LETTERS for October 7 issue
WHY AREN’T PEOPLE VOTING?
Voter apathy in the Primary Election was most evident in West Maui this year.
The State Office of Elections website has statistics — please check out the alarming facts! Why aren’t people voting!
The 34.2 percent total of registered voters who turned out to vote in the Sept. 18 primary is pathetic. Worse yet is the fact that of the 28,839 who did vote, 5,424 of them — almost 19 percent — did not even cast a single vote for any West Maui candidate.
There is not any more evidence necessary to see that West Maui is an island unto itself. It seems it’s not on the minds of voters, who forget that the successful West Maui candidate will be voting on all issues that come before the Maui County Council. That means where they live, too — in Central Maui and elsewhere. We may be in different life rafts in West Maui than East Maui, Central, Kihei and Upcountry, but we’re all in the same boat.
We have some great communities and fair-minded residents on Maui in all locations. However, it seems that some voters who do not reside in West Maui suffer from “tunnel vision.” It seems that they lose sight about West Maui’s importance at the Pali Tunnel. These voters need to be reminded to recognize the fact that nearly 45 percent of the entire county and state economic tax contributions are derived from West Maui. Who they select for the West Side will be of vital importance and should not be ignored with blank votes.
The blank vote number of 5,424 for West Maui could have swung the election in the favor of every other candidate who was not successful to advance to the general election. That means that the total votes for the two who did move on, Elle Cochran and Alan Fukuyama, are representative of just less than half of those who did vote and only 16 percent of the registered voters in Maui County. That is a troubling statistic.
We hope that the people who have investment interests in West Maui will recognize the importance of having the West Maui Taxpayers Association’s assistance and guidance available to bring to the council meetings next year. We will urge both of these candidates to contact us and familiarize themselves with our short- and long-term goals that the community-at-large has expressed to the WMTA each year. The magnitude of importance is off the charts.
Come to the WMTA Candidates’ Night at Lahaina Civic Center on Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. Spread the word! This is an open event for the entire community. See what the candidates have to say. Ask tough questions. Please vote on Nov. 2!
JOSEPH D. PLUTA, West Maui Taxpayers Association, Lahaina
WHO KNOWS ALAN FUKUYAMA?
Who is Alan Fukuyama? Lahaina residents haven’t a clue. Please tell us what West Side civic groups he hangs with. Or if he has ever attended a public meeting, wedding or graduation party. Or if he knows where Lahaina Civic Center is.
At the Kula Candidate Forum on Akaku, he said he lives in his car! Is his campaign a union-sponsored fiasco to put a union “yes man” in office?
Sol Kaho’ohalahala was at least known by Lanai residents before his contested residency case. Believe me — no one in Lahaina has ever heard of a Fukuyama family in Lahaina. It will be interesting to see who steps up in his defense.
JACK BAILEY, Lahaina
COCHRAN HAS CHARACTER
In a way, I’m glad it’s out — and I know Elle Cochran is glad, too. I’ve known about Elle’s record for some time now (she’s the one who told me about it), but also know that she’s worked it out and has dotted all the “I”s and crossed all the “T”s in that regard. The person who made the complaint probably didn’t realize it, but he actually did her a favor. The Maui News emphasized it by giving her a headline on the front page.
Like I’ve said before, I’ve known Elle for several years now and can vouch for her character. I have offered her a cocktail on several occasions, only to have her turn it down. She is truly honest and perseveres in everything she does with boundless energy that I have witnessed on many occasions.
Perhaps this was the best way that it could have been made public, I think anyway. It was a hard time in her life and she had many problems back then (17 years ago). But she has worked through it all. She deserves a lot of credit for doing all that she has through it all.
GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina
CAN WHITE BE A MANAGER AND COUNTY COUNCILMAN?
I can appreciate Mike White’s bid for the Upcountry seat on the County Council. As the Kaanapali Beach Hotel general manager, White hires locally. He’s a good guy. The thing that bothers me is Mike is adamant about retaining his position as general manager for a hotel and being a Maui County Council member at the same time.
The council job is 60-plus hours a week. During budget and special hearings, they can go 12 hours a day in session, and more time reading and researching the issues before them to ensure proper knowledge and the ability to amend, challenge and vote correctly. And even more time is needed to write a law and get the consensus necessary to pass it through the council. So this is the equivalent of two regular jobs’ worth of work.
Mike already has a position that is very time-consuming: keeping a hotel profitable in bad economic times. He can’t have both. And Maui certainly cannot afford a part-time council member in the times we live today.
With this in mind, I cannot vote for Mike. Now I have to take a better look at the other person running for the seat: Kai Nishiki. As far as I can tell, she plans to do just the job of council member. If Mike wants to volunteer time to help, I am sure there is a board or commission that can use his knowledge. But knowledge spread too thin is not an asset for such a demanding job.
SHEILA UNDERDOWN, Haiku
WHO IS BEHIND THE TEA PARTY?
There have been a number of letters recently that decry the problems with our nation. Most, it appears, come from people who have gleaned their information from talk radio. Some say it is a misconception that the Tea Party is just another name for the GOP. According to OpenSecrets.org, 100 percent of the contributions made to the Tea Party PAC of the USA in the 2010 election cycle went to Republican candidates. And according to SourceWatch.org, one of the main sources of funding for the Tea Party movement is a group called FreedomWorks, whose mission, stated on its website, is “[to] Fight the Left … [and to create] a grassroots juggernaut capable of going toe-to-toe with the unions … enviros and the MoveOn.orgs of the world.”
Others state America is a Christian nation. Nowhere does the Constitution mention Christianity either as the basis of the rule of law or as the official religion of the nation’s founders or of the United States. In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” A reading of the Constitution, therefore, negates the claim that this country was founded as a Christian nation.
A repeated cry is, “I want to get our country back.” Such language is well-established code used by Republicans since the 1960s to advocate the continued repression of minorities’ rights. Concepts such as “we” versus “they,” “states’ rights” and allusions to implied social or moral degeneration were pioneered by Richard Nixon’s racist “Southern Strategy,” his 1968 election plan for exploiting the prejudices of the Deep South to shore up Republican votes. The unfortunate legacy of such phrases obviously continues to this day in the philosophy of the Tea Party movement.
All that is required to understand the Tea Party’s campaign of misinformation is a copy of the Constitution and a high school-level understanding of basic American government and civics. Perhaps those who participate in Tea Party activities will now understand why the party has the reputation they decry.
LILLIAN NEQUAM, Lahaina