One ballot, many issues

KAPAA – Rain or shine, many expect to vote today.

Some want a change. Others are satisfied with the way things are going. And some wouldn’t mind a little more information before heading to the polling places. 

“I’ve only lived here six months and I’m not educated on the people yet,” said Kapaa resident Jason Barnett who served in the Special Forces in the Middle East before moving here. “I do think it is important to vote and know who’s running and what they stand for.”

He’ll wait to cast his vote in the general election in November.

Lisa Cook, from Santa Cruz, California, and living on Kauai for a year now, noticed what she considers a lack of candidate information prior to the primary.

“There’s not a lot of information given about who to vote for. You just see all these signs and a few pamphlets and that’s all,” Cook said.

The other head-scratching idea for Cook was that she was accustomed to having an opportunity to vote on issues themselves, like initiatives, rather than just candidates.

“It’s weird how in Kauai you don’t vote on the issues but you vote for the people and their stance on the issues,” Cook said.

Her vote will go to Dustin Barca for mayor for one specific reason.

“I’m going to vote for Dustin Barca because he is new. He hasn’t gotten bogged down with all the crap and he’s not jaded yet,” Cook said.

She added that it “doesn’t matter that we don’t know much about his experience.”

“We elect a president based on his law degree, but it’s not like you need a law degree to be president,” said Cook.

Max and Dana Trapp from Kapaa see the GMOs as a hot button issue in the election. They planned to study TGI’s voter guide before going to the polls today in order to finalize their favorites.

Dana was leaning toward the mayoral incumbent, Bernard Carvalho Jr.

“I think he has done a good job in a lot of different categories,” Dana said.

But her husband was embarrassed for what he considered to be a mistake by the current county council – the controversy about the 2 percent tax cap removal, which left some homeowners with bigger tax bills this year.

“That was humiliating,” Max said. “I thought it was good how The Garden Island reported about that.”

Having moved from the tourism-reliant area in Ocean City, Delaware, he said can’t understand the reason for the hotel tax increase when Kauai’s economy is also so dependent on tourism dollars.

“You can scare the tourists away if you push the prices up too much,” Max said.

Marilyn Miller is in tune to the pulse of island politics after living in Kilauea for 30 years. She was happy she mailed in her ballot last week. Her mayoral vote went to Carvalho.

“He is still doing a very good job,” Miller said. “I think these jobs are difficult, just like with Obama. I think his hands are tied. He can’t do what he really wants to do.”

As for the other local and state contests, she has mixed feelings.

“We do need a change,” Miller said. “But I’m hesitant about some of the new guys. But it’s nice to see some new blood and some of the younger guys getting involved.”

Ned Gwinner, a bakery employee from Lihue, said weather conditions will not stop him from voting. Gwinner’s only real area of concern he said is community services.

“I’ve felt fairly safe over the past couple of years,” said Gwinner.

And he appreciates the changes in the conditions of the roads.

“I deliver for the bakery and the roads are definitely improving,” said Gwinner. “Hey, I’m from Georgia, this is a real step up from where I’m from.”


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