LETTERS for August 12 issue
VOTE OUT INEFFECTIVE POLITICIANS
Lots of people are saying, oust all of our stale, good-old-boy incumbents and start anew. Flush them all away, because whatever has been going on for the last two years hasn’t accomplished anything memorable.
It’s time for elections again. Why should tax dollars pay for redundancy and lack of accomplishment? To serve the people should be an honor, and the people deserve more.
Maui incumbent candidates are busy with their fund-raisers, which are really mahalo parties with food, entertainment and door prizes.
In a letter to the editor, John Ornellas wondered what the difference is between 2008 and 2010 promises. What has been accomplished? The incumbents act like they don’t have to prove themselves like the newcomers. It’s thanks for your support and do it again!
What has been done that stands out? Her honor got a million dollar office remodel. What a waste of tax dollars. A cell phone ban and plastic bag ban — what about all the plastic that fills those bags?
Maui County Council needs to clean house and get back to basics. Their time is bombarded with administrative duties instead of focusing on their primary job: policy making.
Politicians need a term-end report card. Do they pass or fail… do they live up to their promises… do they benefit our community?
If you like what they’ve done, vote them back in. If they fail, flunk them out!
ROGER DATBRAUGH, Lahaina
DITCH ABOVE LHS FIELD IS CLEAN
A recent article about Lahainaluna High School’s potential flood damage to the new football field from mauka rainstorms concerned the school and several local residents.
During a meeting of several concerned residents, the cleaning of the Lahainaluna Ditch to catch storm water runoff and prevent damage to the new field was discussed, but due to monetary problems, little action was undertaken
But Mr. Lanny Tihada took it upon himself to seek a solution to this problem. Lanny evidently contacted Hawaiian Dredging for possible assistance in cleaning the ditch. And now, thanks to Lanny and Hawaiian Dredging, we have a flood safety net to prevent storm water damage to the new Lahainaluna football field. Mahalo.
HANS MICHEL, Lahaina
HIGHWAYS WALLS HELP SHIELD NOISE
Dr. George Lavenson (Letters, Aug. 5) thinks it’s a shame that sound walls are being installed on the highway between Lahainaluna and Aholo. It’s a pretty good bet Dr. Lavenson doesn’t live along that stretch of road, as his viewpoint might change if he did.
The residents who do live by the highway are subjected to around-the-clock auditory attacks from runs of unmuffled motorcycles, schools of small foreign cars with three-inch tail pipes, pods of construction trucks and the occasional Peterbilt tsunami.
Imagine having to close up your home just to answer the telephone.
Dr. Lavenson should look up the research on how sound can be debilitating to one’s mental state before he complains about the view. There’s a very good reason why California has installed hundreds of miles of sound walls.
PETE FANARKISS, Lahaina
WHO IS PAYING FOR THE LAWSUITS?
Everyone following the debacle of Sol Kaho‘ohalahala and all the lawsuits must be wondering what’s going on. Me too. None of the people suing Sol has paid a dime for their lawyers.
Maui County’s attorney, Jane Lovell, has asked the question: “Who is paying you?” But high-profile Honolulu attorney Kenneth Kupchak refuses to answer.
As a voter, you have the right to know who is trying to take down a council member and thus undermine the value of our government. The money trail tells the truth, and where the money is coming from to pay not one but three high-profile attorneys is not being revealed.
This very important part of the picture is hidden.
Someone wants to destroy Sol and jeopardize his political career. Look at who Sol is, how he votes, what he has the potential to accomplish. He is an extraordinarily effective public servant, and his presence in government is a threat to an unknown person or persons hiding in the shadows and pulling strings. It’s up to you to look through this veil of deception.
SEAN LESTER, Kula
EVIDENCE OF A FAILED MISSION
WikiLeaks’ Afghan War Diary, a trove of 91,370 previously secret documents, is an important first history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Of course, mistakes will be found, but these are reports of military leaders to others in the military. This is where they tell the truth. It’s significant that the Obama administration has not tried to claim the reports are inaccurate. Instead, they’re claiming that disclosing the reports somehow endangers U.S. troops, while at the same time disparaging the documents as having no new information.
Afghans and Pakistanis clearly know far better than we do what the U.S./NATO forces are actually doing in their countries, so it’s not the reports, it’s the actions they document that put U.S. and allied troops at risk.
What the leaks will do is stoke even greater global anger around the world, as evidence comes to those who didn’t know firsthand what the U.S./NATO occupation means for Afghans and Pakistanis. That will certainly mean rising anger toward U.S. policy and Americans as a whole.
There’s no evidence yet of a new smoking gun among the documents. But taken as a whole, the documents provide a collective arsenal of evidence of a brutal war that never did have a chance to succeed, and evidence of two administrations of a government determined to mislead its own people and the rest of the world.
The documents indicate significant shifts in the nature of how the war is being fought, with documentation of escalating Special Forces operations and drone attacks. The Pentagon’s “nation-building” efforts are failing in places like Marja, last spring’s poster-city of a U.S.-backed government-in-a-box. The handpicked mayor-in-a-box, who spent most of the last 15 years living in Germany, is so unpopular that he has to be ferried into town on military helicopters for occasional meetings and then quickly whisked away.
So perhaps it isn’t surprising that the new documents describe activities like those of Task Force 373, a death-squad that goes after identified individuals on a kill-or-capture list. No trial, of course. And if drones are called in to do more of the dirty work so U.S. troops are not at risk, and more Afghan or Pakistani civilians are killed as a result… well, that’s just part of the cost of war.
The documents include evidence of civilian deaths never reported in the press, many of them probably never even mentioned or asked about in the virtually nonexistent congressional oversight of the years documented in these reports. They detail massive levels of corruption, extortion and constant violence inflicted on Afghan civilians by the U.S.-backed, U.S.-trained, and U.S.-funded militias known as the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
And they demonstrate, again, the continuing links between Pakistan’s top military intelligence agency, the ISI, and the top leadership of the Taliban, despite claims by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in the Obama administration that Pakistan is a reliable U.S. ally that just needs to work a little harder on going after terrorists.
The WikiLeaks documents provide a treasure trove of evidence — of what we already knew. This war has already failed. Every death, of civilian and soldier, is needless. The cost of this occupation and this war — in Afghan blood, in U.S. and NATO military blood, in billions of dollars needed for jobs at home and real reconstruction in Afghanistan and elsewhere — is too high.
We need to stop the funding now, bring the troops and contractors home, support regional diplomacy and begin the long effort of repaying our huge debt to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.
PHYLLIS BENNIS, Institute for Policy Studies
WANT A MEAL OR CULINARY EXPERIENCE?
Living in Hawaii, most of us get the same questions from visitors. They all want to know where they can go to dinner. However, we need to know whether they just want to eat, or if they want a dining experience.
Some people like a place with decor and ambiance. Along with it, they get menus describing each portion with superlatives.
For example, the vegetables specify where they are grown, how they are picked, then placed on a bed of some special herb that comes from still another place.
The steak dishes give the entire history of the steak, from the time the cattle were born to when it gets on your plate.
In a fine dining restaurant, reading the menu is like hanging around a library.
But for those who just want to eat, I send them to my kind of place.
ARSENE “BLACKIE” GADARIAN, Lahaina
BILL PROTECTS CITIZENS FROM ECONOMIC DISASTERS
With the historic passage of Wall Street Reform, the U.S. Senate and congressional Democrats voted to put Main Street before Wall Street and ensured that Americans will be protected from future economic disasters similar to the one that nearly saw the collapse of our economy less than two years ago.
Thanks to the vision and courage of President Obama and congressional Democrats, Wall Street will now be held accountable for their actions and there will be greater protections for American families, small businesses, community banks and shareholders.
The passage of Wall Street reform means that another essential element of America’s economic recovery is now in place. President Obama and congressional Democrats vowed to protect the interest of the American people, and with this bill, they have done just that. By overcoming the opposition of the big banks and their Republican allies, congressional Democrats have stood up and said unequivocally that the status quo is no longer acceptable.
The significance of this bill cannot be understated. President Obama and congressional Democrats have not only passed the most significant and meaningful Wall Street Reform since the 1930s, but they have ushered in a new era of accountability and responsibility that will protect American families from Wall Street’s risky and irresponsible practices.
While there is still more work to do to ensure our country’s recovery is sustained, I am proud to join the people of Hawaii in applauding President Obama and congressional Democrats for passing such an important and momentous bill.
RIA BALDEVIA, State Director, Organizing for America-Hawaii