Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letter to Hillsborough County Commission Today

Dear Commissioners;

I have been contacted by the SOE' Peg Reese and was provided a document dated March 15, 2012 from Dominion Voting concerning questions I have raised with you.

The document indicates that one machine, as Commissioner Sharpe said in January, was responsible.

However the company noted that it would have been better for the staff to use a number of machines rather than one, in downloading vote counting software to the memory cards.

This solidifies the assertions I made during the March 8, 2012 meeting that it is your duty to demand that the Division of Elections investigate the election of Nov. 2, 2010 as conducted in Hillsborough County.

I urge you to thoughtfully consider the odds against the following series of events all taking place resulting in the "rescanning" of 38,000 ballots.

Only one machine ( the defective one) was selected and used in downloading the software to capture those votes out of as many as 5 available machines.

The 12 failing memory cards were sent out to early voting places in locations I have mentioned repeatedly, and are largely democratic. A resultant repeat of the 2008 "glitch" but for a different technical reasons.

No test of these cards was apparently made to assure they functioned properly either prior to sending them out, or during a test of the OSX machines at those locations.

I remind the commissioners the county SOE has taken considerable time in providing ANY documentation with regard to good faith questions I have posed regarding this election. The SOE's top three officers made false statements to me regarding the times and context of this election malfunction.

While the commission was well aware of problems associated with the machine, as evidenced by Commissioner Sharpe's statement to press on Nov. 4, 2010, and Jan. 5, 2011, the commission is essentially mum thereafter and hasn't concerned itself despite mounting evidence that either million dollar machines used to collect the vote don't work, or that there may be election tampering either from the vendor's end or at the SOE office.

The commissioners refrained from taking part in or signing off on the elections as members of the canvassing board, as evidence by the document I presented to you, dated Nov. 14, 2010. This could indicate the commission didn't want to be associated with the election for reasons mentioned.

You have the ability to adopt a joint resolution on your next regular meeting, to send off to the Division of Elections asking them to investigate this strange election. This would certainly carry more weight than the petition from a member of the public who - it can be argued - continues to do the job of vigilance and oversight for the commissioners themselves.

If you fail to even discuss this issue at your next meeting  you are making glaringly evident your willful blindness to a very serious concern which is well documented now.

Thank you

David Kearns

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dominion Voting Accepts Blame for the Hillsborough Glitch

In a letter dated March 15, 2012 Dominion voting has said their machine is to blame for the glitch that essentially erased 38,000 ballots, which necessitated a "rescanning" of those ballots, all from early voting, on Nov. 2 going into Nov. 3, 2010.

We have been asking the county since July 2011 for written documentation of a root cause for this rescanning of 38,000 ballots, 50 percent of the ballots from the last three days of early voting.

Today Peg Reese, deputy chief of operations for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections called us after inquiries were made to her office from Noah Pransky of WTSP News in Tampa.

Pransky spoke with us on March 8, following the last meeting of the county commission, and again via email, March 13.

Reese released this document dated yesterday March 15, 2012. Detailing what had been stated by Mark Sharpe, county commissioner, on Jan. 5 2012 following our first appearance before the county commission.

This marks the first time the county election supervisor has shared publicly, that Dominion voting unequivocally owned the blame for this glitch, in the Hillsborough election Nov. 2, 2010.

Ms. Reese said the SOE runs a clean shop. There is nothing to indicate to her that anyone working there from the SOE Lennard on down, would intentionally do anything to sway a vote one way or another. She said everyone working for the Hillsborough SOE is totally committed to providing a fair and accurate vote where every vote counts in a timely fashion.

Previous to this, the county has been slow if not recalcitrant to release information explaining this glitch. SOE Lennard, MIS Director Tim Bobanic and Chief of Staff were less than straightforward on July 21, 2011 during our interview with them. Lennard, who was not corrected by Latimer or Bobanic indicated the glitch did not happen during the general election but rather during the primary in which case all rescanning was done by 11 p.m. both assertions contrary to the historic record. He also offered no documentation when asked by us relative to this glitch despite the existence of a Conduct of Election report which detail the problem, dated Nov. 14, 2010 and a March 1, 2011 answer from Dominion voting.

Acting County Attorney Don Odom released that document relative to the "glitch" earlier this month after pressure from many who read this blog. This report from Dominion seemed to point the blame at staff members for a "hot extraction" of 12 memory cards which were then sent to early voting to capture the vote.

Ms. Reese had no answer at this time as to why those 12 memory cards weren't tested before they were sent to capture the early vote during the November election in which Rick Scott was elected by the narrowest margin in any Florida gubernatorial race since the late 1800s? Just over 60,000 votes separated himself and Alex Sink.

The "glitch" of 2010 mimicked a similar glitch in 2008 wherein 80,000 ballots were rescanned, also from early voting, also from Temple Terrace, a bedroom and minority community adjacent to University of South Florida, which has 38,000 undergraduates and 9,000 graduate students. In other words, an area predominantly democrat.

But Reese said the glitch in 2008 was different in that the memory cards were only supposed to capture 5,000 votes each, something that wasn't known by then machine contractor Premier elections or reported to the SOE prior to the election. They essentially were overloaded, she said.

Premier, a rename of Diebold Elections was sold to Dominion in 2010. The same machines, the software the systems remain largely in place all across the country

During the 2008 glitch, it was later revealed that some 431 previously voted ballots many from District 3 including Temple Terrace, were found in a box in a warehouse and given to new Supervisor of Elections Phyllis Busansky.

Busansky was found dead in her hotel room in June 2009 during a convention for elections supervisors in St. Augstine. She was working with auditors and federal investigators who were looking into the financial dealings of her predecessor, Buddy Johnson.

Governor Charlie Crist replaced Busansky with Republican Earl Lennard.

Lennard promised reforms to the office.

Reese also didn't know why it had taken so get any documents to us regarding our questions. She wouldn't say why the SOE continues to rely on these machines despite the numerous glitches. Nor would she speculate whether or why Hillsborough glitches seem to target areas of heavy democrat participation.

She reiterated that Hillsborough's SOE is totally committed to a fair and accurate vote.

Stay tuned for more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three Minutes for Democracy

Here are parts one two and three of the series. Our three minute battles in Hillsborough to defend democracy.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

The session where this information was presented March 8, 2012 has never been released on the Hillsborough County television website. The link remains broken. Sunspot activity has been blamed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Appallingly Bad Press Coverage

I'm going to try to do this without cursing. I have it on good authority cursing causes cancer. I likely won't be successful.

Let me start by saying I am ashamed to have ever been a part of the so-called Fourth Estate.

Many in our country don't even know what that means, the Fourth Estate. Is it an estate sale? What? What?

It's just unbelievable. Rabbits mashing buttons on hand held devices, who are so culturally and historically illiterate, even after grade ten, you couldn't successfully demand they tell you what the term means, or where it comes from. There'd be no connecting point to even begin the discussion. Speaking past them like a fart in the breeze.

"What? What's that? What?"

Sickening, really.

The failure of news is part of a feedback loop creating more ignorance robots of us all; electronic zombies, cud chewing consumption units who can't recall last year.

The Fourth Estate is not protecting us against this hacked voting thing, as many of you inside the game already know.

I hate to bring up Hillsborough again. I don't like writing that word. It's a long word, Hillsborough. I have to write it so often I have grown to resent the word but not the county. The county is a beautiful place.

Well, let's be honest, some of it is. Other parts are run down like Cleveland, through no fault of the public. It's the ruling class to blame on that score, I'm afraid.

You know what Hillsborough has? No jobs to speak of. Just like Cleveland A strong vibrant community; a ready made work force.  Hardworking people, tolerant people, church going people, a community.  Ready to go. Just ad jobs.

A solar factory, perhaps. Some company that makes wind  turbines. Why can't someone see this? Why can't an investor be found? This is a perfect fit.

If I won The Powerball.Yes, I would do the college tuition thing, the Europe thing, a cruise to Scandinavia and so on, maybe a little cottage for my wife and I to retire in on Sugarloaf Key. But with the other 99 percent of the money I'd build a factory in Temple Terrace, right next to USF.

And we'd build  solar panels, and wind turbines, those machines that harness the energy from changing tides. And we'd test all of this stuff right out there in Tampa Bay.

Does that happen? Does someone see the opportunity here, all that community all that energy, people looking for work, and can't find any? Does anyone use eighth grade algebra to put a labor force and a necessary industry together?

No. And why not?

No one gives a shit about the African American community. No one gives a shit about the Hispanic community, no one gives a shit about culturally unaffiliated, garden-variety unemployed community in Hillsborough County. No one gives a shit about taking energy from sunlight. Just like my county, right here in the Sunshine state. No one gives a shit about doing what's right for all of us.

Oh yeah, and the vote is hacked there, too, just like it surely is in my county, which also runs off Dominion voting. So the people of Hillsborough County get the same old treatment time again and again from the county commission. The same old plaques handed down with a pat on the head.

Wills Hill, Earl of Downshire. That's who Hillsborough County is named after; an entitled English Lord, who also enjoyed a massive absentee landholding in Ireland. All leading up to the American Revolution of course. What did the British Empire do to scribes who displeased them? It wasn't pretty. None of that going on today, however. Now we just have cowardice and laziness.

And what I am seeing in Hillsborough County government is the worst sort of recalcitrance. The elite recalcitrance. The sort of recalcitrance that's so thick, it almost makes a sound, almost has an odor, almost sucks the life out of a room. The recalcitrance of the elite.

An entitled nobility on that commission, ignoring the public; perhaps in receivership of their position through a botched or defrauded vote;  four of them, anyway, elected along with Rick Scott on Nov. 2, 2010.

The press? They won't look at it. They won't write about it. They won't broadcast one word despite evidence staring them in the face. So that county commission continues to play stupid with regard to this thing, and run the clock out, and the press continues to be diverted by carnival side show issues.

The county commission continues to trot out a little old lady and bash her on the head for uttering racially charged words nearly one month ago. They talk about decorum, they escort an enviro-protester from the podium who had gone too far in calling them "fools," during his speech, all the while they do nothing to clean up their own reputation.

Hillsborough is only one among 67 counties in Florida, among thousands of counties throughout the United States now each relying on these damned voting machines; each sending the same people off to congress from  elite little groups like this one on display at the East Kennedy government complex in downtown Tampa.

The same people, taking the same perks, being ushered to the same seats in the fifty state capitols everywhere; thereafter to the same seats in Washington, D.C. Making the same bad decisions over and over, getting us into the same wars; handing us down the same gas prices, the same financial collapses with the mini ones in between.

Making the same trades on Wall Street to take advantage of the same old volatility, which they themselves create through their votes on the Hill.

The same old oblivious TV pundit talking heads, also, just as willfully ignorant on both sides, willfully blind as this whole carnival, the whole gov-corp flywheel orgy goes careening toward calamity.

And our sad gelded "Fourth Estate," our ridiculously smug and self satisfied "Fourth Estate" does nothing. As they assure us they are watching out for our interests.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hillsborough Glitch Saga Continues

* see note below at the bottom of the page as to sound and video quality. I have transcribed my words to the Hillsborough County Commissioners here.

"Good morning commissioners my name is David Kearns I reside in Palm Bay Florida I want to thank Deputy County Attorney Odom for giving me this information. I have been making inquiries into the supervisor of elections office and I have been given two answers which are diametrically opposed."

"This is totally unresolved as far as the election here, on Nov. 2, 2010."

"The supervisor of elections states that twelve early voting cards failed to download to the GEMS server. He says that he sent this system off to Dominion (voting) for a look-see to determine the cause of the error. Alleging that Dominion was the cause. The date on this is Nov. 14, this report."

"Now Dominion sent back as early as March 1, (2011) that after performing a 'SET OF ELECTION' the memory cards were removed from the Accuvote OSX unit, while the unit was still active, or a HOT REMOVAL. So essentially pulling the CD out of the CD burner prior to the song downloading. And, uh, not once but 12 times in a row."

"Now somewhere between time 2 and time 12, we're not looking at an accident anymore. In a general note, elections are being stolen using the machines as a pretext of the failure of those machines, throughout the state of Florida and throughout the country. Now that's a very grownup statement to go ahead and assert. But uh, twelve times in a row defies logic. That's not an accident. And this issue is completely unresolved. We have two answers and no resolution as to which one is right."

"You need to ask yourself why your supervisor of elections hasn't resolved this issue?"

"Also, speaking of willful blindness, it is a concept in the law, we have no signature from any county commissioner as a sign off on the canvassing board here. Not one of the county commissioners chose to be a part of this election."

"You just did honor to Phyllis Busansky this morning by mentioning her name. You can further do honor to her by getting a resolution together to direct staff to send to the Division of Elections a request, to investigate the election as it was held here in Hillsborough County."

"You'd do her a great honor, and you'd do honor to yourselves, to remind the citizens of the state of Florida, the United States of America and the citizens of Hillsborough County that you care about the sanctity of the vote here in Florida. Thank you very much."

*For some reason, this is the only surviving record of the morning session of the Hillsborough County Commission on Thursday March 8, 2012. The manager at Hillsborough Television said that perhaps sunspot activity caused a problem with the transmission of the morning session as they are somehow linked to a host server in Los Angeles. (Do I know?). The link for the session is still dead on their web server two days after the meeting so we can guess they still haven't fixed the problem. But, I was able to get a three minute segment of my comment from Hillsborough TV. However, whatever format they gave it to me in, won't upload to Youtube. So, I had to record it using a camera filming the screen and uploaded it to Youtube. Never a dull moment.

The Good News is, we have a record of the Hillsborough County Commission being told what they should do if they don't want to appear as though they are being "willfully blind". They have admonitions in their own ethics statement that they must, as public officials, report any wrongdoing. Now they have bold evidence that something serious is wrong with their SOE office, one way or another.

If, as they did on Thursday, they choose to do nothing, all the better for the ethics complaint I plan on filing. I can include them right along with it, in that four of these commissioners were elected Nov. 2, 2010 in the same election that gave us Rick Scott.

It's their choice.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rick Scott: Typhoid Mary to Careers

Must be something about him. Despite great pay, plenty of perks, people have a habit of throwing their high-end jobs away after just a few short months of daily exposure to Rick Scott.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning announced his retirement ( his second retirement in as many years) in January 2012. It became effective in February. Browning, much written about in these pages, and in Rick Scott: Enemy of the State gave a meandering sotto voce speech to reporters in Tallahassee where he said it wasn't for political reasons but he wanted to be closer to his wife, and his son whose cancer was made public in 2009.
Browning soft-denied that the move was made so he could run for Pasco Schools Superintendent.
But, he filed his election paperwork for precisely that at the end of February. Our demands for information into election shenanigans, which Browning well may have known about, may have been somewhere in his decision tree.

Frank Farmer, Scott's Surgeon General resigned March 2012, saying he wants to spend more time with his wife as she recovers from breast cancer.

Doug Darling, key adviser and director of the State's Department of Economic Opportunity resigned in January 2011, six months into his job. This comes after the office released its first annual report which demonstrated for all who cared to read it, that those companies who had accepted the blood sweat and tears from teachers and students in the form of preferential tax treatment failed to follow through on their promises and actually create jobs. This of course opened up a whole can of worms called "what are they actually doing with the money?" and of course, likely as you've heard by now, no one seems to know.

Charles Trippe, Scott's general counsel, resigned yesterday March 6, 2012.  Trippe, former General Counsel to CSX Transportation (railroad) has figured in heavily in several issues pertaining to the governor including but not limited to, Scott's handling of the decision to end high speed rail.

Jack Miles, director of the Department of Management Services resigned effective at the end of this month, taking his chief of staff, Brett Ryman with him. Miles is in charge of purchasing, materials, equipment and other services.

These join the roll of other walking wounded limping away smarting from the Rick Scott administration:

Press flak Brian Hughes, Departed December 2010.

Campaign Manager Suzie Wiles.  Departed January 2011
The following is an excerpt from Rick Scott: Enemy of the State about Wiles.

"Suzie Wiles, Scott’s campaign manager during 2010.Wiles is a well-connected political strategist from Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, who served as a mayoral aide to both John Delaney and John Payton in Jacksonville.
In January, Wiles was scooped up by the Jon Huntsman presidential campaign following the inauguration of the new governor.
Okay. She ran Scott’s campaign all throughout 2010, then she quits so soon after he’s elected to take on Huntsman? Huntsman, who wasn’t exactly being called a favorite of the GOP?
Okay. You jump from a ship that’s allegedly well afloat to one that’s obviously left port with some holes in it?
Perhaps she’s a victim of Post Traumatic Boss Syndrome (PTBS) from her experience with RS.
Then she departed Huntsman as well in June commenting only that “it was just time.”
As all of us know, when you’ve worked for a tough boss who wore your ass out, the next place you work, you are absolutely not into taking any bullshit whatsoever. Call me a liar. "

Press flak and robo-caller Trey Stapleton Departed January 2011

Strategist Mary Anne Carter June 2011 – 
The following is an excerpt from Rick Scott: Enemy of the State concering Carter

"Perhaps the biggest shocker to those on the outside Team Scott was Rick Scott’s policy adviser Mary Anne Carter who abruptly resigned, two days after she was featured in a complimentary piece in Miami Herald, touting her as one of the tough women-powerbrokers behind the scenes.[i]
The news came after Scott announced he was moving Senator Mike Haridopolos’s chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, to replace his own chief of staff, Mike Pendergast, who was being moved over to run the Department of Veterans Affairs.[ii]
Carter was variously described as Scott’s top policy advisor, his guru, and at least once, erroneously, his “chief of staff”.
Carter didn’t provide much in the way of reason for leaving other than a professed longing to get back to her family which is understandable.
She said in her complimentary resignation letter to Scott; “…state government is ultimately not for me…”[iii]

[i] “The Women Pushing Governor Scott’s Agenda” Miami Herald, June 19, 2011 http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/06/19/2273429/the-woman-pushing-gov-scotts-agenda.html

[ii] “Scott’s Top Policy Advisor Resigns Amid Shake-up” St Petersburg Times, June 22, 2011. http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/rick-scotts-top-policy-adviser-resigns-amid-shakeup/1176522

[iii] “Resignation Letter from Scott aide Mary Anne Carter” Tampa Bay online June 21, 2011 http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/news/story/resignation-letter-from-scott-aide-mary-anne-carter1/

Top Polster and adviser Tony Fabrizio Departed October 2011 to join the Rick Perry campaign. Repeating: the RICK PERRY campaign was preferable to staying with Scott.  Fabrizio was a controversial figure to say the least for the GOP being openly gay and proud. He has been described as an inside man on policy.

The following is an excerpt from Rick Scott: Enemy of the State on Fabrizio:

"Tony Fabrizio, chief pollster and political strategist. Fabrizio of Brooklyn and Long Island, New York, is also considered a friend. He once warned Scott of state Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, “these guys mean to castrate us! They are not our friends.”

Lobbyist Hayden Dempsey resigned in August 2011. The following is an excerpt from Rick Scott: Enemy of the State concerning Dempsey.
"Dempsey is quoted as needing to focus on raising his two daughters.[i]
Is it code-talk, this line “I need to focus on my family”? These people were all earning upwards of $150,000 per year. Some have kids in college or approaching that.
Does this logic sound truthful?
I only now discovered that I have been ignoring my family all these years. I mean, what was I even thinking taking a high paying, high stress, high profile job where I got my name in the paper every other day? I could have been working at SAM’s Club as a cashier!
Something doesn’t wash here.
Of course some resignations seem to be forced by the executive, or his staff. And they don’t always end in tragedy for those who resign, only reappointment."

[i] “Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Top Lobbyist resigns” (AP) Aug. 4, 2011. http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/politics/21005015280371/

Ed Buss, Prison's Chief, resigned August 2011.
The following is an excerpt from Rick Scott: Enemy of the State, concerning Buss:

Recently MSNBC was filming at a Santa Rosa County Corrections for their series Lock-Up. But Rick Scott ousted the crew from the premises and voided their contract they had written for $100,000 under the blessing of State Corrections Secretary Ed Buss, who had been brought in by Scott, as former head of Indiana Corrections.
Scott said Buss had no authority to sign the deal. In the end, Scott signed the contract, and fired Buss, allowing the MSNBC crew to go back into the facility after a two day hiatus. At this writing we don’t know the entire story on either the firing, or the connection to Geo Group, but, there apparently is more to it than the MSNBC contract; namely Buss’s handling of the state’s prison privatization efforts.
State Senator Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland )[i] said that Buss was forced out because he wouldn’t keep quiet about the actual cost of privatizing prisons in 18 counties from Bradenton to Key West; namely some $25 million in overtime, sick leave etc. payouts that seem to conveniently escape everyone’s attentions when alleged cost-savings are touted as the reason for the entire privatization effort.
You can’t help but wonder if the state’s plan is simply to not pay the $25 million owed to the corrections officers and staff.
“Everything being done with regard to privatizing prisons is being done in secrecy. In private,” Dockery said in the article just previously referenced.

[i] “Dockery says Buss was punished for speaking up on privatizing prisons” The Buzz , From the Staff of the St. Petersburg Times Aug. 26. 2011  http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/dockery-says-buss-was-punished-speaking-privatizing-prisons

This list isn't complete. These are only some of the names.

I want you to hunker down with me by the fireside here, listening to the crickets and the hissing embers. Ask yourself, honestly now, what makes a person throw away a high paying job with plenty of perks and benefits, in the worst economy to hit this country since the Great Depression?

Ponder that question and then download my answers here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hillsborough, is Now Democracy's Achilles Heel

Click for full view
Hillsborough County's Interim County Attorney Don Odom has sent me the "Conduct of Election Report" for Nov. 2, 2010.

First point of interest. Hillsborough SOE says 12 memory cards failed to download their data. As we recall from yesterday, the voting machine company, Dominion said this was because election workers took the memory cards out of a machine (think of a CD burner on your desktop computer) before vote-counting software could finish downloading.

If the county SOE is correct, Dominion voting's gear is seriously flawed in that 38,000 votes were erased in a crucial election between Sink and Scott. If Dominion is correct, that means someone working for Hillsborough County's SOE made a serious error, not once, but 12 times in a row.

Additionally, the cards weren't tested? Apparently they were immediately shipped out to EARLY VOTING PLACES ONLY where DEMOCRATS are known to vote early.

There are no two ways about it. Think about it. One or the other. But which is it?

One thing is for certain: despite the uncertainty in either the machines, or the personnel, THERE HAS BEEN NO INVESTIGATION into the SOE by anyone. And the county commission of Hillsborough seems to have NO interest in getting to the bottom of this and answering that "which" question, despite spending millions on those machines.

Why? And how responsible is it for them to behave this way. Think about it, not one county commissioner in seven even cares about finding out whether the voting machines are seriously flawed OR whether there are actually people engaged in a criminal high-jack, racketeering of the Florida vote working in their SOE office.

Oh? Third choice? People operating the machines don't have the technical wizardry of a seventh grader. But they DO know how to send their mistakes to voters in the African American community, in the student community, in the bedroom community, of the 99 percenters.

Click for full view
Meanwhile, back on earth, the election of Rick Scott in Hillsborough went off without a complete canvassing board.