DISC GOLF COURSE DECISION DISAPPOINTING
I am very disappointed by the decision of Maui Land and Pineapple Co. to close the disc golf course in Kapalua.
I wonder what the reasoning behind that decision was?
From all I know, the course was maintained by volunteers at no cost to ML&P, and I am not aware of any issues or problems that arose due to the disc golf course. It added a great attraction to the destination of Kapalua for locals and visitors alike.
The disc golf course was a smart way to make Kapalua a more attractive destination for visitors while making it more accessible to the local community at the same time. I also took it as a sign that ML&P was honestly interested it giving back to the community. Is that no longer part of the agenda of ML&P?
CHRIS WEININGER, Kahana
AMERICANS LOVE THEIR FRIVOLITIES
The last reports from the shopping wars at the no-man's mall consisted of some typical happenings: A man and his son bragged that they stood in line from 3 a.m. to buy the latest electronic gadgets.
A mother consoled her crying young son because the store was out of the designer shoes he wanted.
The elderly lady was shown shoving teenagers aside to grab the latest fashion apparel for herself.
Things have come to this: we Americans are ready to buy, buy, buy, and pay, pay, pay for our frivolities.
But we will try to evade bills from mechanics, carpenters, plumbers and medical services.
ARSENE "BLACKIE" GADARIAN, Lahaina
FIREWORKS LAWS ARE IGNORED
Correct me if I am wrong, but don't the Fireworks/Firecrackers Rules under the Fire Control section indicate the following (quoted in Community News in Lahaina News): "Maui Fire Department reminds residents that fireworks and firecrackers can only be legally set off from 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve to 1 a.m. on New Year's Day. Setting off fireworks and firecrackers outside the designated times is punishable by law. Violators are subject to fines of up to $2,000."
This would be awesome if it was actually enforced and responded to by Maui Police Department and Maui Fire Department. Not to mention that the children are only eight and nine who were doing this.
This would be a great moneymaker for Maui County if they enforced it, and it would make an impression that this was a serious offense. If it is not enforced, then as usual, everyone knows they will not be fined and they will continue to violate the laws year after year.
Please, if we call and report the violation, respond and fine the parents and the children. Why waste time making a code if it is not being enforced. This violation started at approximately noon and continued until 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 31. Why do those of us who abide by the laws have to suffer this noise all day and nothing is done about it? Parents, be responsible and do not let your children violate the law.
NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST
CASE SEEKS SERIES WITH REP. HIRONO
(The following letter was sent to Dante Carpenter, chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.)
This is to suggest that the Democratic Party of Hawaii host a series of statewide joint presentations with Mazie and me before primary election voting starts at the end of June.
Hawaii's open U.S. Senate election is one of the most crucial in decades for our party, state and country. The decision Hawaii voters make in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary will deeply influence the future of the DPH and may well determine the U. S. Senate majority.
Throughout our careers, both Mazie and I have been proud Democrats who share the core values of our party. But we are very different Democrats in many ways, from experience to focus, support, agenda and approach, not to mention matching up against Linda Lingle.
In considering this crucial choice, the 70,000 members of our party and 250,000-plus Democratic primary voters deserve every opportunity to compare Mazie and me personally and side by side. Taking our candidacies directly and openly to the voters together will result in a far better discussion and decision than just a few statewide TV debates to go with endless carefully scripted, 30-second commercials.
I respectfully request that you work with our party's leadership and Mazie to call and host a series of joint presentations across Hawaii by the two of us. In discussing our economy, education, budget, safety net and host of other challenges in school cafeterias, business groups and community halls across Hawaii, we can bring this crucial choice to voters right where they live and work.
To provide the broadest voter opportunity and especially to reach the smaller and too often ignored communities of our state, I suggest at least 25 meetings statewide. If Mazie is agreeable, I am happy to share expenses and to invite other Democratic candidates to join us along our campaign trail.
In this time of deep voter cynicism and disengagement from government and micromanaged cookie-cutter campaigns, our statewide joint candidate tour for such a crucial election will be an exciting and energizing undertaking for our party, will empower voters and will increase voter participation in the Democratic primary. I very much hope you will urge our party's leadership to pursue this suggestion and stand ready to assist in any way.
ED CASE, U.S. Congressman (2002-07)
OBAMA'S MILITARY STRATEGY FLAWED
President Barack Obama ordered up yet another strategic review last year. This one explicitly aimed at bringing the nation's military posture into line with something we can afford.
In response to that review, his administration forged a plan, unveiled during the first week of the year, which takes a few modest steps in the right direction. The job description for our self-appointed role as world policeman will be trimmed a bit. We won't be patrolling everywhere all the time, but we'll be doing something more like check-ins in places like Latin America and Africa.
Some of those U.S. troops that have been guarding Europe since World War II will probably come home. The Army and Marine Corps will shrink modestly. There's a verbal commitment, at least, to share more responsibilities with allies. And we'll cut a few more Cold War weapon systems. That's probably a safe move, now two decades since the Cold War ended.
But we're not stepping down from being the planet's top cop. We're holding onto the idea that we need to maintain a global presence and the ability to "confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world." And we'll be projecting more power in China's direction.
The glaring question is, in this portrait of a smaller, leaner military, what happened to the idea of saving money? The speech Obama gave when he presented the plan was contradictory on this point. He first referred to necessary reductions in military spending, and then promised that the Pentagon's budget "will still grow, because we have global responsibilities that demand our leadership."
How can he have it both ways? A look at the approximately $523 billion military budget proposal that experts expect him to release after the upcoming State of the Union address provides the answer. That proposed military budget, which excludes the hundreds of billions of dollars Washington spends on nuclear weapons, the wars we're actually fighting and subsidies for foreign arms sales, would be bigger than last year's.
It would be smaller than what the administration had said last year it had in mind for 2013. So Obama has revised his plans to boost military spending. And adjusted for inflation, it's an actual reduction of about 4 percent.
This confusing presentation is an attempt to placate multiple constituencies at once. To Republicans seeking every opportunity to say Obama is weakening U.S. military forces, and to Democrats still nervous about that charge, he points out that this military budget will exceed the budgets of the next 14 largest militaries put together. To fiscal conservatives, he offers a budget that, in real terms, takes a tiny step in the direction of the $487 billion in military cuts the 2010 debt deal demanded.
As the president himself points out, his next Pentagon budget will be larger than it was during most of President George W. Bush's tenure.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta referred to this new strategy as a "historic shift... after a decade of war and large increases in defense spending." A shift worthy of the term "historic," however, would lay out a path to rolling back the past decade's sweeping military expansion.
But the Obama administration has no plans to do that. It's time that we replaced our country's global military overreach with a posture more deserving of the name "defense."
MIRIAM PEMBERTON, Institute for Policy Studies