homepage logo

LETTERS for December 9 issue

By Staff | Dec 9, 2010


Are you sick of your whining legislators and their threats to cut essential services? Do you wonder why they always need more money? Why they take away tax exemptions? They destroy our jobs by overtaxing small businesses, our employers. Are you disgusted with the way our legislature sneaks in new taxes under the “fees” category and just can’t seem to balance a budget the way you and I must? How much do these government employees make anyway?

Well, have some BIG fun with this new website from the Grassroots Institute: hawaiisunshine.org. See exactly what these elected officials do with all of this money. You may want to report some “pork” spending on this website yourself, if you have some information to share. Perhaps you can report on the waste in our hospital system, unions or school system. It is so entertaining in a painful way. This is much better than watching TV! Way to go, Jamie Story!!



We are being told that there is no inflation. However, everyday things we buy are in smaller packages, and the price is higher.

But then higher prices mean that we can’t afford to buy things.

The less we are able to buy, the more we go without.

It’s one way to go on a diet.



The Lahaina Intermediate School PTSA is proud to announce that our annual Dance-A-Thon fundraiser was a huge success. Thanks to the support of our local community, our students raised $9,000, which will be used to support PTSA-sponsored activities throughout the school year. The dance, which was generously hosted by the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, was a big hit with the students. Special thanks go out to the Royal Lahaina Resort, which provided the students with an ono dinner, as well as Tropic Water and Deejay David Mason. Without your organization, this event would not have been possible.

Mahalo to the following businesses that generously supported our event: Aloha Mixed Plate, Barnes & Noble, Bubba Gump, Cool Cat Cafe, Duke’s Beach House, Dusty Payne Surfboards, Expeditions, Gazebo Restaurant, Hair Salon Unlimited, Hi-Tech Surf Shop, Hula Grill Restaurant, Honua Kai Resort, Honolua Surf Co., Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Jamba Juice, Kimo’s Restaurant, Kahoma Ranch, Leilani’s Restaurant, Lahaina Pizza Company, Lahaina Cruise Company, Lahaina Dive Company, Lahaina Music, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Maui Golf and Sports Park, Pacific Jet Sports, Pacific Whale Foundation, Royal Lahaina Resort, Royal Trading Company, Royal Lahaina Luau, Trilogy Sailing Charters, UFO Parasail, Ulalena, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas and The Westin Maui Resort and Spa.

A final mahalo to the many parents, teachers, staff members and students, who tirelessly volunteered their time to make this event possible. The Lahaina Intermediate School PTSA helps support the Lahaina After School Tutoring Program, Reflections Art Program, Renaissance Partners in Learning Program, annual LIS Volleyball Tournament, Staff Appreciation events, campus beautification, student incentives and other student events throughout the school year.



The finding against Sol Kaho’ohalahala by the state Board of Voter Registration is one of the final travesties of the Lingle Administration. The board was appointed by Lingle, and it’s one of the few places where Republicans have power.

As a Maui County Councilman, Sol filed a motion for the Maui County Council to begin an investigation with subpoena powers to depose all of her cabinet members regarding the Makawao Highlands Housing Project. Anyone who has felt her ferocity knows she has a long and documented history of vindictive pay back.

Sol publicly backed Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie. John Henry, chair of the Board of Voter Registration, was point man for Duke Aiona’s gubernatorial campaign on Maui.

Henry is listed as Maui County Republican Party chairman, and his vice chair, Mei Ling Akuna, was a candidate who ran a vicious political campaign against Sol when he was in the House of Representatives. This is about as blatant a political pay back as it gets.

It’s important to understand just how petty and backwards the decision of this board is. The board’s majority has shown to be small-minded and incapable of making a ruling based on unbiased facts. It is time for a full investigation in their actions in this matter.

We must ensure this board has ethical people who are willing to actually fulfill their job position and not use it as a platform for political revenge. Hopefully the new legislature and governor will correct this flagrant misuse.



As deserts expand and droughts persist, desperate people begin fighting over the water that remains. Elsewhere, rising sea levels create mass migrations. These portraits of human tragedy caused by climate change have become environmental security threats that the U.S. military now worries about.

The U.S. military is taking steps to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions. Since it produces more emissions than any other institution on the planet, this is good news. But is it enough? In a word, no. If climate change is the major security threat the military says it is, no amount of military greening will be enough to reverse it. Only wholesale measures to curb emissions across our own economy — and the world’s — will do the job. Where will the money come from? Here’s one big part of the answer: if arresting climate change is a national security imperative, then we need to devote a substantial portion of our security dollars to that purpose.

How are we doing so far? I have measured the balance of what the federal government spends on its military forces and on climate change since 2008. The climate change budget has more than doubled since then, from $7 to $18 billion. During the same period, military spending has also risen, though at a slower rate: from $696 to $739 billion. As a result, we’ve cut the gap between them in half. We spent $94 on the military for every dollar we spent on the climate in 2008. We’ll spend at a ratio of $41 to $1 in 2011.

Obviously, this is progress. But check out what’s happening in China, our primary global competitor. It spends about one-sixth as much on its military as the United States. It invests twice as much in clean energy technology. So its spending balance works out to somewhere between $2 and $3 on its military to every dollar it spends on climate. And China is on track to become the world leader in both solar and wind technology by next year. So our 41-to-1 balance looks good compared to where we were, but terrible compared to our main global competitor.

The extreme tilt in our budget toward military spending is leaving us way behind in two of the major growth markets of the global economy. For the sake of our economic health and competitiveness, then, as well as for the sake of our security, we need to tilt the other way. The balance between what we spend on traditional military tools and on climate needs to look a lot more like China’s.

MIRIAM PEMBERTON, Institute for Policy Studies