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Entries in Politics (1)


Schlock the Vote

"The missles are flying. Hallelujah, hallelujah!"--Greg Stillson
For those that don’t know (because it’s so ridiculous I never mention it) I’ve been an elected official for five months now.

Don’t get too excited. I’m only a lowly neighborhood councilman. Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s Annual Kielbasa Queen has more power and authority than I do.

But it has been a learning experience. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

They mayor swears you in
On the vacant waves of public-access television no less. He must have thought I was a reject from Animal House, because when he got to me he reminded me that when he says, "I (state your name)…", I’m not supposed to literally say "state your name." No cool nicknames like Otter or Boone were handed out, but I did get the equivalent of a pledge pin. Apparently ritualistic spankings are reserved for school-board members.

Vegans don’t like the smell of juicy delicious BBQ
In my first council meeting someone from "the public" complained about the barbecue smell coming from Tony Roma’s. I actually laughed out loud, and almost choked up the riblets I’d had for lunch. Upon further examination of his skinny emaciated physique, rangy beard, and Meat is Murder tattoo—it turns out he was a vegan, protesting the consumption of meat in general. One person’s BBQ smell is another’s stench of death. I don't like the smell of brussel sprouts, but you don't hear me complaining.

Entrapment doesn't always involve prostitutes
Helpful tip of the day. When a policeman pulls you over and asks how fast you were going, they’re trying to trick you. Sure, you were doing 89 in a deaf school zone, but you say you were only doing 50––just to round it down a bit. As long as you admit to being over the posted limit, The Man owns you in court. If you say "I dunno" then he’s forced to rely on his radar gun which doesn’t look so good sitting on the witness stand.

Old laws create memorable recreational opportunities
The beauty of learning about local government is finding out about old laws that still exist. For instance, in Montana, rifle hunting within city limits is illegal. But hey kids, what about bows? Surprise! They’re still legal in some places. So the next time you’re in the Blockbuster parking lot and Bambi walks by, feel free to nock that arrow and shoot him in the head. No law against cock-fighting in your gated community? Have at it. Just remember, no wagering.

Not everyone creates the illusion that they care. Some are genuine
The one really cool thing was meeting Mickey Fearn, the director of Seattle’s Office of Social Justice. Mickey’s job description is simple. Prevent racism. That’s like solving world hunger or curing 8th grade acne. Yet this man took on the challenge. I learned more about the subtlety of human dynamics in one weekend with Mickey than my entire college career. No joke.

Anyone with a pulse can be elected. Just look at me
I’m the poster child. There were three vacant seats in my district, so in a momentary lapse of reason I signed up at 4:59 PM on the last day of filing.  I ran unopposed, did no campaigning, and took it all in a one-man landslide. I was out of town on Election Day, but knew that as long as my wife voted for me, I was in. Even then I had to do some serious 11th hour rallying to get her off "undecided".

Basically, it's one meeting a month. And there are real issues. School zoning, water use, and that pesky no-touch ordinance at the local strip club. That's gotta go. My campaign slogan for 2008: "No Stripper Left Behind". (Don't forget to register).