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LETTERS for April 14 issue

By Staff | Apr 14, 2016

Goode instrumental in Puukolii Road paving

I read with wide-eyed amazement the recent “Council Connection” about Puukolii by Elle Cochran. I’m the “concerned resident” in her article. Cochran takes credit for the paving when none is deserved.

I called Cochran’s office on June 27, 2012 to again ask if repaving had been funded. “No” was the answer. I asked if repaving could be put on her top ten list. The reply was, “That will never happen.”

Time to crank up the e-mail list to ask area residents to contact her. The turnout was overwhelming. We got word that Cochran was running around in circles because she didn’t know what hit her.

The only thing she did do right was get out of the way at the meeting she set up and let Director of Public Works David Goode speak. Director Goode reviewed the issues and roadblocks and told us what was needed before the county could start laying down asphalt.

Director Goode is the kind of public servant you want to see at all levels of government.

Cochran completely ignored his hard work in her “Council Connection.”

Cochran closed her column by stating it was a bumpy road to get there. She was one of the biggest bumps.

MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali


Increase affordable housing in future Maui projects

Community Land Trust housing is crucial for families wanting to afford to live in Hawaii while providing security for future generations.

Hundreds of families are in need of housing. The projected amount of CLT homes is inadequate. Higher percentages are necessary for survival. It’s a critical issue to resolve considering our geographical limitations.

Maui has a large financial disparity in the community. For society to function, you need the working class and professionals that are essential for quality of life. How are lifeguards, teachers and farmers supposed to afford to live here?

When HC&S transitions to diversified farming, affordable housing is vital for that demographic. Spencer Homes’ proposed Maalaea Project is perfectly situated to provide housing for Central Maui’s agriculture community.

Spencer Homes is to be applauded for their efforts to develop affordable housing. Unfortunately, their efforts are not a lasting legacy as the homes escalate to market rates.

Could the Maalaea project provide 20 agricultural estates and 80 to 100 CLT clustered homes to provide a model ratio for future developments? It would be like the Kaanapali Coffee Plantation Estates with an addition of truly affordable workforce housing.

It would be an ideal community for “starter and finisher” homes also. Options could include two-bedroom homes on smaller lots. For young couples, single parents, and small families, it’s a great starter home to build equity.

These are perfect housing options for retired folks wanting to downsize on a fixed income.

Please advocate for higher percentages of affordable housing in perpetuity.



Government cannot be politically correct in battling terrorists

The terrorist attacks in Brussels remind us once again of the threat to our own nation and citizens. Radical Islamists are determined to use violence to create a worldwide caliphate in which sharia law would prevail. Our challenge is to fight these extremists effectively without assuming that all Muslims share that goal.

We must begin by refusing entry to any foreigner who cannot be subjected to a routine background check, making it more difficult for jihadists to come here. Our government must also take seriously those who speak and preach the necessity of violent jihad, recognizing that they may follow through on their beliefs or inspire those around them to violent acts.

We must step up the war to destroy the Islamic State. Jihadists must be shown that their dream of a modern-day caliphate was an illusion, not reality, and that violence will be in vain.

This is not a time for despair, but a time for common-sense action unhampered by political correctness.

PETER J. THOMAS, Americans for Constitutional Liberty


The media and the corporate state

In a recent interview, Bernie Sanders noted, “The media is an arm of the ruling class of this country,” going on to point out its concentrated corporate ownership (for example, Disney’s ownership of ABC, Comcast’s of NBC, etc.). This corporate media has a vested interest in not covering real news in a way that examines the root causes of problems. Such coverage might lead to radical threats to the power structure. Of course he’s quite right. And it’s not a situation that came about by accident; the state played a central role in bringing it about.

The mainstream media – network news shows, cable news networks, major newspapers and wire services – are part of an interlocking set of governing institutions that also includes government agencies, large corporations, and universities, think tanks and charitable foundations. These institutions share a common organizational style – top-down hierarchies and enormous managerial bureaucracies, Weberian rules, million dollar executives – and tend to shuffle their personnel back and forth from one such institution to the other.

This whole interlocking complex of institutions goes back to the rise of such institutions in the late 19th century as the dominant organizational form – a top-down transformation of the American economy and society that the state and the plutocratic interests controlling it imposed on the country.

But before the mass broadcast media ever came into existence, there was already a nationwide advertising market in place fostered by the corporate centralization of the economy, and a complex of corporate and government institutions to influence the content of media. The existence of a nationwide advertising market, coupled with “intellectual property” in content and rebroadcast rights, further reinforced the concentration of broadcast media into nationwide networks.

And the pre-existence of an interlocking system of corporate, state and civil society institutions, into which the media could be assimilated, created the systemic pressures and filters behind what Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman called the media’s “Propaganda Model.” This doesn’t just mean the cruder forms of influence like direct advertiser vetoes of stories, or even editorial fear of offending advertisers – although that obviously plays a real part in filtering content. More important is the common class background and affinity, and common social ties of those in charge of the media and governing institutions, and the symbiotic organizational structures of the institutions themselves.

Network executives, talk show hosts and newspaper publishers and editors travel in the same social circle as the powerful state and corporate figures whom they’re theoretically supposed to serve as watchdogs over. So you have “responsible” and “patriotic” news organizations refusing to report on government war crimes, and people like publisher Katherine Graham of the Washington Post telling an appreciative audience of CIA spooks that “there are some things the public doesn’t need to know.”

You have a “professional” journalistic culture, since Walter Lippmann’s time, dominated by the same managerial ethos as other governing institutions, seeing their job as simply reporting “objectively” what “both sides” say without regard to facts. And given the limited (and dwindling) resources for actual reporting, you have the majority of TV news anchor scripts and newspaper column inches taken up either by quotes from public figures or the output of public spokespersons and corporate and state public relations departments. You have wire service correspondents in countries where the U.S. is backing local death squads or military coups, sitting in hotel rooms writing their copy directly from U.S. embassy handouts.

The cumulative effect of all these filters, without much central direction, is a sort of “invisible hand” mechanism with exactly the result Chomsky and Herman described: a corporate media that reports news from the perspective of the state and the corporations in control of it, almost the same as if they were officially censoring it.

So, Sanders is right; the media is an arm of the ruling class, and the state is at the heart of it.