Friday, January 11, 2008

Parking Lot Owners Should Pay

I heard the story on the news about a the car windows that were smashed during a Jazz game in Salt Lake City.
Audrey Martinez says she was lulled into a false sense of security by a sign claiming 24-7 patrols, but she says she later noticed there were no cameras.

"The attendant that I paid the five dollars to that was supposed to be there during the entire game and after people leave he was not there, nobody was around to help," says Martinez.
Though it isn't in the printed text of the article I linked, the radio report indicated that the parking lot owners reprimanded the attendant who took off early, but are taking no responsibility for the broken windows. They claimed that you "park at your own risk."

I can buy that argument when it comes to door dings or car scratches. But when bandits run through your (un)attended parking lot and smash windows, you're accountable. There really shouldn't be any question here. That's the sort of thing people expect from an attended lot. I hope some of the victims take the lot owners to small claims court and get compensated if the actual perpetrators can't be found.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Irony

Caucuses don't work the same for Democrats and Republicans in Iowa. The Republicans count the votes of each person at their caucus meeting and those votes get aggregated state-wide. Very democratic: one person, one vote.

The Democrats give each precinct a number of delegates, no matter how many people actually show up to caucus. This is a representative system: many people, one vote.

I thought it was funny that the party names seemed exactly opposite for the Iowa caucuses.

I learned this from David Freddoso on the Corner where he summarized it this way:

Republicans around the state are meeting tonight to have a large, statewide straw poll, just like a primary. You could think of it as one big caucus. The importance of each precinct, as in normal elections, will be determined by how many people turn out overall. Although the Republican vote on candidates is totally non-binding, it is the result we'll all be talking about tonight — for practical purposes, it is all that matters (unless we go to a brokered convention, and then it's hopelessly complicated anyway).

On the Democratic side, it is different. Each precinct awards a preset number of candidate delegates proportionally. It doesn't matter whether 100 or 1,000 people show up from your precinct — all that matters is the proportional vote in each individual precinct. The party reports the estimated delegate count to the media — not the number of votes. Each Democratic precinct, then, is a separate battle tonight, with no real relation to the others. If six people show up to a precinct that selects ten delegates, then those six voters have the same power as 600 voters who show up in a precinct of similar population.