Tahoe Basin residents react to new decisions
Vice President Al Gore’s campaign suffered a pair of stunnig blows Monday, and from Washington, D.C. to South Lake Tahoe, reaction to the two pivotal court rulings appeared as mixed as the types of chads.
“This is excellent news. We’ve been waiting for this,” El Dorado County Republican Central Committee spokesman John Stetzmiller said of a Tallahassee Circuit Court judge’s ruling denying a massive manual recount. Gore’s lawyers filed an appeal to Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s tight 537-vote victory.
“Frankly, I wonder if the presidency is worth all this. The country is so bitterly divided,” El Dorado County Democratic Central Committee spokesman Ron Gobin countered. “Admittedly a lot of options are being foreclosed, and the hope is diminishing with each little ruling.”
Even though the prospects for assuming the presidency have significantly dimmed for Gore, his team urged Democratic lawmakers to stay in the fold a few more days.
“There’s no question. The judge’s ruling is a setback. But I think it’s the right thing to do to pursue the hand recounts,” U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Monday.
Her spokesman Jim Hock assured constituents that although the options are running out for the Democratic candidate, the California senator supports his efforts.
From Nevada, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid – a Democrat – also pledged his continued support, almost thankful the U.S. Supreme Court tossed the presidential hand-recount case on Monday back to the Florida Supreme Court, declaring the state court’s reasoning in extending a deadline for counting votes was unclear.
“I hope the Florida Supreme Court will allow a hand count of the ballots to continue. Americans need to believe that every vote counts, and that every voice has been heard. It is the only way to protect our democracy and ensure we have confidence in the White House during the next administration,” Reid said in an issued statement.
The education and assurance that each vote counts is what South Lake Tahoe resident Peggy Lease, who voted for Bush Nov. 7, hopes the American public got out of the whole process. She believes the process has been wrapped up with these historic landmark rulings.
“I think it’s a wonderful education in how the system works. I think that people didn’t care (before), and therefore, it made it easy to say my vote doesn’t count,” Lease said, one of many people coming out of the main post office Monday afternoon.
In his heart, South Shore resident Gerald Tice feels the contest is over too. To him, the electoral college process works, admitting certain mistakes may have been made, but he places his faith in the machine counts, not handcounts.
U.S. Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls in Tallahassee rejected Gore’s request for a manual recount of thousands of contested ballot in Florida’s presidential election and refused the candidate’s request to overturn Bush’s certified statewide victory.
“The fact is, Gore lost. This whole charade is absolutely disgusting,” said Tice, who cast his vote for Bush.
Those South Shore residents who voted for Gore were split on their opinions.
“I don’t even care. I just want a president,” Salvadore Casarez said.
He’s said he’s not disappointed. He said he’s convinced his candidate made a good showing in the race, but he wants some closure to the whole ordeal.
It was over for Casarez once the Florida Secretary of State certified Bush as the winner.
“There’s no reason to be a sore loser,” he said. “He ought to be a man and say all right and just admit to his defeat.”
Joyce Gibbons, of South Lake, shared a completely opposite take on the Florida certification.
“I feel like they should have done the whole damn state over again. It’s had so many problems,” Gibbons said.
The confusion to the presidential election stalemate was summed up on a Toyota truck cruising down U.S. Highway 50 Monday afternoon. Above its Florida license plates, a bumper sticker read: “Jimmy Buffett for president.”
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