How I’m voting on July 31

The July 31 primary is almost upon us, and early voting has already begun. It’s time to declare.

Not about the T-SPLOST. Not today.

Nor about contested elections. I make endorsements for elections I vote in, and my Buckhead district offers me no say in the races that are among this year’s most impressive (the State Senate 6th District fight among Josh Belinfante, Drew Ellenburg and Hunter Hill), most interesting (the fireworks-laden 9th Congressional District contest between Doug Collins and Martha Zoller) and most infuriating (the 12th Congressional District, where Republicans seem to be working to let John Barrow squeak out re-election despite a new, more GOP-friendly map).

There are, however, some non-binding ballot questions facing both Republican and Democratic voters in this election. Here’s how I plan to vote on the GOP questions:

1. Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?

No. Georgians aren’t well-served by expanding gambling at all.

I’ve gambled in casinos a time or two but see no reason to have them here. Certainly not for development: Casinos don’t want their customers to spend money elsewhere. That’s why, during a trip to Tunica, Miss., a few years ago, I found little besides a Wendy’s and had to drive to the next town just to find a grocery store.

That, not the glittering Las Vegas strip, is what we can expect here. And as a friend said the other day, when was the last time you heard someone say they were moving their family to Biloxi?

People with the means to visit casinos in nearby states arguably can afford to lose their money. A local casino will attract those who can’t. The state shouldn’t be in the business of enabling them.

You might say the state already is in that business, via the lottery, and you’d be right. That’s no reason to go further.

Nor is money for “education.” (Let’s assume we’re talking about the HOPE scholarship.)

HOPE spurred growth in prestige for many state colleges. It spurred even faster growth in tuition and fees, as many colleges knew many new students, at least, would feel insulated from price hikes. If you’re on HOPE, that’s a good deal, if decreasingly so. If not, college is now less affordable.

The United States faces a bubble in higher education that reflects the worst of the housing bubble (people taking on debt they can’t afford, hoping for financial gains that are becoming illusory for many) and health care (too much of the cost borne by third parties). Georgia needs to figure out what that’s going to look like and how to deal with it, not pump more gambling-infused air into it.

2. Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?

Yes, as I’ve written many times.

3. Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license?

Yes. The idea is that soldiers have been trained to use weapons. I would also license others equally well-trained.

4. Should citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election?

No. Voters would be better-served by reducing barriers for third parties to stage primaries, spurring competition.

5. Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?

No, with an asterisk.

If asked whether I agree with the right to life for the unborn, I’d say “yes.” The problem with this “personhood” approach is it amounts to a Hail Mary pass from our own 30-yard-line on fourth-and-inches.

Such an amendment would allow no circumstances under which an abortion would be legal, except (possibly) when the mother’s life is threatened.  This amounts to moving the goal posts significantly, at a time  when the pro-life movement is making progress legislatively — though the efficacy of this year’s “fetal pain bill” remains to be seen — and in public opinion. (I wrote more about this shifting of the goal posts a couple of years ago.)

The progress on public opinion, however, practically vanishes without the most common exceptions (rape or incest, plus danger to the mother’s life). What’s more, these exceptions apply to a tiny fraction of all abortions. So personhood, which has been rejected in Colorado and Mississippi, sacrifices potentially big pro-life progress for purity of principle. That’s not my idea of a clear conscience.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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90 comments Add your comment

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

July 19th, 2012
7:33 am

Amending the constitution would just force the libs to ignore it anyway.

JoeFann

July 19th, 2012
7:51 am

The problem that I have with your opinions, Kyle, on both the T-SPLOST and the “personhood” initiative is that you are waiting for “perfect.” There’s no such thing, on steps toward improvement. As a mentor guided me, “Incremental improvement is better than postponed perfection.”

carlosgvv

July 19th, 2012
7:58 am

Once again, I find myself agreeing with you on every one of these. Am I becoming a good conservative? Are you becoming a good liberal?

Common Sense isn't very Common

July 19th, 2012
8:03 am

Kyle I don’t agree with you all the time, but I am with you on these votes.

Skip

July 19th, 2012
8:05 am

No place you can write in Newt ?

d

July 19th, 2012
8:14 am

I, surprisingly, agree with Kyle on most of these. Usually, I read what he has to say and shake my head wondering what is he thinking, but today, he is making a lot of sense. I’d like to see more about the casino proposal before making up my mind, though.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
8:18 am

Sorry — I logged on and pushed comments from last night onto the blog, but forgot to turn off moderation. It’s off now and comments should be publishing directly.

killerj

July 19th, 2012
8:23 am

I vote just to get people to vote,amazing how many people talk a good talk but do nothing to improve life only unless there is a dollar to be made,have a good day Kyle.

John Galt

July 19th, 2012
8:29 am

What’s the story from the often touted mass transit system in NYC? Cash strapped system needs to sell advertising on it’s fare card.

With all those folks using that system every day, going everywhere New Yorkers want to go, how can it possibly be cash strapped?

And we think one day MARTA will be different here?

Think again.

JDW

July 19th, 2012
8:34 am

Wow nothing controversial this morning…I actually agree with Kyle! Maybe I should take the day off :lol:

Cosby

July 19th, 2012
8:36 am

Why amend the State Constitution at all, seems as if no one really pays it attention anyway. By the way, you missed the 9th district…I believe there is a third candidate running, Mr. Fitzpatrick…T-Splot smells worse than a garbage dump…the more you hear, the more you wonder what flamming idiots are promoting it…nothing to do with transportation and even Clark Howard has been bought to support it…but then Clark is a great PR person.

@@

July 19th, 2012
8:37 am

Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?

I’ll concede on ^^^ that one although I think transparency will vanish and “gifts” will be handed out under the table.

The progress on public opinion, however, practically vanishes without the most common exceptions (rape or incest, plus danger to the mother’s life). What’s more, these exceptions apply to a tiny fraction of all abortions.

Which is why public opinion is changing. Leftists have a tendency to abuse/destroy any and all gifts bestowed upon them.

BlahBlahBlah

July 19th, 2012
8:46 am

Too bad T-SPLOST doesn’t even represent “incremental improvement”

BlahBlahBlah

July 19th, 2012
8:48 am

Another “small government conservative” voting against allowing me the freedom to gamble without driving 200 miles round trip. Shameful.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
8:51 am

My problem with the personhood amendment goes to the other end of life, not the beginning.

This would effectively ban any and all assisted suicides in Georgia, turning over your life to the State, even if you wish to end it for whatever reason.

For that reason alone, I’m definitely voting no.

playthatfunkymusicwhiteboy

July 19th, 2012
8:51 am

Hayseed Wingfield, that may be the poorest argument against casino’s I’ve ever read. Waiting to read your “column” on the bubble of higher education – this is so much different than the real estate bubble. In the real estate bubble, you had across the board valuation inflation of properties, and when the bubble popped you had across the board devaluation. The problem with higher ed is the for-profit schools. Do you know that in most cases, it costs MORE to get a degree from one of these so called schools than it does from a traditional college, even a private one? Try $56,000 to get a Bachelors from the vaunted “University of Phoenix”. When that person graduates and applies for a job against candidates from UGA, Tech, GA State, Auburn, Michigan, etc. Do you think they stand a chance? Those are the folks who CANNOT repay their loans.

1961_Xer

July 19th, 2012
8:52 am

HOPE spurred growth in prestige for many state colleges. It spurred even faster growth in tuition and fees, as many colleges knew many new students,

As with many things, this is something the voters should decide.

But you are right on the money here: increases in HOPE funding will lead to increases in tuition and increases in spending. This is not so bad for those who get and maintain their HOPE scholarships, but hurts everyone else who wishes to enter the University system in Georgia. Our state’s colleges and university just eye that pool of money and raise tuition accordingly in order to get it sooner rather than later.

ragnar danneskjold

July 19th, 2012
9:03 am

As I understand it, none of the referendum questions is binding except T-SPLOST. From that assumption, I vote no on the T-SPLOST.

On the advisory items, I vote no on casinos, but for a differing reason – do not really care if they open casinos, but I oppose having the state’s cut dedicated to education. It is an oxymoron – we are going to prey on stupidity to make people smarter. Put it in the general revenue fund, and I will support it.

I vote “no” on the perversely worded lobbying question. Even gifts of $1 billion do not corrupt; the soul is corrupt, or not, without regard to the amount. We have laws on bribery, and they are fully sufficient. You know, Kyle, if you were really a thinker, you would pursue your strategy differently – prohibit any gifts smaller than $50,000, and require disclosure of those. But that would still have stupid quibbling on de minimis items, and everyone one knows that only leftists use that cudgel, and only against conservatives. Don’t know why you are so willing to empower the loons on this issue.

Agree on 3 and 4. Disagree on 5. Your reasoning is sound, but this is not a binding vote, it is advisory – why not the “perfect” in a non-binding vote?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
9:07 am

ragnar, the habit of the General Assembly is to jump all over a non-binding vote and use it to justify their binding votes.

ragnar danneskjold

July 19th, 2012
9:10 am

Apologies, lousy construction of my first sentence – should have written “no referendum question is binding”

iggy

July 19th, 2012
9:10 am

Agree with Kyles votes and will be voting accordingly.

PS…Regarding TSplost, lettuce send a message to Mayor Reed. Im so looking forward to voting down TSplost.

ragnar danneskjold

July 19th, 2012
9:11 am

Good morning Tiberius, suppose you are right, although not sure whether the problem is legislative stupidity or cowardice. I concede.

obozo

July 19th, 2012
9:12 am

Sorry — I logged on and pushed comments from last night onto the blog, but forgot to turn off moderation. It’s off now and comments should be publishing directly.

Kyle – For just a modest donation to my reelection campaign, Obama 2012, I will create a new department of government to watch over your blog, forever freeing you from these petty nuisances that seem to have you totally debilitated and baffled. We’ll call it the Department of AJC Blog Minders, it will be staffed by thousands of bureaucrats and will have it’s own little csar, who will report directly to me. And you can rest assured that your blog will be never be available from 7 to 7 each evening, kinda like the government. Plus, as a free additional service, we will monitor your blog 24/7 and make sure that no one has anything bad to say about me. We will take care of dissent swiftly and with extreme prejudice. And as a bonus, we will get your hit count up into the thousands each day by assigning a whole bunch of mindless paid bloggers to it, albeit, they will be liberals only capable of regurgitating what Debbie Wasserman Schulz tells them. Boring but chaos guaranteed. So write that check today and we will immediately embark on a fruitful, uh, what did you say Axelrod? Huh? We already have a Department of AJC Blog Minders? Oh yeah, that’s right, I forget about Bookman.

Never mind, Wingnut.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
9:14 am

“although not sure whether the problem is legislative stupidity or cowardice.”

Can’t we vote for – both? ;)

ragnar danneskjold

July 19th, 2012
9:16 am

Dear Tiberius @ 9:14, I think we do, in every election.

Chris Sanchez

July 19th, 2012
9:18 am

We have to begin with the July 31st vote…but remember we have to finish our work in November.

Jefferson

July 19th, 2012
9:19 am

How much you getting paid for those votes ?

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
9:28 am

On many posts over the past weeks, it has been alleged that we can not trust our elected officials. So why would we let them take gifts? $100 is a start…I think it should be $ 0.00. That way, there is NO doubt of influence…except for pictures and tapes! The lobbyists should have an application/licensing fee paid directly to the State Ethics Board budget.

St Simons - we're on Island time

July 19th, 2012
9:29 am

1. good – more money for us & the Emerald Princess(es) which can
putter out 13 miles and be out of New Somalia’s jurisdiction.
2. Nooo. You should listen to your fine moral compasses Don Balfour
and Chip Rogers.
3. of course, more gunz guuuud
4. legislating election outcomes you don’t like, how Republican -
but hey knock yourself out.
5. Oh please please please pass this thing that even Mississippi
laughed out of their gold dome.

and put ‘in god we trust’ on de bumper mon

Ga Republicans, you picked a bad century to be this backward.

Streetracer

July 19th, 2012
9:35 am

I will be voting no on all. First, TSPLOST is an abdication of what, I think, is a basic function of government. Seems to me that one of the essential functions of government is to provide the necessary infrastructure to assure national defense, public safety, and stable economic system. Shouldn’t spending over and above those needs be the subject for special taxes?

As far as “personhood”, I have to agree with Tiberius. What happens at the end of life? Personally, I will not become a burden to my family, or anyone else.

As far as casino gambling, seems to me that I remember libs complaining that the lottery took money from the poor to reward those who were more financially astute.

southpaw

July 19th, 2012
9:37 am

“No” sounds good to #1, although my wife and I tried the same thing about 20 years ago, when Zell Miller first proposed the lottery. We all know how THAT turned out.

I’m not quite so sure about #4. Competition sounds good in theory, but too many Republican and Democratic Party hacks have the opportunity to sabatoge the opposing primary by voting, in the other party’s primary, for the weakest candidate available. Now if I could just come up with a way to stop that without encroaching on people’s liberty….

AU Liberal in ATL

July 19th, 2012
9:44 am

Nobody gives a good gd how you vote. It sure as hell won’t influence anyone with a thought of their own.

gm

July 19th, 2012
9:50 am

Kyle is a perfect example why business dont come to Georgia and we will always have high unemployment , casino gambling brings jobs.
When will these conservatives in Georgia come out of the 20 century? what a bunch of hypocrites its ok to go to other states and give them your money and help there economy, sounds like liquor argument that went on for years.

Just saying..

July 19th, 2012
9:55 am

Disagree on #3, but thoughtful positions on each vote. If we only had an electorate that did the same…

@@

July 19th, 2012
9:58 am

As I understand it, none of the referendum questions is binding…i>

Just an opinion poll, as if ours matters. We can only hope.

schnirt

@@

July 19th, 2012
9:59 am

DANG! I’m really muthin’ up with my slanties.

jconservative

July 19th, 2012
10:01 am

“3. Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license?

Yes. The idea is that soldiers have been trained to use weapons. I would also license others equally well-trained.”

Kyle. Are you calling for no carry license for those individuals not properly trained in weapons?

Just asking.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

July 19th, 2012
10:01 am

You have prompted me to do some critical thinking here Kyle. On the Casino question, I believe essentially in freedom, so I’m inclined to vote yes. The operation of these poor people fleecing stations will create jobs, but will impoverish innocent children. The beneficiary of “education” is undefined. I like you thought Hope was a good thing, when my children were benefiting, but later became aware of the rising cost of education. There was an article here in the AJC the other day, on public GA universities continuing to hire and expand, although everything else is downsizing. That is a result of an endless pot of money available from Hope. That is not good, kinda like the rise of medical treatment, in that the user is insulated from the cost Undecided on this one.

After Obama turned Caesar and began deciding unilaterally which laws to enforce and which to ignore, and the State lied about the GA 400 toll, I think the level of distrust of Gov is higher than ever before, so I don’t see the TSplost having a chance at all of passing.

Passing the $100 limit, will slow them down for a matter of days, before they find and end around. I’ll vote for that one as a temporary help.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

July 19th, 2012
10:12 am

How Americans are voting in November:

President Romney

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
10:17 am

And just to cover all of the questions being voted on:

1. Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?

Yes. While I don’t want extra funds going to education, the State should have no jurisdiction on what businesses can operate legally.

2. Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?

No. Let the voters decide if they like their particular elected official doing so. Gifts of all types and denominations should be disclosed and posted within easy access to voters, however.

3. Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license?

Yes, and I don’t think it should be restricted to active-duty military, but I can live with that.

4. Should citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election?

No. Political parties have too much sway in election law as it is.

5. Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?

No, as explained above. I do not ever agree to give up my rights to the State.

Just saying..

July 19th, 2012
10:19 am

Kyle, think harder on #3, talk to friends who live on bases, train young soldiers. Outside a combat zone, loaded weapons are limited to the firing range and MPs. Weapons are closely accounted for, locked down the majority of the time, and stored separate from ammunition. The military has these basic policies because:
-They know what happens when you don’t.
-They are experienced with young troops.

@@

July 19th, 2012
10:20 am

Nobody gives a good gd how you vote. It sure as hell won’t influence anyone with a thought of their own.

AU Liberal must’ve gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.

@@

July 19th, 2012
10:25 am

Tiberius:

1. Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?

Yes. While I don’t want extra funds going to education, the State should have no jurisdiction on what businesses can operate legally.

In a perfect world, but then who’s gonna pay for those who gamble their family’s future away?

Jefferson

July 19th, 2012
10:27 am

Real casinos have cards and dice AND the payouts on the computers(slots) are programmed to pay higher than the 90% proposed by the skimmers in Gwinette. The state should not be involved in anything except regulations and taxing, let the mob set them up like they do in Vegas.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
10:30 am

“In a perfect world, but then who’s gonna pay for those who gamble their family’s future away?”

I’m not my brother’s keeper, @@.

Unless it is my actual brother. :D

Just saying..

July 19th, 2012
10:42 am

Tiberius – pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed
July 19th, 2012
10:30 am-In a perfect world, but then who’s gonna pay for those who gamble their family’s future away?

“I’m not my brother’s keeper, @@.”

Tib: Could you tie that in with your Penn State penalty position?

ByteMe

July 19th, 2012
10:44 am

Except for #3 (see @Just Saying… above for how I feel about it as well) and no asterisk on #5 (it’s stupid to have idiots playing legislators playing doctors), we’re in agreement.

No way do I think casinos are good for Atlanta, just like I though the Olympics was terrible for the city when everyone else was excited about it. Casinos don’t bring money to the surrounding area… they suck up the money and send it elsewhere.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
10:45 am

“Tib: Could you tie that in with your Penn State penalty position?”

You mean the one where I’m hands off on deciding their punishment except or the actual perps? I’m not sure what you’re trolling for here, Just sayin’.

And trolling you are (as usual).

@@

July 19th, 2012
10:48 am

Tiberius:

For me, it’s about the brother’s children.

Just saying..

July 19th, 2012
10:55 am

“You mean the one where I’m hands off on deciding their punishment except or the actual perps? I’m not sure what you’re trolling for here, Just saying’.”

Yes, you are. The part where you object to institutional penalties for intuitional crimes, because of the consequence to innocent students, employees, and local businesses.
That part.