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Board of Education Special Election - Confusing? (Pearl Johnson)
President's Message (Pearl Johnson)
Call for Vote Count Volunteers
Back to Urban Sprawl (Astrid Monson)
Transportation Committee Report (Charles Carole)
Welcome New Members

Board of Education Special Election - Confusing?

When choosing the Board of Education (BOE) members in November, voters face an unusual situation in addition to the already confusing process. Two Board members not up for re-election resigned their seats. These seats must be filled in a special election in November. One special election will fill a neighbor island seat and the other special election will fill Oahu's Central district seat. In this year's election, seven of the 13 BOE members were to be elected, and the remaining six were to be elected in 2002. However, these resignations bring the total to nine to be elected in 2000.

All Neighbor Islanders may vote for all Neighbor Island seats and this is where extra confusion may rest. All Neighbor Island voters should vote in the special elections even though the candidates may not live on the voter's island. And on Oahu, all voters may vote in the special election for Oahu's Central district BOE member.

THIS IS HOW IT WORKS

Since all residents of Oahu vote for all Oahu seats on the Board of Education (BOE), Honolulu residents must vote for the candidate wishing to represent Honolulu as well as for Leeward and Central candidates. Likewise, Oahu residents outside of Honolulu vote for the Honolulu Board member and so forth. In other words, Oahu voters must vote for six Board members in November: one each for Honolulu, Leeward and Central as well as choosing three at-large Board members. All Oahu residents vote for all Oahu seats.

Four of the 10 Oahu seats and all of the Neighbor Island seats have residency requirements. (That is, the candidates must reside in the district that they will represent.). The required Oahu residency districts are Honolulu, Leeward, Central and Windward. This requirement insures that at least one member of the Board comes from each of the four districts. The remaining six seats on Oahu are at-large.

In the two districts where there were resignations, by law, no candidates' names were entered in the primary. So in the November election for Maui District there are five candidates for the vacant seat: Brian Blundell, Vinnie Linares, Bill Myers, Dwight Nakao, and Meyer Ueoka. In the Central District on Oahu there are four candidates: Michael Nakamura, Jeffrey Rezents, Daniel Lee Romero and Albert Tamaribuchi.

Other Oahu candidates include, for Honolulu district, Malcolm Kirkpatrick and Denise Matsumoto; for Leeward District, Marilyn Harris and Ron Nakano; and for the 3 at-large seats, Lex Brodie, Carol Gabbard, Jacqueline Heupel, Donna Ikeda, Garrett Toguchi and Randall Yee.

For the island of Hawaii seat, the candidates are Nani QuintanaDavies and Herbert Watanabe. And the Kauai seat candidates are Sherwood Hara and Mitsugi Nakashima.

BOE RESPONSIBILITIES - WHY WE CARE

The BOE hires and fires the Superintendent of the Sate Department of Education (DOE) and the State Librarian who administers the statewide Public Library System. The combined budgets of the public school and public library systems exceed $1 billion per year. Paul LeMahieu is the State Superintendent of Schools and Virginia Lowell is the State Librarian.

The BOE is a policy-making board that monitors the schools. It is not designed as a body with any management functions. It is not empowered to raise money to support the schools; that must come from the Legislature. Ultimate responsibility for education results, however, is the Board's. The DOE budget operates under the authority of the State Department of Budget and Finance. The Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) handles school construction and repairs.

Informed participation in the BOE election assures a Board that reflects the values and goals of our community - of voters. The Elections office site, www.state. hi.us/elections, has the candidates addresses and phone numbers. The League's Dnet website has detailed information about most BOE candidates.

Take a friend to vote.

For more than 80 years, the League of Women Voters has encouraged the active and informed participation of citizens in government – but there is still more to be done. Far too many citizens are not exercising their right to vote. Please reach out to friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers with the message that voting is important to our families and communities, and it's something that everyone can do.

We hope you accept the Take a Friend to Vote Campaign challenge. Talk with your friends and family about issues and candidates' positions. Ask them to vote on November 7. When Election Day draws near, send each person a postcard to remind them to vote!

Remember to vote for every Board of Education race that appears on your ballot.

Pearl Johnson

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