Briefs: Election Day!

:: Some of the odder places where people will be casting their votes around the city today- Hanson’s Barber Shop, Warnum Avenue…Barkay Bros. Funeral Home, East Folkim Street… The back room of Genardi’s Pizza, Halpern Street… The garage of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Thall, Locust Court in Wyndhurst… St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, East Main…

:: In terms of political parties, things usually alternate between the Democratic and Republican machines switching off every couple of terms. In 1987, however, Libertarian Harry Geer ended up giving both parties a breather in an administration that saw the elimination of much of the city’s health codes, the privatization of the Streets and Sanitation Departments, the almost-sale of Old City Hall so that it could be razed and turned into a parking garage as well as a great many other methodical dismantlings of city government. The Republicans came back in for the next election, undid most of Geer’s actions and everyone kind of pretended it never happened.

:: In this morning’s Journal-American, there’s a nice story on the Ballot Riots of 1952.

:: On the local ballot this year is a measure to repeal one passed four years ago which gave a first shot at city jobs to children of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. Within a year of its adoption, it was tested when the son of a police officer who had been killed when the old Hoffman Coffee sign fell on his patrol car in 1971 applied for a job in the Streets Department. A background check showed that the son had spent some time in juvenile hall for associating with a gang of kids who had set fire to a cruise ship, which resulted in the death of a couple of firefighters. His record was wiped clean, but there’s a 1926 law on the books which prohibits anyone who has directly or inadvertently caused the death of a police officer or fire fighter from holding a city job. The son filed a lawsuit, there was much unpleasantness and now the measure is up for repeal and the city will go back to doing what the law codified under the table instead, as it had before.

:: Outside most of the city’s 1,758 polling places today, you might see someone with a clipboard and a measuring stick who isn’t trying to hand you a pamphlet or ask you for whom you voted. That would be an employee of the city’s Election Commission. You see, most cities rely on campaign workers or pollsters to self-regulate, with volunteer poll workers eyeballing every so often to keep things honest. According to the charter here, though, the city muse have every polling place checked at least twice on Election Day. This means lots of extra people hired for the day and lots of overtime paid, just for someone to measure with a stick or ruler ensuring that folks stay at least 25 feet away from the door of a polling location.
– R. White

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