homepage logo

LETTERS for the February 28 issue

By Staff | Feb 28, 2019

Use Honolulu rail funds for more important projects

Governor Ige should take a lesson from Governor Newsom and shut down the rail project. It is six years behind schedule and almost double in expense of its original budget of $4 billion (and that could be generous). It will probably balloon to over $10 billion in actual expenses when you include finance expenses.

Maui needs the funds we are sending to the state coffers to support this debacle. Use the money Maui generates in tax revenue to fix Maui’s infrastructure, schools, our environment and help the homeless. Our sister islands should want the same.

Hawaii needs to stop throwing good money at a failed project. Cut the bleeding and put the money where it is really needed in projects that will work and that are better managed on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Lanai, Kauai, Molokai, Niihau and Kahoolawe.



Visitors should know about cash-only policy

I’ve been visiting Maui for years and have had nothing but pleasant experiences… until my wife and I visited the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Feb. 17th to see George Lopez.

We prepaid our tickets, but when we went and ordered dinner, we were told it was cash-only. We only had plastic, so we went hungry.

Perhaps your newspaper might suggest visitors always carry cash or check how payment must be made for purchases.



Mayor should support funding for the arts

(The following letter was sent to Mayor Mike Victorino.)

Just a note of mahalo of your support of the arts of hawaii. I read the Lahaina News article about the plein air event in the Feb. 14 issue.

As a community here, we can pull together quickly in our local, state and national advocacy of appropriations to the arts of Hawaii.

As well as private funding that comes to Hawaii through many different channels, we here cultivate our awareness of the world’s cultural communities. Again, mahalo!



Block Trump’s fake national emergency

President Trump was willing to sink as low as putting more than 800,000 federal workers and contractors in financial turmoil for the sake of getting his vanity wall.

Now that he’s learned Democrats in Congress won’t give in to his demand for his vanity project, he has usurped the legislative branch and declared a fake national emergency to divert $8 billion from military construction projects, counter drug activities, and efforts to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises to build his wall.

Trump is abusing the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution to advance his anti-immigrant agenda, and we cannot allow this to happen.

Right now we’re discussing ways, such as passing a joint resolution in Congress or filing a legal challenge, to stop this chaotic president from abusing his power by declaring a national emergency.

Join me in blocking Trump from abusing the Constitution with this nefarious attempt to declare a fake national emergency to build his vanity wall.



American dream: Bait and switch?

American mythology posits a narrative for our foundation which rests upon an ideology of values and self-evident truths which separate the United States from the rest of the world. When I teach this, I try to sell the “all are created equal” as hard as I can. Including “the pursuit of happiness” with life and liberty is actually an important and unique American value, at least in our affirmative expression of it.

I’ll challenge any student or reader to talk with an immigrant about the American Dream before giving up on it. The so-called Caravan of people walking across Mexico to flee violence in search of the opportunity echoed on our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”

There is an American Dream, and I wish we still hoped to share it.

When the American Dream is used as bait and lures victims into slavery – sometimes manual labor, sometimes sex work – that is when the dream becomes a nightmare. As of 2005 the U.S. State Department reported between 14,500 and 17,500 human beings trafficked into the U.S. annually, and many come willingly, believing the lies of the traffickers.

The Global Slavery Index 2018 “estimates that on any given day in 2016, there were 403,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in the United States.” Human trafficking of women and children is the fastest growing crime on the planet; sex trafficking makes $99 billion a year.

While Trump signed the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act last month – a good thing – he also falsely conflates trafficking with his wall. He said, “This really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers,” but it is just another lie. No amount of expertise on human trafficking will sway him – he will peddle the myths and actually make combatting the problem more difficult.

A more constructive partial solution would be to truly offer the American Dream to victims of trafficking, who are often kept in slavery by their traffickers threats that if they are caught, they will be deported.

There is a seldom-used and nearly obscure provision in the Victims Protection Act for a special T-visa that would give such victims four years of residence in the U.S., and on year three, they could apply for a green card. The law doesn’t require prosecutors to help or even notify arrested victims of this hope. That should change.

I almost wish we could prove the American Dream was dead – at least then it wouldn’t be the con used to lure so many into captivity. It ought to be called the American Tragedy instead.

WIM LAVEN, PeaceVoice