Friday, October 30, 2020

If You Haven't Already Voted, It May Be Time to Vote Your 401K


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

Wednesday the US financial markets took a major hit.

There are a lot of theories about what actually happened here but more than likely the large hedge funds and institutional investors are starting to weigh the great possibility that the Democrats may seize control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.

If you haven't voted by now, either you're just one of those late in person voters and there are a lot of those, or you're still trying to figure out which one of the two presidential candidates you're going to vote for.

You can still go to my blog post Voter Decision Tables and use the decision tables to make your voting decisions, or you could just simply vote your 401K.

If you don't as a rule check your 401K, you probably have an online access account that will allow you to take a look at it, normally those sites have a chart that shows the value of the account overtime.

Take a look at this week's effect on the stock market and you can see a kind of a trend as to what will happen if the Democrats, in fact, take over the federal government.

First, it is important to know that whether it's Trump or Biden, neither will be able to immediately implement the things they are promising.

However, the financial markets evaluate potential risk and while the candidates tend to rely on the Office of Budget and Management to predict the impact of their proposed programs on the economy, the financial industry has its own set of highly sophisticated computer algorithms that they used to predict the short-term and long-term financial future.

I think what you're seeing right now is market volatility based on early projections of a Biden victory.

If you are near retirement say in the next two or three years voting your 401K might not  be a bad idea, especially if all the rest of the stuff that's going on in politics is of little interest to you.

The Democratic proposals for a gradual drift to socialism, government-controlled health care, and increased taxes on those who make more than $400,000 a year; all of these programs will have a negative effect on investment growth, employment and your 401K.

 A Trump victory will certainly lead to four more years of the equivalent of a political wrestling match between Trump, Congress, and the media. The interesting thing about that is it doesn't really seem to affect the markets very much. The power players in the financial industry seem to have great confidence in Trump and his ability to manage the economy.  

There is absolutely nothing wrong with voting in your own personal financial best interest. A lot of people do.

In any event, be sure you go vote.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Extensive interview with Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus

 Tampa, Fl      

From: Tampa Bay Guardian         
Edited by: Tom Rask           

Posted by:
TBG2016 on OCTOBER 24, 2020

Julie Marcus is the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections (SOE). In an effort to educate voters about what the job of an SOE entails and election integrity in general, we asked Marcus for a long-form interview, which she agreed to during this busy election season.

We asked Julie Marcus a dozen questions. Without further ado, here are our questions along with her answers.

Julie Marcus

Q-1: The highest voter turnout in Pinellas County a general election since 1960 was 81.78% in 1968

. Based on the data to date, do you expect the voter turnout in the general election to set a record? 
Answer: In 2016, we had 77% voter turnout. Elections administrators always want to exceed voter turnout of previous elections, as high voter turnout equals a healthy representative democracy.

Q-2: Full-time elections staff work longer hours during election season. Can you elaborate briefly on what that means in practice?
Answer: When we begin the process of assembling mail ballots to be mailed by the statutory deadlines, you could say that the hours of election mode have begun. Between this point and through the certification of final election results our staff of 44 full-time employees is responsible for a tremendous work load that requires longer hours. For example, just during early voting alone, employees start their day at 6 a.m. and finish up around 10 p.m.

Q-3: “Election integrity” (whatever that term means) appears to be a hotter topic than since the 2000 general election, and many voters are unclear on what the role of an SOE is in insuring that “integrity”.
Answer: Florida law provides for a good balance between voter access and maintaining the integrity of the electoral process, and neither at the expense of the other. Maintaining the integrity of the election is comprehensive and is carried out over many platforms. Ensuring a strong physical and cybersecurity posture, keeping the voter rolls current and accurate, having reconciliation, auditing and chain-of-custody procedures, training poll workers and election workers on the requirements of the law, and being transparent are just a few examples of what is done to protect the process and preserve voters’ confidence in their representative democracy.

Q-4: If a person comes to the SOE office to register to vote using state form DS-DE 39

, do they have to provide the exact same information that they have to provide when registering on the state website?
Answer: Florida Statute 97.0525, requires that the online voter registration application include the information required for the uniform statewide voter registration application (DS-DE 39

Q-5: The state sets the requirements for registering to vote in Florida. Does an SOE have any discretion is waiving or adding requirements?
Answer: Supervisors of Elections must follow the requirements outlined in Chapters 97 and 98 of the Florida Election Code.

Q-6: In order to receive a MIB (Mail-In Ballot), some voters have to fill out the Federal Post Card Application  (FPCA). This form uses the term “absentee ballot,” but is it the same as what we now in Florida call a MIB?
Answer: The Florida Legislature changed the term “absentee” to “vote-by-mail.” However, the Federal Post Card Application  is a federal document provided by the Federal Voting Assistance Program for voting assistance for Service members, their families and overseas citizens. For our purposes of processing any mail ballot request from any registered voter, the terms “absentee” and “vote-by-mail” are the same.

Q-7: Does SOE, the state or the federal government specify what information is collected in order to register to vote absentee?
Answer: Florida law [Florida Statute 101.62] requires a registered voter to request a vote-by-mail ballot. This request is good for all elections through the end of the calendar year of the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election. Voters who choose to vote-by-mail can simply check the box on their mail ballot return envelope that says “I would like to keep voting by mail.” By doing this, voters will renew their mail ballot request. All required information and the procedure for requesting a mail ballot is provided for in Florida Statute 101.62.

Q-8: Does SOE have any role in verifying citizenship, felony record, or other things that may disqualify the person from voting?

Answer: Eligibility list maintenance procedures are provided for in F.S. 98.075.

Q-9: Does SOE or the state remove people from the voter rolls? Briefly, what laws or rules govern that process?
Answer: Pursuant to Florida Statute 98.075(7)5. “If the supervisor determines that the registered voter is ineligible, the supervisor shall remove the voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system and notify the registered voter of the supervisor’s determination and action.”

Q-10: Based on your extensive experience, are you confident that the voter roll in Pinellas County is “clean” enough that the outcome of the election will not be determined by voters who falsely certified swore or affirmed that “qualified to register as an elector under the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida, and that all information provided in this application is true.” (this is the text on the state voter registration form DS-DE 39). 
Answer: Pinellas County conducts both address and eligibility list maintenance in accordance with Florida law. In addition, pursuant to F.S. 104.011(1), “A person who willfully swears or affirms falsely to any oath or affirmation, or willfully procures another person to swear or affirm falsely to an oath or affirmation, in connection with or arising out of voting or elections commits a felony of the third degree…”

Q-11: What does an SOE do, or what is an SOE dutybound to do, when they find such ineligible voters who fraudulently made their way on to the voter roll?
Answer: If the Supervisor of Elections has evidence/information that an applicant and/or voter may have violated Florida law, that evidence/information would be provided to the State Attorney.

Q-12: Do you have any other edifying comments for publication?
Answer: For official election information, please visit or call (727) 464-VOTE (8683).


Thus is clear that SOEs have very little discretion in how their carry out their jobs. Most of their work in controlled by federal and state law, and regulations that interpret those laws. The job of an SOE is to adhere to said law and regulations, and if they don’t, they risk lawsuits, losing those lawsuits and a great expense to the taxpayers.

One final note: yes, we checked. Julie Marcus is a registered voter in Pinellas County and has been so since 1996 when she was a college student. She graduated from USF in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles.

READ THIS POST AT: Tampa Bay Guardian

This post is contributed by the Tampa Bay Guardian. The views expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet or any publications, blogs or social media pages where it may appear.

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Guardian

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Can You Really Trust the University of South Florida’s Consolidation Commitments?

 Florida West Coast

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

The decision to consolidate the University of South Florida’s campuses in Tampa Saint Petersburg and Sarasota seemed to come out of nowhere.

There have long been competition, disagreement and distrust between the campuses in Saint Petersburg and Sarasota and the mother ship in Tampa.

There is obviously a litany of issues related to the consolidation of multiple campuses in any university system, but the level of outright disdain for leadership in Tampa from the remote campuses has been surprising to say the least.

For some insight, check out this recent article in the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Section, On USF consolidation, don’t drop the ball now | Editorial.

The level of backbiting, drama and similarity to a soap opera among the academic faculty, the administration and the student body in all universities is legendary. And USF seems to be no exception.

The consolidation effort was sponsored by State Representative Chris Sprouse as well as State Senator Jeff Brandes. Mayor Rick Kriseman and Senator Brandes are both concerned about how the Saint Petersburg campus is being treated in the consolidation effort.

For some additional insight check out Tampa Bay Times article By Divya Kumar: After complaints, USF outlines plans to enroll more students in St. Petersburg.

According to the article cited above the number of transfer students enrolled on the Saint Pete campus dipped about 34% since last fall while the Tampa campus saw an increase.

Like everything else that's going wrong these days; USF leadership would like to blame all this on the coronavirus to deflect from what's actually going on.

In fact, the USF leadership in Tampa has been less than forthcoming about how both the Saint Petersburg and Sarasota campuses are going to fare in the consolidation.

There are academic philosophical differences, budget and finance concerns and a lack of trust as I mentioned above between all of these campuses their leadership their academic faculty and operational staffs.

The question here is can mayor Kriseman, Representative Sprowls as well as Senator Brandes really trust what the administrative leadership of the University of South Florida in Tampa are telling them?

There has been a significant effort on the part of USF leadership to put as much fog around this consolidation as is possible. It would appear that the overall objective, regardless of what the politicians may think of the consolidation of the USF campuses is all about, is a centralized concentration of power and control over budget as well as academic freedom.

Kriseman, Sprowls and Brandes is may very well find themselves caught up in the middle of an academic struggle between the campuses and their leaderships that may go on for some time.

The one thing that is certain in all of this is that the people responsible at the University of South Florida from the president down through his senior staff have only their best interests at heart. All of this talk about academic excellence, serving the students and helping the communities is just so much pretty paint on what's really going on behind the scenes.

Collegiate academic administrations have a penchant for telling you exactly what you want to hear and then doing exactly what they want.

The Senator, the House of Representatives member, and the Mayor of Saint Petersburg are going to have to stay right on top of what's going on at USF St. Pete, or they're going to end up with less than what they were promised.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Looking Forward to the 2020 Vote

 Florida West Coast

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

We're just a little over one week away From Election Day. The last debate is over, from here on out you pretty much have to rely on the newspapers', social media, and your best friends for election information.

Below is a summary of blog posts related to the election from BayPost Internet, you can click on the links for these posts.

You might have noticed the number of commercials regarding the minimum wage amendment to the Florida state constitution. There is an effort underway to convince you that raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour over about a five-year period will be devastating to small business.

When you're considering your votes on the amendments, you might want to take all of those small-business people's projections of their demise with a grain of salt.

If the amendment passes, and it requires a 60% majority to become law, the minimum wage rises in steps over the next few years ultimately reaching the $15 level.

I still think the $15 minimum wage amendment deserves your yes vote.

Whose Driving the Presidential Train????

Down Ballot Republicans - Will They Stick with Trump or Will the Party Fracture?

School Board Elections One of The Most Important Votes You'll Cast

School Boards Pushing for New Property Taxes - Beware

Florida Democratic and Republican Parties Attempt to Remove Amendment 3 from the November Ballot

Janet Long breaks Florida’s campaign financing law for 2nd time this year

Florida 2020 Ballot Referendums – What Do They Do

Voter Decision Tables

For State, County and local races check out FLOIDA POLITICS

Corruption claims rock final presidential debate

Be sure to vote.

Please remember every vote counts.

Up above you'll find a post related to down ballot voting. Your votes for US Congress and US Senate are extremely important in an election for the presidency which is sure to be as close as this one is going to be.

Also don't forget those County and city elections that are down on the ballot as well as the amendments which appear on the back.

Each of these people desiring to serve you as an elected public official deserves your consideration and your vote if they are the one you think can do the best job for you.

And while you're thinking about that remember this: the politicians that affect you the most directly are the local ones. Your City councils, County commissions State House and Senate Representatives so be sure to look at those choices and vote all the offices that appear down ballot.

As of today you can still drop off your ballot, and you could still put it in the Mail but just remember as we move out deeper into next week you may want to take advantage of that drop-off  sites, since the rules in Florida are: the ballot has to be in the hands of the Supervisor of Elections before the close of the poles on voting day, which is 7 PM.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb)
Friend request. Like or share on 
Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  


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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Voter Turnout Initiatives Target Black, Jewish Communities

 Tampa, Fl

Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer

October 16, 2020 - 8:15 am

High-profile billionaires Tyler Perry and Michael Bloomberg are bankrolling a final push in Florida to ensure two reliable Democratic constituencies cast their ballots Nov. 3.

Their respective efforts are to motivate blacks and Jews to vote in what both men view as the most pivotal election in the history of the republic. Both groups traditionally vote for Democrats  overwhelmingly.

Perry and the Equal Ground Education Fund, which is the Black led non-partisan non-profit working on building Black political power in Florida, are teaming up to launch a massive socially-distanced “Souls to the Polls” effort to educate and turnout Black voters across the state. 

The Perry initiative is billed as “nonpartisan” but it’s no secret that the voter suppression effort in Florida aimed primarily at people of color is a strategy of the Republican party led by Gov. Ron DeSantis.  Acclaimed actor/writer/producer/director Perry chipped in to bolster the $500,000 drive.

The Bloomberg-related effort is unequivocally partisan.  The founder of the world’s leading financial data service donated $250,000 to the Jewish Democratic Council of America’s super political action committee to support digital outreach efforts targeting Jewish voters in Florida in support of Joe Biden.

Pundits view Florida, with 29 prized electoral votes, as the key to Donald Trump’s re-election.  Without lassoing a victory in the Sunshine State, Trump’s chances for a second term are rated universally as next to nil.

“A national pandemic, racial tensions, blatant disregard for black bodies and a presidential election that can’t be won without the votes of Black folks have shaped the way we connect with voters,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark founder of the Equal Ground Education Fund.

“Despite Florida’s historical disenfranchisement of Black voters our voices will be heard whether we vote by mail or early,” Burney-Clark went on.  “Our work to provide robust voter education and ensure that accurate information reaches our communities is the highest priority and is what this partnership with Tyler Perry is going to do.” 

For the last two weekends of early voting, Equal Ground will host “Park & Praise” events targeting 250,000 voters in 25 counties where ballots can be dropped off amid live music and speeches.

In years past, Souls to The Polls was held in the urban centers of the state. However, this time, this strategy has been extended to not only include these urban centers, but also more rural counties during a presidential year where there are pockets of black folks who are often ignored.

So besides the usual suspects—Miami-Dade, Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Orange—this election cycle’s focus includes such counties as Wakulla, Gadsden, Madison, Taylor, Calhoun, and Gulf.

The Bloomberg-backed initiative seeks to shepherd a group that registers and votes in percentages greater than its raw numbers.

“Jewish voters can and will make the difference in Florida in support of Joe Biden,” said former U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. The council estimated there are 722,000 eligible Jewish voters in Florida, which is 4.2 percent of the electorate.

Florida’s Jewish population is estimated at 3.2 percent.

“Every vote will matter in Florida, and Jewish voters in Florida have the chance to vote for a president who will unite us, not divide us,”  according to a Bloomberg statement  published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Joe Biden will be that president, and I’m glad to support the Jewish Democratic Council of America PAC as they reach Jewish voters online throughout the state of Florida and encourage them to vote for Joe and Kamala.”

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat

 This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.