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Please be aware that fair and even heated arguments are desired, but no
one wants legal battles. You will be writing under the laws of Mexico and
Guanajuato so be aware of legal and political considerations.
The following articles on gringo politics in SMA are listed on
this page, in this order:
Voting registration for the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election
by Jon Sievert|
thoughts about Phil Maher by Sue Reid
| Memories of Col. Phil
Maher by Janice and Fred Edison|
|Biblioteca election results, by Teddy
27, 2004 Absentee Voting registration for the 2004 U.S. Presidential
Election by Jon Sievert
November’s U.S. Presidential
election is shaping up as the most passionate and volatile in memory.
Candidates from both major parties are already in full campaign mode months
before the nominating conventions, and pundits are predicting a record
turnout at the voting booth. With poll’s indicating that 2004 election
will be very close, overseas absentee voting may well provide the deciding
margin just as it arguably did in 2000.
Do you want to vote, but don’t
know how to apply for an absentee ballot, or if you’re even eligible? You
can find all the answers, along with links to the form and instructions for
applying, at www.absentees.org,
a web site run by Absentee Voter Assistance, a non-partisan organization
based in San Miguel de Allende that’s dedicated to helping Americans
living in Mexico request a ballot.
In most cases, you can register
to vote no matter how long you’ve lived overseas, even if you have no
remaining connection to a state. When you apply for an absentee ballot from
the county and state where you last resided, you are automatically
re-registered. Filling out the application form is a fairly straightforward
process using instructions specific to your state.
Links to the Federal Voting Assistance
Program (FVAP) web site allow you to download the Online Federal Post Card
Application and State-by-State Instructions in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.
Once opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can fill out the application online
and print it out, or you can print it blank and fill it in by hand. If you
choose to fill it in by hand, take your time, print very legibly, and double
check your work. If you make a mistake, start over with a new form. Country
registrars who process the applications are quick to reject those that are
illegible, incomplete, unsigned, or otherwise unacceptable.
Note that this specific form may
be used to request an absentee ballot only if you live outside the United
States. Therefore, it you want the acknowledgement card and ballot sent to
the U.S. address of a private mail service that forwards your mail to
Mexico, the State Department recommends that you put your actual Mexican
address in the Item 7 “Remarks” box, to show that you actually are a
Once the form is completed, mail
the application to the elections office in
the state and county where you are applying. State instructions not
only specify what information is required, but also provide the address to
send the application. La Conexión (Aldama #3) will mail the card at no
cost, even if you do not have an account there. Many states allow faxing of
voting materials. If yours does, the state instructions provide fax numbers
and directions. If all goes well, you will receive your ballot a few weeks
before the election.
If you would like help filling
out the form, AVA has a table in the Jardin every Tuesday morning, where
trained volunteers will walk you through the process. You can also
obtain the federal post card application from the U.S. Consular Agency at
Hernández Macías #72.
If voting is important to you,
don’t wait to request your ballot. Indications are that absentee balloting
by overseas Americans throughout the world will rise sharply this year.
Apply now, and make sure your vote is heard.
April 4, 2004 Some
thoughts about Phil Maher by Sue Reid
Although I knew it was coming, I read the
announcement that Col Mahel wrote about retiring. I sincerely hope this
community appreciates and will honor this man in July. Since 1972 he has
served San Miguel starting and helping in so many areas that it is hard
to even list. I also read the ad for a replacement...gee how are we going to
replace him? I am amused at the ad saying 32 hours a week. How many times
have I seen Phil's car there on weekends and holidays...it's more a 24 hour
a day job with your wife helping. Visits to the Americans in jail all over
this area, investigating deaths, having to identify people, helping runaway
kids etc. etc. etc. It might be nice if you can the next time you see him to
say "Thanks Phil" as we are sure going to miss him BIGTIME!
April 4, 2004 Memories of Col. Phil
Maher by Janice and Fred Edison
We all knew the day was coming and sure
enough it is...on July 4th, 2004. Nineteen years ago on the same date,
Phil Maher opened our first Consular Agency here in San Miguel de
Allende. This is one man I know who should write a book, however, I have
heard that he has shredded his own personal notes and files. I cannot
begin to imagine what all he has seen and heard in nineteen years of service
to the foreign community. When I think of people that have gone
"beyond the call of duty", Phil, is the first person that comes to
mind. When a U. S. citizen dies here, he is the first to be
notified. He notifies the family and goes in and seals the house until
the family arrives. When U. S. citizens get put in jail here he is the
first to be notified. He said of all the problems he deals with that the
saddest is imprisoned Americans. I have often heard him say ....learn
the laws of this Country and abide by them or there is nothing I can do to
help you. There is only a river between us, but I can assure you we are
worlds apart. I often remind visitors that this is a country of
Napoleonic law and you are guilty until proven innocent. That is really
a tongue twister for most of us gringos. Every week Phil and his wife
Muriel go visit imprisoned Americans and take them gifts of toothpaste,
toothbrushes, soap, books, food and other items we cannot imagine living
without. This is not part of Phil's job or even a requirement...just
what he does on his own time to help his fellow Americans. This man has
no free time except when he plays his weekly golf game with his Mexican
friends, the Judge, the Mayor, and the head of Immigration. I think that
this is where most of the problems are solved. In fact, I have no doubt!
These are his best friends and they have immense respect for each other.
In the rest of his "free time" you will find him at our local
hospital visiting the sick and attending the hospital board meetings.
His contributions to this community would be impossible to count. This
is one man who lives by the Boy Scout oath! He deals with murders,
runaways, kidnappings, abuse, and the destitute....not Mexicans....U. S.
citizens. In the rest of his spare time he "Feeds the Hungry"
here in San Miguel, a program set up to feed those who have nothing to eat
nor the money to buy food. We do not have food stamps in this country...
we have Phil and others like him who have set up these feeding kitchens.
In our years here I have made frequent visits to Phil's office. Just
last week I had him notarize papers for me, as his signature and seal
are the only legal notary for U.S. citizens who live in San Miguel. He
has performed other duties for us...my most famous case being the
"fingernail case". In 1992 I walked in to a "Nail
Salon" to have my acrylic nails repaired. I was
quoted one hundred pesos by a young girl from California who owned the Salon.
When she finished my nails I handed her one hundred pesos only to be informed
that it was one hundred dollars (U. S. dollars)! I said something
like...you've got to be kidding!!! She assured me she was not
kidding...so I gave her one hundred pesos and told her I would return with the
rest of the money. We were staying at Cynthia and Gene Mason's house on
Aldama and I ran home to tell Fred what had happened. We decided
this was a case of "gringa ripping off gringa", not uncommon here!
About an hour later the policia appeared at the front door with a
summons for me to appear in court to pay this girl! That was the first
time I entered Phil's office! I remember he laughed out loud when I told
him what had happened and told me to come back to his office on my appointed
court date and that he would go with me to court! A week later I
appeared before Phil's friend the Mexican Judge! Phil advised me to let
him do all the "talking"! Between them, they decided that it
costs less than $100.00 to get your teeth fixed here, much less your false
fingernails! They both laughed out loud and we left. To this day
when I see the Judge on the streets I say hello! A few weeks later
the girl from California was on her way back home. This was not her
first trip to court with another "gringa". Apparently,
her prey, were other gringas! I was told a long time ago that the people
to watch out for here were my fellow Americanos...and this was definitely the
case with the "fingernail lady"! Another time we ended
up at the Consulate was because we had crossed the bridge in Laredo without
getting a visa or "car permit". This is not
something we are proud of or would suggest others do, but it was at Christmas,
and it was cold and pouring down rain and the line for visa/car permits
wrapped around three city blocks in Nuevo Laredo. People were
standing in the muddy streets with umbrellas. From past experiences it
looked like at least a four hour line to us. So... we made an
instant decision to just "go for it" ! The next hurdle
was getting past the 16K check point , but again we were not stopped at
the check point because it was cold and raining there also! We made it
all the way to SMA without visa/car papers ...we were wetbacks in Mexico!
It was not until after Christmas and we were getting ready to leave here that
we said "oops"! Off to Phil's office again with another stupid
"gringo story". I am sure he has heard them all!
However, he swears the "fingernail episode" was a first!
Within about fifteen minutes Phil had visa/car permits issued from immigration
and we were legally on our way back to Texas. Phil has often said
that the biggest problems he has are between the Americans living here, and
that there is little he can do but mediate, unless they commit a crime.
He has been known to suggest, to what we tag "troublemakers",
that it would be better for them to go back to the states. If they
end up going to jail, there is little he can do but deliver his "care
packages". I cannot imagine the stories that have walked through
his front door in nineteen years of service. Nor can I imagine who is
going to take his place. Phil in another lifetime, before becoming our
Consulate, was a Colonel in the Air Force.....forty two years of government
service. By many he is still called "The Colonel".
I call him "The Godfather". I cannot begin to tell you how
much we are all going to miss visiting with Phil at his big desk , where
he has solved our problems for nineteen years! I do not know of a
man or woman who could fill his huaraches! I assume that the notes on my
"Nail Salon" case have also gone through the shredder, but not the
shredder in my memories! Phil, adios does not mean goodbye! We
will be there among the many you have helped and cared for on the Fourth of
July to wish you well on what I hear is your third career retirement. I
think your fourth career should be writing your memoirs....I know the shredder
did not get it all!
Biblioteca election results, by Teddy Alten, March 6, 2004
Mary Ann Ramirez 90
William Bennett 146
Vice President: David Bossman 79 Brian Carrahar 155
Graciela Loyola 119
Beverly Rosengren 110
Ali Zerriffi 180
Jerry Frankel 191
Directors at Large:
Maria Paz Espino del Castillo 172
Jose Trinidad Lanz Cardenas
241 ballots were cast
The race for treasurer was very close - a
difference of only nine votes. However, Bennett and Carrahar chalked up impressive victories. Five
positions were uncontested with a yes/no option. The figures given for
those represent the number of yes votes.
Objectives of this page:
1- to allow the full expression of ideas, criticism, suggestions,
endorsements, etc., whenever desirable, for any political contest that effects
almost only the local expatriate community. In past contests, much of this
occurred behind closed doors and in whispered gossip. This page is an
attempt to keep things cleaner by exposing more of the discussion to the light of
public scrutiny. Therefore, for any contested
local election (or even an individual office within the election), we will
provide space for all sides. We believe that yelling and screaming out in
the open (thereby enabling all parties to defend themselves) is better than malicious
and hidden gossip that goes undetected until it is too late to re-but it.
providing separate departments for each election, we will segregate those who would be heard from those who do not want
to hear it.
2- this section will contain all writings regarding "local
non-Mexican politics" that meet the
criteria described in Instructions .
All notices will be published in the date order of receipt, with the latest
notices on top (the oldest nearer the bottom). The publisher reserves the
right to segregate (on a separate, but linked, page) notices that pertain to a
specific and highly-contested election) so that people who wish to read about
it, may, and people who wish NOT to read about it, will not have to.