Friday, October 8, 2010

Doing my civic duties

Amazing raceMy daughter sent me a video clip from the Amazing Race, a US television show in which pairs of contestants race around the world, competing for 1 million dollars.  Along the way, there are various detours and challenges, and, in this one, a woman trying to slingshot a watermelon got hit in the face.  She’s okay, but it’s pretty brutal  (…and it kind of fit my experiences this week)

In any case,  my daughter wants us to sign up for the next race, since she’s turning 21 next month and becomes eligible.  She’s suffered through years of me pointing at the TV chirping “I’ve been there”, and thinks she can cash in on the experience.

She ‘s also worried that my citizenship might be an issue.  My son is advancing his security clearance and has the same concern as authorities dig into family background (Really, I can explain that…).

No worries.  In fact, I got my US Voter’s packet and my IND letter *today*.

120_justitieThe IND letter renews my permit for a fourth year as a Dutch resident / entrepreneur.  Next time, it’s permanent.  But, as I’ve explained to the kid-lets, neither the verblijfsdocument nor the British Tier 1 mean that I gave up US citizenship.  It only says that I have (renewable) leave to stay past 3 months, to live here, and to work (and to pay taxes and health insurance premiums).

Honestly, I don’t expect to ever trade citizenship.  I still keep a US point of residence, my driver’s license, pay taxes, and vote in local elections.

Wa State Votor's PamphletIn that spirit, I settled into filling out my ballot this morning.  Washington, like many US states, allows citizen and legislative initiatives to be put to a vote, and it always makes for an interesting barometer of the times.  This year, economics outweigh social issues.

Should the process for raising taxes be changed to require 2/3 vote of the legislature or a majority of citizens approving?

Should the worker-paid share of health insurance premiums be eliminated?

Should sales taxes be taken off candy and bottled water? 

Should there be an income tax on people making over $200,000  per year?

Should the state monopoly of liquor sales be abolished? And should state-owned liquor stores be closed?

Should we deny bail to criminals facing life in prison?

Should we put energy-efficient improvements in public buildings and schools?

It’s a good crop of questions; I’m looking forward to seeing what people say about them.

The_Amazing_RacesmallThen I can get down to the serious business of applying for the Amazing Race:

Describe your perfect day.

If someone you are competing with unknowingly drops their plane ticket in front off you, what would you do?

Are there any countries you would not travel to?

What is your opinion of foreigners?

What famous person reminds you of yourself?

Can you swim?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure of your politics, but here are some good websites on the initiatives. I'm in Seattle myself.

Non-partisan guide:
http://www.livingvotersguide.org/

Progressive voters' guide:
http://waballotguide.com/

I personally tend to agree with the progressive voters' guide. But, that's just me.

Chris V

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks, Chris -- Thanks for the links, they especially helped with understanding the judicial candidates. I am liberal / progressive: daily life among the Dutch helps me to see areas where we might learn and do better (and vice versa). The ballot is sent.

tay said...

Have you considered dual nationality? (I have US and NL passports) It is tricky but possible. The costs are finite,work and residence allowed in europe and US. Taxes paid in country of work and residence.

Dave Hampton said...

Hi, Tay; heard of it, but don't know much about it. I'll need to ask my immigration attorney? Alternatively, the Tier 1 Brit-visa has some fast-track avenue to a passport if you stay with it

I'm not sure whether any dual carries right to work and settle throughout the EU though? That would be the biggest plus, where my current residence permits are very country specific.

tay said...

Hi Dave,

Dutch nationals are allowed to work and live within the EU community.