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LETTERS for the Dec. 24 issue

By Staff | Dec 24, 2020

Was Guzman treated fairly?

There is something fishy with the very public shaming and removal of Don Guzman from his mayoral appointed post, and there needs to be specifics as to why Don was ousted.

Don served many years with the Maui County Council and had no history of clashes with fellow members.

He unsuccessfully ran for mayor against Victorino, who then appointed him as lead counsel.

Noting Don’s past service and intelligence, this first appeared as a wise move on the part of the mayor… OR was it a “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” move?

As noted in a Maui News article, Don was required to sign a document allowing his removal/firing “without cause/reason” at the time he was hired.

Apparently, he did not — most sane employees would not either.

Perhaps this muddied the water. Perhaps Don legally disagreed (as is his job) with the mayor on legal dealings, and there began the quest for reasons to remove him.

If he raised his voice during these past stressful months, that certainly does not merit removal, nor does it equate to “violence.” He slapped his desk, not a person. Mediation, counseling and calm discussion would have been more in order.

With someone like Don, an intelligent, soft-spoken person with a clean track record, it appears like a strong arm set-up, which begs investigation as to the real reason for wanting his removal.


Spread the Gospel of Peace

Joe Biden vows to restore the Iran nuclear deal. Before President Trump withdrew from the agreement, Iran had reneged despite cash paid and promises made. After billions of taxpayer dollars were sent to appease the Iranians, they continued to denounce the United States. Past administrations exercising military might or paying a price for peace proved imprudent. However, Iran’s actions in the region inspired the Abraham Accords. Iran’s negative influences in Lebanon and Syria could lead to fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding Israel’s borders.

Christmas reminds us of Bible prophecies coming to fruition with Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Persians, also known as Iranians, determined the birth of Jesus from centuries old prophecies. Following “His star,” the Wise Men consulted Jewish scholars to learn where the King was born. Worshiping Jesus and presenting gifts established precedent of holiday gift-giving. Their generosity funded Joseph, Mary and Jesus’ escape to Egypt, fulfilling another prophecy.

In 614 AD, Persians invaded Palestine, destroying Jewish and Christian landmarks. However, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was spared when the marauders saw the depiction of the Three Magi. Recognizing their ancestors were part of God’s story stopped the destruction.

Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” Trusting in money and might proves futile, especially since the real fight is against spiritual powers of evil. Faith, right living and praying in Jesus name — spread the Gospel of Peace.

The day’s coming when every knee bows and every tongue confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord!” Then there will be peace on Earth.


Go vegan to help fight climate change

The United Nations Secretary-General recently urged world leaders to declare a “climate emergency” in their countries until carbon neutrality — the balance between emitting carbon and absorbing it — is reached. I hope world leaders will in turn call on citizens to go vegan in order to help mitigate climate change.

A recent NYU report indicates that switching from animal agriculture to plant-sourced foods could remove more than a decade of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. Researchers have even found that if everyone went vegan, it could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by two-thirds and avoid climate-related damages of $1.5 trillion.

So, if you’re serious about saving the environment — not to mention cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, fish and other animals who deserve compassion and empathy — please do your part by eating vegan foods rather than animal-based ones.

For more information and a free vegan starter kit, please see www.PETA.org.


Legislature should have convened to plan for impacts of COVID-19

As we head toward the holidays, I hope all are doing well. Yes, we are living in extraordinary times, but if we look closely around us, we still have much to be thankful for.

My thoughts go out today to our public workers who have just been informed they will be hit with furloughs in January. Our legislative leaders must step up to protect workers, both public and private.

The legislature should, of course, have called for a special session months ago in anticipation of the budget and other emergency needs brought about by COVID.

There is no excuse really. They have been able to host countless informational briefings, and the Senate has called itself into session in order to confirm various judges.

County Councils statewide have remained open, conducting the people’s business at the county level.

The governor claims the furlough/pay-cuts will save $300,000,000 annually.

With a little bit of courage and a touch of creativity, House Speaker Saiki and Senate President Kouchi could rally their majorities to raise the funds needed to protect these workers and the valuable services they provide.

Here are a handful of new funding options to start the discussion.

Two items that should be added to the list are cannabis legalization and taxation, and the $100,000,000 budget of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

Funds derived from the transient accommodations tax (TAT) should be used to support public services and public workers. Tourism marketing money should come directly from the industry that benefits (#defundHTA).

For more on long-neglected policy initiatives and new opportunities to increase the funding needed to pay for them, read “2022 Starts Now – No More DINO’s” published 12/03/20 in Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Speaking of 2022, regardless of where you might live in Hawaii, if you are considering running for office in 2022, let’s connect!

Here is something short, to the point, and important for new candidates: “Essentials On Winning A Local Election – in 2022,” a 600-word column I wrote recently for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that describes both the challenge of the status quo and the opportunity for change in 2022.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and hope further that you will join with me in working toward the positive change that we deserve.