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RIP Caleb Schaber

Caleb Schaber

Caleb Schaber

Caleb Schaber was a man who made you nervous. And like Dick Cheney, you were always worried he might just shoot you in the face. But unlike Dick Cheney, you were more worried that he’d probably shoot himself in the face before he got to you.

And you loved him for it.

I met Caleb first, online, almost 13 or 14 years ago. We went to college together. And his online persona proceeded him. He’d fight with people constantly.

And yet, if you didn’t fall for his shit, he’d like you for it. A few weeks, or months later, I met him in person, and he was nothing like the Caleb I knew online. As one friend put it, he was fragile, way more fragile than you expected.

The last time I saw Caleb he was packing up a grease powered panel van with Esmerelda Strange in my front yard and heading off for new adventures. He had stayed a few days, and we got to play some music, drink some beer, and shoot the shit… and there was a lot to talk about. There always was.

Caleb was a kindred spirit, someone who lived out loud, because it was the only way that he could. It wasn’t a choice he was making, it wasn’t an act. It was just Caleb.

In the time I knew him he wrote more articles for the University of Washington’s Daily than any person before or since, crazy shit, about his own life mostly. He’d be off to chase aliens at Area 51, or writing the most offensive crap the UW Daily ever printed. And the Publisher at the time would be drinking Milk of Magnesia, I’m sure, and wishing it was Milk of Amnesia.

Caleb jumped off the Aurora Avenue bridge once, and got a steel rod through his back to prove it.

He also ran for Mayor of Seattle, after getting a tremendous amount of tattoo work, one that just said “FUCK YOU.” He came in either 3rd or 4th, outta 6 contestants. Which meant he beat people. Which wasn’t suprising, because Caleb was smart, and likeable. Even people that hated Caleb liked him. Mayor Greg Nickels said it himself, “I like Caleb, Caleb’s a nice guy.” I don’t know if Caleb liked Greg Nickels. I would guess not.

After years of gonzo-style journalism, Caleb decided to jump off another bridge, and head to Afghansitan and Iraq, with stops in between. Many of us that knew him figured he’d get himself killed, as if you knew him, you knew the fragile part of Caleb, just as well as you knew the tough as nails part of Caleb.

And in the end, I can’t say what killed Caleb, other than Caleb. He shot himself. He did it in front of someone who loved him. It was a cruel and unforgiveable act. And the reason we all feared Caleb, and loved Caleb, and tried to help Caleb.

I too loved Caleb. He was a good friend, and a good enemy, and a caring and hateful and filled with rage sorta guy. He was as raw nerve, like I will never know again.

I’ll miss him, a lot.

RIP
Caleb Schaber

Our Vote Live, National Database of Absentee Voting Problems

http://www.ourvotelive.org/responses.php?op=list&&filter_subset=epc_absprob

Just came across this link and wanted to keep track of it. It’s a national database of voting problems, and the link above will give you a long list of complaints registered by voters concerning voting by absentee.

Ron Sims Misuses HUD Funds?

In an article from 10 years ago by noted columnist Geov Parrish, we get a glimpse of what HUD is in store for under Ron Sims:

http://eatthestate.org/03-11/RonSimsBaggage.htm

You might have thought, after the protracted investigative fiasco that accompanied the City of Seattle and Nordstrom’s use of HUD money to finance a glitzy new downtown retail palace–or even the firestorm of criticism that met the city’s giveaway of the lucrative PacMed building to a “public-private partnership” this fall–that The Usual Suspects would be lying low for a while.

Then again, you might believe that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Teletubbies are all hanging out in Baghdad this week, catching some rays.

In what may be the most audacious non-stadium use yet locally of public money for a private project, County Executive Rom Sims last Tuesday announced–to virtually no media attention–a financing scheme for a planned new four-star hotel on Port of Seattle property at Sea-Tac airport, adjacent to Concourse C and connected directly to both the concourse and the parking garage. The Westin hotel would be majority-owned by the Multi-Employer Property Trust, a pension fund manager for building trades unions (home base for Ron Judd, head of the King County Labor Council). MEPT is an investor in the new Pacific Place retail development downtown. It would receive a 53-year ground lease on the airport land.

To swing the deal, King County proposes to offer Community Development Block Grant money: an $8 million HUD loan under Section 108, the same provision used by Nordstrom’s to purchase the “blighted” Frederick & Nelson building downtown. Section 108 loans are generally given to non-profits, low-income housing developers, and social service agencies. King County is proposing the loan under a provision that 51% or more of the jobs created will be low or moderate income–a fair bet for an enormous hotel, heavy on the maids and bellhops. (How many of those jobs, in a union-owned hotel, won’t be unionized or pay a livable wage?)

Sims’ press conference posturing about having extracted public benefit for the deal was, at best, disingenuous; without the jobs promise, the loan would be illegal. According to backers, 216 new full-time jobs and 44 part-time jobs would be created; the $8 million, therefore, represents about $60,000 per low-income job. The county is essentially putting up the first few years of the cost of half of the hotel’s work force.

Once again, the public is picking up the risk for a private investor’s nearly certain profit. Moreover, the plopping of a elegant upscale hotel on highly visible public property is in many ways similar to Seattle’s strategy for its downtown retail core: the creation of public space where the extremely wealthy will feel comfortable, and the poor won’t be welcome. Except, in this case, as part of the servant class.

More pointedly, the county’s desire to use CBDG money for a hotel development (owned by a real estate speculator associated with one of Sims’ biggest political backers) comes sharply on the heels of a proposed King County budget that cuts social services. Sims’ budget also contained a proposal for a property tax increase–six times the increase allowed under Prop 47 limits–to pay for more cops to combat a crime wave that may or may not exist. Sims is also happy to spend money on himself; the budget for the county exec’s office has steadily expanded under his rule.

The whole article is still available online, here.  I can’t find any follow-up to it yet. But with Ron Sims history of botched million dollar computer deals, hiring Jeffrey Dean to program King County’s voter registration database, and his claims that Diebold machines are “hacker proof” it is clear he is not a man to be trusted with public funds.

Hopefully this all comes to light when he is investigated for this position. While King County will be better off without him, I fear giving him even more power in Washington DC.

Sherril Huff, David Irons, Julie Kempf, Pam Roach, Christopher Clifford, or Bill Anderson?

Sherril Huff, David Irons, Julie Kempf, Pam Roach, Christopher Clifford, or Bill Anderson? That’s the question before King County Voters this February 13th, 2009 Special Elections for King County Elections Director. So let’s get started…. with the current director–Sherril Huff.

Well first off,  Huff is a carpet bagger, of this there is no doubt. She moved to King County from Bremerton (Kitsap County), in order to qualify for an election she didn’t even want. But more importantly to my way of thinking is who amongst these 6 candidates is the most honest about election integrity. Carpet bagging is obviously a bad way to start on the honesty front. But there’s more…
Sherril Huff was recently at the helm as almost 11,000 thousand attempted vote-by mail ballots were disenfranchised, as reported by the Seattle Weekly.

https://novbm.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/vote-by-mail-disenfranchises-10993-voters-in-king-county-alone-no-one-notices/

If Huff is supporting Vote-By Mail, then she is not the candidate I am looking for… Far from it.

In fact, so far I haven’t seen or heard from any of the candidates on their positions regarding voting integrity in general. Except fo Bill Anderson. And his positions are completely out of line with what I would consider real voting integrity in King County. From his website, Bill says:

“King County’s move to voting exclusively by mail is but the first step in gaining control of the voting process.”

Well right off the bat he’s totally wrong. It is not the first step in gaining control. It is the last in a long series of steps in undermining the system of voting at the polling places, and counting those ballots at the precincts.

But then again, that could be your perspective on things Bill. I think about “We the people” having control and losing control of the process of voting…. and maybe you are looking at it from the reverse perspective of “Government taking control of the process.” If that’s the case then you might be onto something.

Sherril Huff, while qualified in terms of “experience” doesn’t talk about voting integrity either. Her website talks of accomplishments, including 300 reforms?? But doesn’t really tell me what she thinks about the current state of things in King County and Washington. She obviously supports the transition to Vote-By Mail, and “new technologies,” but doesn’t say anything about Premier Election Systems, or Diebold, and doesn’t come right out and say anything about supporting Vote-By Mail or Touchscreens, etc. This is just giving her wiggle room later.

Either way Bill and Sherril Huff seem to embrace Vote-By Mail and “new election technologies.” Which is exactly the attitude that I don’t want to see in this position.

On to David Irons. Well having personally debated both Ron Sims and David Irons many times in my run against them for King County Executive, I wouldn’t vote for either of them… ever. David is incapable of telling the truth when it is important. He has a history of not showing up to fundraisers thrown in his honor, and is as nutty, oh, as a big ole bag of nuts. David’s website says nothing REAL about election integrity, vote counting accuracy, etc. He just has the “words” up there without any defenition of what he means.

Julie Anne Kempf.
Julie Anne is the most honest election integrity activist I have ever met. And the most knowledgeable. I have learned a lot from her, as have many, many voting integrity activists all around the country.
Of course, for this reason she is being slandered in the media. Originally scapegoated years ago, the county has continuosly worked to malign her on many levels. Even the average dumb person should be able to read the lies spewed in the papers about Julia Anne Kempf and realize that the accusations against her usually don’t even pass a good old fashion “smell test.”

Her candidate statement is spot on.

Regardless though, the typical Seattle voter reads the news, and rarely thinks for themselves. The number of people I’ve literally seen show up at a voting booth with the “Stranger’s Cheat Sheet” election guide is stupifying. Julie Anne is a true fighter for election integrity.

Therefore, she obviously will not win.

Christopher Clifford. Hmm, doesn’t seem to know a damn thing about this race other than what the “media has fed him.” Hey Mr. Clifford, you obviously think very highly of yourself. Well, after reading your candidate statement, I don’t.

Tell me something about your position on Vote-By Mail, the county’s use of electronic voting equipment, or the process of counting votes Mr. Clifford… I can read personal attacks on the other candidates in the Seattle Times any day I please.

Your students should learn one thing from your candidate statement. People who move into glass houses to enter a political race should not throw stones. That was probably one of the most useless and arrogant candidate statements I’ve ever read Clifford.

Ok, onto Pam Roach. A very partisan Republican, who says her first responsibility will be to be “non-partisan.” Well good luck with that Pam Roach. And interestingly you somehow sponsored the Help America Vote Act? I thought that was Federal Legislation. Or was there a similarly crappy version in Washington State that I missed? The Help America Vote Act, at least the Federal Version, is nothing to be proud of…

Regardless, your candidate statement doesn’t suck. I don’t know anything about the mountain of personal crap people throw your way, so I won’t comment. However, your lack of specifics on Vote-By Mail, or most other important election related topics throws me off. I do like that you supported the initiative to elect the Director of Elections in King County. However, I also know that you did it as a very very partisan Republican.

So, in the end, I would vote for Julie Anne Kempf. Regardless of the incredibly shameless smear campaign that has tormented her for years, she is the most qualified, honest, and knowledgeable person in this race.

Too bad Seattle and King County will make this a race between the least honest and least interested in voting integrity.

Oh, and one more thing. If anyone cares to think for themselves, when was the last time you heard of someone trying to “run over a police officer” not being charged with attempting to murder an officer of the law? And for that matter, if it were a true charge, why is it still, years… YEARS later still something that is still just an accusation?

Luckily I can no longer vote in King County, my vote is tossed out in Kitsap County instead:
https://novbm.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/i-tried-to-vote-for-jason-osgood-and-got-rejected/

Vote By Mail Disenfranchises 10,993 Voters in King County Alone… No One Notices

The Seattle Weekly reports:

Here’s the final voter breakdown – right word – from the Obama election: the ballots of 10,993 King County voters could not be counted. That’s a record, total-wise, but lower, percentage-wise, than the August primary election failure rate.

Out of 774,580 registered county voters who were sent general election mail ballots, 656,565 returned them. But only 645,572 could be verified.

Among the disqualified were 1,611 voters who sent their ballots in too late. Others sent empty envelopes. Fourteen were found to have died (their ballots not processed).

The majority were “signature issues,” says King County Elections spokesperson Bobbie Egan (this is her last week; she’s moving on to PR for Alaska Airlines). That included 4,130 votes tossed for poor penmanship – their signatures, for varied reasons, could not be matched to the ones on file. Another 823 forgot to sign the ballot envelope.

Of course, Washington State’s Secretary of State, Sam Reed, wants to now force everyone to Vote-By Mail, so everyone can be equally likely to be disenfranchised by this stupid Vote-By Mail system. And with only Pierce County holding out, and most voters being left outta the discussion as the media asks no questions and just repeats the totally innacurate mantra that Vote-By Mail increases turnout, I bet Sam will get his wish…

But as if that’s not bad enough, Mr. Reed is once again proposing Internet Voting, as the Olympian reports:

Let military and overseas voters cast ballots online, picking up on an experiment that the Department of Defense began in 2004 and then let lapse. Hunt wants to consider Reed’s concept; money could be a sticking point, Ammons said.

First they came for the vote counting machines, then they came for the vote counters themselves (by closing the polls), and now they want to open voting up to all kinds of problems by putting it online. These people are either nuts, dumb as stumps, or totally corrupt. Your choice.

The Department of Defense abandoned that program on Internet Voting years ago as the chorus of computer scientists grew ever louder against the use of the Internet. But while activists grow tired fighting without pay to perserve election integrity, it seems election officials never grow tired of working to undermine and destroy the system America built to make sure every vote was counted accurately, fairly, and without bias.

But here’s a new study on the situation with “e-Voting,” just in case you are interested.

US Postal Inspector Explains Why Voting By Mail is a Terrible Idea

Check out this article:
http://www.snopes.com/legal/postal/sendcash.asp

And then watch the video at the end, and ask yourself if your vote is worth stealing?