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LETTERS for February 11 issue

By Staff | Feb 11, 2016

Your vote is your voice for change

It is time to change the commander-in-chief in the White House. President Obama called ISIS a “JV team” and “a bunch of killers with guns riding in the back of jeeps.” Do you agree?

Hillary Clinton said she would continue Obama’s military policies. See the movie “13 Hours” and see if you agree with the order to “stand down!”

We must all STAND UP and SHOUT. Heads down in Maui sand is a position that exposes us to danger.

Here is your chance to vote for the Republican presidential candidate of your choice. The 2016 Republican Presidential Caucus will be held on Tuesday, March 8, at Lahaina Civic Center. The poll opens at 6 p.m. and closes at 8 p.m.

Who can vote? You may vote if you are 18 years old by March 8, 2016; registered to vote in the State of Hawaii; show an official photo ID; and complete a Hawaii Republican Party membership card onsite.

If you live in a different area of Maui, you may still vote a provisional ballot at this site.

SUSAN LUSSIER, Lahaina Caucus Leader


West Maui needs a hospital

Why does George Lavenson continue to submit the same letter over and over any time there is a meeting or article about the importance of a much-needed hospital in West Maui? Yeah, we got it: you were a surgeon, etc., ad nauseam. You make this about you, but guess what? It isn’t about you.

Have you ever had a loved one on the verge of dying, and having to wait for the ambulance to arrive, only to be given attitude and barely arriving at Maui Memorial Medical Center on time to save his life? If we had the West Maui Hospital then, that would have been a blessing – knowing that I didn’t have to make the anxiety-filled drive over the Pali to hopefully get there in time to be with my husband before he passed away. And then I had to fight with the ER staff to do something to save him.

This is not only about me, but also visitors in West Maui that have to endure the same ordeal.

The West Maui Hospital will be able to save lives, and then hopefully the person will be transported by air to Oahu depending on the medical issue(s).

What do you have against a West Side hospital? If you are so bitter, then maybe move on and stop with all your negative comments that are hurtful to those of us who are so relieved.

The hospital will create jobs for those living in West Maui. There will also be an assisted living area, which, by the way, is awesome for those of us in our senior years. The only assisted living facility is in Kahului, and then our children and grandchildren will have to be without their parents or grandparents living close by if they are in need of assisted living. Please put your energy into something positive.

Hopefully, we won’t see your repetitive letter again. We only laugh and say, “Auwe! It’s George again.”



It’s not too late to right the TPP’s wrongs

(U.S. lawmakers Rosa DeLauro, Louise Slaughter, Marcy Kaptur, Peter DeFazio, Mark Pocan, Barbara Lee, Brad Sherman, Dan Kildee and Jan Schakowsky also support this viewpoint.)

For the last few decades, our country has felt firsthand the negative impacts of major trade agreements. Repeated patterns of domestic job loss, environmental destruction and crumbling labor protections paint a clear picture of the results we can expect from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal as it exists today. We must learn from the past and not repeat those same errors in judgment as we work towards a stronger future. If we are going to develop a map for global trade, and “write the rules of the road,” we must ensure it supports people and the planet.

There are many flaws that lie within the more than 5,600 pages sitting on the table, waiting to be signed this week.

First, a trade agreement of this magnitude demands transparency and justice for everyone. The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process gives enormous power to foreign corporations and negates our domestic rule of law and democracy. Foreign corporations should not have rights in any country that supersede the rights of local citizens and the law of the land. A tribunal of three trade lawyers, who have the power to make judgments about the legitimacy of sovereign environmental, public health or national security law and decisions, goes against the foundation of our democracy.

In the last few months alone, we have seen evidence of the danger of ISDS; last year, the administration chose to reject the Keystone Pipeline XL on environmental grounds. Now, using ISDS, TransCanada is suing the U.S. government for more than $15 billion to compensate them not only for expenses, but also projected profits. Best case scenario: the U.S. wins this suit after spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars defending ourselves, making it much harder for future administrations to make courageous environmental decisions. Worst case scenario: we lose the case, taxpayers fork over $15 billion, and our sovereignty and domestic rule of law is completely undermined. Future leaders will be forced to think twice about rejecting a corporate project on environmental grounds.

Second, it does not include a strong and enforceable plan for environmentally friendly green trade. We have yet to see ANY meaningful environmental standards enforced from previous trade agreements. Indeed, the degradation of the environment has only increased because of these trade agreements. Some 792 million people live in the TPP zone. They deserve more than a few unenforceable environmental recommendations. Incentivizing trade without strong environmental protections creates a race to the bottom that rewards competitive advantage over public health and well-being.

Third, it promises free trade while compromising fair trade. At least five million American jobs were lost in the last decade as a result of currency manipulation by our trading partners. A few months of unfair currency practices can decimate an entire U.S. industry. The American steel, aluminum, and auto manufacturing sectors cannot survive another shock from aggressive foreign currency devaluation. The United Auto Workers estimate that U.S. vehicles cost up to $5,000 more in certain markets because of currency manipulation.

We cannot allow this agreement to forsake the American middle class, while foreign governments are allowed to devalue their currency and artificially prop-up their industries. Foreign government-supported industries are already dumping huge amounts of artificially cheap steel into the United States, causing American steel companies to struggle to survive. This is not just about changing economies. This agreement will allow foreign governments to openly cheat the system, while we tell American workers to “retrain” and find another line of work.

It’s not too late to right these wrongs. As the Roosevelt Institute states in a recently published a report: “Strengthening unions and improving the trade system are integral to the collection of policies that would be most effective to address inequality, grow the economy and raise incomes. We cannot rewrite the rules and level the playing field without taking on these issues.”

Instead of rushing to sign this deeply flawed and incomplete Trans-Pacific Partnership just to get it done before the next administration, let’s work with our fellow Americans and our trading partners to develop strong judicial systems with transparent and enforceable investment laws that will protect the middle class and small businesses everywhere. Let’s write an agreement for the future that doesn’t just have an “environment chapter,” but rather has protection and promotion of the environment woven into the very fabric of the agreement. Let’s refuse to allow currency manipulation to go unchecked.

The American people deserve better. Free trade doesn’t cut it. We deserve transparent trade, green trade, and trade that empowers our middle class and domestic economy. The American people deserve fair trade.



Swimmers and propellers don’t mix

(The following letter was sent to Rep. Kaniela Ing.)

I understand you are the chairperson of the Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee. The scope of your committee’s kuleana is to manage matters relating to ocean activities, including the safe management of our nearshore waters and recreational boating. Further, your committee oversees programs relating to persons of Hawaiian ancestry and our culture, including canoe paddling, surfing and swimming.

As kupuna, we have voiced our strong concern about the safety of our children, our community and our visitors when they are swimming, snorkeling and paddling off our beaches, specifically Hanakao’o Beach (Kaanapali).

Repeatedly, we have questioned the state’s decision to maintain their income over the safety of our children, authorizing permits to allow commercial operations to ferry their passengers on and offshore in motorized vessels.

Fatalities caused by this type of blatant permission can no longer be called accidental; the state knows its responsibilities and continues to issue permits with conflicting purposes. Swimmers and propellers do not mix. Propellers should not be permitted anywhere in a designated swim zone.

Kupuna have conducted research. We could not find any other state permitting these types of conflicting uses in the same designated areas. Further, in our research about propeller guards, the boating industry issued this statement: “Over the last three decades, the industry has repeatedly declared propeller guards do not work, cannot work, and will never work.”

For the past five years, kupuna have been asking the state, with aloha, to please protect our keiki, our swimmers, our snorkelers, fishermen and paddlers. It is our Hawaiian Right to practice our culture. Our residents and visitors deserve to enjoy their recreation without fear as well. We will NOT be corraled. We demand nothing less than to use the ocean that Ke Akua gave us without giving way. In maritime terms, the swimmer always has the right-of-way.