homepage logo

LETTERS for the December 13 issue

By Staff | Dec 13, 2018

Fix the voting system

It is time to get rid of the “Electoral College.” Five presidents have won the office with the minority of the popular vote (two just since 2000, George W. Bush and now Trump two years ago). Before presidential elections, you have zoning, re-zoning, gerrymandering and God knows what else going on.

Even the smallest county elects its mayor by popular majority. In many states, even judges, police chiefs, etc. get elected by the MAJORITY of the popular vote. Two candidates; one vote more than your opponent, you win. More than two, and nobody gets more than 50 percent, have a run-off election between the top two.

And the HIGHEST office gets elected by a murky process, to put it mildly.

We just use the same – pardon my language – stupid process as the British do in their parliamentary elections.

Time to fix it. With Trump in the White House, having won with almost 2.9 million votes less than Clinton, it is most likely not going to happen. (Trump should be glad that he won and not Twitter about how the Russians meddled in the election.)

Each and every vote should count as ONE vote regardless of where it was cast: Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, Maine, Florida, etc.

If exactly 65 million vote for candidate A, and 65 million and ONE for candidate B, then B should be the winner. Never mind any zoning or outdated practices.

Maybe the Electoral College made some sense long ago (when it took weeks for the votes to reach Washington), but by now, half an hour after the first polls close, most TV stations predict the winner.

That leads to voters in the west saying, “Ah, it’s already decided,” and they don’t even bother anymore. THAT should be fixed as well. NO results should be made public until the last polling place in the country has closed. I know that it’s difficult because of all the time zones.

When you look at some other countries with just ONE time zone but different closing times of polling places, nothing is publicized until the last place has closed. Period. That’s the second thing that needs to be fixed.

Hard on the TV networks? TOUGH. What’s more important: TV ratings or a proper voting system?



Use Hawaiian language in the community plan

Aloha Ke Kahi I Ke Kahi is a Hawaiian value many of us know the meaning of and even live every day. In the recent “We Are West Maui” community plan meeting, a participant in the Lahaina focus group suggested this value to be listed in our Community Values section.

The Planning Department facilitator had trouble spelling it but put it on the board as requested. Then another participant in the group (whom I respect very much as a great Hawaiian leader in our community) became upset and didn’t want it to be written in Hawaiian.

He lectured that we needed to know and understand what it really meant and to be careful not to just use the language without knowing what it means. He was sitting in the front and did not realize more than half the people in the group sitting behind him did know, understand and could actually spell it, which may have been the initial cause of his agitation.

My question is, what if everything we listed there were Hawaiian values, actually written in Hawaiian, if that’s what the people expressed? And if so, wouldn’t it cause the people responsible for implementing the plan (Maui Planning Department) to have to translate it and ultimately better understand the language, the culture and values in the process?

“Love one another”? is a nice sentiment akin to certain genres (i.e. hippies), whereas Aloha Ke Kahi I Ke Kahi has more weight, especially in the context of the culture.

It is more like a rule rather than a sentiment. And when spoken and written in Hawaiian, people actually understand it as such.

If the language was never banned, Hawaiian would be the preferred way to communicate, as native languages are in any foreign country.

If Hawaiian were still the dominant and preferred language, then our values would naturally be more prevalent in our community and policies.

So, if we wish our values to be more prevalent in our community, shouldn’t we, whenever possible, ‘Olelo Hawai’i?



Cleaning up Congress requires term limits

Conservatives believe that congressional term limits are needed and that Congress has become too much of a privileged ruling class, according to a poll conducted by The Conservative Caucus.

Term limits had the support of 98 percent of those responding to the poll.

Similar majorities said that congressmen are paid too much, get too large a health care subsidy and should not be eligible for an annual cost of living pay increase.

A slightly smaller number, 90 percent, favored abolishing congressional pensions.

The poll showed 97 percent support for withholding pay for members of Congress if they fail to pass a budget by the end of the fiscal year.

More concern about Congress was demonstrated by the fact that 99 percent said that cleaning up Congress was the necessary first step in draining the Washington swamp.

PETER THOMAS, Chairman, Americans for Constitutional Liberty