State of Etowah County Political Climate: A focus on Gadsden, AL

Today we continue our series around understanding the political climate that exists within, and around, Etowah county Alabama. The first part of this series can be found here: State of Etowah County Political Climate: U.S. and State Representatives.

GadsdenCity_Et_AL

In the first post of this series we dove into the existing U.S. and Alabama state level elected officials. Specifically relating to the U.S. Congress and Alabama State Congress. From that post you can see that this area has long been dominated by republicans. Now let us look into what we can discover when diving into the Etowah county seat, Gadsden, AL.

CityGadsdenDist

The above image comes from the following City of Gadsden, AL resource. 

In looking at the City of Gadsden itself there are several elected offices we can focus on. This post will focus specifically on the city of Gadsden districts as well as the corresponding city council members and seats. From the above image you can see that the City of Gadsden is split into 7 districts. Each district is then represented on the council by an elected council member.

The following list the current administration, along with links of maps to the specific district that each council member represents.:

The above list, stating each council member name and district map link, also list the year in which that member was first elected. This puts Mr. Bob Echols, the senior ranking member having been serving since 1986. Bob serves the council as the current ‘President Pro Tempore‘. From here we can also see there are three junior ranking members. This is based on each being elected in the past election cycle and therefore serving their freshman term as council members. The city of Gadsden term length if 4 years. Further there are no set term limits relating to council members and elections.

It is important to note here that when running for municipality level elections, declaring a party is not required. Therefore we don’t have any official way of establishing from which party each council member hails from.

That stated LibertyData.blog is working on demographic analysis for Etowah county. Part of this dive, and through the use of our analytical tools, we will be able to infer for each district which party is more favored. This then will allow us, through a ranked probability, suggest what each council members party affiliation most likely is.

As mentioned is previous post, the goal here is to arm ourselves with knowledge of the current “as-is” political environment we find ourselves in. This includes understanding the demographics and the “Who’s” that make up the 100k+ residents that call Etowah County Alabama home. Therefore the current focus for this series is set to achieve just that.

I want to close this post out with a preview to the next focus which shall be contained within this on-going series. To set the stage lets review the focus thus far. It has been heavily on understanding the legislative branches of elected officials at the national, state and local levels that represent Etowah county and its residents. The major reason for this focus around the legislative branch of government is simply because this is the branch in which laws, policies and ordinances are crafted and put into place. Therefore in order to impact policy that affects Etowah county these elected positions need to be influenced, or ran, from a Libertarian platform.

With this stated then, and having now an introduction to the legislative representatives for Etowah county and the county seat of Gadsden, we can turn our minds towards the residents of this great county which we call home. The next post in this series will then start to take you down a path of understanding the ‘who’ in Etowah county. Powered by registration and demographic data a more complete political map will be crafted. This map then can be used to help lead the Libertarian party into becoming a greater influence within Etowah county and the cities contained therein. Further being able to start a focus as well towards the Alabama State Senate and House of representatives.

For those interested the following are resources that you might find useful in order to complete your knowledge at this focus for the city of Gadsden, AL and its council members.

 

500px-GadsdenAL_Aerial

J. Brandon George, 7/25/2017 – Gadsden, AL.

Libertarian weekly re-cap: #SorryNotSorry, bloody socialism & 7-out-of-10 agree

Welcome back dear readers to this weeks Libertarian weekly re-cap post. This is the second post in this on-going weekly series in which we shall dive into the past weeks hot topics as it relates to the realm of Libertarian and personal liberty.

In summary this weeks most highly engaged topics are listed below in order ranked order:

  • #SorryNotSorry
  • Bloody Socialism 
  • 7-out-of-10 agree

Based upon our use of Microsoft Azure Cloud services and Power BI, we have collected and analyzed the sentiment and engagement relating to the above topics. With this understanding let us now dive into the topics themselves and look at further interesting insights and trends.

#SorryNotSorry

This weeks most highly engaged topic came from the @LPNational decree this past Friday. Specifically pointing to the fact of why the Libertarian Party even exit. The promotion and establishment of personal liberty for all! In this, then the popular hashtag #SorryNotSorry says it all.

Bloody Socialism

The second highest engaged topic for this past week was a fair warning to the younger generations making their ranks into adulthood. This specific warning is from the shadow cast by socialism dark history. This is rooted in an article that was recently penned by TheFederalist.com.

7-out-of-10 agree

The final topic we uncovered as coming into the third highest engaged topic centers around the desire and need for a valid third party option within U.S. general elections. Recent polling reveals that 7 out of 10 registered voters agree that there should be a choice beyond the failed two party system. Without further ado:

Following from the above summarized hot topics let us know dive a little bit into the insights and metrics that power these findings. This means then we are ready to review the overall sentiment for the week. In regards to the larger sentiment, this ranking it centered around the term Libertarian. Based on all the activity captured during this weeks events, the average sentiment for this week it: 0.23

 

Avg_Sentiment_07212017

Neutral Face

As explained in our first post, this scoring is power by Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and specifically cognitive services. You can learn more here.

We see then the balance of sentiment has risen from the previous weeks of 0.19. With the amount of activity that is being captured we believe that the average weekly sentiment will most likely stay within the boundaries of the neutral ranking. That are sub-topics that rank very positive and further very negative. Each though combine for the score you see above.

In this weeks re-cap, I want to spend a little time comparing the engagement, topics and trending insights as it relates to tweets for the @LPNational, @LPAlabama and @LibertyEtowah.

The @LPNational is the United States National Level Twitter account. It is the part of the branding and voice at the national level for the party. With it, let us look at this past week with how the account is used in order to engage with posting tweets, articles and helpful information.

LPNational_Tweets and Avg Engagements

Looking at the above what you see is a chart from our analytics that show, by day number of tweets as well as number of average engagements. This tells a data story of how often the account is active, and how engaged the followers and base is relating to the topics being posted.

The following is a list of detailed numbers that relates to the above chart, by day:

  • July 16th – 7 Post / 51.86 Average Engagements
  • July 17th – 6 Post / 92.33 Average Engagements
  • July 18th – 7 Post / 69.71 Average Engagements
  • July 19th – 6 Post / 98.00 Average Engagements
  • July 20th – 8 Post / 173.00 Average Engagements 

In looking at the above summarized details the twitter account for @LPNational has a great social engagement strategy. They post a good amount of tweet per day, staggered across key posting times in a given day. 6.8 post per day average, with 115k followers. So this is a well established social presence. This is why you see such high average engagements of sometimes 100+, with this weeks average at 96.98. This then gives the metric value for (a) “% Engaged” = 93%. (The higher the percentage the better).

This type of social engagement is what the Libertarian Party of Etowah County is striving for. This is further why its important that we engage from @LibertyEtowah with the @LPNational account.

Now lets move from the national level to within our state. Specifically looking at the insights from the @LPAlabama twitter account. The following is a similar chart that was generated based on the traffic.

LPAlabama_Chart

Now from the state level we see a different story compared to the national platform. Before diving further into this, I want to make sure and set that you should expect a drop in engagements coming from one level to another level as it relates to post, engagements and overall activity.

Based on the activity that was recorded for state level platform this was summed up as the week level, due to lack of daily activity.:

  • Week of July 16th – 20th – 2 Post / 3.00 Average Engagements

Several factors can play into why there would be less original activity being generated from the state account. This can include factors of people being out, a low time of activity during July, etc. In looking at this though the state level had a weekly average of 0.4 post per day, and 3.00 average engagement rate for the week. This is with a current listing of 1,087 followers. This then gives the metric value for (a) “% Engaged” = 87%. (The higher the percentage the better).

Now let us move into our local account level, represented by @LibertyEtowah insights for post and engagements. The following is the chart that represents our local activity on twitter.:

LibertyEtowah_Chart

From the comparison of the national, state and local level you can see for this past week we have had a steady release of post and driving engagements. Having just started our social media engagement strategy, and expanding it over the next weeks and months, we are off to a great start.

Here is the details behind the chart above.:

  • July 16th – 12 Post / 2.00 Average Engagements
  • July 17th – 1 Post / 7.00 Average Engagements
  • July 18th – 1 Post / 2.00 Average Engagements
  • July 19th – 2 Post / 5.50 Average Engagements
  • July 20th – 1 Post / 2.00 Average Engagements

Our average post per day for this past week is set then at 3.4 post per day, with average engagement for the week settling in at 3.7 engagement rate. At the writing of this post, we sit at just 23 followers. This then gives the metric value for (a) “% Engaged” = 108%. (The higher the percentage the better).

The fact that we have just started, but have a greater than 100% engagement rate is actually an amazing thing. Specifically relating to how new the account is and the fact we have a small amount of net followers. That being said, a lot of engagement has come from outside of our direct followers. This is based on having analytics give us popular hashtags, like #AlPolitics and using those to surround our relevant content with.

The goal for successful engagement is keeping that key metric, that KPI of “% Engaged” at 99.9% or higher. If we can maintain that level for % Engaged then we are being relevant, our content and messages are reaches eyes and the point of the platform for social engagement means it is working.

To close this has been an interesting week for the Libertarian party, at all levels. And further from our local chapter we are seeing some amazing growth, which is always encouraging.

Make sure to engage with us! Leave comments, subscribe and join in on the conversation.

J. Brandon George, 07/23/2017 – Gadsden, AL

(a) % Engaged KPI – Note: Formula that represents the “% Engaged” KPI is: ( [Average Engagement Rate for week] – [Average post per day for week] ) / [Average Engagement Rate for week]

Gadsden, AL: Uber need not apply

One of the many goals this blog has is to feature topics that are important to the Libertarian party and local policies that affect us all. To that end, this post is centered around the recent move by the city of Gadsden in how they define and license “Transportation Network Companies” (TNC’s).

This is the legal term used to define and therefore describe services like Uber, Lyft, etc. As the legal definition is set forth from the June 26th, 2017 article IV – Transportation Services Company addition to the city code of ordinances. To quote:

Transportation network company or TNC means a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity that only uses a digital network to connect TNC riders to TNC drivers who provide TNC services. A TNC shall not be deemed to control, direct or manage the personal vehicles or TNC drivers that connect to its digital network, except where agreed to by written contract. The vehicles used to provide TNC services are not taxicabs. TNCs are not motor carriers, express companies, utilities, common carriers, for-hire vehicles, contract carriers, transportation companies, (pursuant to the Code of Ala., 1975, Title 37) or taxicab or limousine services.

TNC services means the provision of transportation by a driver to a rider, beginning when a driver accepts a ride requested by a rider through a digital network controlled by a TNC, continuing while the driver transports a requesting rider, and ending when the last requesting rider departs from the TNC vehicle.

Having set forth this definition of TNC now we can start to see the wonderful services appear for use within our great city correct? Well not so fast there my friend. This now then sets the tone for anyone wanting to work, part of full time for say Uber or Lyft, or any other “TNC” first they must obtain a license from the City of Gadsden.

Sec. 126-146. – License required.

No person, firm or corporation shall operate a TNC within the city without first obtaining a license from the city.

(Ord. No. O-11-17, § 1, 5-9-2017)

Wonderful! More government oversight in order to protect the people from themselves. Really this is a tax on anyone that would dare to try and enable themselves to participate in a free market concept like Uber, using their own car that they have already had to pay fees / license for: Drivers License, Tag, Insurance, Tax on their car.

All of this isn’t good enough, now to use your car in order to participate in a service like Uber, you have to pay another license fee in order to establish with the city of Gadsden that your an official TNC driver.

This is also not the end of our story, the plot thickens as we dive deeper into the new city ordinance. For example, relating to the general liability insurance that is required to exist for a TNC.

Each TNC shall carry general liability insurance that provides for at least $1,000,000.00 for claims against the TNC arising out of its operations. The City of Gadsden shall be named as an additional insured.

Of course the city of Gadsden should be thrown into the insurance claim, if any issues ever took place with a TNC driver rendering services. Why is this needed?

 

GadsenFailedUber

As you can see from the above search on uber.com, Gadsden, AL is not a valid city in which Uber services can be rendered. Nor does it seem it will ever be the case based now on the current ordinance that has been set forth.

More government is the answer right? We need government to protect us from ourselves correct? Hopefully you dear reader can understand my sarcasm in this paragraph and understand I do not believe this is the best course of action for our city. We should be welcoming and enabling free market concepts like Uber, instead of trying to make more money at the city level and control it.

One final nod on this subject that is worth noting hails from Sec. 126-162. – Government owned transportation companies. What is this? Oh here is an exception to this ordinance, which states:

Transportation companies owned or operated by a municipality, a county government, the state of Alabama or the federal government shall be exempt from the provisions of this article.

(Ord. No. O-11-17, § 1, 5-9-2017)

Wow! So if a TNC or transportation company is owned by any level of government, then these rules do not apply to said entity, at all. Well hot damn! Imagine that would be the case. Not only does this ordinance crush the reality of bringing in such services as uber and lyft to Etowah county and specifically Gadsden it also actually encourages government owned versions of a TNC. Making them exceptions to these rules.

To complete this post then, and in short, Uber and other services will not exist in the city of Gadsden anytime soon. Through these new ordinances such TNC companies will not operate and agree to such unneeded license requirements by a municipality.  One would hope that the City of Gadsden could learn from other cities in which Uber is successful. Like Birmingham, AL for one. Here is a direct link to Uber’s resource page for how easy it is to get started as an Uber drive in Birmingham: Uber.com driving in Birmingham, AL.

If this is not a valid example in how Government is over stepping it point of existence, and further halting progress for free market societies then I don’t know what is. As a Libertarian this type of government control is the opposite of which we seek. We need leadership that will enable businesses vs. trying to stifle and control it.

You can view a full copy of the latest version and changes for the city code of ordinances here: library.municode.com/City_Of_Gadsden_AL

State of the Etowah county political environment: U.S. and State Representatives

Here at LibertyData.blog, one of the areas in which we will strive to cover and help from an educational point-of-view is politics, policy and people within Etowah county. This is the current physical home for myself, Brandon George and therefore this blog.

etowah

In order to help promote the Libertarian party and therefore the ideals of personal liberty, one must arm themselves with knowledge. This always equates to power. Now this does not mean to infer a context of control. With the penning of the word power, the take away point here as to be implied situates itself with the focus of personal. Meaning to empower each of you, and the Etowah county Libertarian party so as to enable correct growth and ability to accurately share useful information among ourselves and those we wish to have a positive impact on.

We are all aware that misinformation is a tool used by many. Corporations and governments alike. Through the use of the internet, too many people these days fall prey to false information. Perpetuated false news and the alike, either on purpose or through sheer ignorance of a topic. A lot of us have bear witness to the use of said falsehoods to help justify a point from one or many people. To give proof, and therefore to win an argument or to close on a point. Again this use of disinformation at times is even done with the knowledge that the proof is false, but blind faith to a specific persona, belief or point removes the need for the person to even admit such things.

Further such people will even proceed to establish a “straw man fallacy”, in order to remove questions about the present evidence as being false to avoid within themselves the acknowledgement of such an issue.

With the above now stated, I return to the point of education and knowledge. Therefore this blog will also post as part of its different series and topics specific information that will arm us with details and helpful insights related to the area in which myself, my family and this blog currently calls home.

As the title implies then we need to understand the current state of the political climate in which Etowahians’ find themselves currently living. In order to understand that we need to then have an idea of whom represents this area within the U.S. Senate, House, State Senate and House and from there we can dive further with future post to break down the districts, cities and more.

First then let us start with the whom represents us with the U.S. State and House of Representatives.:

U.S. Senate & House Representatives (As of 7/16/2017)

Etowah county, being part of the great state of Alabama is represented in the U.S. senate by both Richard Shelby (R) and Luther Strange (R).

StateSenators_7162017

Find out more here: www.GovTrack.us

Further as we move into the the U.S house or Representatives, Etowah county and its residents are represented in the congressional district of “AL 4”. This then means we are currently represented by congressman Robert Aderholt.

US_AL4_7162017

Find out more here: www.GovTrack.us

From this base knowledge then you can see quickly the current U.S. Legislative representation that currently exists for us is strongly Republican. For the past several election cycles Republicans have had a strong hold on our area relating to the U.S. legislative branch.

State of Alabama Senate & House Representatives (As of 7/16/2017)

Moving towards the state level of government, the current climate we found ourselves in is very similar to that of the federal level. Mostly dominated by Republicans with a single exception. With that lets dive into the details.:

For state Senate Etowah is housed within Senate District 10. The current State Senator that represents our interest in the state congressional decisions is Phillip W. (“Phil”) Williams.

StateSenate_PhilWillams

Find out more here: www.legislature.state.al.us

Moving now into the state of Alabama House of Representatives, the residents of Etowah county are broken up into three distinct districts. These are: “D28, D29 and D30”.  Each of these districts are then represented by the following:

  • D28 = Craig Ford (D)
  • D29 = Becky Nordgren (R)
  • D30 = Mack Butler (R)

Find out more here: www.legislature.state.al.us

StateAL_HouseD282930

As you can see mostly a republican dominated set, except for Mr. Craig Ford whom is a long time Democratic party member.

To close this initial post I want to bring back the focus of why having this information is so important. It is knowledge, understanding what the current “as-is” situation we find ourselves in. This then will allow us to plan and promote people, items and agendas which enable us to craft a better, Libertarian focused, “to-be” future.

LibertyData.blog will continue its educational series so that we enable ourselves to help craft together a more personal liberty enabled future. To that end, if your interested, and want to know more, please read our first post and connect with us! Going Beyond illusion and reaching for real choice!

Finally I would like to give a special thanks to the Etowah County Libertarian Party, which I’m a proud member of. The idea for this post came out of recent questions and conversations from some of the newest members. I encourage everyone to ask questions, be involved and please leave your comments here!

Libertarian Weekly Re-cap: REAL-ID Act, Clean Repeal, Mark West for ARK GOV

As we come to a close for this fine July week, LibertyData.blog is kicking off its weekly re-cap for interesting news, metrics and spotlights from around the web as it related to Libertarians and Liberty!

To summarize the following list, in order of ranked engagements will be covered as part of this post:

  • REAL-ID Act
  • Clean Repeal
  • Mark West for ARK GOV

Based upon LibertyData.blog use of Microsoft Azure and Power BI, we are able to generate insights and sentiment relating to the topics of Libertarians and the pursuit of personal liberty.

REAL-ID Act

With the latest news and impact from the REAL-ID Act, the LP gives thanks on behalf of all the states – nine and counting – that their drivers license is no longer valid for TSA. Now the poor residents of these states have to also travel with a passport. To find out more, check out the following:

Clean Repeal

Another hot topic from this weeks Libertarian focus is Rand Pauls call for a clean repeal as promised. However the LP quickly points out that means placing trust into the GOP. Something I believe most of us snicker and laugh at the thought thereof. This comes in as the second most engaged topic for this week’s recap:

Mark West for ARK GOV

The third most engaged topic for this week around the Libertarian waterhole circles around Mark West bid for for Arkansas Governor in 2018. Mark ran a awesome campaign for U.S. House as a Libertarian. Getting someone for the LP at the state level anywhere would be a great victory. You can find out more here:

 

From a weekly scale of positive and negative sentiment relating to the topic of Libertarian, overall the score for this weeks report is:

AvgSent_07142017

Neutral Face

Which places this weeks ranking middle of the road. Having a neutral, or balanced sentiment for the conversations that LibertyData.blog mined. As part of the on-going weekly reports LibertyData.blog will keep track of the scores and use this as a metric to get monthly averages. With average monthly sentiment a comparison to the story timelines that influence this value then can be completed that will give insights into trending positive, negative and neutral topics. Further enabling our ability to better engage with people.

To help give an idea and specific examples in what shifts this ranking, the following outliers are listed below. This will showcase sentiment ranking from two ends of the spectrum.

One of the most negative outliers for this weeks score is.:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If you observe the words and phrases that are used in these tweets, you will see why this receive a -1.0. The lowest possible score from a negative side of the sentiment spectrum.

One of the most positive outlier for this weeks score is.:

As you can see from the tweet text, why it ranks so high from a sentiment analysis. This ranked a 1.0, this highest possible positive sentiment that could be scored, relating to Libertarian topic.

Capping off this weeks re-cap report on all things libertarian, the following YouTube video was highly watched and covering topics of interesting and possibly questionable points of view that may push your own. The two things that stand out for me is the concept of libertarian fascism and the concept of personal succession.

Libertarian Fascism & Identity Politics w/ That Guy T

I respect all opinions, but I must say this video really strikes to the problem with the Libertarian Party. It is like a ‘baskin robbins’ choice for what type of libertarian are we this week? The notion of the concept for libertarian fascism, as explained in the video, goes against the core principle of non-aggression. Continue the conversation on this video over at it’s subreddit page: reddit video comments section.

To close you can see the power of mining data from the web and social media can be a powerful tool that helps with creating a data story line in which we Libertarians can engage with. The ultimate goal is to spread information, and show how this aligns with the core values and beliefs of the Libertarian Party.

Finally, have a look at the following interactive report, powered by Microsoft Power BI:

networkwk07142017.jpg

It showcases this weeks mined authors of social media engagement as well as popular hashtags. The authors are in the blue color and the hashtags they engaged with are in the black. You can zoom, in and out, filter by text and get an idea of how the web of engagement builds around specific communities, all based in the Libertarian as the key focus. The report is part of the source that has driven this weeks weekly re-cap.

Want to know more? Interested in the Libertarian Party? Please read our introduction post to find out more and get connected: LibertyData.blog Introduction Post

If you would like to better understand the technology and techniques used to arrive at concepts like sentiment ranking through text analytics, please visit this resource: Machine Learning and Cognitive Services Explained.

P.S. I would not be a Game of Thrones fan without also sharing GoT: Libertarian Edition. Since winter is here, and GoT 7 starts this Sunday! (If you search for GoT in the interactive report above you will see how many people quickly picked up on this video this week.)

Going beyond the illusion and reaching for real choice. (An introduction)

Through the years I have come to develop a view that is centered around personal liberty. This view was shaped through my gained understanding related to the disillusion that is the American political landscape. Watching the lesser of evils prevail each election cycle. Finally coming to the hard truth via this observation, that choice does not exist for American’s in regard to electing leaders or the election process in general.

The trap, the old parties, the two party system has failed America. Yet it has successfully entrenched itself into the American psyche that IT equals choice. This then dear friends is where my reference to disillusion treads forth from. When one can remove the blinders and shake the shackles free,  then one can see for the first time there is no real choice – it two sides of a single coin.

It is an illusion, a falsehood and facade in the fifth degree – black belt – gut kicked, thank you very much and here we go another two or four years of the same. “The old party” then, is now my new adopted term that encompasses that which is named Democrats or Republicans.

Truly I do admire the fact of how well the machine that is  “The old party” (TOP), has so well crafted such a story that the general American populous believes there is no other option. We then find the disappointed, unaware, non-caring slump of the average Joe or Jane selecting one or the other, expecting change but getting the same. The same that has been for the past several decades now, that which has enslaved the average American into the land of lesser evils, whereas evil always wins.

With this in mind, I have set off on a journey now to use the skills that have I obtained over the years to focus upon the Libertarian Party. To help spread this amazing concept of personal liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To advocate real choice, and the the hopes that through such efforts, one person at a time in whom we engage with, will develop a better understanding of the situation as-is. To enable and infer a capacity to go beyond the lairs game for enabling a to-be. The end result desired then: there is a real choice and it exists beyond the two evils.

This blog will therefore contain within it attempts to share insights, data and other topics and coverage that will help in this establishment and continued efforts of this choice. To free data and use it as an asset for story telling concepts that leads one into his or her on capacity to decide for themselves: “Is the Libertarian Party for me? Do I believe in personal liberty and am I ready to remove myself from the illusion and continued election of evil?”

Please visit: LPAlabama.org for Alabama Libertarian Party and further LP.org for the national site. Good reading, good fortune and to the pursuit of liberty at all levels.