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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two more things

One other thing that is really lame about the Contribution and Expenditure reports is that it is a real pain to remember what the A, B, C... indicators mean for the various expenses.

And the final thing...VOTE FOR JACK!

Monday, August 11, 2008

About time for a primary (and a few other things)

Well, the primary is tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. I have absolutely no idea what the results are going to be. I could win by a landslide, I could get two votes (me and my sister), or it could be really even. I think it's going to be really fun to watch and see what happens. It's my friend's birthday tomorrow too so we're going to hang out at Shuck's and have dinner and a few beers and watch Channel 4 to check out the results.

I didn't get to anywhere near as many houses as I had hoped to when I was going house to house. It took longer than I thought it would and there were just too many days where I couldn't go. There was one two week period where I think I was really only home for 1 day so that didn't help any.

I did send out a mailer that if you were on the list you should have received last Thursday or Friday. It was probably one of the most specific mailers that's ever been sent as I didn't have a whole lot of money left to send it. It went out to Republican voters in my district who voted in person during the last primary or who registered since the last primary. I also narrowed it down further by making sure that the same last name at one house only received one. I'm hoping if I win the primary I can raise a few bucks so I don't have to be quite as picky.

Speaking of finances, if you want to see something interesting, you can look at the Contribution and Expense Reports for everyone running in Clark County here: http://redrock.co.clark.nv.us/campaignfinance/. If you look at good old Assembly District 16 you'll see that my competitors and I in the primary spent about $2500 each. The incumbent spent $170,252.94. Now the catch is, he didn't spend all that money on actually trying to get elected to his district. Here are some of his expenses (by my calculations):

  • $38,254.34 on consultants. I don't know what the heck all that money gets politicians. I understand asking them questions or doing polls or stuff like that every once in a while, but if you look it's a consistent ongoing expense.

  • $9765.09 on travel, including what looks like a trip to Alaska. It's not really clear what the trips are for though (more on that later).

  • $28,632.03 on staff at the Assembly Democratic Caucus. I don't know what they do either.

  • $75,500.00 in donations to other candidates.

Now I can't say that I have a particular problem with any of his expenses but something doesn't seem right to me that out of $170,000 in spending that over $150,000 of it doesn't seem to have any real bearing on his campaign.

If you look at his contributions, he received over $264,000. Here is how I see that breaking down:

  • $232,030 from corporations and other businesses, Political Action Committees and unions.

  • $4,150 from people in Colorado

  • $5,255 from people not in Colorado, but also not in Southern Nevada

  • $12,500 from what looks like businesses or something similar but it isn't clear on the form

  • $8805 from individual contributors

Those numbers above shock me. I can't believe that such a small portion of his contributions come from your standard voter. I was planning on writing about this stuff anyways, but the Review Journal randomly had an article about the topic today: http://www.lvrj.com/news/26826009.html

All the above being said, I happened to look at his report closer than others because if I win the primary he is going to be my competition. I'm pretty sure the other incumbents (regardless of their party) look pretty similar. It still makes me want to vomit. All of this points out what I think are some serious shortcomings in the Contributions and Expenses reports:

  • They don't show how much the candidate has in the bank. If you look at the report just released, you would think you just take $264,169 - $170,252 and you'd have your answer. The catch is that the reports just released are only for the January 1 - July 31 of this year. It doesn't take into account any leftovers from previous years. If you go back and look at the previous years reports you'll see that there appears to be a lot of money left over. I think this should be made very clear to the voter.

  • It is difficult to tell sometimes if a contribution is from an individual or a business.

  • The expenses need to be way more specific. I think each one should have a comment field for what exactly the money was being used for. It doesn't have to be too specific, but if a candidate for the Nevada State Assembly is charging his campaign for a trip to Alaska I'd like to know why. The same thing goes for what all the money going to consultants and the Assembly Democratic Caucus is being used for. There's also quite a few "Petty Cash" and "Visa" expenses in there. That tells me absolutely nothing. For all I know it means "strippers". I'm sure it doesn't but how the heck am I supposed to know? I think I could have put "Visa" for all of my expenses.

Anyways, enough of all that. I do recommend that you go all look at the Contribution and Expense reports for a variety of candidates because they really are interesting.

I can't remember if I mentioned it before or not but I'm pretty impressed by the job the Clark County Elections department has done. They really have a lot of good information on their website about the election so it's worth checking out: http://www.accessclarkcounty.com/depts/election/english/Pages/home.aspx

I was going to write a bit on how much assemblyman get paid altogether (including "salary", per diem and expense reimbursement) but it's going to take some more research and it's midnight already and I still need to decide who else I'm voting for tomorrow (which is going to take some time).

One last thing, here are some scans of the mailer I sent out if anyone is interested:

Oh yeah, tomorrow I get to find out how long my vacation is going to be (sort of). I'm leaving on Friday to go to China for the Olympics and some travel. It's slated right now for six weeks. If I win the primary I'll be home early.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More questionnaires

I added a couple more questionnaires to the forum, this time the Clark County Republican Party 2008 Candidate Questionnaire and the Project Vote Smart "Political Courage Test".

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stuff and Junk

Today, a hodgepodge of information:
  • The Review Journal published their voter guide for the primary election last Sunday. You can find the information for Assembly District 16 here. I think the information and quotes from me came out OK. I was a little worried what would come out from me babbling for 20 minutes and the reporter furiously typing but what appeared is not too bad.
  • Last weekend I attended the annual Northern Nevada Alumni Club picnic for USC at the beach up in Lake Tahoe. They have held a picnic at the beach every year for about the last 25 years. It is a really neat event where they introduce the students that will be attending USC in the fall and the band and the cheerleaders come and perform. Since I grew up in Lake Tahoe and I know many of the people up there I try and get up there for the picnic every year. That really has nothing to do with running for State Assembly. What was interesting was that Dean Heller was there (who is Nevada's Congressional representative for most of Nevada except Clark County). I talked with him for a few minutes, mostly about simple stuff about how our campaigns are going (I told him I have no idea how mine is going since I don't have any money to do any polls so I'm going to have a fun day hitting refresh on my computer on election day). What bothered me is that later I realized that you don't really get that many opportunities to talk to a Congressman in an informal setting where he isn't really campaigning and other people aren't bothering him for his time so I should have been asking about the train wreck that is the federal government. I'm a little disappointed in myself there.
  • I find it odd that lately a bunch of people have been asking me what my future political plans are. The real answer is I don't have any. Cripes, not only have I not won an election of any sort yet, election day hasn't even happened yet, why would I be worrying about some other post that might appear in the future. I think the implication is that I have some grand political plan for myself, like someday I want to be governor but I don't have any plans like that. I'm running because of my love for Nevada, not because I'm on some "I want to have power" trip or something. I get the feeling that's why many people run. Yet another good reason to have term limits.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More questionnaires and general thoughts

I have posted a couple more questionnaires in the forum:
  • The first is the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, 2008 Nevada Candidate Questionnaire, which can be found here.
  • The second is for the Nevada Families Voter Guide Candidate Questionnaire 2008, which can be found here.

I also looked at the Nevada Advocated of Planned Parenthood website and found out that they consider my position on abortion to be "Leans Anti". You can decide for yourself by reading my answers to their questionnaire here.

Some other thoughts:

  • Don't forget to come to Shuck's Tavern near Easter and Serene tonight (Thu 7/17) from 6 - 8. I will be there to answer any questions or talk about any issues that interest you.
  • I've been continuing to go door to door. I've been impressed by most of the people who have I've talked to. Everyone has the same problems as everyone else such as high gas prices and the current state of the economy, but most realize that there isn't some magic fix that the government can do that is going to fix everything.
  • I talked to one couple today who are renting a house that they live in with three of their grandchildren who are concerned that they are going to get kicked out soon because they discovered that the house they are living in is going to be foreclosed on on the 22nd. They found out because some lawyer who thought they were the owners called and offered to help them file bankruptcy or something to keep the house. He said he couldn't help them since they were just renters so now they don't know if they are going to get suddenly kicked out. I've read about this sort of situation a lot with the current foreclosure problems we've been having and I find it ridiculous that people can be going along, paying their rent faithfully, thinking everything is OK and then they suddenly find out that the mortgage isn't getting paid and they are going to have to leave. There has to be something better that can be done, even if it is just sending letters to the residents at houses to let them know that the mortgage is behind so people can be prepared or find out what is going on.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"I'm walkin' the streets tonight..."

Just got back from my second day of walking house to house in my district. Here's a few thoughts I've had while I've been doing it:
  • I should have started this a lot sooner. I don't think there's any way I'm going to get anywhere near visiting everyone in my district. Part of the problem is I was waiting for some door hanger things so that if people weren't home or didn't answer the door I could leave them something with a couple words about me and also let them know where they could go if they did want to meet me. Those finally arrived yesterday. I wish I had ordered that stuff a long time ago, but I didn't even think about it until a few weeks ago. Oh well, rookie mistake I guess.
  • I'm real curious about people's reactions to the door hangers. My intent was to show people that I had come around to their house to try and meet with them but it occurred to me yesterday that for all they know I just hired some kids to run up and down the street and put the hangers on everyone's doors and I don't think that would make me vote for someone. So I started putting a little handwritten note on all of them. Not sure if that helps any either, for the same reason, but it's really the best I can do if they aren't home. Depending on time constraints I might try and call some of the door hanger people if I get a chance just to see what they thought.
  • The people who have been home have been nice for the most part. No one really wants to talk about anything because they are busy with other things but they don't seem bothered by the fact that I stopped by, so that's promising.
  • Yesterday some guys selling pest control service or something started wandering the same streets as me so that was a little annoying. I felt bad going up to people's doors right after some random solicitor came by so I pretty much started to race ahead of them since I was almost done for the day anyways.
  • Quite a few people have "No Solicitors" signs on their doors so I don't stop at their houses. I'm thinking maybe I will try mailing those people.
  • A few years ago I took American Sign Language courses at the Community College, which I found really interesting but I ended up giving up without becoming anything near fluent. I didn't feel like I was progressing real well because I'm not really around Deaf people in my day to day life so it made it difficult to practice and when I was around Deaf people I felt really bad for butchering their language. So anyways, there was a Deaf man at one of the houses I stopped at today and I was mad at myself because I couldn't remember very much and that sort of situation was the whole reason I started taking ASL in the first place. I did manage to get out that I used to be a student and that I've forgotten sign and he reminded me of what the sign for "vote" was so I could remind him to vote for Jack.
  • A bunch of people have gates on their doors that you can't see through from the outside and that makes it interesting when they answer their doors because it is almost like talking to a solid wall that talks back.

In other news:

A reporter from the Review Journal called yesterday so that he could interview me for the voter guide that they put out before the election. I learned that I need to get better at sound bites. The reason I say that is that he asked me a few questions and the answers I gave were really long and I could hear him trying to type in the background what I said, but even if he got it all it's going to have to get edited down to maybe a paragraph or two for the guide so I'm interested to see what actually ends up in the paper.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My First Endorsement

I'm pretty excited. I got my first endorsement on Friday, from Veterans In Politics. It made me feel good not only because I got the endorsement but also just in a general "I'm a real candidate" sort of way. I was able to find the video of the interview they did with me. It's a little hard to get to but here's the steps:

  • Go to the following link: http://www.helloworld.com/members_myworld.aspx?ID=nevadavip&target=show
  • On the left are a bunch of "Past Shows" links, click on the "Next" arrow at the bottom of those until you find Assembly District 16 and then you can click on the links and it should play my interview. The interview is actually in two parts, one that is 2:30 and the other is 8:28.

Alternatively, you can listen to the audio only by following this link: http://www.alltalkradio.net/alt/show.php?folder=vipjudges. On the right side of the screen there is a list of links, select the NV Assembly District 16 link to listen to my interview.

In other news:

I went to Paradise Park yesterday to do what was basically a trial run. Over the next few weeks I'm planning on hanging out at parks or various other places so that people can actually have a chance to meet me. In the future, I'll post where I'm going to be in advance. For this time, I wasn't really sure what to expect or what I was doing so I figured I'd just see how it went by just showing up. It was somewhat interesting. It was very hot so there weren't that many people there. Of the ones that were, quite a few seemed to not speak English, and unfortunately I don't speak Spanish. There were some other people that weren't in my district and one guy told me he wouldn't vote for me because he's a Democrat. I've mentioned before that it sort of bothers me that people make a determination like that without knowing anything about me. So I can't say it was the most successful trip ever, but it was good practice. I felt kinda silly walking up to people while they were enjoying their time at the park but no one seemed too bothered so that was kinda nice.