Politicians should see Molokai's unspoiled 'aina
I spent a week at the Pu'u O Hoku Ranch on the northeastern part of Molokai. I was fortunate enough to meet many local people and experience the beauty of an untouched island. I have been on Maui for 43 years and have watched my island slowly dissolve with development that was not necessary or wanted.
I sit in traffic that never was there before. I run into unfriendly transplants from the Mainland with their expensive homes and cars.
It is hard to find that "aloha" amongst all the greed of Maui developers that have built crap and continue to build more crap. Maui cannot and will not survive with no infrastructure to withstand this unneeded growth. I can only visualize all the empty sugar cane and pineapple lands being developed and destroyed by more greed.
I suggest that our politicians take a week off; go to Molokai and experience what Molokai has been able to keep true aloha and beauty. Please take time and see what Maui has become. Stop it now preserve the 'aina, please!
SU CAMPOS, Napili
Event to salute veterans and service people
Thanks to the combined efforts and great camaraderie of the Maui County Veteran's Council, Maui Chapter of the U.S. Navy League and members of Lahaina Yacht Club, a wonderful ocean experience will be provided to Maui County veterans and service people, free of charge, on June 14, 2013 (Flag Day).
Over 70 Maui County veterans and service people will be feted and honored with a variety of ocean fun activities. Participating vessels include Queen's Treasure, Maui Jim, Offshore Hunter and Snickers. These vessels will provide a wonderful fishing or cruising experience with pupus and beverages.
Please call Suzanne Ayers at 661-8232 during business hours to hear your options. Call now to book your personal trip. It will be first-come, first-served on this "Salute to Our Service People." Mahalo for all you have done for our country.
MAUI COUNTY VETERAN'S COUNCIL
America must keep a strong military
The recent assassination of a British soldier walking down a street in London was a despicable act. He proudly wore his country's uniform, and for that he gave his life.
Most of us are very proud of our military. We should be. Without our armed forces, we would not be the free country we are today.
America must keep a strong military. Our sons and daughters put everything on the line for our country. We should stand strong with them.
We must keep a strong number of soldiers. We never want the world to look at us with the perception that we have a weak military. Currently, we have a small Navy (Russia is on the move building a super Navy) and a small Air Force. The Army and Marines are tired and stressed out, because too few are being asked to do too much. We need a larger pool of service men and women to do the work they are being asked to do. We could certainly use some of them just to protect our own borders.
However, we must get out of the war business. We do not have to be in an ongoing war. Congress should always vote and declare war if America is involved in the war. We then should go in and get the job done. Fighting wars for five and ten years is too long.
Deployments of our soldiers are generally too long. Fifteen months is too long. For the sake of our soldiers and their families, we must eliminate 15-month tours. No tour of duty should ever be longer than 12 months, but I am in favor of a nine-month tour. Nine months is a long time to be away from family. This would reduce stress and give our military hope of being able to emotionally survive. Too many soldiers return back from deployment emotionally shattered to marriages that are stressed to the max. A nine- or six-month tour would be better than a 12-month tour.
Our service men and women deserve our best support while they are in the service, and then we should help them as they transition back to civilian life. Every service person should have civilian life boot camp before they are released from the military. They should leave with a fine-tuned resume featuring their education and skills they learned while in service. The basics of how to find job openings and preparing to interview for a job opening should be taught. A plan of how to return to civilian life and go forward with an active life should be addressed. This might help keep some of our veterans off the street.
It is sad that we live in a nation where so many of our former service people live on the streets of America. There are different reasons for this, but it should never be because we did not help transition soldiers back to everyday life. We must take care of our veterans with continued support for their college education, health care insurance and benefits that were earned while in service to our nation.
It is my prayer that we never have to use our military in another war. I would love to see our nation never lose another person on the battleground. We should never enter into any kind of war without the consent of Congress. When we do enter into any kind of conflict, it should be quickly carried out. When we are finished, we need to leave. The long, drawn out years of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan should never have occurred and could have been completed in a shorter time period.
The new face of poverty
Fifty years after poverty in America briefly became a front-burner issue on our nation's political agenda, it's time to move it off the back burner again.
Even as those at the top of our society have grown fabulously richer, those in the economic middle have seen their incomes stagnate and fall, opportunities decline, and poverty become about them.
Half a century after Washington declared its war on poverty, our cold reality is bleak. We've got nearly 50 million poor people and 51 million more who are "near poor." And there's no sign that the growth of poverty will reverse.
Today's big jump in numbers comes from families that have been knocked down from a middle-class life. These folks are dismayed to find themselves among the long-term unemployed, grabbing at temporary low-paying jobs and buying meager groceries with food stamps.
These are the new poor, but they also constitute a new demographic phenomenon: the suburban poor.