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LETTERS for the June 20 issue

By Staff | Jun 20, 2019

Police should crackdown on illegal fireworks

Recently, Maui County had a discussion pertaining to illegal fireworks. With the Fourth of July approaching, this issue will be seen and heard throughout Maui.

Lahaina has already seen and heard this more than a month away from July 4th. Where exactly? Wahikuli. More precise? Within a quarter-mile from the Lahaina Police Department. What have they done in the past? Not much.

I live in this area and have had to deal with runaway dogs. Can the Lahaina Police do something about this issue before it gets worse?



What are drones doing at night between Lanai and Maui?

Does anyone know about the drones that are out in the middle of the night? They hover over the water between Lanai and Maui. My home is on the water in Puamana. When I wake up about 3 or 3:30 a.m., they are there. One stays out longer than the rest until about 5 a.m. When they are done hovering over the water, they move toward Lanai until they are out of sight.

I noticed one in January, and now there are several more. I am so curious what they are doing. Am I the only one that sees them? I can’t imagine that fishermen don’t see them.

If you have information on this matter, I would be most grateful if you would let me know what is going on.



WMTA asks mayor to veto council’s budget proposal

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

We read The Maui News and saw that you have decided to line-item veto some portions of the council budget.

The WMTA board met today and believes that a line-item veto cannot correct the major problems of the council’s budget proposal.

Please consider setting the tone for “fiscal responsibility” for the County of Maui and veto the council’s budget in entirety.

They have given you no other option, as the rates passed by resolution cannot be line-item vetoed.

The administration can show “fiscal responsibility” with a veto, as the council budget is out of balance and has far too many errors to justify the outrageous increases in rates.

Any councilmember who votes to override your veto will be marked as “fiscally irresponsible.”

Please act now as soon as possible.

JOSEPH D. PLUTA, President, West Maui Taxpayers Association Inc.


Concerned about proposed cell tower

Sprint proposes to put a 35-foot cell tower at Maui Lani Terraces.

I strongly disagree with putting this cell tower at arm’s reach to my West Maui condo. I have two young children, and this is crazy that they want to put it so close to so many people.

I don’t know what to do but reach out to people, because I know a lot are in the dark about this. My worries go beyond the cell tower and 5G being the next move. What can I do to protect my family and friends?



Federal minimum wage increase is long overdue

There are a lot of records that would be great to break. This isn’t one of them. June 16 marked the longest period in history without an increase since the federal minimum wage was established in 1938.

The federal minimum wage went to $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2009 – nearly ten years ago. It remains $7.25 today, amounting to just $15,080 a year for full-time work.

When the minimum wage does not go up, it goes down in value relative to the cost of living.

The gap between minimum wage and the cost of rent, groceries, medicine, transportation and everything else keeps growing. That matters whether you’re trying to work your way through school, support your child or need a job to make ends meet on Social Security.

The buying power of today’s $7.25 minimum is lower than the minimum wage of 1968, which would be $11.96 in 2019 dollars, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Inflation Calculator. Our economy has grown considerably since 1968, but not the federal minimum wage, which sets the floor under worker pay.

When the minimum wage is too little to live on it’s bad for business as well as workers.

It’s vital to remember that working people are also customers. Increased pay means increased consumer buying power.

When the minimum wage goes up, worker financial stress and turnover go down, and businesses save on hiring and training costs. They see lower error rates, less product waste and better customer service.

While the federal minimum wage has stagnated, more states have acted. Twenty-nine states have minimum wages above the $7.25 federal level set in 2009. But only three states currently have a minimum wage greater than or equal to $12, approximating the 1968 value. And 21 states remain stuck at $7.25. Job growth has been better in states that have raised their minimum wages than those that have not.

State action is important, but it’s not sufficient. The minimum wage should not keep workers in poverty wherever they work. We need a decent new federal floor, as called for in the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by the year 2024.

Nearly 40 million workers would get a raise if the minimum wage goes to $15 by 2024. The typical worker who would benefit is 35 years old – working jobs from preschool teacher to health care aide, cook to cashier to manufacturing worker.

Many business owners across the country support raising the minimum wage, because they know it will be good for their business and their communities. They know it will help level the playing field.

Gradually increasing the minimum wage will enable lower-wage companies to adjust to raises over time, experiencing benefits such as lower turnover, better productivity and increased consumer spending as they do.

HOLLY SKLAR, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage