LETTERS for the Dec. 31 issue
Fix the trucks for park caretakers
Well, the problem of the lift gates may become solved — though it will be by getting regular pickup gates put in. At least that will help with the lifting of the garbage bags over the big lift gates that don’t work.
Now, the other problem is that six trucks are broken down and need to be fixed for many different reasons. We have park caretakers driving around in a 15-passenger van with a trailer to pickup trash in the parks now.
Can somebody please get the trucks fixed?
STEVEN B. ASHFIELD, Lahaina
Programs invest directly into the Hawaiian community
For the 2020 calendar year, the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA) and its nonprofit arm, the Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC), as an intermediary has distributed, statewide, hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, loans and temporary employment opportunities from a myriad of funding sources. Investing directly into the Hawaiian community in order to invest in the overall Hawaii economy, small but mighty.
I want to call your attention to a Savings Match grant program for Food Sovereignty dedicated to Hawaiian Home Land lessees and on the waitlist on all islands that we are rolling out.
We have set aside a minimum number of grants for each Moku, to help families become more food independent, whether through a backyard raised garden, solar appliances (hello Kahikinui and Molokai) or other functions that empower your homestead ohana to grow day-to-day food needs.
If you have a residential, farm or ranch lease, on any island, or can show your name on the waitlist, and want to engage in financial education and assessments, and receive a $1,000 grant toward a food sovereignty purpose, this may be for you.
Our program team is accepting applications, and in January, after the holidays, will begin the process of reviewing each and every one to work directly with applicants on Individual Savings Plans and the program criteria to receive a grant.
We are constantly working with various funding partners locally and nationally to not only help our Lahui strengthen financial well-being, but focus on truly meaningful purposes exposed by the pandemic.
We must help each other grow our own food… Kanaka Forward! Be safe out there.
ROBIN PUANANI DANNER, HCDC CEO
First Amendment is under siege
First, digital conversations on “matters of public concern,” legally the centerpiece of First Amendment jurisprudence, were consistently blocked by partisan social media operators throughout the 2020 election cycle. That alone is arresting; it has changed public access to information and calls for action.
Social media moved from offering a “public forum” (with concurrent legal duties, including openness) to a “content editor” (typically imposing higher liability, such as for defamation), then into the unseemly, otherworldly role of kingmaker. By appearances, they know exactly what they are doing — no apologies.
Second, critical information — official, damning, highly material and verifiably accurate information concerning Joe Biden’s son, apparently under investigation for months, was blocked by these social media giants, potentially affecting the election. The nub is that this information not only reflected poorly on the Democrat presidential candidate — now president-elect — but implicated him.
Only after the election did we learn that data blocked could be objectively disqualifying. If members of Joe Biden’s family, close for years, are under investigation for trading access for money, who is the “him” guilty of offering access? It takes to two to tango, as they say, and Joe Biden is one of the two.
All this becomes even more insidious, objectionable and arguably unconstitutional when explicit and implied financial assistance, political advocacy and campaign-tipping support is aligned with the Democrat Party.
In effect, political actors (soon running the federal government) have been assisted in shutting out the truth in order to acquire power, and this power, in turn, serves the personal, financial and political agenda of those who control the social media giants.
The time has come to separate mass power over information and the Democrat Party. More, the time has come to open these social media giants to antitrust actions, public and private, and end the now-absurd notion that they should be immune from civil lawsuits because they must be nurtured.
They have been effectively nurtured into monster-hood, a societal overlord position that allows dominance, controls critical information, and shuts off information flow essential to a free, open and properly informed republic.
What power do these players have? Beyond the ability to distort public dialogue on “matters of public concern,” these giants have become sources of mass dependence.
In a nutshell, the time has come to open these oligopolistic companies to civil liability, beginning with a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, then aggressively regulate, deconstruct, break up, reduce the influence of and de-politicize (and hold accountable) these digital behemoths.
Theodore Roosevelt, famously patriotic, pro-commerce, and pro-free enterprise, was among the first to call out the abuse of power by monopolies and oligopolies, and to push not only the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts, but also to come down hard on the abusers of public trust in the marketplace and the marketplace of ideas.
His example is a shining one and should make these big social media and data-manipulating giants shiver. The influence of big tech on America (our social harmony, mental health, basic human interactions, decision-making, political stability, institutional and political accountability, commerce, and contentment) — in short, their manipulation of the public mind — is working at cross-purposes with democracy.
It has become a threat to the free flow of information vital for sustaining a free republic, not only teaming with powerful political actors (including socialist ideologues and promotors of leftist violence), but undermining the currency of any democracy: the guarantee of citizen free speech.
ROBERT CHARLES, Association of Mature American Citizens