Fire them all
On Friday, I was denied my right to vote at the Keonepoko poling place. Upon entering the polling place, I was directed to purported ballot machines that offered no privacy to voters. My every move was closely scrutinized by a poll worker who was stationed behind me to monitor my voting.
When I told the worker that I objected to the lack of privacy, I was smugly informed that it was “the best they could do.” Angry with being denied my right to cast my ballot in private, and frustrated with a ludicrously designed voting machine that should not exist in the 21st century, I left without casting a ballot.
The result of voting at this location will be nothing more than a sham. No one will ever know how many voters were discouraged from voting by flagrant violations of each and every voter’s right to cast a secret ballot. No one will ever know how many votes were influenced by the omnipresent poll workers assigned to supervise the voters. No one will ever know how many voters were afraid of having their true choice of a candidate seen by prying eyes and therefore voted for a choice more favorable to a spouse or an employer or a poll worker. There are reasons why voters are entitled to cast a secret ballot. None of those reasons were respected.
The results of voting at this sham polling place should be discarded. Anyone and everyone responsible for the atrocious violation of every voter’s right to cast a secret ballot should be fired.
Robert K. Allen
Recovery in Puna
Lower Puna got hit pretty hard by (Tropical Storm) Iselle, but owing to many neighbors with chainsaws and trucks able to move large chunks of albizia trees (the scourge of Hawaii!), many roads within housing associations were made passable.
I mentioned this because by the time HELCO representatives from Oahu were driving around, they said it wasn’t nearly as bad as they had heard it had been.
I was at a friend’s place where the “Great Wall of Albizia” (one of many!) had blocked not only their road but prevented a couple of neighbors from getting out of their driveways, a scenario that was all too common all over the district. That was when my friend told them what he and a number of others had done to clear the area, and then informed them which roads to check out to see how it had been.
Then there were those living close to the geothermal facility who were impacted by an unabated release of steam due to a mechanical failure, which contained not only hydrogen sulfide, but a host of heavy metals, something for which the facility does not test. It was discovered that the geothermal facility was operating at 70 percent when the storm hit, by an agreement with HELCO, something which angered many attendees at a Puna Pono Alliance meeting that had been called to address this issue.
While the discourse was for the most part civil, the anger was palpable. The geothermal facility representative stated community health will be taken into greater consideration for future events. If there were to be a battle cry from this, it would be: “No corporate profits over community health!”
Kenoi works hard
I cannot believe that our mayor, who everyone knows is one of the most energetic, intelligent and hardest-working leaders of our time, is being criticized for not being on the news more. Huh?
Since before the storm arrived, our mayor was a calm and well-prepared leader of our community. He hired a team that is the very best, and does what all great leaders do — he let’s them lead and do their jobs.
Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira is acknowledged as a true professional and someone we are all proud to have leading our Civil Defense team. His service is a credit to the leadership and administration of Mayor Billy Kenoi.
The mayor has worked around the clock to keep us safe. I’ve heard of him speaking directly to our work crews and thanking them for their hard work, dropping off lunches to volunteers at community centers, speaking and listening to residents in Puna, getting folks help when they needed it, and basically told his team whatever people need make sure they get it. No excuses.
No leader I can remember faced more natural disaster emergencies. And Mayor Kenoi faced it all while working hard, being humble and keeping us safe.
Thanks, Mayor Kenoi. I’m only sorry that we cannot vote for you for another four years!