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LETTERS for the December 26 issue

By Staff | Dec 26, 2019

Loan guidelines needed for DHHL homesteads

The Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA) recently testified at the Hawaiian Homes Commission to formally request a 180-day moratorium on lease cancellations and family evictions of Native Hawaiians on homesteads.

It has become clear that Native Hawaiian families are not treated with the same protections and opportunities to cure loan defaults as any other citizen in our state when it comes to foreclosing and evicting a family into homelessness.

Worse, the state government – through its agency, DHHL, and its governing body, the Hawaiian Homes Commission – unbelievably has NO written loan servicing guidelines, absolutely common with any lender.

The lack of a written, and such a common best practice of having a basic Loan Servicing Manual, means that DHHL is ripe for unfair, even deceitful practices, often associated with predatory loan servicing lenders, intentional or not.

Our families deserve solid information, solid policies and procedures from which to cure defaults like any other family.

Since SCHHA conducted a roundtable with Lt. Gov. Green on Oct. 15 on Homelessness by Foreclosure on Hawaiian Home Lands, we have conducted financial assessments on families with delinquent loans. We have found that almost all of them would be eligible for a number of loan loss mitigations available off homesteads thanks to a landmark foreclosure law put in place by the legislature and signed by Gov. Abercrombie to protect citizens back in 2011… all citizens, except us, Native Hawaiians.

DHHL has no written policies, nor does it offer with any standardization, the range of available loan loss mitigations that are available everywhere and for everyone… except Native Hawaiians on our trust lands.

The good news: it’s totally fixable. Our SCHHA testimony calls for a stop to evictions until the Hawaiian Homes Commission and Gov. Ige do their jobs, by simply establishing a Loan Servicing Manual adopted by the Hawaiian Homes Commission, OR it promulgates administrative rules, so that all of us know what the process is – so we can follow it – and vulnerable families are not preyed upon unwittingly.

So much tragedy, so much pain, so much maltreatment… but it’s fixable. We need a governor, a DHHL and a commission that want to fix it. Or, we need a legislature that works for Native Hawaiians, too. God bless families that have suffered this system.



Illegal fireworks are disruptive

Many letters and many complaints have been addressed to state and county officials, police dispatch and officers, community and even to the media about illegal fireworks and/or gunshots. It is still going on! It is not New Year’s or Fourth of July!

Whether it’s fireworks and/or gunshots (as they do sound like it could be), it happens day and night just at any unexpected time! The loud explosions affect our children, elderly, pets and those with medical conditions.

People are awakened from their sleep, and it disturbs their early work days and also children’s school performance the next day! Pets are also terrified and run away to hide, not knowing when the next BANG will be! With all the shootings happening everywhere, how do we know if someone is being injured or is in danger of their lives? (Note the letter in the Nov 21 Lahaina News, where nothing is done.)

Special events with permits should be announced to the public. The Lahainaluna High School football team was recently greeted with fireworks on their arrival from championships, at almost midnight, on Lahainaluna Road. Some kind of notice to the public would have been appreciated! Not everyone follows the football games, and possibly more supporters would have liked to know about this event!

What more do we, as a community, need to say or do about this? The solution comes from the (ir)responsible parties involved, who do not care about our enjoyment of our peace and quiet. Suggestion: use your time and money more wisely to help others in need!



Climate change is only part of the problem

Ever since the formation of our planet, the climate has been ever-changing and will continue to change no matter what our species attempts to do to slow it down.

Ever since humans emerged from the tropics of East Africa, our ancestors had to deal with climate change and responded by moving north or south, east or west, or up and down in elevation, just as did all other species in order to survive.

In the Americas, native peoples had to adjust to the climate during the end of the last ice age, when the glaciers that had covered large areas in both North and South America began to retreat.

Climate change itself is not the problem that may ultimately destroy the major life support systems of our biosphere. Our greatest “existential” threat is overpopulation of our species, fragmentation of plant and animal communities into small islands of threatened native biological diversity, and the poisoning of millions of species, from essential micro-organisms to insects, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals of which we are a species.

No longer can plants and animals move north or south or up or down in elevation to follow the climate conditions that are essential to their very survival, and thus the fabric that maintains a healthy biosphere and its essential life support systems for all species is in great jeopardy.

The human-caused destruction of native gene pools due to overexploitation of old growth forests, the plowing of native grasslands and destruction of our top soils worldwide will ultimately result in internecine warfare, wholesale famines, mass migrations of humans in search of food and shelter and ultimately serious damage to civilization as we know it.

For over half a century, I have stressed the importance of preserving large interconnected swaths of relatively untouched areas of biodiversity as being far more important than worrying about climate change, which we may be able to slow down but will never be able to stop no matter what we do.

Even if we were able to stop climate change in its tracks, it will not save our planet and ultimately our species from unimaginable chaos and tragedy.

The destruction of native forest ecosystems worldwide must stop immediately.

The wholesale destruction of the Amazon rainforest must be considered far more dangerous to our future than having to deal with the so-called “War against Terror.”

Waste in the Military Industrial Complex should be curtailed, and the savings used to protect the world’s native biological resources from mindless exploitation in the name of “economic development” and corporate profits. Spending billions to send humans to the moon and Mars is a total waste of resources that should be used to explore our own biosphere in order to learn how to protect it from ourselves.

Pentagon and NASA funding should be directed to “strategic biospheric studies” with a focus on long-term sustainability.

Bottom line: climate change per se is a very serious problem, but only because we have so damaged, fragmented, sprawled across and poisoned our biosphere to the point that there may be no turning back unless we act immediately to save and protect what little is left of our unfettered natural world for the net positive benefit of present and future generations of all life forms, including our own.

While I was writing this essay, an indeterminate number of species either became extinct or are rushing toward extinction largely caused by the greed and ignorance of our species.

GEORGE H. RUSSELL, The Ethician Foundation Institute For Strategic Biospheric Studies


Disappointed in Gabbard’s impeachment vote

I guess Hillary was right about her after all.

KEN DEASY, Lahaina


Gabbard not doing her job

I have been trying to understand how and why politicians decide on what they will vote on. I live in Maui, and Tulsi Gabbard DID NOT vote on weather to impeach the president. I want to know why she did not vote.

She is being paid to represent me, and she is not doing her job. If your job is too difficult for you, then get out and let someone represent the people on Maui who will do their job.

Thank you for listening.