Early voting starts today

Today is the beginning of early voting for the August 3 elections. Depending on where you live, you could have to tab through as many as 23 screens on the voting machines – it’s the longest ballot in county history. So this is definitely one where you’ll want to early vote and avoid the long lines.

I want to mention a couple of candidates who I support. These are people I know personally and whom I admire and respect. I want to make it clear that I am writing to express my support of these candidates as Paul Ryburn, individual/citizen, not as Paul Ryburn, co-organizer of Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis. RSDM does not endorse candidates.

For County Commission, District 2, Position 2 – Novella Smith Arnold – Novella and I met at the downtown Blue Monkey, where she would go for Sunday brunch after church. She and I talked on several occasions, and she is one of the most gentle, compassionate people I have ever met. We spent time talking about the things she saw as a prison and hospital chaplain, and about her push for HIV/AIDS awareness in prisons a few years back. She’s a Republican but her actions are those of a progressive. Very rarely have I met a person with such a kind, gentle heart. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have representing me on the County Commission.

For US Congress, TN District 9 – Steve Cohen – I’ve admired Steve Cohen ever since I’ve been in Memphis. In 1996, when I was teaching at the U of M, one of my students arranged for me to meet him and get involved with his campaign (for the same Congressional seat, which was won that fall by Harold Ford Jr.) Steve is a man who stands by his priniciples – I can remember a couple of cases where he was the “1” in 30-1 votes in the State senate. This is a man who will not be controlled by special interests and will do what is right for the district. I also admire his persistence, having pushed for the state lottery for more than 20 years and finally seeing it through. The man truly has a passion for government, and almost 30 years experience. Get goin’, vote Cohen!

All right… what else is going on…

Never made it to the Peabody rooftop for tube top watching last night. I was starving, and I decided to hit the Tap Room for dinner. If a beer joint sounds like an odd dining choice, keep in mind that they share an excellent menu with King’s Palace. I had the seafood pasta and it was outstanding. Although, it was awful hard to pass up the Chicken Pontabla – chicken covered with cheese and Cajun spices over potatoes. With that menu you just can’t miss. You have as much chance of getting a bad meal at the Tap Room/King’s Palace as you do of meeting an ugly Romanian girl.

Plans for this weekend… well, I don’t have a whole lot of plans. I’ll probably stop by Sleep Out’s tonight for Fish Races. Sunday I’ll be at Sleep Out’s for brunch, of course. And Monday I may go down there and eat during my lunch hour (they have Wi-Fi, so there may still be a lunchtime post). What can I say, it’s a good bar. They cleaned the lines so the PBR is good to drink again, and they definitely deserve my support after making an EXCELLENT hiring decision recently.

It’s also possible I’ll make a return trip this weekend to Blues City to see The Dempseys, who are playing there tonight and tomorrow at 10:30. Could end up there Sunday for FreeWorld as well.

Downtown development continues… this morning the Commercial Appeal ran an article on a new residential development at Union and Lauderdale, just east of Danny Thomas. Great to see downtown expanding eastward.

If anyone out there develops .NET applications and is looking for work, shoot me an e-mail. A recruiter called me yesterday looking for someone to do a 2-year contract working in ASP.NET/VB.NET, about 50% maintenance and 50% new code. Pay rate is very good. I can’t take the position because I’m in the middle of the City Schools contract.

Speaking of which, it’s time to go back to work and earn my money. Happy Friday afternoon.