Monday, June 16, 2014

Day 1 at GA

Friday -  Jun 13th

After a 5 1/2 hour trip from Cannoli, PA, we arrived at Detroit.  The first issue was trying to figure out where you pull in to unload your car at the hotel.    Once that was discovered, we had to wait until 3PM as that was the scheduled check-in time.    OK, we got to the room, got the size bed we wanted, but then discovered if I wanted a tub or a larger shower, I should have asked for that too.

Oh yeah, one more thing.   To those who are interior designers/decorators ... it is NOT a good idea to put a clear glass window in the door to the bathroom.   I don't care if the glass is wavy or is extruded to look like glass piping, you can still see through it.     I have a thing about privacy when I'm, um, on the throne.   That said, the room was "OK", could have had more drawer space, and a fridge.  

Arrived at COBO Hall amidst the hustle and bustle of hundreds of Presbyterians.   There are people of all ages here, however most of those I've seen are a bit older.    One lady I met in the elevator at the hotel was overwhelmed with it all, and she hadn't even gone over to the COBO center to register yet, it was her first GA.    It appeared that it may have been her first trip anywhere without family.  

Got checked in at the registration table, and went to visit some friends.   Stopped by the Layman booth, along with the PFR, Presbyterians Pro-Life and One-by-One booths.   Saw people I know in person, and finally met in person some I know from online.

The interesting part is that across from these booths, are the CovNet, Voice of Justice, and other liberal groups.   Nice juxtaposition!     The good news is that there are people who, while disagreeing, are otherwise great friends on both sides of that aisle.

Yet I have heard from one person manning the PPL booth that not all reactions to their being there was sweetness and light.   

The first plenary meeting Saturday evening was devoted to orientation, and testing of the ethernet and WiFi internet connections.     Sad to say, it did not go well.   PC-Biz (the online repository of data for the commissioners) was down for a while, and both the wireless and wired networks were overwhelmed.    I could say more about this, but someone who is here as an observer tells it much better here.     As you can see on that page, technical issues abounded.   They should have called in Cisco Systems at the beginning.

After dinner, we came back to see about the next order of business, electing a moderator.    Again, I refer back to that previous link for more specifics.    As a geek, all I can do is shake my head.  Having been to conferences in my previous job position of computer programmer, I know that 1,000 people trying to use wire/wireless networks normally do not cause this type of problem.    Then again, these are geek conferences, and they know who to use to setup their infrastructure.    It could all boil down to the COBO Center not having the trunk capacity to handle this many.    Yet, that answer doesn't explain what happened in 2012 at Pittsburgh.     That said, the OGA staff had to go to plan B, the voting 'clicker'.    There were a few tests, and not everyone was satisfied that the votes were reliably taken.    It was determined to move on.

The three moderator candidates were brought up and asked questions by many commissioners for about 45 minutes.  FWIW ... this year there wasn't a conservative candidate, I'm guessing that anyone who was willing to serve, just didn't feel that  they'd have a chance.     Two of the candidates did not impress me at all,  both partisan on the left.  One candidate was, at one time, on the board of one of the left's coalitions, the other is the pastor at a More Light church.

Heath Rada, who won the election came across as someone who respects the opinions of those on the conservative side.  He may not agree, but he knows that conservatives are a needed voice at the table.   What was more interesting, was that the Young Advisory Delegates (YADs) voted 3/5s in favor of Mr. Rada.  I heard later that a friend asked one of the YADs about that, and that the YAD said that there seemed to be a consensus that having someone who is not so partisan was needed in that office.

Oh, forgot to mention.  The aforementioned vote had to be done on paper ballots.     Yep, even the clickers were not working as advertised.    The YADs had to hold up their cards to reflect their advice, and the commissioners had to write down the name of their choice on paper.   OY !!!

They have said it should be working by Wednesday !!

.... and so it goes!

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