Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Broome County Voting

We went to vote tonight after work, and I have to admit it's the first time I've ever voted at an actual voting booth, since I've always done absentee ballot (OK, my mom always voted for me, I admit it.)

First, let me regale you with exciting local voting "fun facts" and tell you that I did not do absentee ballot because I was pretty certain that voting, like everything else around here, would require no waiting in line and be extremely convenient. No letdown here: Binghamton's 45,000 residents have no fewer than 30 voting locations to choose from (Broome County's 195,000 residents have 129 locations, in total), no lines to speak of.

My voting machine looked pretty much exactly like this, but with much uglier flowered/striped curtains that looked like an old lady's kitchen curtains. It was circa 1960-something and the big old lever cracked me up. I had to call the lady in a couple of times to help me out. Kind of embarassing but I'm getting used to being an idiot since I moved here, anyway.

The best part, though, was the well-dressed middle-aged woman who was really irate the whole time she was there voting. See, New York state is absolutely freaking ridiculous in the government jobs it funds, and that especially does not go over well in an area like Broome County where the economy has been in the tank for decades, people are fleeing in search of jobs, and the old people left behind are really getting poorer and poorer.

Anyway, the lady sounded exactly like me!! She was going off about how angry she is that Broome County has nearly 20 school districts and each one has a superintendent who makes . . . are you ready for it? . . . OVER $130,000!!!

To put this into perspective, a starting lawyer at the top-paying law firm in the region makes $56,000. That same lawyer at an analagous firm in Los Angeles might make around $130,000 (of course they would work twice as many hours, but bear with me). So, by that ratio, it would be like a school superintendent in Los Angeles making $400,000. And having TWENTY of those jobs!! Each school district only has a few thousands kids in it, at most. Just crazy that the highest paying jobs in the county are public school executives . . . who don't even produce or sell anything . . . and just suck up taxpayer money.

This is yet another reason I'm so glad we didn't buy a house here and have to pay like 4% in property taxes each year, only to watch the house not appreciate in value.

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