LETTERS for May 11 issue
Tokuda lost post over Honolulu rail project
Sen. Jill Tokuda is widely and greatly admired by Oahu voters for standing up to the increasing demands of Mayor Caldwell and his rail cohorts to continuously bail out, year after year, the insanely expensive Honolulu rail fiasco that only benefits a few insiders – part of Caldwell’s campaign supporters. The project is now many billions over budget, years behind operational schedule and has no accountability or ability to accurately project construction costs.
Tokuda’s designated replacement, Donovan Dela Cruz, created the widely discredited Public Lands Development Corporation. The PLDC was designed to fast-track development on state lands through public-private partnerships. In 2013, the PLDC was repealed after widespread public outcry and protest. Dela Cruz is widely viewed as an opportunist favored by big developers.
City Ethics Commission records show that the former council member voted on rail transit stations, the rail project and rezoning land but never declared a conflict as required by law while receiving rail lobby gifts and expensive dinners.
State Sen. Tokuda was removed from her position as chairwoman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee Thursday in an end-of-session leadership shake-up triggered in part by the volatile debate over the Honolulu rail project this year.
Tokuda was told she would be removed, and said a group of her colleagues would name Senate Majority Whip Dela Cruz as the new chairman of Ways and Means.
That is a much-coveted position, because the chairman controls all appropriation and tax measures in the Senate, which gives that person enormous leverage over almost all issues that move through the legislature.
“It’s power; it’s a power grab, and rail was the catalyst,” said Tokuda. “You can sugarcoat it and claim all kinds of stuff about transparency and all this other stuff, but let’s cut to the chase and say what this is really about.”
Dela Cruz and Senate President Ron Kouchi did not respond to a request for comment.
Lawmakers are deadlocked over how to provide additional funding for the rail project, and it appears the issue was not resolved.
JOHN BOND, Ewa Beach
Trump’s tax cuts benefit the rich
The Trump budget? Pure profit for Pentagon corporate contractors. The Trump tax “reform?” Massive tax cuts for the rich. Really? We are going to stand for this?
Compared to last year, if his corporations truly paid the going corporate tax rate, Trump would “richly benefit” in multiple ways when his proposed cuts kick in.
His corporate tax burden would be cut by at least 4.9 percent – millions of dollars – and his personal taxes would likely be cut even more massively, although since he alone amongst modern presidents has refused to let the American people see his returns, we cannot pin a number on his projected undeserved gains.
This is the textbook definition of corruption.
Fortunately for him, the senators are also wealthy and love these ideas, as are most of the members of the House of Representatives.
Corrupt Congress, corrupt president… and somehow the white male voters generally suppose this will all work out for them, since a reported 96 percent of his voters say they would vote for him again (and white males voted for him in overwhelming numbers, with white males without a college education voting for him a 72 percent rate).
This is not working out for those uneducated white men, but they love him. Could it be that blowing off a Mother of All Bombs on Afghans, deporting Mexicans, ending Department of Justice investigations of police killings of people of color, and banning many Muslims from entering the U.S. is more important than getting totally hosed by a kleptocratic kommander-in-chief and kongress? Interesting priorities.
Just to further pound in the financial punishment to the very voters who put him and the other Republican lawmakers into office, they are gutting healthcare to millions of the least-well-off Americans, as the Tea Partiers are now lining up to repeal Obamacare – unless enough moderate Republicans save the day, which will only happen by ongoing constituent pressure.
Meanwhile, in a regime just as Orwellian as his BFF Putin’s, Trump keeps tweeting and repeating that CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other evidence-based mainstream media are “fake news.”
If Donald Trump tripped and fell, he would blame it on CNN and call gravity fake science.
When will we all be embarrassed enough or properly terrified enough to halt this charade?
Will we get this charlatan impeached before he launches a Wag the Dog nuclear war? Before Miami and Manhattan are inundated from rising seas due to his sheaf of anti-environment Executive Orders? When does that 25th Amendment kick in?
Since our “leaders” seem incapable, we will need to lead ourselves, it appears.
This is our democracy – and we want it back. These are our children and grandchildren, and we want them protected. We cannot allow this to continue for 1,300 more days.
TOM H. HASTINGS, PeaceVoice
Put Americans first
Don’t allow people into this country that want to install their own laws and murder Americans not belonging to their group, so they can take over.
Deport people mentioned above.
Elected officials (past and present) who allow this group into this country, and do nothing to deport this group, should be charged with treason. Also charge elected officials with the crimes committed by said group. Elected officials who voted to become Sanctuary Cities should be charged with treason, as well as the crimes committed by the sanctuary inhabitants.
Deport all illegal immigrants. Treat immigration to the U.S. as an honor and privilege, as well as the path to citizenship.
Legal immigrants need to make this country better, not murder Americans and take their tax money to pay for their entitlement programs.
Elected officials should put Americans’ interests first – not those of our allies. If they do otherwise, charge them with treason.
Only allow H-1B and similar visas in this country short-term to train Americans to do the work.