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LETTERS for December 27 issue

By Staff | Dec 27, 2012

Police tasked with upholding the law

Recently in the media, there was an article pertaining to oversized tires, illegal tinted windows and excessive speeding. If it’s the law, it’s the responsibility of the Maui Police Department to enforce the law, regardless if it’s a tourist, a local or their cousin.

Try driving anywhere near the speed limit from Puamana to Honokowai. Nearly every car and truck will pass you doing 50-70 mph. MPD seems to be the laziest right in front of their own police headquarters in Lahaina.

With major crime not too much of an issue on Maui, enforcing the traffic laws should be a priority. Pass out these tickets and receive more funds into the Maui government bank account.

Uphold the law, MPD. That was your oath.



The grown-up approach to the Fiscal Cliff

Our people have the idea that the government gives things out for free. But the stark reality is that credit cards come due, the balance needs to be paid, and our government simply does not have the money. Any wise consumer knows that borrowing money to buy groceries cannot go on for long.

Whatever happened to thrift, a solid work ethic and living within one’s means? In the past 50 years, the sense of responsibility of the American people has diminished, rewarding politicians who appeal to the childish sense that Big Brother has another program to meet their needs. Voters choose those who will promise more benefits from the public coffers. ObamaCare was touted as affordable or free medical care. Of course, it is neither.

In 1965, the era of massive “entitlements” began – some earned and some bestowed upon those who cannot or will not earn enough to live on. But, as Gov. Mitt Romney candidly remarked, 48 percent of Americans now receive a check or some other aid from the federal government in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other programs. This massive government spending has now reached the point where the government spends $1.40 for every $1 it receives in taxes. The nation cannot pay off its credit card each month as we borrow $188 million per hour. The majority of the American people do not think that this is a big deal. The only explanation is that they are thinking like children.

In February 2012, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned of the coming crisis. He said, “Under current law, on January 1, 2013, there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases.” He has no solutions, and Congress can only spout the same tired remedies of taxing the rich more and eliminating fraud and abuse.

Sensible thinking is not emanating from the White House.Physicians and hospitals are gearing up to adjust to what is coming. Medicare is scheduled to lower the fees by 27 percent. Those practitioners who are heavily dependent on government money will face the greatest upheaval, and those who have managed to avoid the government programs will fare better.

The United States Treasury funds failed government programs and wasteful projects, hastening our arrival at the fiscal cliff where taxes rise and government spending falls. One solution is to stop inventing “green energy jobs” that give taxpayer money to friends and campaign donors. Another is to revisit the idea of making the safety net more comfortable and more permanent. This hurts taxpayers and recipients alike.

We taxpayers will need a game plan to tighten our belts and demand that the government treat our hard-earned dollars with respect. We must plot our exits from the bloated national programs that cannot live up to their promises. We must return to our noble roots of self-reliance and strong moral character, and plan as though the federal government programs will fail. We must and can nurture strong community roots where neighbor helps neighbor.

Tumbling off a cliff leads to great injury, but with some grown-up thinking, perhaps we can avoid it.



Mahalo to ‘mega-mall’ interveners

I send my thanks to Mark Hyde, Irene Bowie and Daniel Kanahele, three local Kihei residents. They have received the name of “interveners,” and rightly so. They are intervening on behalf of the Kihei community – its residents, small businesses, the environment and our lifestyle – in their legal pursuit to halt the Piilani “mega-mall” that slipped in unannounced.

Mark, Irene and Daniel have been diligent and tenacious in their position, despite the lack of respect shown by the mayor, his administration and the developer. The mayor issued a court order to ban public testimony at the hearings, which was shot down. The mayor also used two issues – increase jobs and improve our economy – to placate the community and divert the attention of how Eclipse Developers were noncompliant with existing conditions of the state Land Use Commission and never wanted to meet with the community. The noncompliance issue and banning public testimony are more than legality. It is taking away citizen’s rights to voice their opinions as to what and how their community grows. Why have a growth plan if it isn’t adhered to?

Jobs and economy are misconceptions, as clearly explained by Richard Mayer, an expert witness in community planning and economics, at the Nov. 16 hearings.

Another misconception I hear is that these stores will bring diversity. The diversity of options, choices to buy at cheaper prices, to be branded with someone else’s name other than our own, is mythologizing these mega-malls, when, in fact, the opposite is true. We are becoming a homogenized society. These corporate behemoths offer a “one-size-fits-all” look, whether you’re in Hawaii, the Mainland, Europe or China.

The mega-malls have taken away diversity and local economy that already exist – the diversity of little boutiques, local businesses, mom-and-pop shops that have been there for decades or generations, years of hard-earned money re-circulated locally, and legacies passed on to their children and their future generations. Products indicative of their culture, their land and their heritage are disappearing.

Contrary to beliefs about increasing economy, providing jobs and that growth is necessary, mega-malls are eroding our values, citizens’ rights and environments. Skirting rules of law and zoning, these powerful corporations increase their profits at the expense of local economy, people’s welfare and the environment.

Wherever you go on the planet, the import-export of retail chains is choking our communities and rural land of little towns and villages, linking the world in a consumerism fence. Mega-malls, box stores and retail chains are strangling the world of diversity and individual business ownership.

This commercialism presents a local-global challenge: how can globalization allow for diversity? How can small businesses stay alive and thrive within the suffocation of retail commercialism? How can we serve and satisfy the diversified needs, desires and visions of individuals and communities? How do we preserve and complement the environments and cultures we live in?