Voters deserve more choices
Last Saturday, April 27, on the Big Island, the Green Party of Hawaii (GPH) held its annual State Convention. State party officers, two delegates and two alternates to the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) National Committee, plus delegates to the annual National Convention being held this year in Iowa City, Iowa in July, were elected.
The GPH was once again successful in our petition drive to secure a ballot line for state and national partisan races in 2012, thus obtaining ballot access in Hawaii for the next ten years, through the elections in 2022. The GPH stands on four pillars of Grassroots Democracy, Nonviolence, Social Justice and Ecological Wisdom.
When voting, people deserve to have as many choices as possible. Hawaii is one of only five states in the United States that does not allow "write-in" voting. In many situations, voters are limited to only two individuals, often with insignificant difference between them.
Fundamental modifications are needed to the method by which we hold elections; otherwise there will be little chance for significant change in who ultimately wins in our current electoral system. Campaign finance reform and clean elections are the beginning of any discussion. Limit the influence, as much as possible, which money has in politics. Sadly, many decisions made by elected officials will continue to be tied to the money they have raised for their campaigns.
Open up media to all candidates. With access to traditional media almost exclusively the purview of members of the two major, corporate-controlled political parties, the alternative ideas expressed by other candidates do not get a balanced discussion by the electorate.
Even with the growth of social and "new" media, the opportunity to equally reach a majority of voters is limited. Whether the GPH or another political party has a candidate, all candidates need to be given equal coverage by and access to the media. This will allow voters an opportunity to make a clear and substantive choice
All debates and forums must include every candidate for an office, not just the "front-runners" or members of the "major" political parties. Citizens need to be informed about all of the various positions and choices available to them, not only just those presented from the two entrenched parties.
Besides write-in voting, another progressive change would be to have "ranked" or "instant run-off" voting, especially in local, nonpartisan races, allowing voters to "rank" their preferences when there does appear more than just two people on the ballot, especially in "primary" races. This would avoid having to feel that one's vote would not count when voting for a "third" or "alternative" party candidate, or for a candidate who a voter truly supports but feels may not be strong enough to win. This method allows voters to always make a positive vote for a candidate, rather than for the lesser of two limited choices, or voting against a certain candidate. This progressive change could then eliminate the primary, saving a significant amount of money and holding only a general election in November.
Term limits for Hawaii state legislators and reducing the threshold for successfully having an initiative placed on the ballot, both for state and county elections, are additional changes needed in Hawaii.
The GPH first appeared on the ballot in Hawaii in 1992 and has maintained ballot access for every election since. In Hawaii County on the Big Island, where their County Council is elected by a "district" voting system, three members of the GPH have been elected seven times since 1992. On the Mainland, mayors, city and county council candidates, members of boards of supervisors, four state legislators and in numerous other partisan and nonpartisan contests, members of the Green Party have been elected. In a few communities, Greens actually have a majority on their local governing body.
NIKHILANANDA, Co-chair, Green Party of Hawaii, Huelo
Glad PLDC is history
After several months of unrelenting push back by the public for a repeal of the Public Land Development Corp., all I can say is Amen!
An estimated 80 percent of the public lands that would have been at risk for commercialization by the Department of Land & Natural Resources through the PLDC process are located on the Neighbor Islands, so this is a critically important issue for us.
MAHINA MARTIN, PLDC Watch Maui, Hawaii Alliance
Don't punish dogs because owners are idiots
The small park on Ainakea Road in Wahikuli is being used by dog walkers who don't pick up the poop from their dogs. The children have to pick it up before they can practice in the afternoon.
My front yard also has dog poop, because dog owners who walk through do not pick it up. They don't even carry a plastic bag to do the job easily. At least one lady I spoke to once adamantly refuses to do so.
I don't believe in punishing the animal because of its idiot owner, but some people would put out poison in the area to stop the problem. My problem with that option is that it wouldn't be the idiot that eats it.
So, it's only legal action that we can use to stop this irritating problem.
GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina
People can be 'feral,' too
The word "feral" means becoming undomesticated and wild. There are feral cats on Maui. There are also very wild pigs and feral deer. And of late, we have feral chickens.
How about holiday shoppers who go wild at the mall? And don't people at rock concerts also go wild?
We see frantic travelers grabbing for their baggage at the airport, or shoving others aside trying to get their huge carry-ons down from the overhead on the plane.
And don't we go feral when we are trying to get a parking place?
There is a little feral in all of us.
ARSENE "BLACKIE" GADARIAN, Lahaina