Wednesday, November 03, 2010

On my way to the polling place...

I voted yesterday afternoon, at the third polling place I'd visited in the day. No, I wasn't confused or lost, but it was a little irritating that you can't vote at the place that's closest or most convenient to you. We must vote at the polling place that has been arbitrarily assigned to residents based on some arcane boundary system. Whatever.

When I dropped the kids off at SACC (which was all-day, due to the school closures for teacher conferences and voting), I hit the first polling place. I actually asked the elections officials there if I could get my vote in while I was there and was denied (irk!). A few hours later, I had a mid-morning teacher conference concerning Rosie's progress at the second polling place. As I entered, a couple of cheerful leafleters attempted to press their documents into my hands, but I had to convince them that I was not there to vote. Although the conferences were running behind schedule and I had about 45 minutes to kill, I didn't bother checking if I could get my vote at this location—those elections people are pretty hardcore.

The conference itself was glowing as always with Mrs. Clark (she LURVES Rosie with all her heart). Mrs. Clark told me things I'd heard before, such as Rosie is a unique thinker, not cookie-cutter, takes projects in directions none of the other kids think of; she blew all the other kids out of the way on her spelling placement test at the beginning of the year, placing into 3rd or 4th grade level words (e.g., she spelled alliteration correctly!); and is one of the best class artists along with her friend Janna. The only negatives she received were with math and organization skills along with a negative-positive comment that Rosie has really blossomed socially with her peers to the point that she's too chummy and chatty, getting distracted by the socializing.

That afternoon, I almost considered not voting just out of irritation with being thwarted twice, but then couched going to vote a different way in my mind. I hadn't had any exercise yet, so I would bike to the polling place! It was really just three miles round trip, so nothing much really, but upon arrival at the middle school's polling place (third of the day!), I was surprised by something. There were absolutely no, none, zilch, nada bike racks there. I circumnavigated the entire school grounds and baseball field and found not a one. When I asked the group standing outside the voting entrance where the racks were, they were confused. One girl who attended the school informed me that there were no racks because the middle schoolers WERE NOT ALLOWED TO WALK OR RIDE THEIR BIKES TO SCHOOL.

I was astounded. This just went to another level of annoyance with me. The reason for this, I was told, was that the wide-but-only two lane road outside the school was deemed "too busy." There were sidewalks and bike paths leading up to the school—I had just ridden on or by them. The road itself was very wide, plenty of room for cyclists. What on earth? Are they concerned that the buses would run the biking children down? I'm sorry, but no wonder our kids are so unhealthy. They must be driven everywhere, have so much homework that they can't do after school activities, and probably have trouble with maintaining endurance during the activities they do choose. I've googled information for this school and can't find anything prohibiting walking/biking online. Thankfully, my kids won't be attending this school (and I am planning to allow them to walk or bike), but I'm hoping that someone is willing to be an activist to do something to get the school to change this policy. There should be a way to make the area "safer" if that is the concern? Crazy.

And also, I voted.

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