homepage logo

LETTERS for February 27 issue

By Staff | Feb 27, 2014

Appreciates doctor’s informative letters

I, and I am sure many other West Siders, would like to thank Dr. George Lavenson for his informative and timely letters of Dec. 26, 2013 and Jan. 23, 2014 in the Lahaina News addressing the proposed West Maui Hospital. There is no question in my mind that Dr. Lavenson’s letters were nothing more than an effort on his part, as a very qualified professional, to make sure that we, the ultimate users of the proposed hospital, are fully informed on what Joe Pluta and his associates are truly proposing.

The facts are that the proposed hospital will not be “full-service” as we, the public, would want to believe it to be. As a matter of fact, it appears that the prime goal is to use the hospital as an adjunct to a senior care facility. I’m a 47-year resident of West Maui and can’t remember a time during my being here that a future hopital hasn’t been a subject of concern. Many years ago, a group of doctors, mostly from Maui Medical Group, applied for permission to build a full-service hospital in West Maui. They were turned down by the state. The state concluded that Maui Memorial had adequate facilities to serve the needs of West Maui. It wasn’t until a few years ago that a group, led by Mr. Pluta again, raised our hopes of obtaining what most of us thought was going to be a full-service hospital.

I can’t understand why Mr. Pluta has taken such a defensive position in his response to Dr. Lavenson. I would have expected that Mr. Pluta would have contacted Dr. Lavenson, thanked him for explaining to us what was really being proposed, and invited him to participate in the planning of the proposed facility. It would seem to me that a professional of Dr. Lavenson’s experience and repute could lend very valuable local advice to Mr. Pluta and those others involved in the development of the hospital.

I am sure there are many residents of West Maui, like me, that will be willing to ante up to support the project’s success; but the developers need to realize that before we do, they need to put all their cards on the table, face up, including how the Mainland developers will finance the project, what services the hospital is going to offer, and what, if any, profit they are expecting from its operation. And I would hope Dr. Lavenson continues his most welcome critiques as an informed and interested observer.



Many aren’t clear on the history of the overthrow

I want to zero in on two points in the front-page story of Feb. 6 entitled: “Library crowd salutes ‘our’ queen.”

The first bit of information is about a document of thousands of signatures opposing annexation to the U.S presented to the U.S. Congress in 1897. This Ku’e petition (discovered by Dr. Noenoe Silva in the U.S. archives) evidenced the displeasure of the Hawaiian nationals and their supporters with annexation. The petition effectively killed annexation at that time. So the purpose of the “monster” petition was not a question of “reversing the annexation,” as the newspaper article stated.

The citizenry had too much love for their country to let a handful of men with business interests (sugar) and disrespect for the natives dictate a political outcome. Unfortunately that band of insurgents eventually got their way.

At least that’s what U.S. officials would have people believe. And most Americans go along with it, because they don’t know better.

Scholars today have delved into the records to discover that Congress deceitfully used a congressional resolution to claim Hawaii as its own – a congressional resolution instead of treaty between two sovereign and independent countries: the Hawaiian Kingdom, a country, and the United States of America, a country. So, according to my way of thinking, there is nothing to reverse, because what we have today is an annexation that never was.

I also want to point out a sham paradise designation to Hawaii. Of course, there may be an app that tells you where to go to have a good time on Maui. But Hawaii is more than a pseudo-paradise. To quote the pain-filled words of Kahu David Kapaku, who attended the Queen Liliuokalani memorial event at the Lahaina Library: “Our voices are relegated to cultural issues as long as we perform hula, speak Hawaiian, paddle canoe, etc. We are Hawaiians.”

Well, I, for one, a Hawaiian national by descendent from a naturalized subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom, will continue to write as my way of choosing to speak out; revealing facts that provide detail to the big picture. Please read what I have to say in my book, “Wahine Noa: For the life of my country.”



Enjoys Norm Bezane’s columns

I so enjoy and look forward to Norm Bezane’s writings. His style is wonderfully clear and concise and entirely engaging. Please continue to feature Norm’s superb “stories.”



Cell phone law must be changed

Well, we have a law that allows the use of a cell phone “hands-free.” Better than nothing, but I have the feeling it’s just a compromise – a “we are doing something anyway” law. Half-baked; wishey-washey…

You don’t need a psychologist or psychiatrist to tell you that when you make a phone call while driving, your brain activity is split between traffic and the call. Anyone with common sense knows it. Heck, YOU know it, because you did it X times.

Driving is primarily a “decision” activity. Do I brake, slow down, stop, accelerate, turn left, right, am I watching ALL mirrors regularly? NOT when you are on the phone.

We should have a “NO CELL PHONE USE WHILE DRIVING” law. Thus, a few hundred fender-benders or more serious material damage, a number of injuries and even one or the other fatality would be prevented.

Exceptions could be 911 calls, and of course, police, ambulance and fire trucks.

Ironically, I often overhear calls made by a driver looking for a parking space when I walk through the Cannery, Lahaina Gateway, Lahaina Shopping Center, etc., or when a car is briefly stopped at a red light. Almost all calls are completely trivial: about recipes, “what are you making for dinner?” and just idle gossip. (And I have not even mentioned all the texting!)

NO CALL is worth potentially taking a human life. Don’t stop halfway. PLEASE contact (for West Maui) Rep. McKelvey and Sen. Baker, or for your district, whoever represents you in Honolulu to initiate a change to the current law. Our roads are dangerous enough as it is. We have to make sure to take EVERY measure possible to make them as safe as possible.



Vote out career politicans

For the sake of our keiki, give hope a chance. Corruption in politics is nothing new. Great ideas foster hope, only to be compromised or altogether forgotten once a person takes office. These promises fade away and are replaced by a new goal, which is making public service a career. Term limits give more citizens a chance at bat – a chance to serve – which is ideal for a society to prosper.

You might question, “What if our leader is really good?” I would reply there should be no exceptions. Most everyone believes their representative is the exception – it’s the other guys who are self-serving. I have often heard people say throw them all out and start over. That idea is not totally without merit.

Corruption most often occurs when public servants become career politicians. The lust for power clouds their minds, and many will spend whatever it takes to hold onto power. We know they are not all corrupt; however, too many are.

If our state had term limits, we would: not be so dependent on the mainland, put our people back to work and not reward them for being unemployed, feed our families without government assistance, make sure our keiki could compete in a global economy and take them off the back burner, strengthen our families and communities and take back our dignity by empowering the people, reward our graduates with decent-paying jobs, be sustainable in both energy production and agriculture, fix our infrastructure before inviting more development to drain our limited resources, see to it that seniors could live in their homes longer by not putting unfair burdens on them (such as increases in property taxes, and fees), have food labeling and a moratorium on pesticides, and we would be proactive and not reactive.

You may ask, “What do these goals have to do with term limits?” Simply put, when public servants know that they will only have two terms in office, their eagerness to accomplish goals increases. There becomes an urgency for all parties to work together for the common good of all.

It becomes much more difficult for outside interests to influence leaders knowing a change of representatives will occur often. A leader’s goal as a public servant becomes their legacy, not their longevity. Term limits sound good; unfortunately, career politicians along with their lobbyists will never pass this legislation. Therefore, it is up to us to take our government back. How do we accomplish that? We VOTE CAREER POLITICIANS OUT.



Energy industry needs stronger regulation

Who really believes a $700 million cable from Maui to Oahu will result in lower bills for Maui residents?

Try this. For less than $700 million, we can build a desalination plant, perhaps in the Niu/Kaupo area, piping clean water up to an attractively designed reservoir, and sending the water back down as needed for firm, clean hydro-electric power. Most of the operation would be powered by wind and solar power, especially the wind power – which we are wasting due to the grid’s inability to store it – and the rooftop PV, which sounds clean but comes back to us only after being stored in an inefficient, oil-based grid. Thus, we convert the storage of our alternative power from a fossil fuel-dependent grid battery to a clean, firm and sustainable hydro-electric battery.

Don’t get bogged down in the details… something like this is very doable given the voice of the people, political will, and one other thing…

Regulate HECO. How can the sustainable power future of our islands be entrusted to a for-profit monopoly run by American Savings Bank? This kind of hangover from the plantation culture is unthinkable in any civilised society.

If we want a sustainable energy future that could set an example to the world, we have to start by regulating the industry, so its responsibility is to the people of this state, not to its stockholders.