Category Archives: ELECTION

‘Patsy’ and Jane plan their Inauguration trip!

By Pat Dixon

Yes! These two ladies plan to attend the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Jan. 20.

Some readers who know me may ask: Who is Patsy? That’s what I was called, when I was growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania. I’m pictured on the left and Jane Wright on the right.

I hope you enjoy this series of articles describing our upcoming trip. Two women from a small coastal town here in eastern North Carolina who want to be a small part of history – hoping to share our experiences with readers of The County Compass. If possible, please put all politics aside and enjoy our first story on below.

And, on Jan. 20, plan to tune in the County Compass Facebook page for our live posts!


‘PATSY’ AND JANE GO TO THE INAUGURATION

I like to start how this ‘adventure’ began. Sitting at Thanksgiving dinner, Jane and Joe Wright, my son, Joseph (Joe) Marrone, his girlfriend, Andrea O’Dell (Andie), husband Andy Dixon, and myself; we began talking about the Inauguration. I said ‘I think we should go’. I asked Jane if she wanted to go, she said “Let’s do it, it would be history in the making and a chance of a lifetime”. We all agreed. The husbands decided to stay home and avoid the crowds.

Attending this inauguration would be my son’s and my second. The first, was in 1993 when Clinton was sworn in. Yes, folks Bill Clinton. I voted for Bush Sr. My son, Joe, and I, had just moved to Vienna VA, in Northern VA, about 25 miles west of Washington DC, from Arizona in September 1992. So, to make a long story short, we were so close to DC and January 20, 1993 was a Sunday. I didn’t have to go to work and I wanted my son, who was 12 at the time, to experience a part of history.

Regardless of the politics, I wanted us both to see a new president take the oath of office. It really was truly an amazing experience, for my son and myself. Now I want my friend, Jane to experience the same.

So, the planning started during Thanksgiving dinner. Andie suggested we could stay with her parents, Stephanie, and Jerry Odell. Andie texted her parents and they texted back, “It wouldn’t be a problem, love to have you”. (So, that solved the ‘where are we going to stay issue’). Stephanie and Jerry visited Oriental in August of last year during the Dragon Boat races and they fell in love with Oriental. Next was how are we going to get there, we decided by train.

AMTRAK TICKETS

That weekend, I went on the Amtrak website to book reservations for Jane and me. I could get cheap round trip tickets; leaving Wednesday, January 18, and returning Sunday, January 22, from New Bern via a bus, to Wilson, to our destination Alexandria, VA. Yes, folks, in case you did not know, you can book a reservation on Amtrak from New Bern. The reservation includes a bus from the Convention Center in New Bern, which leaves daily at 11:29 AM to Wilson. When you go to make the reservation, use New Bern as the departure city. I booked the reservation, Jane and I are on our way.

DC METRO
When we arrive in Alexandria, VA next Wednesday, we walk around the corner to the King Street-Old Town Metro station on the Blue Line. I’m very familiar with the DC Metro system, because I rode the Metro daily from Vienna, VA to Pentagon City in the 90’s. So, planning our trip on Metro is easy. Without having to mess with those fare card machines, I purchased SmarTrip fare cards online. These fare cards contain enough funds for roundtrip travel between Reston and Alexandria. We will take the Blue Line to the Rosslyn station, then board the Silver Line to the Wiehle- Reston East station in VA. My son Joe and his girlfriend Andie will meet us there. We will go to dinner, then to Ashburn, VA to stay with Andie’s parents, Stephanie, and Jerry.

INAUGURATION TICKETS
We were unable to get tickets for the Inauguration. I contacted Walter B. Jones Greenville office and there were no tickets available. There was only a certain amount of tickets allocated to each representative of Congress. We will be standing in the non-ticketed area on the National Mall. Tickets would have been fantastic, but being there and being a part of history is GREAT too. There will be jumbotrons (giant video screens) which will bring the events closer to us.
Our plan is to bring as little as possible to the Inauguration. I have a belt zipper pack (not a ‘fanny bag’) which goes under your clothing. It will hold a cell phone, keys, money, and ID. I believe the less we bring the better.

PARKING IN DC
We will be renting a car to drive to the Inauguration. We decided against using the Metro that day. Yes, Metro is the way to go, but for all of us it was a personal decision. We reserved a parking spot in a parking garage located only a few blocks from the Inauguration using an app called Spot Hero. This app allows you to reserve a parking space in advance anywhere in the U.S.
OTHER DETAILS
Do we pack like we are going to Alaska? We’ll start looking at the long range forecasts this week and make that decision. We did shop for cold weather clothing including: extra warm gloves, hats, ear muffs, boots, thermal wear, and a down filled coat. My husband Andy bought me those 35 below socks and gloves advertised on TV, if you could believe that! We are planning to be prepared no matter what the weather brings.

The focus of our trip is the Inauguration, but while we are there in the Northern Virginia area, we are
planning some side adventures. We will go to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum annex located at Washington Dulles International Airport. My son, Joe, and his girlfriend Andie, have a few ideas of their own, maybe some breweries, indoor golf, and even indoor skydiving. Saturday, January 21, we will visit some wineries on our way to Charlestown, West Virginia. Charlestown is home to Charlestown Races and Slots. We will be heading there and hopefully we ‘will get lucky’. There is one place I would like Jane to see, Wegmans. Now folks if you’ve ever been to a Wegmans you know what I’m talking about. I am going to leave it at that, there is too much awesomeness about this grocery store to describe.

This article was about the planning of our great adventure, next article will be about the anticipation and the excitement of going to the Inauguration, stayed tuned.

Little known facts about the Electoral College

Things they didn’t teach in high school civics!

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A vote for the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates named on the ballot is actually a vote for the electors of the Party. Typically, electors are steadfast Party operatives, having held leadership positions or they have been chosen to recognize years of loyal service.

Key Electoral College Dates and Events

  • November 8, 2016—Election Day:
    The voters in each State choose electors to serve in the Electoral College. As soon as election results are final, the States prepare seven original “Certificates of Ascertainment” of the electors chosen, and send one original along with two certified copies to the Archivist of the United States at the Office of the Federal Register.
  • December 19, 2016—Meeting of Electors:
    The electors in each State meet to select the President and Vice President of the United States. The Electors record their votes on six “Certificates of Vote,” which are paired with the six remaining original “Certificates of Ascertainment.” The electors sign, seal and certify the packages of electoral votes and immediately send them to the Federal and State officials listed in these instructions.
  • December 28, 2016—Deadline for Receipt of Electoral Votes:
    The President of the Senate, the Archivist of the United States, and other designated Federal and State officials must have the electoral votes in hand.
  • January 6, 2017—Counting Electoral Votes in Congress:
    The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes (unless Congress passes a law to change the date).

Each Certificate of Ascertainment lists the names of the state’s electors, and is typically signed by the sitting governor. North Carolina’s document for 2016 has not yet been completed, but we’re happy to give you a sampling of what one looks like. Here, from the Presidential election of 2012 (in which Republican Mitt Romney won North Carolina) is part of a Certificate of Ascertainment signed on Dec. 4, 2012, by then Gov. Beverly Perdue:

Top half of Page One from first pdf

Quite soon, Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to file a Certificate of Ascertainment for 2016. In that document, he will list the names of the state’s 15 Presidential electors for 2016:

                                                                Single Page from second pdf

Don’t be alarmed if you have never heard of these people – it’s the way the system works! About all you need to know is that members of this exclusive group (for the most part) are loyal Republicans – no Hillary votes here!!

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require Electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties’ nominees. Some state laws provide that so-called “faithless Electors” may be subject to fines or disqualified for casting an invalid vote. The following states have some type of mechanism – pledge, statute, or law — to deal with that rare breed — a ‘faithless Elector!’ But, keep in mind that  no Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged:

ALABAMA – Party Pledge / State Law – § 17-19-2
ALASKA – Party Pledge / State Law – § 15.30.040; 15.30.070
CALIFORNIA – State Law – Elections Code § 6906
COLORADO – State Law – § 1-4-304
CONNECTICUT – State Law – § 9-175
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – DC Pledge / DC Law – § 1-1001.08(g)
FLORIDA – Party Pledge / State Law – § 103.021(1)
HAWAII – State Law – §§ 14-26 to 14-28
MAINE – State Law – § 805
MARYLAND – State Law – § 8-505
MASSACHUSETTS – Party Pledge / State Law – Ch. 53, § 8, Supp.
MICHIGAN – State Law – § 168.47 (Violation cancels vote and Elector is replaced.)
MISSISSIPPI – Party Pledge / State Law – § 23-15-785(3)
MONTANA – State Law – § 13-25-304
NEBRASKA – State Law – § 32-714
NEW MEXICO – State Law – § 1-15-5 to 1-15-9 (Violation is a fourth degree felony.)
NORTH CAROLINA – State Law – § 163-212 (Violation cancels vote; elector is replaced and is subject to $500 fine.)
OHIO – State Law – § 3505.40
OKLAHOMA – State Pledge / State Law – 26, §§ 10-102; 10-109 (Violation of oath is a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $1000.)
OREGON – State Pledge / State Law – § 248.355
SOUTH CAROLINA – State Pledge / State Law – § 7-19-80 (Replacement and criminal sanctions for violation.)
VERMONT – State Law – title 17, § 2732
VIRGINIA – State Law – § 24.2-202
WASHINGTON – Party Pledge / State Law – §§ 29.71.020, 29.71.040, Supp. ($1000 fine.)
WISCONSIN – State Law – § 7.75
WYOMING – State Law – §§ 22-19-106; 22-19-108


Why the Electoral College is a good thing for our nation!

By Raynor James

The founders of our country were very concerned about creating a government that would protect the rights of each individual citizen.  A pure democracy does not do that.  A pure democracy is mob rule, or as a friend says, “It’s two wolves and a sheep voting on the lunch menu.”

Our founders went to great pains setting up a series of checks and balances.  Our general government was divided into three separate branches so that one part made the laws, a second part adjudicated the laws, and a third part enforced the laws.  Additionally, the general (or federal) government was given only limited powers.  All other powers were retained by the several states or by the people themselves.

Within the part of the general government that makes laws, there are two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The number of House members each state has varies based on the population of the state. However, each state has equal representation in the Senate. For example: Rhode Island and Texas – vastly different in geographic size and population — are equal in the Senate. Each have two U.S. Senators.

It took much time and negotiation to come up with the formula for the legislative branch of the government because the states that had smaller populations did not want to give up their sovereignty to the states with larger populations.

When it came to electing a President, our founders decided on a formula that was an amalgam.  Each state would have the same number of Electors as the total of its members of the Senate and its members of the House. That formula gives more populous states an advantage, but it is not an unlimited advantage.  Further, each state decides how it will choose its Electors and whether those Electors will be “winner take all” (the winner of the popular vote in that state receives all of that state’s Electoral votes) or “proportional” (the same percentage of that state’s Electors vote for each candidate as that state’s voters did).

Our founders were very careful to retain as much power as was compatible with safety and order in the hands of each of the states and in the hands of individual citizens.  They were very vigilant about counterbalancing power.  Do we have any reason to be less vigilant?

Electoral College: Course 101

Big day set for Dec. 19.  The nitty-gritty no one learns in school! See Page B-12

NORTH CAROLINA — If you pulled the lever, checked a box, or pressed a video screen – thinking that you were voting for Donald Trump in the recent Presidential election – you are mistaken!  You were actually casting a 15-way joint vote for a group of political types known as ‘Presidential Electors.

The number of Presidential electors in any individual state is equal to the number of United States Senators and Representatives. In North Carolina, the figure is 15. Don’t get confused – the North Carolinians filling those individual seats in Congress ARE NOT THE ELECTORS!

We’re talking about an entirely different group of 15 people. They are living, breathing people, of course – and in most instances they are avid fans of the political process. However, chances are good that you’ve never heard of them!


Why the Electoral College is a good thing for our nation!

By Raynor James \ News Opinion \ Special to The County Compass

The founders of our country were very concerned about creating a government that would protect the rights of each individual citizen.  A pure democracy does not do that.  A pure democracy is mob rule, or as a friend says, “It’s two wolves and a sheep voting on the lunch menu.”

Our founders went to great pains setting up a series of checks and balances.  Our general government was divided into three separate branches so that one part made the laws, a second part adjudicated the laws, and a third part enforced the laws.  Additionally, the general (or federal) government was given only limited powers.  All other powers were retained by the several states or by the people themselves.

Within the part of the general government that makes laws, there are two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The number of House members each state has varies based on the population of the state. However, each state has equal representation in the Senate. For example: Rhode Island and Texas – vastly different in geographic size and population — are equal in the Senate. Each have two U.S. Senators.

It took much time and negotiation to come up with the formula for the legislative branch of the government because the states that had smaller populations did not want to give up their sovereignty to the states with larger populations.

When it came to electing a President, our founders decided on a formula that was an amalgam.  Each state would have the same number of Electors as the total of its members of the Senate and its members of the House. That formula gives more populous states an advantage, but it is not an unlimited advantage.  Further, each state decides how it will choose its Electors and whether those Electors will be “winner take all” (the winner of the popular vote in that state receives all of that state’s Electoral votes) or “proportional” (the same percentage of that state’s Electors vote for each candidate as that state’s voters did).

Our founders were very careful to retain as much power as was compatible with safety and order in the hands of each of the states and in the hands of individual citizens.  They were very vigilant about counterbalancing power.  Do we have any reason to be less vigilant?

Lawsuit questions Same Day Registration

RALEIGH – The Civitas Center for Law and Freedom – an organization that promotes conservative policies — has filed a federal lawsuit requesting a restraining order against including ballots cast via Same Day Registration (SDR) in the 2016 election. Read the lawsuit here.

Francis De Luca, president of Civitas, is the lead Plaintiff in the lawsuit, which names as Defendants the five members who comprise the N.C. State Board of Elections, and the agency’s executive director, Kim Westbrook Strach.

govpatmccrory-rgbIn another development Tuesday morning, Gov. Pat McCrory has requested a statewide recount of all ballots cast in the gubernatorial race. Read his one-page letter here.

The second paragraph of the 11-page lawsuit puts the matter succinctly:

The Board’s certification of the election results using ballots cast through the SDR process violates North Carolina law because ballots will be counted without the voter registrations having been verified.

In North Carolina, one check to ‘verify’ that a voter is indeed a real person is for elections officials to mail a postcard to the given address. If the card is returned by the Postal Service, the process is repeated a second time. If the card again comes back ‘invalid’ only then will elections officials reject the pseudo voter.

That entire ‘verification process’ cited by De Luca in his lawsuit takes an inordinate amount of time – almost always longer than the usually routine time line between Election Day and Board of Elections’ certification of results.

And, of course, this obvious vulnerability in the state’s voting procedures is ripe for fraud.

In a Tuesday morning press release, De Luca said: “To count ballots without verification of same-day registration information discriminates by treating one class of voters differently from another. Furthermore, this calls into question the outcome of close elections such as the one we are still in the middle of in North Carolina. Legitimate voters should never have their votes cancelled by illegitimate voters. The State Board of Elections should examine every ballot cast via same-day registration to verify that every vote cast is genuine and legitimate.”

 

Elections analyst points to errors in Durham voting

n1611p52005cDURHAM – Officials with the McCrory for Governor campaign show no signs of backing down on their assertions that snafus may have occurred during Nov. 8 voting at a large precinct in Durham County.

In a press release Wednesday, campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz offered the following assessment:

“We are pleased the Durham County Board of Elections decided to move forward with proceedings and hopefully will begin to get answers to the many questions people have. Last night (Tuesday) the State Board of Elections released an affidavit from one of their staff that identified at least six errors in Durham’s reported numbers, and these public officials must make sure that all of their reported numbers are 100 percent accurate. We believe it is in everyone’s best interest to get to the bottom of what happened so that people can have faith in the results, process and system.”

The staffer mentioned is Brian D. Neesby, a business systems analyst at the North Carolina State Board of Elections. From a description of his job duties contained in the affidavit, it appears that Neesby, and possibly others, are charged with spotting irregularities in the state’s voting process.

Neesby clearly states in the seven-page document that errors did occur in Durham County.

At one point, the analyst cites a ‘memory limitation,’ and further describes the shortcoming “that no single (memory) card can successfully record results to the .spp file (a digital file of audit logs) when any single contest contains more than 65,535 votes due to the fact that results are read onto only two bytes of memory.”

Read the complete affidavit:

Affidavit

Woman votes from intensive care unit

news1-woman-votes-pic

Mavis Powers votes from her hospital bed, with a gentle assist from her sister, Darnell Smith.

NEW BERN — Mavis Powers, 82, who resides in South Creek near Aurora, suffered a stroke and heart attack last Wednesday, Nov. 2 and was admitted to the intensive care unit of CarolinaEast Medical Center.

Although Mrs. Powers could talk and communicate, she could not walk, and her condition was not stable enough for her to leave the hospital. On several occasions, she made it clear she wanted to vote – and her family, including sister Darnell Smith, pursued options.

Unfortunately, Friday night, Nov. 4th, Mrs. Powers suffered a major setback and had to be placed on a ventilator, under heavy sedation. Since she was uncommunicative, the family felt her strong desire to vote would not be realized. However, on Monday, November 6th, Mrs. Powers made a remarkable comeback, and decided to remove the ventilator!

As she emerged from sedation, Mrs. Powers whispered her desire, yet again, to cast a ballot. Her family quickly contacted the Board of Elections in Beaufort County. Officials said the spunky hospital patient met all of the requirements for an emergency medical absentee ballot. And, with just a mild assist from Darnell (her sister), Mrs. Powers voted from her hospital bed.

The family would like to express their appreciation to Beaufort County elections officials for their incredible assistance! “This made me proud and humbled that our country has a process for even one vote to be counted,” said one close family member.

THE LETTER Clip this for your scrapbook!

‘October surprise’ from FBI doomed Clinton campaign!

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Download the letter (PDF)

News media, polls upstaged by election results

trump

HERE WE GO!!! Voters cast ballots ‘against’ rather than ‘for’

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State assumes new role as pivotal battleground turf
Nastiness of Presidential campaign trickles down ballot

POLITICAL LANDSCAPE – Once a solid red state, North Carolina has joined the ranks of Florida and Ohio, having become a toss-up in 2016 — good news for Clinton supporters and a nightmare for conservative Republicans.

In November of 2008, Obama defeated McCain handily in the Tar Heel State, but four years later ‘establishment’ GOP candidate Mitt Romney reversed the trend – although it was not enough to oust the incumbent Democrat.

This time around, many voters have a new Presidential mindset – holding their noses to cast votes for a candidate they don’t care for, in lieu of one they detest.

Some RINOs (political speak for ‘Republicans In Name Only’) — who object to the way Trump upstaged early establishment front-runner Jeb Bush – have vowed to sit out the election entirely. Or, they might do the unthinkable – vote for a Democrat.

Ditto, the new Democrats (overwhelmingly young) who emerged from seemingly nowhere to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who proudly asserted his philosophy as further left than Hillary. Those young folks are justifiably upset with the state of things, and they comprise the classic Election Day wild card! How many of them will actually vote, and could Trump snare more than a few?

Needless to say, this Presidential campaign has been the nation’s most vitriolic – at least since the introduction of cameras, audio recorders, and even ‘leaked’ e-mails. Close your eyes to the TV screen. Scripts for the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial commercials have the unmistakable tone of Trump / Hillary diatribes.

Is all of this democracy in action? Are we a better nation after almost two years of non-stop campaigning?

And, guess what? More efforts to legalize marijuana are popping up on ballots in at least five states. So, for what it’s worth, put these election figures in your pipe and smoke them:

46.5 percent of voters supporting either Clinton or Trump say their main objective is to stop the other side from winning.

• 60.13 percent of claims made by Trump during the campaign have been rated “False” or “Pants on Fire” by Politifact (vs. 13.33 percent for Clinton).

• $21.6 million in speaking fees earned by Hillary Clinton from 2013 to 2015 (92 speeches).

• 14 states have new laws that could make it more difficult to vote this year (32 states have voter ID laws).

Elections data credit: www.wallethub.com

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Q & A of candidates for Pasquotank Commission reveals differences

On Oct 5, The County Compass co-sponsored a well-attended Candidate Forum in Elizabeth City.

Candidates for the At-Large seat on the Pasquotank County Commission did not have sufficient time to answer questions in depth. For this reason, we submitted follow up questions to the incumbent commissioner, Jeff Dixon, and to the challenger, Sean Lavin.

In so doing, we trust that this will provide our readers with a side by side comparison – helpful in deciding just who to vote for. The questions were submitted two weeks ago but due to the death of Commissioner Dixon’s mother in law, his answers were delayed. We present them to you now.

Question 1: How do you view the future of County Tax Revenue?

Jeff Dixon

Jeff Dixon

Mr. Dixon: The future of County Tax Revenue is starting to look very bright. It took Pasquotank County eight years to dig itself out of a financial hole when the housing market crashed. Before the crash, Pasquotank County was issuing anywhere from one to two permits a day. On average, today we are lucky to issue five in any given month. Our County Board was able to hold down expenses and the county debt during these past eight years. Now, the effort should start paying for itself with no tax increases.

We received a new favorable credit rating of an AAA up from a –AAA. We did short-term borrowing at favorable interest rates while paying down our long term debt. We have many new building projects in our county that will help our property tax grow, especially the $300 million dollar Amazon Wind Farm, which will be contributing over $300,000 to our General Fund, the $15 million Tanglewood Shopping Center and along with several large apartment complexes. We also have the $10 million escrow money that was set aside from the lease of the county- owned hospital until all liabilities are satisfied and after that, the money belongs to the county to do what it wants to with it.

Sean Lavin

Sean Lavin

Mr.Lavin: I want to keep property tax rates that are appropriate, reasonable and comparable to similar communities in North Carolina. I feel that the current property tax rates and fees, like our solid waste, are too high. Especially when compared to neighboring counties. Nobody wants to pay more taxes. When determining property tax rates, other sources of revenue must be considered, including additional sales tax revenues through economic growth and a broadening tax base through the recruitment of businesses and citizens to locate in Pasquotank County. I would encourage the seeking of grant funds, where appropriate, to help invest in economic development projects. The key here is growth and development.

I am confident that we can invest in our community in a fiscally responsible way, figuring out how to balance the budget and keep the tax burden reasonable, while providing the county with the governance and the services it needs to move forward and make Pasquotank County more attractive for businesses and families to move here. That is my definition of fiscal responsibility.

Question 2: Are there any cost reductions that might be utilized to reduce costs?

Mr. Dixon: 80 percent of our budget is made up of services that we are required to provide or the state can take us over. Services that aren’t required are: Senior Centers, Libraries, Planning, Animal Control, and Central Communications but are all still vital services. As commissioner, I pushed to have the City and County merge our Park and Recreation Departments and let the city run it. There are other departments like our planning and inspections that I have pushed to be merged with Elizabeth City as well, but have met with resistance on both of these ideas.

Mr. Lavin: The most valuable asset of any organization is its workforce, and a motivated and engaged workforce is the most efficient and effective way to carry out important work. Contributing factors to a strong workforce are having a fair market competitive wage and benefits program along with recognition programs. Likewise, having visible support, appreciation, and respect from the county’s elected leaders will go a long way in creating the environment for a motivated and engaged staff.

Creating a program that financially rewards and recognizes employees that have ideas for making the county more efficient with its resources will go a long way toward that end. Workers at all levels can have ideas on how to save the county money. Whether it is equipment that is underutilized or processes that are inefficient, rank and file employees know best how to improve their departments.

In addition, retaining good employees at all levels helps to reduce costs associated with on-boarding and training. Employees with seniority are often more efficient at their job duties. Recent decisions by the Commissioners regarding compensation and other matters of County employees have eroded their job satisfaction and morale. I will help ensure that the County is employing the best management practices in order to have the most engaged, satisfied, effective, and efficient staff possible.

While not necessarily an operational cost component, I am a firm believer in competitive bidding on County purchases over $10,000. If elected, I will push to implement a policy that makes this a mandatory process for County procurement. 

Question 3: Would you favor the use of Electronic Time Cards to verify employee comings and goings?

Mr. Dixon: Yes, I would, but the expense has to be justified with what savings it would produce.

Mr Lavin: The structure of this question nearly implies that there are issues with employees committing fraud with regard to their time-keeping. If that is the case, Supervisors should be dealing with those issues on a case-by-case basis.

In this day and age, keeping current employees safe is probably just as important, if not more. Electronic cards would only be somewhat effective when you consider the travel throughout the county that certain employees do in the performance of their duties. Badge in, badge out access cards can be dual purpose, but the primary responsibility of keeping up with employees belongs to the supervisors.

Supervisors and even higher-level managers must make it out to “inspect what they expect” with regard to employee engagement and performance. When combining the benefits of controlling access to county buildings and facilities with the benefits of upgrading to more modern timekeeping for county employees, I would support incrementally implementing electronic badge cards for county employees. 

October Surprise! FBI sends letter to Congress reopening Clinton investigation

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Candidates not the only item on November ballots

By Nicholas Kovacevich
Co-Founder / CEO of Kush Bottles

kushbottlesv2Editor’s note: Mr. Kovacevich’s company, Kush Bottles, is the nation’s largest distributor of packaging supplies for legal marijuana, with offices in California, Washington, and Colorado. He readily concedes that many of this year’s ballot initiatives, if approved, will benefit his business.

The cannabis industry has a lot to gain this November. Initiatives to legalize cannabis in one form or another are on the ballot in nine states. Voters in five states — California, Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maine — will be deciding whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Voters in Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida will consider legalizing medical cannabis.

If these measures pass, these states will join the other 25 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized cannabis in one way or another – triggering new opportunities, especially to companies that provide ancillary services and can do business in any state, such as providers of packaging and accessories.

A few states stand out from the rest due to their size and potential impact:

CALIFORNIA

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (California Proposition 64) would establish a recreational marijuana system in California, allowing adults 21 and older to purchase cannabis at retail. A 2016 poll from Probolsky Research found that 60 percent of California voters support the initiative.

California is the largest economy in the United States and is already the largest cannabis market — even though it currently only allows for medical use. If the recreational use initiative passes, California will become perhaps the largest cannabis market in the world, with estimates that over $6 billion in sales will be generated each year.

The state could take in as much as $1 billion in tax revenues, which could help provide tremendous help for the state’s education system, infrastructure, and social programs.

Additionally, other industries will likely benefit from if cannabis is legalized for recreational use. As an example, in Colorado, tourism rose sharply after legalization.

A record 77.7 million people visited Colorado in 2015, spending $19.1 billion. This is a 9 percent increase over the previous year – and sets an all-time record. That same year, Denver hosted one million more visitors than during the previous year – another record.

news1-marijuana-bottle-rxWhat is driving this increase in tourism? To a large extent, it is legal cannabis. A recent study found that almost half of tourists were swayed to visit Colorado because of legal marijuana. If we extrapolate these numbers to California, the effect is worth noting.

There are other industries that will also benefit from cannabis legalization, including diverse market sectors such as software (point of sale and seed-to-sale tracking systems), security, lighting instruments, real estate, agricultural supplies, and more. In short, cannabis legalization can have a dramatic impact on the California economy and help turn the state Golden once again.

NEVADA

The Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Question 2, will be on the November 8, 2016 ballot. Like California, Nevada stands to reap rewards both from a larger cannabis market and the boost ancillary sectors.

With over 55 million tourists visiting the Silver State each year, companies in the cannabis sector stand to profit handsomely. It is easy to imagine many tourists purchasing legal and easily obtainable cannabis during their visit. Some experts predict that Las Vegas will become the new Amsterdam – as the world’s leading cannabis tourism destination.

Companies are already lining up to get a piece of the Nevada cannabis market, including upstart delivery services that will bring product directly to a visitor’s hotel room.

My company, Kush Bottles, is already well positioned in Nevada with several key accounts and rapid deliveries from either our Southern California or Colorado warehouses. As the Nevada cannabis market grows, we believe Kush Bottles will see a significant increase in both revenues and market share.

MASSACHUSETTS

The anchor of New England has a proposal to legalize cannabis (Question 4) on the ballot for this November. Notably supporters of the initiative point to the success in Colorado, and the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management published a 35-page report titled, “Colorado’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana Is Succeeding.” According to the report, “Colorado has made intelligent decisions about regulatory needs, the structure of distribution, prevention of illegal diversion, and other vital aspects of its new market. It has made those decisions in concert with a wide variety of stakeholders in the state.”

Other states in the northeast corridor don’t currently allow legal cannabis, or like New York, have struggled with implementing an effective cannabis program. If Massachusetts approves legal adult-use cannabis, the state could quickly become a hub for the entire northeastern United States – a densely populated area with an adult population of over 50 million.  This large base of consumers within such a concentrated area can create a windfall of opportunity for companies within the cannabis industry.

In summary, I believe the current wave of support for legalization of cannabis, either adult-use or medical-use, will continue, and that with ongoing legalization – especially in a few key states – the cannabis market will provide tremendous growth prospects for companies that have the insight, infrastructure, products, services, brand awareness, and capitalization already in place in order to maximize those opportunities.