Escondido, CA
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Observations about poll workers


This might possibly be my last comments regarding the 2020 election. I sure hope so. Saturday I went to my polling location to vote arriving about 12:30 p.m. Having been the guy in charge of four different polling places prior to being an elected official I take more of an ombudsman approach in where my ballot is cast. Here are a couple of my observations.
First, I was amazed at the 14 poll workers on site which I considered overkill. I questioned the number but was reminded that “this is a super poll.” Later in the day, I couldn’t help but calculate the cost using the $15, possibly more, per hour paid to the workers. I don’t know what the supervisor gets paid. Then multiplying the number of hours worked for the four days the polls are open by the 235 countywide locations the total comes to $1.78 million. After the dust settles I’m sure the Registrar will provide us with the total cost of this election which includes all the mail charges, ballot printing and the staff assigned to counting the ballots. Oh, and there was also a security guard on duty which I have not included in my calculations. When I worked the polls we did not have security guards.
Also, I will say that the poll workers I spoke to were very accommodating and congenial and appeared to be well-trained for the task at hand. Of course, this was the first day of in-person voting and I do hope they all conducted themselves in the same manner on the official election day. From personal experience I can tell you that when we locked up location at the end one day we were all happy to go home. Enough on that.
Last week the City Council reduced the amount of individual or corporate campaign contributions to candidates for public office in Escondido. To some, it made sense to reduce the so-called outside influence in our local elections even though one of the proponents of the new limits in a previous election did accept the maximum allowed donation from an out of town developer. Arguments in favor of the reduction included previous comments that it is difficult to raise funds for a campaign—to wit I am reminded of a Council candidate in 2002.
A relatively new resident had recently retired from the San Diego Police Department and decided to run for a vacant seat. He spent less than $1,000 when the limit was $250 and won election. To say he was a relative unknown would be an understatement and Ron Newman began walking door to door in March, 2002 introducing himself to residents. That’s eight months of old fashioned grass roots electioneering. Ron and I spoke often regarding pending issues and I learned that he would not accept contributions from any special interest. The conclusion is that money does not necessarily equate to votes.
Now I offer a few words on one of my favorite topics. Education. A quote I read today: “Ovens, dishwashers and washing machines-all kinds of appliances-are breaking down like never before, but there is nobody to fix them.” Paul Martz had an appliance repair business for about 40 years and since he closed his shop and retired I do not believe we have any now in town. Not every teenager has to be forced to get a college degree. There are many good paying jobs for those who like to work with their hands like building something or repairing something.
Until robots take over we need people in all trades like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, auto repair and welding and many more. Teens who are forced to sit in a classroom all day become bored and tend not be good students. It’s not their fault because they are not being challenged or doing what they really like. A few years ago talking with a luxury car dealership owner I learned that he had technicians, we used to call them mechanics, earning six figure incomes and they don’t get their hands greasy like the old days because they wear gloves. I believe a trade school in North County would serve us all.
Now these, HONKN4U, I have no clue. LPSTK, makeup person? ABES SUV, self-explanatory.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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