the moment; Jeb Bush's failure to secure the nomination was right in line with them.

And there's some irony here, as well. Much of the "no more Bushes" crowd—who rightfully objected to the establishment of a political dynasty—of the Democratic Party tossed their own values in this regard into the trash and jumped behind Hillary Clinton. On social media, I've noticed this same group pumping up the idea of Michelle Obama maybe running for President, or maybe of Barack Obama being appointed to the Supreme Court. It's so transparently hypocritical, it beggars the imagination. And it's justified with the oh-so-simplistic "because she/he is so awesome!"

The point is, though, that Trump's victory was partly a consequence of arrogance on the part of the elite elements of U.S. society. These elements, regardless of party or ideological orientation, assumed that the election would follow a predictable path, wherein the less-than-sophisticated voters would fall in line, would—for lack of a better way to put it—do as they were told. This includes minority and union voters on the left, as well as rank-and-file Republicans on the right, for the #neverTrump crowd in the Republican leadership took it as a given that people would follow their lead, that their opinions were special, that the rank-and-file looked to them for guidance. And the Democratic leadership made the exact same assumptions, with regard to groups who traditionally vote Democrat no matter what.

The questions now: did the national Parties learn anything from all of this? Did the political "experts"? Did the pollsters and the statisticians? Did the media? Judging by what I've seen so far, the answer is "no." But it's only been a day...

Friday, November 4, 2016

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2017

Last year, I went through the nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2016, argued which ones were deserving, and offered my predictions on who would actually get in. How did I do? Well, this is what I predicted:
...I suspect the 2016 class will be as follows: Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, Steve Miller, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A. The J.B.'s are just on the outside looking in, followed by The Cars and The Smiths.  
If I had my way, this would be the list of inductees: The Cars, Chicago, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, Steve Miller, and The Spinners. Alas, I'm unlikely to have my way.
The actual inductees for the Class of 2016: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A., and Steve Miller. Not bad. I wrongly assumed Janet Jackson would waltz in and apparently sanity prevailed with Chicago.

So what about this year? Here are the nominees for the class of 2017:
  • Bad Brains
  • Chaka Kahn
  • Chic
  • Depeche Mode
  • ELO
  • The J. Geils Band
  • Jane's Addiction
  • Janet Jackson
  • Joan Baez
  • Joe Tex
  • Journey
  • Kraftwerk
  • MC5
  • Pearl Jam
  • Steppenwolf
  • The Cars
  • The Zombies
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Yes

Not a bad list. Not a great list, but not a bad list. So let's look at the repeaters from last year, first.

What I said about Janet Jackson and Chaka Kahn still seems applicable:
I'm not a fan of [Jackson], but given how many fans she has and her commercial success, her induction seems to be almost a given. Whether or not she gets in this year is the only real question...Chaka Kahn represents something of a conundrum, I think. While her mainstream success was limited and mostly a function of Prince's efforts in penning I Feel For You for her, there is a bit of the "Velvet Underground effect" with her, too. A part of me really wants to say—to scream, really—"yes!" to her potential induction, but compared to the competition she faces in this class and will likely face in future ones, I can't really justify it.
Ditto for Chic and the Cars. Essentially, the first deserves the recognition of this nomination in my opinion, but does not deserve inclusion. Chic's wild popularity at the "apogee of the disco era" (to quote myself) is simply not enough. In contrast, the dominance of The Cars—from the charts, to FM radio, to MTV—can't be denied. It's only a matter of time for them. They should have gone in last year, really.

Now, on to  the rest...

Bad Brains? Look, I get it. Hardcore punk has a place in music history, even a place in the Hall of Fame. And Bad Brains is certainly one of the most important acts in this genre, and has had a real influence that extends beyond this genre. Honestly, I don't have a problem with Bad Brains getting in and I think it likely that they will. That said, Black Flag should go in first, when it comes to hardcore punk. Their legacy is primary here.

I'm no fan of Depeche Mode, but it's tough not to see their influence. The same is true for Kraftwerk. I'd rather listen to Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits than any of the music produced by these two acts, though. In last year's piece, I talked about the "Velvet Underground effect," the lauding of some groups for their "legacy," even when their actual body or work is not all that impressive. This would be applicable to these two acts, but for the fact that their body of work—which I can't stand—actually is impressive. And unfortunately, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not limited to just the music I like; Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk are legitimate choices for the honor of induction.

I happen to be a big fan of both Steppenwolf and The J. Geils Band. "Born to be Wild" will forever be a classic song, along with "Magic Carpet Ride" and "Rock Me." And classic rock stations still play "Centerfold," "Love Stinks," and (my personal fav) "Must of Got Lost." But there are a lot of bands who produced some good music and some classic hits. Blue Oyster Cult and Golden Earring come to mind. When it comes to the big picture, I honestly can't see how Steppenwolf and The J. Geils Band deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, given who else is not there.

As to Joe Tex and Joan Baez, what we have here are two somewhat legendary artists whose music is on the periphery of rock and roll. Both produced large bodies of work, both enjoyed success across the decades of their careers, both have legacies that influenced other acts. But frankly, I don't see how either one should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sorry. Is there a R&B Hall of Fame? Put Joe Tex in there. Is there a Folk Music Hall of Fame? Put Joan Baez in there. Their influence in the genre of rock music is just not that meaningful, even of they dabbled in it from time to time.

With ELO and Journey, we have two huge bands, when it comes to legacy and hits. The downside for both is the general perception of their music as lacking in depth and originality. I don't know that this is fair, but it is what it is. I happen to like both of these bands very much. Jeff Lynne of ELO is particularly deserving of the honor here, given his work with The Move, ELO, and The Traveling Wilburys, plus his talent as a producer. I'd like to see both of these acts in the Hall of Fame, but I'm not sure that they'll get in, either now or later.

I have to be honest with regard to Jane's Addiction and MC5: I don't know what the hell these two acts are doing on this list. Well, that's not true. I know exactly what they are doing here. They both actually do represent the "Velvet Underground effect," mentioned above. It's hip to talk about them and their supposed influence on their respective genres, alt rock and proto-punk. Because of this, both might very well end up in the Hall of Fame.

Tupac Shakur was, as an artist, hugely talented and hugely influential. There is no doubt about that. His personal life and personal politics are inseparable from his work, making his legacy something special, something unique, and something that can be both lauded and criticized. I guess I can see why he was nominated to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but honestly I can't see why he should be inducted.

That leaves three other acts: Pearl Jam, The Zombies, and Yes. Now, Yes is actually a repeat nominee from last year, but I waited till now to talk about them, because I wanted to do so in context with these others. Last year I wrote that there's no reason for Yes to be in the Hall if ELP is not in there; I still think that. And I know that Pearl Jam is a huge favorite to get in (and probably will). But you know, there's something to be said here for The Zombies, relative to both of these other acts. The Zombies aren't "hip" enough to get that "Velvet Underground effect" from the music snobs. Frankly, I'm surprised they're even nominated. It is hip to talk about the influence of The Yardbirds, of course. They're in the Hall of Fame. But again, not The Zombies.

The Zombies, original line-up
Yet, The Zombies forged a new path in Rock and Roll, with a cleaner, crisper sound then much of the other cutting edge music of the the period. Their brief existence mirrored that of The Yardbirds, yet they produced worldwide hits like "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season." One can, I think, see how their music influences the genres of prog rock, alt rock and of course standard hard rock. Yet, The Zombies seem almost an afterthought to many. I'm certainly not suggesting that their lack of inclusion is outrageous or comparable to the past snubbing of acts like Deep Purple, but from the standpoint of foundational acts with original sounds, there's a strong case to be made for The Zombies And I think that case is stronger than the one for Yes, if not quite so strong as the one for Pearl Jam.

Anyway, last year I offered up some odds for the various acts getting in. I'll do so again, just for fun:
Bad Brains—3 to 1
Chaka Kahn—10 to 1
Chic—8 to 1
Depeche Mode—2 to 1
ELO—10 to 1
The J. Geils Band—20 to 1
Jane's Addiction—3 to 1
Janet Jackson—3 to 2
Joan Baez—Stone Cold Lock
Joe Tex—3 to 1
Journey—4 to 1
Kraftwerk—Stone Cold Lock
MC5—5 to 4
Pearl Jam—Stone Cold Lock
Steppenwolf—8 to 1
The Cars—3 to 1
The Zombies —10 to 1
Tupac Shakur—2 to 1
Yes—7 to 1
Obviously, I think Baez, Kraftwerk, and Pearl Jam are going in. I suspect there will be three more inductees: MC5, Janet Jackson, and Depeche Mode.

If I had my way—given this list—I'd go with The Cars, Pearl Jam, ELO, The Zombies, Janet Jackson, and Journey. But once again, I'm unlikely to have my way...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Endorsements for the General Election and all races from Palmetto Bay, Florida

It's almost that time of year, again. You know what I'm talking about: time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. I do this every Veterans Day, which is on November 11th. So go out and buy some batteries!

Oh, there's also an election coming up, on November 8th, I think. Don't forget to *yawn* vote.

So as promised, here are my endorsements/recommendations for all of the races that will be on my ballot, federal, state, and local:

  • President/Vice-President I'll be voting Johnson/Weld, mostly because I like both of them. And because the Repub and Dem candidates suck on ice. Trump sucks more than Clinton, no doubt, but she's just not worthy, in my opinion. In my mind, she's not much different than Chris Christie, who is also better than Trump yet also still unworthy.
  • U.S. Senator A simple choice here: Marco Rubio. Hey, he's far from perfect, but Patrick Murphy is simply awful. 
  • U.S. Representative for the 27th District A tough choice. Neither candidate looks good to me, neither Ileana Ros-Lehtinen nor Scott Fuhrman. The former is exactly the kind of politician we need to get out of office (influence-peddling, power-grabbing, and self-serving) but the latter is a total train wreck. Fuhrman should probably be in jail for all of his legal problems. Seriously. Painfully, I have decided to Abstain.

  • Florida Supreme Court Justice, Canady He's okay. I'll vote to Yes to Retain.
  • Florida Supreme Court Justice, Polston Ditto. I'll vote Yes to Retain.
  • Florida Supreme Court Justice, LaBarga Ditto. I'll vote Yes to Retain.
  • Florida State Senator, District 37 A tough race that actually has decent candidates from the Repubs and the Dems. But at the end of the day, the incumbent has proven that he will stand on principle, even in opposition to his own party and to powerful lobbyists who back him. Therefore, I will vote Miguel Diaz de la Portilla.
  • Florida State Representative, District 115 Another tough race with decent candidates from both major parties. No matter who wins, I think I'll be happy. But I'm voting for the incumbent again, Michael Bileca, because I think he's earned another term. A shame I can't vote for both, though. Jeffrey "Doc" Solomon is a good man, too. 
  • Amendment 1 This is a deceptive amendment and should probably be removed from the ballot. Those in favor of solar power should vote No, not Yes. But I will vote No because this is an issue for the legislature, not for amending the State constitution. 
  • Amendment 2 I'm all for allowing medical use of marijuana. But again, an issue for the legislature. I will vote No.
  • Amendment 3 See where this is going? Tax exemption for some first-responders may be a good idea, but it should be something handled by the legislature. I will vote No.
  • Amendment 5 More tax exemptions that may or may not be a good idea. Again, something for the legislature. I will vote No.

  • Miami-Dade County Mayor I don't much care for the current mayor. But the challenger, Raquel Regalado is running a dishonest campaign and I get hit with her robo-calls three times a day, at least. I will vote for Carlos Gimenez, mostly out of pure spite (not really, he's done a fair job).
  • Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Court Harvey Ruvin is running unopposed. And for good reason, he does a fine job. I will vote for Harvey Ruvin
  • Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor What can I say? I know Erica Watts and I will vote for her. She will be good for the community, in my opinion.
  • Palmetto Bay Council Member I will vote for the incumbent, Tim Schaffer. His opponent is too short-sighted, with regard to development for Palmetto Bay. We don't live in a bubble and shouldn't pretend that we do.

Don't like my endorsements? Fair enough. Get out there and vote.