Top of the Ticket

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Clipped from the SAMPLE ballot in my home jurisdiction of Santa Clara County, Calif.

My choices in this state for the next President of these United States on Nov. 8 (or before, if I choose to vote early):

Gloria La Riva, Peace and Freedom Party – This party is farther to the left than the solidly progressive Green Party. La Riva makes Jill Stein look like Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, GOP – [sigh] Where do I start? You know what, I won’t. Next ticket…

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party – While Johnson has the right idea on some issues, he has some misguided views or has waffled on others. If Bill Weld was at the top of this ticket, I would have given this team greater consideration.

Jill Stein, Green Party – I was for her, albeit reluctantly, as she is closer to being a progressive as Bernie Sanders than Hillary. While I uneasily put up with Dr. Stein’s reluctance to fully denounce people who are against mandatory vaccinations and her openness to clinging to certain nutty conspiracy theories on a variety of issues, there came a point where I could no longer reasonably support her.

Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party – She’s always been a strong, well-qualified candidate. My interest in her declined upon Sanders’ entry into the race and after learning about her insufficiently progressive credentials. My distaste for her became even more pronounced when the Democratic National Committee, in those leaked emails from Wikileaks, revealed how the party establishment was unsurprisingly in the tank for Clinton while trying to undermine the Vermont senator. I don’t care that much about the emails, Benghazi and a bunch of other issues surrounding her like the Right does. Some of them are problems in their own ways but she has settled those issues in various ways. Still, I’m unsure about throwing my support around her just yet.

______________ (write-in candidate) – The California Secretary of State says I have these five options for this line. It’s good to see Bernie as a legitimate choice although it was not organized by the senator himself. Even if I did write in Bernie, he has virtually no chance of winning. In the off-chance he did win this and enough of other states to receive at least 270 electoral votes, there’s no guarantee he will even accept the offer to serve as the 45th President of these United States.

I didn’t struggle this much with the down-ballot races and propositions. Never have I struggled much about voting for anyone of any level since I began voting in 2008. You can easily deduct who I might gravitate toward at the top of the ticket but even I’m still not sure if it is a done deal just yet. I also know there are at least two candidates I definitely will not be voting for. I know, I live in a solid blue state so it doesn’t matter what I think.

I’ll be glad when it’s finally Nov. 9.

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Expectations for 2016

Happy New Year, America!

Each year, I set expectations instead of resolutions. I find resolutions too imposing while expectations allow me to focus on things I must achieve without hard deadlines or benchmarks. I feel expectations make me less inclined to abandon important goals.

Here are a few major things I expect for 2016…

Professional development – With my career back on track since last April, my focus has since shifted to further developing as a competent professional in the business of marketing and transportation. My expectation is to continue learning and soliciting feedback from my superiors about my performance as a marketing coordinator for a civil engineering firm. That way, I can always be in the know regarding how I can stay at the top of my game.

2016 also marks my final year of graduate school. My capstone semester has already begun — expected to be the most arduous time period of the Master of Science in Transportation Management program at San Jose State University. I will participate in the June convocation ceremony before returning in October to finish out my 10th and final course in this nearly three-year-long program. With this, I hope to further develop as a professional by becoming a part of a future generation of transportation managers — public affairs, community relations or even contracts administration all being top in mind. The possibilities are wide reaching.

Family relationships – Relationships with my relatives have remained stable but mildly troubling at times. Recent developments suggest I need more work in this area.

I’ve previously mentioned in this space about the complicated relationship with my biological mother, who I am still getting to know after a 15-year-long separation lasting much of my childhood. As much as I’m still unsure about whether a relationship can ever be reestablished, I’m still open to making it work to the extent possible.

My expectation this year is to at least ramp up the level of communication with my mother. Although I always maintained respect for my mother as a human being, I admit I fell short in this area in the last few years. Treating my mother with greater respect is an equally important objective I have for this year.

Healthy living – I gained about 15 to 20 pounds over the eight months I’ve been at my current job. When a weight gain is that substantial, it warrants attention.

As I regularly do, I plan to continue assessing my eating habits and identify areas where changes are needed. I expect to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet while curtailing meat consumption in certain respects. I also expect to look into curtailing overall consumption of sweets. All of these are considered herculean tasks at best but I’m still committed to effecting these changes, little by little.

Although not the most rigorous in nature, it just happens that I get at least some workout nearly every day. I still attend vinyasa yoga classes at a local yoga studio every Wednesday nights since late July. I also extensively walk for part of my commute to and from work each day. My expectation on this front is to maintain these minimum levels of workout regimens with gradual plans to incorporate home yoga practices, complementing my Wednesday night classes.

For this new year, I’m looking forward to the following:

Driving – This could finally be that year when I earn a driver’s license. Even after that happens, I don’t plan on getting my own car anytime soon nor driving as much. Having grown up with transit, I make the system work for me. It certainly works here in Santa Clara County with gaps easily filled by Uber and Lyft.

End of grad school – Three courses left — two for this capstone semester and one in the latter half of fall semester. I won’t rule out pursuing another degree or certification down the line.

Trips – I’m headed to Phoenix later this month while I have revisits to Southern California confirmed for March and June. If I can make it happen, Dallas and Houston are top in mind while Kansas City – St. Louis is a runner-up for consideration.

Among others – The miscellaneous things still rule in their own ways. I’m looking forward to the Ellie Goulding concert at the SAP Center in San Jose this April — two days after my 27th birthday. Also, I have plans to attend the grand opening of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension this March and Relay for Life in Mission Viejo in June. I’m sure there’s more as I go along.

What are your expectations for 2015? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you.