• So the first round of Phoenix City Council elections attracted 21 percent of registered voters compared with less than 16 percent four years ago. Turnout was lowest in central Phoenix's District 4 — shocking considering the stakes there. Only 15 percent turned out this year to elect the mayor of Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest city. What does this say about the state of democracy in America? It's not as if there aren't important issues to be decided (even if the Phoenix candidates mostly didn't talk about them. Maybe it's just me, but aside from the Sky Train, the city seems to be treading water.
• Low turnout in Phoenix gives disproportionate power to a small minority. But the Firefighters union lost big; along with firefighters unions from around the state, it spent some $400,000 to defeat Sal DiCiccio in District 6. Sal is very close to being a Kook and is also, of course, in real estate. No disrespect, but does he bring anything constructive to Council? Just being against everything in the name of "the taxpayer" is not an answer. His showing is a sign that at least a big part of his district could be spun off to Tempe and Scottsdale (but keep the pretty parts of Arcadia).
• The rush to United States involvement in the war in Syria seems to have slowed a bit. But only a bit. Tell me what I'm missing in saying this is such a mistake. It's a sectarian civil war involving age-old enmities; once again, we're ignorant of the country, issues and potential consequences; again, thinking of striking a Muslim country; Syria's patron, Russia, holds some 10,000 nuclear warheads; a "limited" action will either be ineffective or not limited; desposing Assad might bring a worse — from the standpoint of our national interests — regime, and we're not the world police.Wonkblog offers a guide to the basics.
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