Editorial page readers had some strong views about the upcoming election and the recent hurricanes.

How do you choose a president — policies, personality, character, experience or judgment?

My top priority in a candidate is [to ask if] they put country ahead of party and themselves. Then I look at past accomplishments — have they made a difference for the better in their current position? Since 1972, using only these two criteria, I must admit that I have voted for an independent candidate. I served in Vietnam for two tours, going there when an inept Lyndon Johnson was president and returning with Richard Nixon in office with his secret plan to end the war. Over 30,000 died in Vietnam waiting for this secret plan to take effect. So since that time I’ve been very skeptical about the two major parties. It is distressing that in 2008 with a population of 303 million that we have a choice between a 47-year-old with no experience and a 72-year-old with no track record. Neither is a proven leader! So once again I’ll vote independent and patiently wait for the Democrats or the Republicans to find a leader. America can’t wait much longer! — picc2008

Do your own research and never listen to anything from the mainstream media. — ShawnDaily

My vote is going to McCain and Palin. My wife is going with Obama and Biden. We argue a lot between ourselves over this. My view is that of John McCain’s experience in life and in profession, not only as a military person (as I think it is necessary to be commander in chief), but that not all his voting record sides with the way the Bush administration went, nor McCain’s thought process. The only connection we have to a candidate is generally cosmetic. With the Bush administration soon to be gone, and new aides, advisers, Cabinet members, some congressional and Senate members changed, whatever is done, by whomever, will be an improvement over what we have now! My vote goes to McCain. My wife demands her vote go to Obama. We are a house divided.

— Johninphilippines

It is a combination of all the information that helps me decide, the least important of which is an emotional response. It is important for every citizen to do a good analysis of the candidates and their history in public life. An informed electorate knows that more important than party affiliation are the career records that give us the knowledge to choose the person who will best represent the interests, values, morals and ethics of their constituents. It is not the one who tells us what we want to hear, but rather what we need to hear focusing on our common ground to bring us together, united to achieve the best for everyone.

— classylassie25

Should the federal government come up with a different hurricane response plan?

Saying that the Gulf Coast doesn’t need more and safer hurricane shelters is like saying that Lynyrd Skynyrd didn’t need three lead guitars. Of course they did! And it would be more of a help if the National Weather Service could predict the path of a storm with certainty. It would also be better if disaster planners could find a way to help people with their pets.

— keith132

Gorilla justice — what does it look like?

Naturally, a scofflaw must face the pertinent law — in this case, that would be the law of the jungle. I believe this involves leeches. — TBenoit

Even my son’s private school pupils from the elementary through high school made posters and reports on Seamore, as my son brought attention to this “phenomenon” about Seamore to the school’s computer science teacher. Too much! … I hope this is the last we hear about Seamore, but I doubt it.

— Johninphilippines