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LETTERS for January 26 issue

By Staff | Jan 26, 2017

A call for action

The state Department of Transportation (SDOT) has issued a Notice to Proceed to start construction of Phase 1-B of the Lahaina Bypass from Hokiokio Street to the Olowalu Landfill. The current design includes traffic signals at Hokiokio Street and Kai Hele Ku Street, which intersects with the bypass. In my opinion, this is a total “design flaw.”

By having these traffic signals installed, we will continue to have the same backup problem that we’ve been experiencing on Honoapiilani Highway at the current intersections. Furthermore, the problem will be with us the rest of our driving days (and our children’s, too) if we let the SDOT have their way!

Honoapiilani Highway is our only ground transportation “lifeline” in and out of West Maui! We cannot let the SDOT do this to our community and to the employees who drive to and from work daily in West Maui, as well as all others who visit the West Side!

West Maui deserves a better solution!!! Sen. Roz Baker and Rep. Angus McKelvey must take the leadership role, call for a public meeting immediately and bring the SDOT to the table to correct this “engineering blunder.” With the support of the community, Roz and Angus must demand the elimination of the traffic signals design and demand a “grade separation” (overpass/underpass) design immediately!

C’mon West Mauians and all employees of the hotels, condos, restaurants, retail businesses, firefighters, policemen, school teachers, administrators, developers, hotel managers, union leaders, construction workers, other organizations and everyone else! Let’s rally together and stop the SDOT from installing the traffic lights and demand that we will accept a “grade separation” design only at these intersections.

We must challenge the SDOT and their consultants! We cannot accept any of their rhetoric and intimidation that “the change will cost too much money and/or the project will have to be put-on-hold because they have to go back to the Feds for their approval and funding.” West Maui deserves better!!!

The SDOT should explore the possibility using state funds only, instead of federal funds, and hopefully allow construction of the project to continue while the “grade separation” design is completed.

The state found millions of dollars to do a bunch of studies for different issues, including reviving the “Ferry System.” It also found the monies to purchase Lipoa Point for $20-plus million. We must believe the SDOT, the governor and our Maui legislators will and can find the money. Should the TAT fund be a source to consider?

Let’s call on our union leaders and hotel managers to step up, support their members and employees, and lead the charge to initiate a “petition drive” immediately!!! Other companies, managers, supervisors and anyone who supports the proposed change should do the same!

Baker and McKelvey should coordinate with these leaders to accept the petitions and distribute copies to the governor, lieutenant governor, director of transportation, Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Maui legislators, Maui mayor, Maui County Council and anyone else with authority.

Unfortunately, we must constantly remind our state administrators and legislators that the West Maui visitor industry and other businesses contribute a huge amount of taxes to the state annually, and West Maui also employs thousands of workers to the benefit of West Maui, Maui County and the state.

We cannot let the state Department of Transportation do this injustice to West Maui! If we do, we will continue to be in a traffic backup on the new bypass for the rest of our driving days!

DALE THOMPSON, Private Citizen, Member of the Cost of Government Commission


Trump’s policies will favor the rich

A study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University examined a dataset of 1,779 policy issues and found the United States overwhelmingly represents the interests of the wealthy.

President Donald Trump has appointed a cabinet of billionaires and generals, and is putting forth tax and other policies that favor the wealthy.

The government will continue to favor the wealthy until people set the agenda and put forward policies that meet the needs of the people.

The people have shown they have power when they join together and make demands on the government. Recently, this was demonstrated by stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a treaty negotiated by and for the corporations.

The people need to organize around the People’s Agenda (popularresistance.org/peoplesagenda/), which includes 15 issues that super-majorities of people in the United States support.

It is our job to demand that the People’s Agenda becomes law and the government represents the national consensus.

The People’s Agenda has been developed by thousands of people in the United States working together. It is made up of issues where more than 60 percent of people in the United States support the issue. Many are supported by super-majorities, some with 90-plus percent support.

The People’s Agenda confronts crisis issues and presents solutions that neither party is willing to confront, because their donors, from Wall Street and big business interests, want to continue the status quo from which they profit, rather than solve urgent problems.

We have the power to make the People’s Agenda a reality when we organize and act together in our communities.



Improve health through a plant-based diet

With the Republican Congress bent on depriving 22 million Americans of medical insurance, this is a great time to provide our own, totally free and totally effective health insurance – a plant-based diet.

A study with 131,000 participants, in last year’s Internal Medicine, found that consumption of animal protein is associated with higher risk of death. A couple dozen other massive studies in the past four decades had similar findings. None reached opposite conclusions.

According to National Institutes of Health, 1.4 million, or 68 percent, of identified U.S. deaths are attributed to heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, linked conclusively with consumption of animal products.

Cost of medical care was estimated by National Institutes of Health at three trillion dollars in 2014, or $24,000 per household, and rising at 6.5 percent annually – nearly four times the rate of inflation. Incredibly, this amount rivals our national budget and represents 17.5 percent of our gross domestic product. Even so, it does not include the costs of lost productivity, disability and premature death.

We have little control over the national cost of medical care. But, each of us has a great deal of control over our household’s $24,000 share every time we visit the grocery store.



“Where Do We Go from Here?”

That question was a touchstone for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the last year of his life. He preached on it. He delivered speeches on it. He wrote a book on it. The answers he put forward may be what got him killed.

His persistent morality and unrelenting mobilization of constructive power summoned the nation to take serious the need for a nonviolent revolution against “our system of economic injustice and military destructiveness.”

On April 4, 1967, he came out against the U.S. war in Vietnam. He claimed “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered” without “a revolution of values.” He called into question “the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.” He claimed our political economy – “an edifice which produces beggars” – must be restructured.

From that day forward, he was dangerous to owning classes of people in all nations.

From that day forward, he challenged governments to remove the protections that buffered private wealth and control over the economy so that economic democracy, not just political democracy, might be achieved and shared by all.

From that day forward, he had exactly one year to live.

There is little doubt he was murdered because he was threatening to the status quo, not because he was hopeful for the future of a promised land.

This is not to suggest we today should abandon hope for America to keep its promises.

And most important, we should not only ask “where do we go from here?” but we should heed Martin’s summons and join the nonviolence movements of this time to keep constructing answers that create peace, justice and well-being for all.

DALE BRYAN, PeaceVoice