WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR USE OF FORCE?
There have been numerous Internet videos showing the reactions of police to demonstrators in communities such as New York, Denver, Seattle, Portland, Oakland, UC Berkeley and UC Davis.
At the moment, the video of the police pepper-spraying seated students at UC Davis, and the photograph of the 84-year-old woman pepper-sprayed in Seattle, have gone viral on the Internet.
I would like to know what rules the Maui Police Department has in place for officers dealing with unarmed protesters. I would also like to know if the Police Commission has discussed potential problems that could arise on Maui and developed policies about the use of force during demonstrations. Surely it is better to have policies in place in advance, rather than dealing with incidents after they occur.
I would also like to know what instructions police officers receive regarding the Constitution and the interpretation of the First Amendment.
The courts are beginning to distinguish between the use of force to repel actual attacks and the use of force to compel compliance with orders. Has the Police Commission considered this distinction?
What are the rules regarding use of tasers, pepper spray, rubber bullets (if the MPD uses them), batons and dogs? Are there other non-lethal methods used by the MPD?
What are the instructions to officers about whether citizens have a constitutional right to photograph or video their actions in a public place?
SALLY RAISBECK, Wailuku
WHY CELEBRATE RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS?
If politicians, the ACLU, judges, atheists and do-gooders are so insistent about removing God from our dialog, why do they celebrate Christmas, Easter, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and take Sunday, the day of our Lord, off from work?
RAY PEZZOLI JR., Kihei
GINGRICH SHOWING HIS TRUE COLORS
Well, there he goes again. The gingerbread man has been paid $37 million-plus by the healthcare industry. That, plus more than $1 million paid to him by Freddie Mac. Oh, does he look so cute with that white hairstyle. And he has the audacity to criticize President Obama's healthcare plan. Sure, HIS healthcare industry would lose millions.
Now, his true colors are coming out again. I categorize him with the rest of the great big conglomerate CEOs making multimillion dollars just in bonuses, but won't pay their fair share of taxes. All caused by the last president we had, who belongs to the same party as they do.
Please don't forget to vote for the right side again in the next election - all the way down the line if you please.
Also, Mr. Butch Fowler, please contact me. I think we have thoughts in common. Call 268-2956.
GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina
CLEAR THE EYESORE AT LAHAINA HARBOR
Walking by Lahaina Harbor pretty often, I can't help but notice that a small sailboat - a wreck actually - is stranded toward the Kaanapali side of the harbor entrance.
I wonder if that is another "artificial reef" (would be kind of small for that purpose), or if nobody cares that there is an eyesore insulting residents and visitors alike.
Not to mention that the wreck of a sailboat is not exactly instilling confidence in anyone going on a sailing cruise.
If it's NOT there on purpose, could SOMEBODY please remove that? When you park one-foot too close to the entrance of a residency, you get a ticket. This boat has been there for at least three years (probably more). So please?!
JOHN BLAHUTA, Lahaina
THE GREAT GREEN HOPE
You may be stopped at a red light and not realize the car sitting right next to you is new - and very different from other vehicles on the road. Some look like beautiful Italian race cars; others like beloved family sedans. All whiz by with barely a sound and surprisingly swift acceleration. Best of all, they promise to make our lives and our world better - with zero on-road emissions and freedom from gas stations.
The electric vehicle (EV) has history in the islands; Hawaii has always been at the forefront of clean transportation. In the 1990s, the state was one of the first to build out an extensive network of passenger-EV charging stations. Today, with the launch of the Nissan Leaf and other electric models, Hawaii residents are lining up to purchase EVs, and the state government is again demonstrating its commitment to the long-term success of clean transportation.
In perhaps its greatest demonstration of commitment, Hawaii now requires that all publicly accessible parking lots with more than 100 spaces be equipped with at least one EV charging station by the end of this year. Hawaii is supporting its parking lot charging initiative with an EV Ready program and other incentives designed to make electric transportation appealing to both drivers and the businesses they frequent.
To help local businesses and government offices meet this growing need, the state is offering instant savings through recipients of its Hawaii EV Ready Grant Program. The savings require no formal grant preparation on the purchaser's part; savings are applied to the total cost of the EV charging station purchased from a charging provider who is a recipient of the state grant program. These savings are up to 30 percent of the purchase price and are available until Feb. 29, 2012, or until program funds are exhausted. Federal tax credits can save buyers as much as 30 percent, up to $30,000. Additionally, Hawaii EV Ready partner AeroVironment is offering complimentary site consultations to help businesses determine their charging needs and design site layouts. Businesses can submit their information for a free consultation at www.alohaev.com.
Augmenting the Hawaii EV Ready Grant Program is a consumer rebate program, designed to help residents by offering a 20 percent rebate on the vehicle purchase price (up to $4,500 per vehicle, one per applicant) and 30 percent off the cost of the charger and installation, up to a maximum of $500. On top of this, consumers can benefit from federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for the vehicle and up to $1,000 for the charger. Combined with the Hawaii incentives, consumer savings could total as much as $13,500.
The Hawaii State Energy Office is playing a critical leadership role in preparing for widespread EV adoption by facilitating EV infrastructure throughout the state in popular commercial locations.
A future where Hawaii drivers lead the clean transportation movement is not far off; where residents refuel their cars with electrons instead of gas and augment nightly home refueling with EV charging at work, the mall and other opportune locations.
Also actively participating in Hawaii's aggressive EV infrastructure movement are U.H. Manoa, HECO, MECO, HELCO and the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.
MIKE BISSONETTE, AeroVironment
CATERING TO THE FROZEN PIZZA LOBBY
How small-minded is Congress? How tangled-up in a right-wing ideological knot is it? How subservient to corporate lobbyists is it?
The answers to these three questions are: pizza, tomato paste and spuds.
At a time when doctors and nutritionists are sounding a national alarm about a diabetes epidemic caused by gross obesity, including in children, the Congress of the United States of America, in all its majesty, has killed an effort by the Agriculture Department to make school lunches healthier.
Why? Three reasons:
One, Congress is incapable of meeting America's big needs, so it's rationalizing its existence by messing with the small stuff. Two, the right-wing ideologues in Congress are so batty that they even oppose federal rules to improve our children's health. Three - and most significantly - the French fry lobby, tomato paste lobby and frozen pizza lobby put big bucks into congressional campaigns, and they pulled the strings of our lawmakers.
So the financial interests of corporate powers - including Coca Cola, ConAgra and Del Monte - have overridden the interest of America's school kids.
Yet members of Congress still say they can't figure out why their public approval rating has crashed to an all-time low of 9 percent.
Nine! Good grief.
As Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) recently pointed out to his colleagues, oil giant BP, at the height of its disastrous contamination of our Gulf, at least held on to a 16 percent approval rating. The IRS gets a 40 percent rating on its job performance, and even the idea of America becoming communist draws 11 percent support.
The real question is, who makes up the 9 percent that approves of this Congress? I'm guessing they're relatives, staffers and the two Koch Brothers. Plus, of course, corporate lobbyists.