July 14, 2011

Amazon Takes on California

AMAZON, THE world's largest online merchant, has an ambitious and far-reaching new agenda: it wants to rewrite tax policy for the Internet era.

Amazon said this week that it would push a voter initiative in California that could eliminate sales tax for virtual sellers with only a modest physical presence in the state. Its move instantly escalated the company's long-running battle with many states over collecting sales tax, taking the question directly to voters. And it has sharply intensified its dispute with physical retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and Target, which have vowed to fight the measure.

Some political science and business professors say the conflict could take on the polarizing nature of Proposition 13, a decades-old referendum that limited property tax increases and remains a lightning rod in the state. Political experts say Amazon's proposed referendum is likely to gather signatures necessary to appear on the ballot as early as next February.

July 13, 2011

The Mobile Way to Biz

AS THE article posted on ReadWriteWeb.com said, "It's not exactly breaking news that mobile technologies are changing the way we work and enabling employees to be productive regardless of their location. What's interesting is the pace at which they appear to be doing so.

71% of small businesses report that their employees use mobile technologies to work outside the office, according to a
new survey published by portfolio.com. On the average, these mobile workers get about 50% of their work done outside the office thanks in large part to smart phones and tablets."

At the same time, however, 41% of companies believe that wireless services and apps aren't critical to their business.

Does your agency encourage mobile working?

National French Fry Day

JULY 13th is National French Fry Day.

The average American eats about 29 pounds of fries annually!

Polling Place Photo Project

VOLUNTEERS HAVE now submitted more than 6,000 photographs from polling places around the country and now you can view them online.

If you're like most people - at times you will be proud and at other times you will be upset by what you see going on in the photographs.

July 6, 2011

Court of Appeal Rejects Electronic Signatures on Petitions in California

REMEMBER THE electronic signatures case? That's the case where a Redwood Shores man signed a ballot initiative petition (related to Proposition 19, a marijuana legalization initiative) with an electronic signature and I rejected the signature based on an interpretation of California Election law.

The electronic signature matter was first heard in the San Mateo County Superior Court. Judge George Miram rejected the idea that the signature was legal and the case subsequently went to the 1st District Court of Appeals in San Francisco and was heard again on May 10.

three-judge panel ruled on July 1 that the state elections code doesn't allow electronic signatures on petitions. (Read the court's opinion here).

The panel said it would be up to the Legislature to decide on whether to change the law. Justice Sandra Margulies wrote, "The Legislature did not anticipate the use of electronic signatures when it drafted the statue and has since taken no action that can be construed as approving them for this purpose."

"The Legislature...is the proper body to determine whether and how to incorporate this technology, with its new risks and equal promise, into the process of initiative endorsement," the court said.

The electronic signatures was signed by hand on the screen of an iPhone, using software developed by
Verafirma, a Silicon Valley startup.

You might recall that Proposition 19 got onto the state ballot without the rejected electronic signature but was rejected by voters on November 2, 1010 - the date of the General Gubernatorial election.

Stay tuned - the electronic signature question may now head to the US Supreme Court.