Thursday, 7 April 2011

Spring is Here

They waited, and waited, and waited.  And finally when the winds of Spring had arrived (April)....they finally could let the cat out of the bag.  Yes, the President is running for re-election now.

It's a great period.  He can now campaign 24-7 from April of 2011 until November 2012.

If you had to go out and look at the last twelve presidents....this is the only one that likely wanted election campaigning to be a full-time job.

My humble guess is that there will be a minimum of three major events each week for the rest of this year.  A major interview will be tossed out each week to printed press, blogs, or national TV.  His wife will be seen more often and likely have a speech each month in some major American city.

Too early?  I suspect that the 4-star speech bucket is mostly empty and you might see two or three of these for the remainder of this year.  If you have any great material left....you'd best save until the real heat of October 2012.

The plus-up of the government shut-down?  Here's the deal which makes this radically different from the previous experience.  We are seven months into this financial year for the government.  The President, and the Democrats were oddly standing there in July of 2010 with a budget to push....and never pushed it.  As October of 2010 rolled around....with all of the necessary votes lined up....nothing could be accomplished.  With the election in full swing....nothing was accomplished.  After the election.....nothing was accomplished.  Curiously, we are fairly close to May when you start start forming up the next financial year budget and start talking votes for that.

Frankly, there's a bunch of grinning going on as some folks think it'll go badly for the Republicans now.  Independents aren't exactly buying that, and you might worry a bit.  You really don't want another dozen Democratic senators tossed because of a government shut-down and the way people perceived the mess.

There is this mythical point where a guy does too much campaigning, and everything starts to slide off his plate because people have lost genuine interest in the words spoken or promises made.  With a April 2011 start, I might think about that and really limit my exposure for the next five months.  There's no need to be aggressive in Iowa or New Hampshire.  Well....unless you know someone is out there to run as a Democrat against you.  That would be a curious thing....if it were a serious contender and the cause of a early entry.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

If you live in DC....outside of the "capital-zone"....then you have to have a District temporary resident parking permit.  Otherwise, you get towed.  This is a familiar deal for folks around the District.  I sat on the bus one day (within Arlington), and two gals got into a discussion as they were going to work.  They knew each other and had simply bumped into one another for the first time in six months.  So one asked the other why she wasn't driving any longer, and the response was....the tows.  After three tows in one month.....she basically gave up and bought a Metro-card and simply went via the bus and subway to work in DC.  Towing.....is part of life....if live or work in the District.

Today....towing and parking became another major topic of discussion.  The city's "at-large" councilman.....Michael Brown....put a bill into city council to deny students with out-of-state tags a chance to get temporary resident parking permit.

Now I realize that your first question here.....what the heck is a "at-large" councilman?  Well....in DC....rather than have nine districts to have the appropriate number of councilman to vote on something....they decided eight were enough, and then created this mythical guy who was "at-large".  So the whole city votes on this every four years....to have this guy run around to represent the city itself....and not just your district of the district.  I know....it makes little sense.

The neat deal about Brown's bill is that it's making every single kid who drove up to attend one of the seventeen colleges in the District.  Shocking?  Seventeen?  The more shocking part of this deal is that only one of the seventeen is a public college where regular students would go.  The one public college?  University of the District of Columbia.....and almost no idiot in America....from outside of the District....would dare waste their time or money getting a degree from this college.

The rest of these seventeen colleges are all upscale private colleges...where there is no out-of-state tuition deal.  You will pay a $35k a year tuition deal for most of these.  So Brown's agenda to make kids turn into a District resident to get the temporary parking sticker?  He's not worried at all at making them district residents or offering them in-state tuition at their one joke of a university for the district.

It's kind of comical.  You force the kid to hand over $72 just to register the vehicle for one year.  Toss in the zone sticker....and you start looking at hundreds of dollars that the kid might have to pay for one year living in the district (the zone might be a more appropriate term to use).  So this might be another $400 a year which flows from the rich kid and his parents....into the pockets of the District.

So let me pull the curtain back a bit.  It's interesting....the District is short on its pot of money by $322 million.  They can't cut anymore or they start to get stares from residents who are expecting things from the city.  So just getting one thousand rich kids to fess up....equals $400k.  I'm guessing the District is hoping that 30k students around the city fall into this category.  This would pump $12 million into the district and bring them one step closer to their budget goal.

So the hope here...is that a bunch of oddball characters on the city council simply pass this and quickly move on.  Then you hope that no one brings this up in court.

I sat and pondered over this.  Out of thirty thousand kids affected (my humble guess)....I think ten thousand don't even have a car and make due with subway or bus.  The rest might decide to get creative.  If Dad held the title of the car and he came up to the District and said he wanted a temporary parking pass....the idiots might question Dad for a moment, but then he'd just respond that he's there for cancer treatment and everyone would shut up then.  The kid gets his temporary parking pass and life goes on....without a bunch of money arriving to save the District from its woes.

The comical thing at the end of this day....is the comment that Micheal Brown made when a reporter asked if taking away the student's congressional representation in congress upset him (the District has no representation)....his response?  "I'm not sure if they'll be upset or not, but that's part of being a resident here, and this is part of the process".

Yeah, so for you punk rich kids attending a big-name university in the District....get real.  You need to be District folks.....one way or another.  But it's a funny thing....the minute you register your car and become a Washington resident....there's a card at the counter....to register to vote.  If thirty thousand of you out-of-district rich punks registered and an election came around....suddenly, you'd have a swing vote.  You could dump the mayor in one big swoop.  You could dump the "at-large" dude, in one swoop.  You could dump your district district's councilman, in one swoop.

What Brown may have created is this temporary fix to bring some badly needed funds....but he just might have undone the District's method of voting for idiots when city elections come around.

Only a humble suggestion.