Lines were impressive but so was courtesy
My wife, Bettie, and I are in our eighties and rather fragile, but we decided we had to vote in the caucus. We went to our voting place at Jefferson School cafeteria and were amazed at the crowd, but the thing that amazed us most was the good nature of those attending. Even with the mile-long line, the mix of Obama and Clinton supporters and the chaos in the cafeteria, we never heard a cross word -- not even when we asked to be let into line near the front. Lucky we live Hawaii!
James M. Walling
Party leadership failed to anticipate crowds
The chaos at the Democratic caucus sites in Hawaii was indicative of two things: first, that the candidacy of Barack Obama has ignited a wildfire of enthusiasm throughout the country. Second, the Hawaii Democratic caucuses demonstrated that the state party establishment is out of touch.
Early news reports indicate they had prepared less than half of the needed ballots. In my precinct they had selected a venue that was inadequate for the numbers who wished to participate. They had just a few sets of printouts of the districts for volunteers to look up the appropriate designations for participants. Nowhere in the publicity for the caucus did it remind voters to bring that information, so many had to wait in exhaustingly long lines.
Volunteers were stretched to the limit to handle the crowds and there was obviously little thought put into management of the flow of people through the process. I am not criticizing the volunteers. They tried valiantly to handle the unexpected situation. I guess this is a plea to the statewide party leaders to do more homework. How could you not have anticipated the huge response?
On the other hand, I suppose one of the problems faced by the party is that they are NOT blessed with the financial bounty realized by the candidates in contributions toward their campaigns. Perhaps my next contribution will be to the local party headquarters in the hope they will be better prepared with adequate resources.
Experience isn't always a plus
Reading yesterday's articles about the turnout in Tuesday's Hawaii caucuses brought an excitement and a nice warm feeling within me. I am certain that others feel the same way when they see the renewed hope in America's leadership in the form of Barack Obama.
I watch every evening political analysis and pundits discuss how and why voters select a candidate. Some overreach, but yet some hit it on the head when they say, "It's about giving a new sense of hope." Sen. Hillary Clinton is a formidable candidate, and she IS more qualified and more experienced than Sen. Obama. So were Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and John Edwards, but none of them inspired voters or gave them that new sense of hope. After eight years of despair under George Bush, perhaps experience is a handicap in these primaries.
A CNN blogger wrote on why he voted for Obama, "I think it's time to dust the crumbs off the picnic blanket." I am hopeful voters will continue this sentiment in November.
Police should give caucus-goers a break
Democratic Party leaders were right to call the historic caucus phenomenal, unbelievable and a thrilling expression of democracy. The turnout of nearly 40,000 was a result of our vote finally meaning something in the national selection process.
I arrived at Kawananakoa School at 5:30 to volunteer, and, lo and behold, a line was in place that snaked around the cafeteria into the school yard. Balloting continued beyond 8 p.m. The crowd was patient and good-natured.
The only complaint I heard was that cars were being towed or given parking tickets. Police should have been warned of the probability of hundreds more arriving than school parking lots could accommodate. We needed a policy of aloha, of assisting motorists rather than punishing them, when participating in an important civic function. We needed some slack.
District 27, Precinct 3
Maunalua fellowship aided by Parks Dept.
Over the last few years our church fellowship has used the Maunalua Bay Beach Park for some of our outdoor services. Aside from the beautiful environment of the Maunalua Bay, we have been overwhelmed by the incredible hospitality and aloha from the Parks Department. The administration is always helpful and gracious and the staff that upkeeps the grounds is doing an awesome job (the park always looks great).
We wanted to write to let them know that we appreciate their great work. Thank you for all that you do.
Pastor, South Shore Christian Fellowship