Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for October, 2008

Vote Early in Cuyahoga County Avoid HUGE Lines

with 3 comments


Believe me this is a must.  A few weeks ago on twitter blogesque said that he had just finished voting absentee-it took him about twenty minutes.  I thought “oh, it couldn’t have.”  It could have.  It just took me FIFTEEN MINUTES and I have been reading on the issues for the past three weeks to get up to speed. There are a LOT OF ISSUES, FOLKS.

There are five statewide Issues, seven charter amendments if you live in the city of Cleveland, the County Library Levy and any local issues that may be on your ballot.  These are all in addition to voting for the candidates-a lot of bubbles to be filled in COMPLETELY, a lot of STUFF to wade through before voting.

For illustration purposes, I am going to use the last Presidential general election figures from the precinct I worked.  Poll hours are 6:30 a.m to 7:30 p.m.  We had six voting stations.  Many of these polling places are not large and the number of voting stations are limited.  The final figure for my precinct at my polling station was 273 voters. I had a heavy voting precinct in my ward.  Predictions are that there will be even more voters this election cycle.  Based on that election, those polling stations could handle 234 voters if it took each voter 20 minutes to vote.  Based on a voter taking fifteen minutes to cast their ballot, 312 voters would vote. 

Granted, polling stations stay open until the last voter in line at 7:30 p.m. has voted.  Historically, voters drop off toward the end of a ballot.  Fewer people vote for judges than the president or governor and fewer people vote on issues as well.  Voting early in the day on election day should be a must if you just can’t bring yourself to vote early.  At the very least, go to the Cuyahoga County BOE website and check out a sample ballot for you. There will be LONG LINES on Election Day.  We will not know how we voted here in Cuyahoga County quickly.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 27th, 2008 at 9:47 am

How Can We Work Together To Find Alternative Energy Sources?

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Last evening I was with a small group of neighbors working on a group project when our conversation turned to heating our homes this winter- the cost of doing that, what each of us are doing to achieve that, and alternative ways to do it without a large dependence on natural gas.

Our hostess had apologized for the coolness of her home, and since we had finished our original task we turned our attention to heating our homes.   She said that she had turned the heat on when she arrived home from work but the furnace was still catching up.  She then said she was  looking for alternative ways to heat her home.  Three stories is a lot of square footage to heat.  Of course, she said her third floor bedroom was quite toasty.  It was the public area on the first floor that was more problematic.

Interestly enough, none of us had turned on their heat yet.  We all said that we had been wearing bulky sweaters and vests, wool socks, and heating our homes with electric heaters.   We have had some pretty chilly nights, but all of us were stretching the time line to its limit.  We were all aware that this weekend might be the turning point. 

We all agreed that our relationship with normal gas suppliers was deteriorating daily. The news that the PUCO had agreed to allow them to increase delivery charges, when conservation is at its highest point ever,  does not bode well for natural gas prices this winter.  Additionally, the international news that Russia, Iran, and  Qatar are exploring the formation of a cartel much like OPEC for natural gas should concern us all.  Given the fact that the United States has a 3.5% reserve of the natural resource compared to the 60% the cartel would own  means that this commodity will only rise on the world markets just as oil did.  We will definitely not be controlling our destiny if we continue our dependency on natural gas.

One of our group mentioned Mr. Slim heat pumps good to 0 degrees Farenheit.  He said that the electricity is negligible to run the unit.  Right now, he personally uses two $120 electric heaters to heat his 900 square foot home.  He is looking for alternative sources for heating and cooling for his rental properties.  He believes that low energy bills will be a marketing point for getting and retaining good tenants.  We all agreed.

One of our friends installed a geothermal unit.  He said that it did his heart good when he finally received that first gas bill where they owed him.  So my questions are how do we leverage this discomfort with the old models of heating, how do we cut our dependence on natural gas, how do we continue to conserve energy, and how do we eventually get off the grid and form a new paradigm?  We need more instruction than layering of clothes.  HELP!!    

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 25th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Stand Up And Be Counted–Enough is Enough

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Two months ago,  I saved this quote on my desktop.  At the time, I didn’t know why.  Now I know.  Events and comments made during this 2008 presidential campaign season have illuminated why we need to heed  these words by Harry S. Truman:

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of  increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. -Harry S. Truman, 33rd US president (1884-1972)

Our government is not there yet, but if we allow hate slogans, catcalling, intolerance and elected representatives  to question opposition as “unamerican” can we be far from that path? Opposition by all Americans to these types of intimidation needs to be strong and united.  If we silence dialogue, if we eschew diversity, how do we become the innovative economy and country we need to be?     My computer has just told me that the word unamerican does not exist. Is AI is more intelligent than humans?  By the way, I am not adding it to the dictionary.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 24th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

FrankenFood Petition Arrives in Time for Halloween

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Below is an email that I received after I signed the petition to demand labeling of Gene-Altered Food. 

Dear  Friends,
I have just read and signed the petition: “Frankenfood? Demand Labeling of Gene-Altered Food!”.
Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 10000 signatures – please sign here:
Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well.
Thank you! Gloria

Locally grown and locally produced food is one way that Tim and I avoid over processed and gene altered food.  I grew up in the country surrounded by farms and farmers.  My grandfather and his brother were dairy farmers.  My father kept his finger in the pie by buying equipment and working for farmers to supplement his income.  Believe me, as long as I can remember chemicals and genetics were a topic of conversation at the local feed mill, around the dinner table and after church.  The balancing act is only getting more tottery as the years pass.

All I know is that the local farmers I grew up were much closer to the overall environment than the agriculture conglomerates of today.  My father taught me how runoff from fields entered the water supply, how chemical dusting entered the atmosphere and settled downwind, how it was our responsibility to produce the best product possible so that we got the best prices for our wheat and corn and beef.  i wonder what drives agribusiness firms today. Are they as close to the interconnection of our ecology as the farmers of yesteryear or are they driven by return on investment?

Tim is fond of saying that fast food and processing have altered the stature and weight of younger generations.  In comparison to my generation, younger people have consumed more steroids, more antibiotics, more processed and more altered food in their lifetimes.  These alterations will probably become even more commonplace in the future.  Should we not know what we are consuming?  If genetically altering our food is an okay thing to do, why would there be resistance to labeling?  How difficult could it be to create an international symbol that could be stamped on such food?  If altered food is equal to unaltered food what is the problem?

If you believe in quality control of our food supply, take the 30 seconds to click thru and sign the petition.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 23rd, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Smith’s Dairy and a Walk Down Memory Lane

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Yesterday, I read the Plain Dealer article about Smith’s Dairy going “green” and remembered a field trip from my elementary school years.  Today, the same article shows up in the day’s roundup over on Crain’s so I took it as a sign to blog about that field trip. 

Every school had a few-the “special” kids.  In the 1950’s, there were no special education classes that separated anyone from the “mainstream”.  We were just all in it together.  Field trips were always a challenge for our teachers with ALL the  kids because we were a “rowdy” bunch.  The “buddy system” back then was a “must”.

For purposes of this story, “Jimmy” had not one buddy but two buddies.  Basically because two of the boys had a disagreement on whose turn it was to team up with Jimmy.  By now, you know the lead character’s name in this story is not really Jimmy, but the name is inconsequential, and,  it is better to protect the “innocent”. 

At our elementary school,  there was a traditional sequence of field trips.  Kindergarten was a walk through the picturesque town of Shreve and our first trip to the Town Library which was located in the Town Hall topped off with a picnic on school grounds.  First grade was a trip to the train depot, boarding a passenger train for our trip to picturesque Wooster  followed by a picnic and afternoon of play at Wooster Park. 

Second grade was one of the FAVORITES handed down from class to class-Smith’s Dairy in ORRVILLE followed by a picnic and an afternoon of play at Orrville Park.   Needless to say at seven years-old as fascinating as watching bottles being washed, placed on a conveyer belt system and filled with milk, capped, and then, boxed would be– the making of the ice cream was the piece d’ resistance. Each of us would be receiving an individual cup of ice cream to be consumed at the park with our brown bag lunches.  Before we received this treat, we were told that we would need to find our “buddies” and walk through the HUGE walk in freezer where the ice cream was stored for distribution of our ice cream treats

To this day, I believe that I remember How VERY, VERY cold that walk-in freezer was.  No one tarried in that place!  Later, as we sat at the picnic tables eating our lunches and ice cream.  Someone noticed that “Jimmy” was missing.  Everyone immediately looked at the two boys that were assigned to be his buddies.  Both of them thought the other one was responsible for being his buddy, and therefore, NO ONE had been his buddy.  Obviously, a classic example of miscommunication between teacher and student. 

The last time anyone remembered seeing him was right before we walked into that big freezer.   Miss Plantain (another alias) screamed and went to wake up the bus driver for the long drive back to the dairy.  Twenty minutes later,  they returned with a nearly frozen Jimmy in tow.  He had been found sitting on a tub of ice cream patiently waiting for rescue by one of  the Smith Dairy truck drivers.   

We all had to sit through a lecture on responsibility and how when given a task we should follow through.  To this day, I do not how our teachers thought we shouldered more responsibility than they did for Jimmy sitting on a block of frozen ice cream waiting for rescue.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 20th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Why Do We Demonize Poor People?

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Having read the comments on this Plain Dealer article and this one, I couldn’t help but wonder why the commenters attack the very people that need help more than any of us.  How do the borrowers who are victims of predatory lending become the cause of the problem?  I believe that the statistics show that at least 80% of the loans are being paid.  And are we ignoring the fact that at this point in time 10% of conventional loans are 60 days past due?  What are the causes of THAT statistic? How have the women, children, and chronically ill who rely on Medicaid become the reason that an HMO contract is seen by a hospital as too restrictive and not sustainable?

The poor in this country are our children who certainly are not perpatrators but victims and our elderly that live longer lives without resources.  I grant that there is a group of people who have made poor choices that end up the recipient of public assistance, but how large a percentage?  And when we focus on that segment do we diminish our ability to solve the social issues that cause extreme poverty?

For the majority of us, I think that the underlying emotion that fuels this animosity is fear.  After all, many of us in this country are just a heartbeat away from that which we fear.  And if not a heartbeat, just a phrase away.  Downsizing  will certainly start rolling off the lips of employers for many reasons.

Now is not the time to be fearful and attack the victims of what has occurred.  Now is the time to be bold, to invent new ways of dealing with runaway healthcare costs, to innovate new ways to create jobs and to educate our children so that they will be prepared to compete in the world.  A sure way of  losing what we have is to jealously guard it from unseen “foes”.

I believe that the opportunity here in NEO to reverse twenty years of poverty has never been better.  We have the talent, the resources and the capabilities to become very prosperous here if we don’t forget that inclusiveness serves a better purpose than exclusivity.   The possibilities for innovation are almost endless-new ways of educating our youth, creating jobs through new industries, approaching healthcare from the viewpoint of wellness instead of sickness, collaboration among businesses to create an enterprise mind set…. 

I believe that if we heed these words of Hubert Humphrey:

It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.

when moving forward that we indeed will be prosperous.  We as a society–forget government– cannot forget the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the disabled.  We should not be looking elsewhere for the answers on how to transform our region.  It is not up to the government.  It is our task.  We must be fearless.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 17th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Am I Missing Something?

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How can a person commit voter fraud without actually voting? I could see where it might be REGISTRATION fraud.  But can it really be called VOTER fraud before you have actually attempted to vote?

I have always thought that GET OUT THE VOTE promotions where canvassers go to shopping centers, RTA bus stops, and other places where there are large numbers of people are problematic.  First of all, you haven’t identified a VOTER you have probably identified someone who cannot say “no” and they find it easier to fill out your form and let you go away thinking that you have just signed up a voter for an upcoming election.  NOT!!  7 times out of 10 these people have no intention of going to the polls to vote.   In my estimation, this type of GOTV effort is a waste of time.

On the other hand, a neighborhood canvas identifying people who have recently moved into the area as well as those who have lived there but never registered to vote is a step up.  I would still maintain that you have not identified someone who will VOTE.  You have simply added another registration to the rolls.

And so this brings me to my estimation of this Republican version of “the Sky is Falling”   that there will be rampant voter fraud on election day.  Poppycock!  Talk about much ado over nothing.  Should canvassers who submitted multiple cards with the same names and addresses be fired?   Yes!  Should organizations that clog the voter rolls with bogus registrations be reprimanded? Yes!  Should they be warned if the registrations that they submit continue to have problems that they will not be welcome to help in GOTV efforts? Yes!  In fact, there should be a way of not allowing these organizations to participate at all. Would this include the Republican Party that sent out faulty registration cards?  Hmmm!

Again, I assert that many of the people demanding satisfaction don’t have a clue as to what they are screaming to achieve.  Or maybe they do.  Voter suppression is a much more likely outcome than any voter fraud.  People may stay away from the polls because they don’t want to be harassed when trying to vote.  More likely, they will stay away because they fear long lines and waits to vote.  Neither a good reason to stay away from the polls.

Anyone who knows who they are and where they live will probably have acceptable identification to take with them so that any challenger would not do so.  So go vote!  And to those of you so willing to say that there will be rampant voter fraud I ask how many of you are working as a poll worker in your county?  It is imperative for Ohio and the nation that we have a smoothly run election this November.  I ask what are you doing to make it so?  How sad when our political parties find it more advantageous to spend precious time in a courtroom rather than working together to make our national election safe, efficient, and credible. 

Oh and those questionable registrations by new “voters”.  They aren’t going to show up at the polls anyway.  But, wow, haven’t they created a “tempest in a teapot”.        

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 16th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

It’s Halloween at The Ugly Broad

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Tim and I stopped by our favorite neighborhood tavern last night for tacos.  Wednesday is Taco Night at The Ugly Broad.  They are Go-o–d. This time they were exceptional.  Homegrown tomatoes added a special taste treat.  Patrons share their bounty with Sherry’s kitchen.

Little Sherry, Sherry and the rest of the crew are getting ready for the annual Halloween Party. Sherry tells me that Little Sherry is in charge.  Each day it looks just a bit more like Halloween. Sherry let me borrow a flyer so that I could add it to my post.


The menu sounds extremely scrumptious with toad’s eyes, eyes of newt, devil’s eyes, graveyard pizza and a sandwich that is “to die for”.

Since the flyer is a bit small.  Here are the details. 

Saturday, October 25th at 7:00 p.m.

And you will just have to attend to sample the ingredients of that sandwich and the other frightening treats.  I’m not giving away any secrets because I sure don’t need any bewitching spells on me this year.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 16th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Tennessee Contemplation of Pirates

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While in Tennessee visiting my granddaughter Teagan and her parents, one day, as I sipped my coffee, I began thinking about the global financial crisis which led me to financiers, stock brokers, and bankers. Suddenly, my mind wandered over to pirates.  At that time, my take was that pirates way back when had a code of ethics that prevented them from plundering certain countries-loyal to the crown and all that. Certain ports were protected. The pirate crews, often retreated to their own islands dividing their booty carousing and living the good life until they ran low on rum and other necessities. They, then.  took another foray out into the world.  Given the romantic notion that we now have of pirates, it is often thought that they did not take more than was necessary to keep themselves and their communities alive and well.

Fast forward to the pirates of today, and it is hard to see where the loyalties of these modern day pirates lie.  Basically, it seemed more like a feeding frenzy of sharks who had been given the hapless pirate who “walked the plank”.  Needless to say, I thought my early morning musings farfetched and fanciful so I parked them in the dark recesses of my mind doubting that they would see the light of day.  And then, today, I read this article from  the October 15, 2008 Science Daily which comments on the recent writings of Dr. Peter Hayes, Senior Lecturer on Politics at the University of Sunderland     

No longer so far-fetched.  But now, my mind wanders to dinosaurs, evolution, and how some species become extinct.  And, as I wander I wonder, is it time for these dinosaurs to die?  And if they die, what will evolve to take their place? 

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 15th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

With The Right To Vote Comes Great Responsibility

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A friend sent me this article from the Plain Dealer concerning voting, poll workers and not much else.  I have served as a poll worker for Cuyahoga County and I can agree that the biggest reason for a provisional vote not counting was probably because the person was in the wrong voting location.  I can say with great certainty that NO ONE at my voting location was “possibly just a table away”.  How insulting for the thousands of citizens who take the time to become poll workers to suggest that they would turn a voter away when the precinct needed was in THEIR voting location. Shame on Olivera Perkins, Plain Dealer reporter, for suggesting such a thing.

Before I begin, I will say this,  the training in Cuyahoga County is considerably better under director Jane Platten where actual people who have “been there, done that” teach the classes.   In fact, we went over the provisional ballot in depth.   The training provided under Michael Vu which consisted of “hired guns” from local universities and community colleges was woefully inadequate.  At that session, when I asked  my “trainer” about provisional ballots as he was concluding the class,  his answer to me was “oh don’t worry about that they will be the exception”.  Although Provisional Balloting was a line item on our training schedule, we did not have the “time” to treat it. 

My first case scenario:  A woman comes to the voting location insists that she is registered to vote and has been for years.  When asked the last time she voted, she has no idea.  When asked if she registered from where she lives now she has no idea.  She demands to vote.  She says she has the right to vote.  She is correct.  She is given a provisional ballot.  She votes.  Did her vote count?  I doubt it.

Second case scenario:  A man comes to the polling place which is his “old” polling place.  The BOE has changed his voting location.  We explain that he is in the wrong place.  Tell him his NEW polling location.  He insists he does not have the time to go anywhere else.  Says “I have the right to vote.  I want to vote here.  Give me a provisional ballot.”  We explain that he is in the wrong place, his precinct is no longer located here and his vote will not count because it will be rejected for being in “the wrong precinct”.  He insists.  He votes.  Did his vote count?  I doubt it.

Third case scenario:    A young couple comes to our voting location. They just moved into the area.  They registered to vote.  They didn’t receive the voter location card sent from the BOE or least they don’t think so.  A poll worker takes them out of line asks where do they live?  They tell her the street.  She takes them to the Ward map posted on the wall.  None of the three recognizes much of anything on the map.  The poll worker asks the presiding judge for help, that’s me.

I walk over to the map.  Look at it.  I’ve lived in this Ward for 25 years.  I don’t recognize the streets.  Then we notice that our map is part our Ward and part of a ward in Fairview Park.  I tell her that she needs to call the Board of Elections.  She does.  She is put on hold. She is disconnected. She calls again.  She is put on hold.  This time she gets the correct location for voting.  Twenty-five minutes later the young couple leaves to vote for the first time as a couple. Did their votes count?  Yes.       

I would say to people who register to vote that you have only taken the first step in your “right to vote”.  The second more important step is TO VOTE.  Voting regularly keeps the federal law of not voting in the past two federal elections a moot point.

VOTING EARLY at the Board of Elections  should be an option. IF you haven’t voted in years and you are not sure you are registered, it is worth a shot, but don’t be surprised if you are NOT on the pollbooks and you CANNOT vote.  The other reason for voting early would be TIME.  We are all pressed for time.  If you cannot afford the time to have a twenty minute wait to vote on election day, VOTE EARLY. And, DO NOT wait until the end of the day to vote on election if you are not sure WHERE you should vote.  You may not have enough time to travel to the right polling place before the polls close.

If you registered to vote for the first time, call the Board of Elections for your polling place BEFORE election day.  Be prepared.

If you moved and registered at a new location, be sure to call the Board of Elections and find out your NEW polling place.  Do not rely on snail mail to get your polling place to you before election day.

When the emphasis is placed on a pollworker to KNOW where each and every voter is to vote rather on the VOTER knowing where he or she should be to vote, we have contributed to long lines, inefficient elections, and undermined the trust of our election process. 

With our constitutional right of voting comes the responsibility for each voter to know where they should go to vote, to research the issues before going to the polls so that they can make their vote quickly and efficiently, and to be thankful that they have the opportunity to vote without fear of reprisal.             

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 9th, 2008 at 9:54 am