Why hold a Con Con? - Editorials

Full story: Honolulu Star-Bulletin

While sitting alongside the banks of the Damariscotta Bay, waiting for the 4th of July fireworks to start during our family vacation in Maine this summer, I was reading through the weekly Lincoln County News.

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“Too small to notice”

Since: Jun 08

Kahuku , Ka'U

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#1
Oct 12, 2008
 

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I think that even if Hawaii voters did pass the ballot issue for a con-con, the political machine in place now would find a way to stop it. Last time it was blank ballots counted as a "no" vote.
Mike

Kapolei, HI

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#2
Oct 12, 2008
 

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Perfectly said, Congratulations. Will you take charge of a Pro Con Con movement asap??
Keith Haugen

Honolulu, HI

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#3
Oct 12, 2008
 

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Aloha:

I believe a Con Con is worth the expense BUT ONLY IF DELEGATES WILL DISCUSS AND CONSIDER CHANGING OUR LEGISLATURE TO UNICAMERAL, FOR THE OBVIOUS REASONS.

A Con Con could put it on the ballot and let the voters decide.

Everyone I have talked with about this idea agrees. But almost every one of them also said it will never happen because politicians who fear losing their cushy jobs will never "let it happen." They just can't afford to let the public vote on something that will adversely affect their retirement, is a common response. Even if a one-house Legislature is good for Hawai`i, if it causes half or 2/3 or the Senators and Representatives and their staffs, it will never happen, seems to be the feeling of most voters.

A unicameral legislature could save Hawai`i taxpayers untold millions of dollars every year.

We would also not have the ongoing duplication of hearings in two houses. And we will never again lose any bills when they move between the houses, a laughable truth about bi-cameral legislatures.

The comparative per capita cost of running our state government vs. that of Nebraska, for example, shows that a unicameral legislature make so much sense.

Keith Haugen
Former State Director of Information
Pat

Kaneohe, HI

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#4
Oct 12, 2008
 
Unfortunately if the amendments are worded in the same manner as the city council has worded the present rail issue for the ballet, the citizens will lose and only special interest will gain.
insider

Aiea, HI

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#5
Oct 12, 2008
 
i agree with mr. haugen but would take it a step further...i actually floated this idea back in 2000 to the leg and was dismissed as naive...1) change leg to unicameral 2) change leg to non-partisan like counties 3) change leg to full time but keep session schedule as is 4) increase salaries to a reasonable amount that would attract qualified and capable legislators. this would 1) decrease the cost of the legislature dramatically by eliminating duplication and positions 2) create a non-partisan environment that would take the discussion away from party politics and focus talks on the issue 3) allow for legislators to prepare and do research for the next legislative session 4) incentify qualified candidates to run for office which will increase the level of productivity and efficiency.
it would be great if we could get these changes on the ballot...but in general i am opposed to the concon...primarily because we have more to lose than to gain...concon in itself is a duplicate of what the legislature can already do...say we have a concon...the voters will vote the same kind of mentality that already exists in the legislature, so how are we to believe we will get a different outcome if the same powers to be are behind the scenes making the calls. what we need to do is put public pressure on our existing legislators via the voting booths...the voters need to start doing their homework on candidates and not merely voting based on popularity or name recognition or how much the candidate sign waves. we need to vote on ideas and ideals. i was amazed at how limited the amount of debated that were held between candidates in their respective districts. how do we learn about our candidates without these forums...neighborhood boards need to start thinking about this...just a thought.
John Kamaka

United States

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#6
Oct 12, 2008
 

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Yes, put Con Con on the ballot so EVERYTHING detrimental to the Public can be voted on BY the Public! That is the fundamental RIGHTS that CREATED the Constitution by the founders and people who fought and died for in the past and present.

Millions of Americans and their allies have made the ultimate sacrifices to insure this basic right is given the HIGHEST priority in the Free world.

Anyone who advocates or tramples on ANY CONSTITUTIONAL apparatus is either a TRAITOR or TERRORIST trying to impose their own "agendas" on the FREE WILL of the PEOPLE! Try and take away the voting rights of our men/women fighting overseas and you'll get what you rightfully deserved.
Citizen Voice

Honolulu, HI

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#7
Oct 12, 2008
 

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We're long overdue for a convention. After 30 years of inaction, it's time for the people to have their turn. Vote yes on con con!
corruption will continue

Kalaheo, HI

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#9
Oct 12, 2008
 
Corruption will continue and us small guys are supporting it by electing the same corrupt legislators to run our government. As "Insider" said, we cannot expect any change unless the electorate will select the right candidates. This will probably never happen in Hawaii because the Democratic regime is entrenched in all phases of our government. CON CON might be our only chance to see the light of day, but the skillful and powerful Democratic legislators will stymie this effort.
Yes-Voter

Honolulu, HI

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#11
Oct 12, 2008
 

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Congratulations Professor Rohter and mahalo for another fine article!
Susan

Honolulu, HI

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#13
Oct 12, 2008
 

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Ira: You're a "know it all" and an idiot!
Bumpercrop

Keauhou, HI

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#14
Oct 12, 2008
 
Thank you Ira Rohter. You are spot on. I wish you could take control of it as I feel you would do a great job. And, I would volunteer to assist you. I have taken your classes and you really are a fine professor!
But it worries me that a "blank" vote counts as a "no" vote. Only in Hawaii such an abomination as blank votes being worth 'something'. Really, they are 'nothing'. "No opinion" votes, not yes or no votes. BAH. Those blank votes will sink the measure. That's the way the Dems want it to be. They are soooooo afraid of change.
LEGAL immigrant

United States

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#15
Oct 12, 2008
 
Susan wrote:
Ira: You're a "know it all" and an idiot!
....... he is a well-educated, learned individual with expertise in these areas. It would seem that YOU are the idiot. You must 'belonk to ze partie.'
Keith Haugen

AOL

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#16
Oct 12, 2008
 

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While I don't know all of the ramifications of what Ira Rother suggests, he knows more about it than I do, and it sounds like an improvement. Could we do that and have a unicameral legislature to boot?

Since we are an Island state, I still think the age old idea of eliminating duplication of departments and services by having the State and Counties doing the same thing is still workable. For example, all parks could be under county government. The same could be said of many other duplicated functions that are now "shared" on each Island by State and Country governments.

There are so many ways that we could streamline our government.

I have some experience and background in government and, when Linda Lingle was elected, I submitted some ideas and suggestions for her consideration. To the best of my knowledge, none of the ideas was ever even considered.

Years have passed and I'm reminded of some of those suggestions every day.

For example, when I see State employees with "official" State cars to get to and from their jobs, go shopping, dining out, taking the kids to school, etc. I think of how we could save millions by cutting the State fleet in half. When I see family members driving State cars, I always think about when former governors admitted that they didn't even know how many vehicles were in the State fleet. And Linda would not even address the problem by saying she didn't know. She simply ignored the questions and suggestions, as if to say that if it is not her idea, it is not a good one.

That's just ONE small item.

We certainly need to do something about OUR government "of the people, by the people and for the people." Maybe we should try democracy.

Keith Haugen
Nu`uanu
insider

Aiea, HI

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#17
Oct 12, 2008
 
John Kamaka wrote:
Yes, put Con Con on the ballot so EVERYTHING detrimental to the Public can be voted on BY the Public! That is the fundamental RIGHTS that CREATED the Constitution by the founders and people who fought and died for in the past and present.
Millions of Americans and their allies have made the ultimate sacrifices to insure this basic right is given the HIGHEST priority in the Free world.
Anyone who advocates or tramples on ANY CONSTITUTIONAL apparatus is either a TRAITOR or TERRORIST trying to impose their own "agendas" on the FREE WILL of the PEOPLE! Try and take away the voting rights of our men/women fighting overseas and you'll get what you rightfully deserved.
john...whether its the currently elected legislators or the newly elected delegates to concon, the people will only be able to radify what is placed before them...if the concon delegates do not place an issue before the voters, it will not be voted on...don't be fooled...a concon does not give automatic access to the public. not to mention the danger of placing the constitution in the hands of people who are largely influenced by the media (???) someone actually told me they didn't like sarah palin because she saw a picture of of her in a bikini with a machine gun (???) they had no clue this was a digitally created image....in addition, what makes you think a concon will all of a sudden wake up the complacency that exists in our electorate...no one gets involved now..simply calling a concon will not change that attitude overnight. lastly, speaking against a concon does not equate to terrorism or being a traitor...i urge caution when you casually throw those words around...it was our founding fathers that had the foresight and knowledge to create a "representative democracy" not a "true democracy" where people are governed by elected representatives as we have today...our system is not broken...the problem is that people do not take the responsibility of participating in the governmental process seriously...we need to change the attitude of the people and their complacency...when was the last time we had a concon to discuss the united states constitution??? think about it...
insider

Aiea, HI

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#18
Oct 12, 2008
 
alice wrote:
I agree..but the forces of secrecy and darkness which rule this hell hole of a state won't allow you to vote.
"hell hole"....my goodness...is living in paradise really that bad?
insider

Aiea, HI

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#19
Oct 12, 2008
 
alice wrote:
I am from ND and I cannot believe how long suffering you people are. Why do you allow these people to walk all over you?
alice...do you live here now? every state has its own issues, and hawaii is no different...i'm sure ND has some of its own...are you aware that we are the only state in the nation that mandates health coverage be provided by the employers??? sure, some may say this is not the best situation for the employer, but i think it speaks well to hawaii, especially all of the presidential candidates are talking about proposing some sort of universal health care package...well a pretty good package already exists in this state you refer to as a "hell hole"...hawaii is a beautiful place with beautiful people...we may not all be perfect, but we try...
insider

Aiea, HI

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#20
Oct 13, 2008
 
my apologies...i should have actually read the article first...well i did and i'd like to point out what ira rohter failed to mention. as a side note, i respect ira rohter's opinion, but merely have some differences of opinion that i feel the public needs to be aware of. Damariscotta Bay, ME as is cited in the editorial is a total of 14.6 sq. miles and has a population of 2,041 as of 2000. what rohter is referring to in his editorial is a true democracy or otherwise known as mob rule, as was, as mentioned in the editorial, the government of choice in new england back in the day, where decisions were made in town halls much the same as our neighborhood boards...but as the states began to secede from english rule and form the united states of america...the form of government chosen was a "republic" (as stated in the pledge of allegiance...("I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.")or a "representative democracy" which is what we have today in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." what rohter also fails to mention is that the state of maine (population 1.2 million) also has a representative democracy with an executive, legislative (senators and reps) and judicial branch of government much like hawaii's and that their last constitutional commission to discuss the underlying state constitution was in 1961...i believe our last was in 1978. again, don't believe that just because a con-con may be approved, it does not mean that the people will have a free for all on the state constition...all it does it create "basically" a twin body of elected delegates that will do what the legislature already does...they will then put any proposed ammendments before the poeple to be voted on "IF ANY"...as i stated in a prior statement...in my humble opinion, there is more to lose than there is to gain...especially when the people have the power to mandate that their elected officials put the proposed ammendments forward and open discussion. this can be done simply through public awareness, public education and public pressure. sorry for the long reply...
Adam

Lihue, HI

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#21
Oct 13, 2008
 
alice wrote:
I know Rohter at the UH...he is a fine professor!
That makes two dumbells.
state constitution

Honolulu, HI

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#22
Oct 13, 2008
 
The state constitution has been in place for years and has served it's purpose and now a minority of people outside of this state want to bring in a confrontational con con to serve their special interest within this beautiful state of our's and not the people fo Hawaii?....My opinion, this frivolous con con is brought forth to squash the active pending "Akaka Bill", the front runner to this action, Ken Conklin, The Dictator.....
SilentDoGood

Aiea, HI

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#23
Oct 13, 2008
 
A con-con is a good way to get the little guys to make a big change for the better. We could have said we want a mass transit a long time ago and not let one vote kill a good thing, now it's costing us more.

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