Monday, August 9, 2010


STOP US BEFORE WE VOTE AGAIN: The TV news last night was full of the same “because there’s video” lede about a sign-carrying demonstration support for one of the worst, most reactionary ideas to come down the pike in many a year- the constitutional amendment to stop electing Board of Education (BOE) members and allow the governor to appoint them with senate confirmation.

According to this morning’s Starvertiser.

"We need to do something," said Colbert Matsumoto, chairman and CEO of Island Insurance Co. Ltd. "We just can't stand idly back."

Admittedly the current election system for electing BOE members has it’s problems. People vote for all the members across the state, not just their local island reps and often have no idea who the candidates are so that they either vote for a “pig in a poke” or leave their ballot blank.

This creates a statewide election- the only one other than that for governor and US senator- run on campaign budgets that preclude interisland campaigning, assuring that no one has any idea who the candidates are, especially with the media emphasis on the glamour races.

But to start doing the “dance of the headless chicken” by waving our arms in the air and yelling “do something” and then deciding to reject democracy as “too messy”, belies the Jeffersonian axiom that the answer to the problems of the messiness of democracy lies not in less but rather more democracy.

The reality of a gubernatorial appointment system will result in more of the same problems experienced with similar appointment schemes such as that of the UH Board of Regents (BOR) which is somehow cited by proponents.

But as with the BOR the positions will be filled by cronies and hacks with no particular expertise other than a partisan knee-jerk adherence to the governor’s agenda. Haven’t we seen the dangers of that during the Lingle administration?

If we need to tweak the election system then let’s do it.

By creating districts and allowing voters to elect only their own local representatives we would assure not just local recognition of candidates but would go a long way toward local control and accountability which is what many say is the right prescription for K-12 educational reform.

It’s very easy to look at governmental systems without accounting for people and politics and deciding that, if the systems works the way it should, it would be better than the present.

That’s always a huge “if” which ignores the political reality of changing control of that system to a single person and placing another layer of accountability between the voters and those acting on our behalf.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Beyond the "because there is video" reason to do a story, there is the "Colbert Matsumoto is one of the investors in the Star-Advertiser hui" reason...