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LETTERS for June 4 issue

By Staff | Jun 4, 2015

Next Puukolii Road letter, please!

I have been following the saga of Ms. Weigel vs. Mr. Sowers and have found it to be very entertaining. As the captain of my high school debate team, I have to give the last round to Ms. Weigel.

Point in fact – obviously Mr. Sowers finally took the time to do some research as to the improvements on Puukolii Road, but he should have perhaps led with that information rather than introduce it three installments down the road (no pun intended).

I notice that Ms. Weigel (very effectively, I might add) used the first tool in the debaters’ tool box, which is to find a way to unnerve your opponent. In this case, she seemed to have purposely taken him back to third grade taunts about his last name, and he fell for it hook, line and sinker.

The goal of Ms. Weigel’s first response, I believe, was to point out that his opinion would have carried more weight had he included some pertinent information, rather than attack Ms. Johnson, and that he might want to stick to the subject in future writings.

Mr. Sowers seemed to want to tie the need for a West Maui hospital to the need for improvements to the road, and Ms. Johnson’s place on the board… or was it the other way around? I’m so confused.

Anyway, I’m hoping for more and can’t wait for next week’s paper. It’s three to zero by my count.



Uniforms needed at Lahainaluna High School

I am very excited that Lahainaluna High School students will have a uniform this coming 2015-16 school year.

No more having to see teenagers wearing inappropriate clothing every day: butt cheeks hanging out of short shorts, see-through shirts with bras, cleavage being revealed from tube tops, and T-shirts representing marijuana or women as sex objects.

This has gone on for years, and the administration failed to get it under control. The parents have failed their children, the school and the community.

With the students’ dress attire under control, will this also mean that the teachers and administrators will have to comply with the dress code?

Having a school of appropriately dressed students will put a lot of pressure on the adults running the school, teaching their classes and serving them on campus. No more blending in or pointing fingers back and forth.

Teachers and administrators, I hope, will cover up their breasts, pull down their skirts, and even loosen their pants from being skin-tight.

In other situations, I urge teachers to be more professional and wear an aloha shirt (instead of a stained T-shirt) and maybe a pair of clean dress shorts, not board shorts.

There are reasons why our students have problems with dressing appropriately. Their parents may not be guiding them at home, but if they are coming to school seeing administration and teachers dressing horrible also, what type of role models do they have to look up to?



What’s next for the U.S.?

If one will only study history, the sad truth is man cannot govern man. Millions of our youth have sacrificed their lives because of greed, jealousy and the way of get instead of give.

Along with our lost lives are billions of our tax dollars spent on the fear of our loss of freedom.

The pride of our power has been diminished, and our almighty dollar has been also.

What do we have left? Let’s try a woman president; that won’t work either.

We need to trust in the God on our dollar… or is that just a footnote to deceive the rest of the world, because we don’t believe in that either? What’s next?



Charter change needed for Police Commission

The Police Commission on Maui should be a community check and control on the Police Department. Their most important power is hiring the police chief.

In the past year, they exercised that power wisely (in my opinion) by appointing Tivoli Faaumu as police chief. I think Chief Faaumu will work well with the community and will improve the department.

However, I think there is a bad gap in the powers of the commission. They “receive and investigate complaints” from the public, but the reports they make about the complaints are “turned over to the Chief of Police for disposition.” This provision is in the Maui Charter.

What it means, in practice, is that complaints, including justified ones, could be stonewalled at the chief.

This provision may work out all right when the chief is a “good guy,” but what if in other times the chief is not a good guy? Then there would be no effective oversight by the public of the actions of police.

“The Police Commission prepares and submits to the Mayor a request for an annual appropriation for the operation of the department, appoints the Police Chief, receives, reviews, and investigates charges brought forth by the public against the conduct of the department or any of its members, and submits a written report of its findings and recommendations to the Chief of Police for disposition,” the charter states.

The charter should be revised so that the commission makes its reports on complaints public.



USDA farming rule creates new loopholes

A draft rule issued by USDA aims to define what it means to be “actively engaged” in farming. The proposed rule makes some important changes, but those improvements are immediately undermined by two new loopholes introduced in the rule.

The draft rule, somewhat unabashedly, only applies to farms that are large enough to “require” quadruple the statutory limit. You can abuse the rules, as long as you only abuse them up to $500,000 ($1 million if you’re married) each year.

Moreover, as drafted, farms made up solely of family members are excluded from the requirement that partners be actively engaged in the farm. The proposed rule allows a large operator to skirt payment limits by adding extended family members to the books. For each relative they add, the farm can get another payment up to the limit.

This means a large operation can add their cousin in New York or their grandchild in San Francisco. If you have 16 cousins scattered around the country, you can pull down 16 times the limit. In Washington, this passes for reform.

We are disappointed but not surprised. This has always been a fight for the ages between big business interests on one hand and everyday farmers and taxpayers on the other hand.

The public is on record supporting policy reform that directs farm program payments to family-scale operators. Multiple polls, including one commissioned by the Center for Rural Affairs, show that farmers and rural people overwhelmingly support closing farm program loopholes.

JOHN CRABTREE, Center for Rural Affairs