Official Disclaimer: I do not claim to hold any past, present, or future patents on any of these ideas. If you want to take this and do it yourself, go right ahead. All I ask is that you give me credit and maybe a couple consulting gigs once you make a pile of money. Seems fair to me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why I want to run for Congress.

Politics... few other subjects can be as interesting and frustrating at the same time. The one thing that frustrates me more than anything else about politics is lobbyists. Their voice has grown to become so much louder than the voice of the people. Their influence outweighs the wishes of citizens. I think it's time for them to be put in check.

I was laying in bed watching coverage of the election last November when I found this idea swirling around my head. As much as I ever have, I felt like the winners didn't even matter. I get the concept of having Senators and Representatives. It's a sensible solution to a very old problem; how do we make democratic decisions on a large scale when there are many citizens geographically separated? But what is their essential duty? We vote for them so that they can act as our proxy in Washington, where they will vote for bills and do politics type stuff. Unfortunately, this additional layer of democracy offers many opportunities for corruption.

How many times have you voted for a politician that you knew very little about besides their party affiliation? I thought so.

Historically, they have played their role simply because there aren't really any other options. We have designated election days where everybody goes and votes, and it is clear what a massive operation and burden this has become for governments. Without using a proxy, it would be a logistical nightmare to hold democratic elections for everything.

And that is exactly what I propose.

Modern day communications are quite a marvel. Look at any popular social networking service, and imagine that it existed during World War II. Everything would have been different. Imagine something like Twitter existing during The American Revolution. It's difficult to imagine exactly how things would have changed, just like it was difficult for our Founding Fathers to imagine what our country would be like centuries into the future.

Despite these advances, the basic structure of our government has never changed (with few exceptions, and always larger). And here lies the reason why I would run for Congress, best explained as follows:

As a representative of the people, I would honor that distinction rather than line my pockets with lobbyist funds. My own personal political beliefs would become irrelevant, as would my party affiliation. I would make available to the constituency a method for them to easily vote on any upcoming House bill. This would come in the form of Internet based technology such as a web page or cell phone app. Based on the outcome of this vote, as Representative, I would subsequently vote how the people in my district wish.

This effectively eliminates the influence of lobbyists as well as inherent drawbacks in using a representative based system. I, the representative, become irrelevant as a voting mechanism. I become a TRUE proxy of the people.

This is a very simplified and idealized description of this idea. I intend to cover more specific facets in future posts.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help make parking not suck

Here's an idea I had a couple years ago living in downtown Denver. Like many cities, the residential parking here totally blows, and one of the major reasons why is because some people simply don't park efficiently.

We've all seen it, when some car is taking up two spots and doesn't leave enough room in front or behind for another vehicle (yet the combined space is enough to fit another car).

Of course, it's not always one person's fault for this. Maybe the car parked there before them messed up the block, or some delivery truck was there earlier and took up 40 feet of parking. Either way, the problem is still here.

The solution is really damn simple. Paint the curbs to outline where a parking spot is, like they do at the grocery store and in many other high traffic parking curbs I have seen (or in lots with parallel spots). Really, Denver, is this that difficult? Parking here is a nightmare and with all the money I've paid to you guys in tickets over the years, I could have painted several blocks already.