LETTERS for September 20 issue
What’s wrong with local government?
Hooray for Elle Cochran… but too bad she has only one vote. When she came knocking on my door during her run for council, I had one thing to tell her that I thought was important: Native Hawaiians, stop wasting time looking back. Yes, it should not have happened, but it did. There is no point in pursuing goals that can never be obtained, so why not put all that negative, angry energy into saving what we still have? As a unified group, only you have the power. Look forward, step up, run for office on a save my island platform. I guarantee you would be a shoe-in.
Ninety percent of Maui residents are against further development, but our County Council refuses to listen to what the people want. In my 15 years in Lahaina, we have lost so much. Why do so many members of our council not get it? It’s not rocket science. It’s not what the people want. Do we really need more development? Who does it serve?
The beach between Kaanapali and Honokowai is now just a memory; the view of the West Maui Mountains is marred by another restaurant and another Mainland chain store. Soon, Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point will be gone. Visitors who used to go to Honolulu began coming to Maui instead – not for gridlock and unrelenting traffic noise; not to see new development; not for more shopping options. They can have all that anywhere. They come for the spaces, the natural undeveloped beauty, the lack of development.
What will it take to open the eyes and ears of our council? ENOUGH ALREADY! None of these projects can ever be undone; once finished, we are stuck forever. I’m in a position to speak to visitors every day – many of them return visitors – and I am hearing, “Next time we will go to Molokai or Kauai; we hate to see what’s happening here. What is wrong with your local government? Why do they allow this to happen?”
I’m embarrassed to tell them I don’t know. I guess they just don’t care.
PENNY WEIGEL, Lahaina
Testify for Honolua at budget meeting
If you are concerned about the preservation of Honolua, as I am, then we all need to be at the mayor’s budget hearing on Monday evening, Oct. 1, at Lahaina Civic Center!
Be prepared for a long night. We have to respect our kupuna who bus in and speak first. I will be there to testify; will you?
LES POTTS, Napili
McKelvey supported bad legislation
In recent years, the legislature has wrestled with providing exemptions to regulatory, environmental and cultural review requirements in order to support Hawaii’s economic growth. Act 55 was born and passed without hardly a whisper. Shouldn’t the people get a chance to vote on such important legislation?
Act 55 gives the Department of Land and Natural Resources broad powers and allows them to come against the very thing we’re trying to protect – our land and environment – with little or no accountability. There should be no exemptions, period. My opponent, Angus McKelvey, supported this bad bill.
During this last legislative session, a number of bad bills were promoted that would have eliminated environmental review for certain projects (SB755HD3) and allowed “transit-related” construction to ignore land use and height restrictions (SB2927).
How do you think Angus McKelvey voted on these bad bills? Amazingly, he voted to support them. I am thankful they did not pass but failed in the House.
I understand it’s important to stimulate economic growth, but not at the expense of our cultural and environmental protections. It is also true people make mistakes, but to vote over and over again for this kind of legislation looks more like an agenda than a mistake.
I hope Tamara Paltin and the Save Honolua Coalition know I support their efforts to preserve and protect Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point.
I also support for Elle Cochran in regard to overdevelopment and loss of sensitive lands. We must fight for our rights, our ‘aina and our communities. I caution you to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
CHAYNE MARTEN, Candidate, State House, District 10
Israel has powerful weapon in its arsenal
Israel could send Iran “back to the stone age” with an electromagnetic bomb. An electromagnetic bomb of this sort would be detonated above the ground, creating an electromagnetic pulse that would “disrupt all the technological devices working on the ground.”
This kind of bomb would operate based on the non-lethal technology of gamma rays. The outburst of energy would “fry” electrical devices and currents around the source of the explosion.
Iran won’t be able to fight Israeli technology, the most advanced in the world.
Iran would be completely paralyzed; nothing will work, not even a cell phone. No planes will be able to take off. The Iranians will be forced into the old days of riding donkeys and camels.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration is trying to prevent Israel form attacking Iran. However,
Israel might have no choice…
DAN ZOFI, Kula
A glimmer of military budget sanity
Here’s a milestone of sorts: in July, for the first time since 1998, the House of Representatives voted to maintain the current military budget rather than increase Pentagon spending. It’s the first step toward bringing the budget down.
Within the bill, which included more than $600 billion for the military, the House embedded a few gestures toward fiscal sanity. Most important was the decision of 89 Republicans to join most Democrats in shaving a billion bucks off the budget that House Republican leaders had proposed. That’s mostly a symbolic move in a budget of this size, but worth celebrating nevertheless.
Less publicized was a much smaller gesture. Congress voted to block Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the chair of the House committee in charge of spending, from steering a contract to his district in Kentucky to buy $17,000 drip pans for Black Hawk helicopters.
$17,000 for what? You know, pans that catch leaking transmission fluid. As The New York Times reported in May, other Army helicopters do fine with a $2,500 model. Congress ruled that the chair of the spending committee couldn’t reward a frequent campaign contributor with a contract that somebody else could fulfill at 1/8th the cost to the taxpayer.
Rogers’ drip pans deal would have cost about $5 million over three years – chump change in the budget Congress was voting on. So why did they ax this particular sweet deal? Maybe they were a little worried that it would become the next $800 toilet seat.
Back in the 1980s, this fixture on a Navy plane – we’re not talking the price of a toilet mind you, just the seat – epitomized military waste. As a symbol the public could really visualize, its discovery expedited contracting reform. Other egregious examples emerged: a $436 claw hammer that looked like the kind you could pick up at the hardware store for $15, and a $7,622 coffee maker before espresso bars became commonplace.
A pan that catches transmission fluid might not trigger the same outrage as that pricey toilet seat. But with the nation careening toward the edge of a fiscal cliff, the timing is right. As conservative lawmakers make speeches in the coming months about their belief that Pentagon spending must be preserved at the expense of everything else, the $17,000 drip pan offers a handy rebuttal.
So Congress tried to head this particular program off before it got too much publicity. Of course, at the same time it rejected other modest, sane, cost-cutting gestures, such as nixing the Pentagon’s $72 million advertising budget for NASCAR races.
We won’t get too carried away with this glimmer of hope that a sane approach to military spending is around the corner. Still, 89 Republicans and most Democrats did say no to Rep. Rogers, the “Prince of Pork.” And for the first time since before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress voted to trim its leaders’ aspirations for the overall military budget. It’s a start.
MIRIAM PEMBERTON, GABRIEL ROSSMAN