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LETTERS for February 28 issue

By Staff | Feb 28, 2013

Mega mall, Olowalu project too big for Maui

An article appeared in today’s paper about a developer complaining about having some workers on the bench, and more to be added, because a very large development in Kihei was squashed by the LUC, because it violated a l995 plan that he was counting on. Well, can we all agree that we are on an island with definite limitations and grave restrictions for our living conditions?

Does it matter to him that the people of Kihei and Wailea are against that monstrous development he was counting on?

He hasn’t offered to share his profits with those workers that are on the bench, has he? Of course not! But here he is playing his violin looking for sympathy. Isn’t it the profit that he would be making his biggest concern? Obviously, he doesn’t have a concern about what that monster would cause on the roadways.

The proposed development at Olowalu would potentially put approximately 3,000 more vehicles on the roadway there. Isn’t his idea of the Kihei project bigger? That roadway which is already a gridlock from the Pali to Puamana. Are we considered blind?

Both projects are just too big for Maui. Look at what has happened to Oahu! Are we wrong to not want that to happen here on Maui? Come on, Brudda – no make la dat!



HCDA’s plan could end up privatizing Kewalo Basin

In 2012, the state fulfilled its constitutional obligations to Native Hawaiians by providing OHA with fee simple title to lands in Kakaako makai. However, to our surprise, the HCDA had agreed to lease the harbor in Kakaako for 50 years to a California-based marina operator and increase the boat slips to 243.

Now OHA is feeling heavy pressure from both entities to accept the harbor improvements, which include two “finger” piers that will extend from OHA’s Fisherman’s Wharf site.

OHA was not aware of the HCDA’s commitment to the finger piers prior to our signing the settlement agreement with the state.

OHA needs its oceanfront unobstructed to be able to master plan our area as a whole. Cruise ships docked in front of our property would violate our promise to the Kakaako community.

ROWENA M. AKANA, Trustee-at-Large, Office of Hawaiian Affairs


Proposed soda tax misguided

The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) criticizes proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1085, which would place an additional tax of one cent per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages in Hawaii. The bill will next be considered by the Ways and Means Committee before going to the Senate floor.

The proposal to tax sugar-sweetened beverages is absurdly misguided when it comes to promoting weight loss. Study after study has demonstrated that soda is not a unique contributor to obesity. In fact, a recent analysis by the National Cancer Institute found that soft drink intake actually accounts for less than seven percent of the average person’s daily calories.

“Taxes shouldn’t be a tool for social engineering or an instrument to penalize Hawaiians for doing nothing wrong,” said J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom.

“Residents of Hawaii don’t need a Ph.D. in nutrition to tell them that eating or drinking too much of anything is unhealthy; it only takes a little common sense and personal responsibility.”

While the soda tax may enlarge Hawaii’s government coffers, it won’t slim down residents of the Aloha State. The author of a recent soda tax study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine determined that people would likely switch to untaxed beverages with the same amount of calories, such as whole milk or fruit juice, leaving a soda tax as primarily a moneymaking exercise for the government.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are no more fattening than any other food with calories,” Wilson continued. “It’s only the over-consumption of calories, whether from soda or other foods and drinks, that leads people to put on extra pounds.”

For more information, visit www.ConsumerFreedom.com.



Reflecting on Black History Month

Black History in America has certainly had its ups and downs. It’s troubling when, for political theater, those who should know better fail to emphasize the inspirational stories that highlight the strengths of blacks and the humanity of whites. While it is undeniable that cruelty and suffering are part of this country’s history, at some point it is counterproductive to paint blacks as weak victims of the white man’s callousness.

There were always free blacks in America (including my family). Indeed, in 1641, Mathias De Sousa, an African indentured servant who came from England with Lord Baltimore, was elected to Maryland’s General Assembly. The first census of 1790 counted 19 percent black Americans, ten percent of whom were free.

Black Americans served on both sides during the Revolutionary War. The British promised freedom to slaves belonging to Patriot masters who served. Because of his manpower shortages, George Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776, creating his so-called “mixed multitude,” which was 15 percent black. Economist Walter Williams is so correct that necessity can overcome prejudice.

Nestled in the back of some folks’ minds was (is?) the notion that blacks were not as intelligent as whites. They certainly couldn’t have had the smarts to be doctors. James Derham (c. 1757-1802?), born a slave in Philadelphia, proved the naysayers wrong. He was the first known black American physician, although not professionally trained in medical school. As was common at the time, physicians were trained in apprenticeships. Young Derham was fortunate that his three early masters were physicians who taught him to read and write.

Derham’s third owner taught the young teen how to mix and administer medicines. After this owner, who had been arrested during the war for being a Tory, died in prison, Derham was sold to a British officer, and he served as a doctor to soldiers. After the war, he became the property of a Scottish physician (appropriately named Dr. Love) from New Orleans, who hired him to work as a medical assistant and apothecary.

By 1783, Derham quickly saved enough money to buy his freedom, and he set up his own medical practice in New Orleans. Derham, who spoke English, French and Spanish, was a popular and highly regarded doctor who treated both black and white patients. By age 30, Derham earned more than $3,000 annually.

Derham’s medical paper on his success in treating diphtheria caught the attention of Benjamin Rush, a physician who signed the Declaration of Independence, served as surgeon general of the Continental Army and has been called “the father of American medicine.” Rush invited Derham to Philadelphia in 1788 and was so impressed that he encouraged him to stay. There, Derham became an expert in throat diseases and in the relationship between weather and disease.

In 1789, Derham returned to New Orleans, where he saved many yellow fever victims. He stopped practicing medicine in 1801, when the new city regulations required a formal medical degree to be considered a doctor. Nothing is known of his whereabouts after 1802.

The first university-trained black American physician was James McCune Smith, born in 1813 to slave parents who were emancipated by New York law. Despite his scholastic achievements at the Free African School of New York, he was denied admission to American medical schools. When he was 19 years old, the Glasgow Emancipation Society helped Smith enroll in Scotland’s University of Glasgow. He received his B.A. degree in 1835 and his M.D. degree in 1837. A skilled debater and lecturer, Smith was a founding member of the New York Statistics Society in 1852 and was elected as an early member of the American Geographic Society.

The first American medical degree was conferred on David J. Peck, born circa 1826 into a free black family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1846, after studying two years with a private physician, he enrolled in Rush Medical College and graduated in 1847. Peck practiced medicine in Philadelphia for two years before moving to Central America to start a homeland for free blacks in Nicaragua.

Thank you, doctors, for paving the way for my grandfather, my father, and me.