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LETTERS for the March 4th issue

By Staff | Mar 5, 2021

Supreme Court to take up Kahoma Village case

The Hawaii Supreme Court will be holding oral arguments on the Kahoma Village development on Friday, March 19, at 2 p.m. It is case NO.SCWC-15-0000478-Protect and Preserve Kahoma Ahupua’a Association vs. Maui Planning Commission and Stanford Carr Development.

Because of COVID, the oral argument will be broadcast live over the Judiciary’s YouTube channel (YouTube.com/hawaiicourts) but will not be recorded or available to view later.

In 2014, the Maui Planning Commission rejected local residents’ request to participate in the SMA approval. Those objections and concerns are now a reality, as the project has been developed.

As the Lahaina News and Maui News reported in September 2020, the appeal was sustained, voiding the commission’s decision.

Loss of an important historical place is heartbreaking. Disregard for laws is infuriating. Robbed of due process, the commission’s misguided decision has resulted in irreparable damage.

How is justice served? Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Why would God allow such a seemingly waste of time, passion and tears? Answer: Trust and obey, regardless of the outcome. It’s not over. Hope is displayed on the neon sign across the street from the development — “Jesus Coming Soon!”

“Look, a righteous King is coming! Smooth tricks and lies will be exposed. Cry for the land and city. This will continue until God puts His Spirit from above into us. Then justice and fairness will be found throughout the land, bringing peace and safety forever.” (Isaiah 32)


Tom Vilsack doesn’t belong

Tom Vilsack’s nomination as secretary of agriculture does not belong within Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

Vilsack has served as governor of Iowa, secretary of agriculture under President Obama and chief lobbyist for the dairy industry. His candidacy is opposed by a vast coalition of small and minority farmers, as well as consumer, labor and environmental advocates.

Here’s why:

• He presided over consolidation of Big Ag to take unfair advantage of small farmers.

• He failed to protect minority farmers and farm workers from exploitation by Big Ag.

• He supported location of highly polluting factory farms in minority communities.

• He promoted approval of numerous genetically modified food products.

• He allowed meat packing employees to replace government food safety inspectors.

• He serves as a highly paid lobbyist for the dairy industry, a significant factor in the climate crisis.

• He failed to lead our nation’s transition from a meat- and fat-laden diet to a healthy, eco-friendly diet of vegetables, fruits and grains.

• Even in crass political terms, he failed to deliver the Iowa caucuses to the Biden candidacy and the rural vote to the Biden presidency.

Our senators must oppose Tom Vilsack’s nomination as secretary of agriculture.


Making democracy a priority

The American people have found themselves in a precarious position: Democrats, who have won a trifecta, seem powerless to enact much of their agenda. We ended up in this situation because our democracy was designed to give tremendous power to a small minority, and Republicans have spent decades exploiting that power to entrench their rule over the majority. Voter suppression. Gerrymandering. Buying elections. Even now, following historic voter turnout by Black and Brown voters in states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona, Republican-led legislatures are working to add additional barriers to accessing the ballot box.

That’s why our first priority should be fixing our democracy and ensuring that structural reform rebalances power for the people — before it’s too late. We need Congress to pass H.R. 1, the For The People Act, to get money out of politics, expand voting rights, combat corruption, secure our elections and much more. These reforms to our democracy are pivotal to preventing future tyrants. The Democratic House passed H.R.1 last year, with every Democrat voting yes. It’s time for them to do the same again, and for the new Democratic majority in the Senate to do the same.

Americans took the first step to heal our democracy by overwhelmingly voting Trump out of office. Now Congress must do its part to fix our badly broken democracy and pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act.


Trump should be locked up

Former President Donald Trump incited a deadly insurrection against the U.S. government.

According to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “January 6 was a disgrace. American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism… Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor; they tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the Vice President. They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth, because he was angry he had lost an election… There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it… This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out…”

Lock Trump up!

JAKE PICKERING, Arcata, California