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They say, “Vote early, vote often.” I did.

October 25, 2006, 5:56 PM

Today, I spent about an hour at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona, doing a bit of business with the local government, getting everything all squared away with everyone.

My goal was twofold. First of all, I was going to take care of the taxes on the Sable, and find out what the deal was with a $3.00-and-change late fee that was attached to the tax bill. It turns out that the late fee is related to a form that the county sends you at the first of the year. What they’re doing there is checking to make sure that you have the same vehicles that you had the last time you paid up. I did nothing with that form at the first of the year. I think I either trashed it, or it’s still sitting in a drawer somewhere. Either way, it seems that the 39-cent price of a stamp is well worth it if it saves me from having to pay more than seven times the amount in a late fee.

And then I also paid my personal property taxes on the Sable and bought a new county sticker. For 2007, the county stickers are orange. This is a change from the dark red 2005 sticker and the blue 2006 sticker. Since the old 2006 sticker was already loose in spots due to its being transferred to the new windshield in September, I just pulled it off with my hand, and affixed the new sticker. Bingo bango done.

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Ben Schumin, your “man on the street” out gathering people’s thoughts…

September 14, 2006, 1:50 AM

As date-stamped on my previous entry, my most recent trip to Washington DC was on September 12. That date coincided with the primary elections in Washington, where, among other things, people were making their choices for the Democratic Party candidate for mayor. In Washington, with the city itself being heavily Democratic, the Democratic primary is considered the actual deciding contest in the mayor’s race. And with Mayor Tony Williams not seeking another term, the field was wide open.

In fact, there were seven candidates on the ballot: Adrian Fenty, Linda Cropp, Marie Johns, Vincent Orange, Michael Brown (name remained on ballot despite exiting the race), Artee Milligan, and Nestor Djonkam. Fenty ultimately won the race (see here), and therefore, Fenty will likely be the winner in the general election in November.

Now let me remind you that I presently do not live in Washington DC, nor do I live in the Washington DC metropolitan area (though I’m working hard to change that part, but no success yet). I’ve followed the race to an extent, as I spend the equivalent of a month in Washington each year (a day in Washington every two weeks plus a few double-dips). I also really hate it when our national leaders step on the local leaders’ toes or leave them out of critical incidents, such as on May 11, 2005 (one of my DC trip days, by the way) when the White House and Capitol were evacuated due to an idiot who got lost in restricted airspace over Washington. There, the DC government wasn’t informed that something was up until it was all over. Mayor Williams was not happy, needless to say.

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I voted, using the new touch-screen voting machines…

November 8, 2005, 5:35 PM

Today after work, I voted in Virginia’s 2005 gubernatorial election. We’ll see whether the guy I voted for ends up winning or not.

This year, things were a bit different in the voting-equipment category. Through the 2004 election, voters in Augusta County used these old, mechanical voting machines. These things were great. They were this awful institutional-blue color with plaid curtains. They looked like they came straight out of the 1950s. Those things had charm. First, you pulled the big blue lever with the red handle. That closed the curtain, and you were ready to vote. Then you pulled the little red levers to make your selection, and it made a “chink” sound. Then when satisfied with your selection, you pulled the big handle again, it made a whole bunch of mechanical noises like “ka-chink” to record your vote, reset all the levers, and then opened the curtain. Vote cast.

Like I said, I loved those old machines because they had charm. Completely mechanical. I think that the only electricity required for them was used to power the lights inside the booth.

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I met Reo Hatfield today

January 25, 2004, 12:05 AM

Yes, that’s right. Waynesboro City Councilman Reo Hatfield came through my line at work today. Well, actually yes and no. He went through a line I was working, but I did not directly check him out. In case you’re wondering, I was the attendant at the self-checkouts, which is something that I enjoy doing at work, since after using them enough, I can make them scan merchandise, weigh produce, add up the price for donuts, wash your laundry, and sing “The Star Spangled Banner” backwards.

Anyway, though, I recognized Mr. Hatfield as being who he was, and it was kind of like meeting a celebrity. I don’t live in Waynesboro (I live in Stuarts Draft, which is part of Augusta County), so I can’t vote for him one way or another, but still, with him being in the newspapers recently regarding matters pertaining to the Waynesboro City Council, it was kind of neat to see him come through my self-checkouts.

Recall that I am/was a Public Administration major at JMU, and so meeting public officials is kind of cool. I should have gotten his autograph.

McBain is the governor?

October 14, 2003, 12:52 AM

I still can’t believe that the people of California elected Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor, but you know what? I don’t live there, and if they want Arnold Schwarzenegger as their governor, then they can have him.

It’s just amusing what I realized recently. They’ve essentially made Rainier Wolfcastle, known in movies as McBain, the governor of California. Since as we all know, McBain is a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger on The Simpsons. Now I just wonder how that will play out on The Simpsons. Will McBain all of a sudden become governor? Heck, we saw Mr. Burns run for governor (and lose after he wouldn’t eat a three-eyed fish). I think it would be interesting to see McBain in the governor’s chair.