homepage logo

LETTERS for November 1 issue

By Staff | Nov 1, 2012

Government can’t seize private land

Letters have been written about how excellent a councilperson is who stood up to put Lipoa Point into scenic preserve. Writers castigate the councilpersons who voted to keep it agricultural.

This is not about the preservation of this land. Most have heard of the use of the land as sureties for the pensions of the Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc. retirees. Some say to use other properties for this purpose.

Please let me point out the following: nobody can take rights and entitlements from anybody else without compensation. To do so is theft. Our governments can condemn lands for a public purpose; that procedure is called eminent domain. This includes paying the landholders fair compensation for their lands. To down-zone a property reduces the rights and entitlements of the landholders. To put land into scenic preserve eliminates the ability of the landholder to use his land. The term for this is inverse condemnation. The landowner must be fairly compensated.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, State House Rep. Angus McKelvey and our County Council are working on a Lipoa Point purchase proposal to put the land in preserve right now! Contrary to what has been written, I know that the council deeply cares about preservation, but they must be pono about how they do it. Remember that the government that takes away other’s land without compensation can take away yours! Isn’t that part of what we are talking about in the U.S. takeover of Hawaii? Please safeguard the rights of all.

PAUL LAUB, West Maui


General Plan can’t save Honolua

To my friend Bill Throckmorton and others that may be confused, Lipoa Point is approximately 126 acres in agriculture, and 108 acres around the shoreline in conservation. Nothing has changed, and there are NO development plans.

In the new General Plan, which has not been ratified, it was proposed that the 126 acres in agriculture be designated as preservation. This would downgrade the zoning from ag to conservation in Field 53. This downgrade of zoning would devalue the property and would be challenged in court.

The General Plan is just that – a general recommendation as to future plans. The General Plan has NO binding effect of law. The zoning could again be changed, and you could still build one house per TMK in a conservation zone.

We cannot depend on the General Plan to “save Honolua.” I remember two general plans ago (40 years), the concept was to keep everything two stories at the shoreline, and the skyscrapers that were expected to be in Maui’s future by 1990 would be at the base of the mountains. We can see clearly how well that worked out!

The biggest threat to Honolua is if Maui Land & Pine were to go bankrupt. If this happens, the bankruptcy court would sell anything and everything at a fire sale just to settle the company’s debt. Be careful what you wish for!



GOP’s focus is wealth

Jesus very clearly stated “no one can serve two masters,” pointedly stressing wealth is a bad master.

Material rulers have armies, currencies and favored elites whose privilege and wealth are the other side of hardship and shortage amidst the ordinary. Inequality is built into the system; aristocracy cannot exist without it.

Americans once overthrew rulership by external nobility, but unfortunately, kept privilege based on race and property. Unchecked corporate ownership since the Civil War has, with a few exceptions, allowed irresponsibly greedy financial manipulation and colonial wars for private profit, creating a world where many have lost rights to their own lands, water and governance. Foreign anger ripples while gold and lives melt away at the altar of war.

Politicians first in proclaiming their patriotism and faith are also first to strip workers’ rights, to send jobs away and pass laws protecting their corporate masters from taxes and justice in court for harm done. Profit overrules environment.

Complainers are accused of class warfare. Corporate media practices persuasion, schools fail, history is forgotten.

One of two major political parties marches in lockstep with wealth; the other struggles in the face of purchased media hostile to progressive ideas. Imagine everyone having a USA credit card at the same interest rate banks pay. Is that unfair?

Republicans blocked programs introduced to help the majority, preferring to run against an administration they could blame for failure.

Obama has been a reluctant hero, but he is not a high priest of great wealth like Romney.



A physician’s perspective on ‘ObamaCare’

We remember how “ObamaCare” began, with the back room dealmaking, the last minute arm-twisting, the unprecedented distortion of congressional procedure, and the final vote: 219 to 212 in the House – a relatively narrow margin considering the total Democratic control of Congress at that time.

“ObamaCare” survived a Supreme Court challenge by an even narrower five to four vote, on the basis that the individual mandate is a tax, despite the president’s insistence that it is not a tax.

We wonder if any legislator actually read the entire massive, 2,700-page monstrosity before passing the law. Buried somewhere is the requirement that all doctors enrolled in Medicare must reenroll. One of the conditions of re-enrollment has chilling Orwellian overtones: the government must have direct access to the medical practice’s bank account! I pleaded with Medicare for an exemption. Since our clinic was “non-participating” with Medicare, we received no payments from the government but instead collected from our patients using the discounted Medicare fee schedule. Medicare then would reimburse our patients. Since we did not deal directly with the government, why then should the government have access to our account? I was told there are no exceptions.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that our clinic sees a lot of visitors, and that some people over 65 continue to work and have commercial insurance in addition to Medicare. It would be so simple if, in cases of dual insurance, the commercial insurance comes first. But no – it depends on the size of the patient’s company. If the employer has more than a certain number of employees – 40, I believe – then commercial insurance comes first. Below that number, Medicare comes first.

Too often, the problem arises when a visitor mistakenly tells us that the commercial insurance is primary, and the patient is given the insurance claim form to send to his insurance. The insurance company, not being the primary carrier, then forwards the claim to Medicare for processing. This automatically generates a letter from Medicare threatening us with a $2,000 fine since regulations – Section 1848(g)(4) – dictate that the claim must be sent directly to Medicare by us. I have always ignored those threats, because in order to collect, the government will have to take me to court. I will prevail, since it is not my fault that our clinic was provided with the wrong information. But can you imagine if the government had direct access to our account? Two-thousand dollars would be taken out each time an inadvertent mistake is made. I will not be able to pay the high rent at Whalers Village or meet my payroll. I may have to close the clinic and lay off all my employees.

To those who may be tempted to assail me for my objection to “ObamaCare,” please ask yourself how you would feel if the government had access to your bank account.

I refused to reenroll. In January, I received a letter saying that my “Medicare billing privileges have been deactivated.” This meant that our Medicare patients no longer would be reimbursed. Consequently, we have referred all our Medicare patients to the Maui Medical Group, which owns its facilities and is large enough to afford to participate in Medicare. Broken is the Obama campaign promise of four years ago: “You can keep your doctor.”

Pandering socialist politicians and central planning bureaucrats have managed to subdue and subjugate what was once a respected and noble profession. The threat of fines and sanctions for any infraction of the myriad of government regulations has essentially criminalized the practice of medicine. In the depersonalized jargon of the bureaucrats, a physician is not a doctor but just a “provider.” A patient is not a patient but a “covered life.” The sacred doctor-patient relationship is split asunder when the government wedges itself between the doctor and the patient. The danger here is if the physician places the interests of the government before the interests of the patient. With “ObamaCare,” the government’s desire to control pre-empts the individual patient’s right to choose between various treatment options.

For the patients who continue to see us at our clinic until we are forced to close down, we pledge to provide you with the best possible care as we strive to be worthy to serve the suffering, hopefully free from government interference.

BEN K. AZMAN, M.D., West Maui


Parents not informed about busing change

My daughter just got off the bus today and informed me she was late because after leaving King Kamehameha III School, where she’s a student, the bus went up to Lahainaluna High School to pick up kids and then on to Lahaina Intermediate to pick up more kids.

My daughter is seven years old and riding the bus with 17- and 18-year-old high schoolers; but that is not even the main reason I’m a bit upset. I wasn’t even informed of this change!

After making several phone calls to find out if this was a permanent change, I finally spoke to the right person. He informed me that, yes, indeed, this is permanent due to overcrowding, and he was not the least bit apologetic about the lack of communication to parents. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not real comfortable having my seven-year-old daughter on a bus for an hour with high school kids I don’t know… and I have to pay for this transportation to boot!

When I asked about getting a refund so I can just start picking her up, I was told that decision is up to some other gentleman, and I should write an e-mail that will be forwarded to him. We’ll see what happens with that….

I guess I need to start a carpool… anyone in?



Don’t forget costs in cane harvesting debate

A recent letter writer went to the Internet to discover how cane is harvested without burning first in other countries. The problem is that he did not learn if there was a difference in cost between that country and Maui. He did mention Brazil, but nothing about cost. How about making a comparison of what the workers earn there against what they earn here?

Come on, guy – you can’t just pick up on something like that and talk about apples and oranges. If you’re going to pretend to do research on something like this, how about being intelligent about it and not take us for blind mice?