WHO IS REALLY RUNNING HAWAII'S GOVERNMENT?
In Hawaii, it is easy for elected officials to politically maneuver on Oahu and expect that the neighbor islands won’t catch on. Well, it used to be easy before computers and political watchdogs.
Do you all remember when Dr. David Sakamoto was previously SHPDA (State Health Planning and Development Agency) administrator? Sakamoto turned down Dr. Ron Kwon’s Certificate of Need for a desperately needed hospital on Maui. There was no legitimate reason to turn down this hospital. Sakamoto “left” SHPDA shortly after this ruling.
Those who profit from our current system are Oahu hospitals that receive Maui patients and millions of their health care dollars. Also profiting are the Oahu rental car companies, restaurants and hotels; HGEA; and HHSC.
This “forced Medical Tourism” means we must go to Oahu to get full medical care. Sakamoto made sure money kept flowing from Maui pockets into Oahu pockets. Sakamoto also made sure all those good hospital jobs went to Oahu.
Some politicians profit from this arrangement in the form of political donations. Each HGEA employee is forced to give, for example, $80 a month (?) to the union. Much of this money is used to donate to political puppet candidates. Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s political donations are heavily from unions. Even if union members didn’t vote for Abercrombie, their money did.
Gov. Abercrombie has now appointed Dr. Sakamoto the deputy director of the Department of Health. Is the governor unaware of our plight? Did he not do his homework?
I’m just saying, who is really running the government?
JAN SHIELDS, Kahana
JUST FIX THE ERODED AREAS OF THE HIGHWAY
In reference to Gordon Cockett’s letter to the editor in the Sept. 15 issue of the Lahaina News that the highway should not be moved inland, I would like to voice my opinion.
From the Pali to Puamana, it is the last stretch of beach where locals and visitors can drive right up to it. It is also one of the most beautiful, scenic drives into Lahaina.
If the highway is relocated inland, I was told that the existing highway would be made into parking lots. Would people still be able to get camping permits to enjoy camping at the beach? Would the parking lots stay open 24 hours or be closed at a designated time like some of our other parks?
The highway has been there for over 100 years. Just fix the bad spots where there is erosion by rerouting the highway a few feet away. I would be in favor of building a highway inland, but only if they leave the existing highway from the Pali to Lahaina.
Why can’t it be like Honokowai to Kapalua, where you have the scenic Lower Honoapiilani Road and the upper Honoapiilani Highway? Gordon Cockett’s idea of using the cane haul road would also work and be much cheaper. The county should have acquired that land when Pioneer Mill closed down and was selling off the lands. Either way, it would ease the traffic congestion.
Another fear I have is that one day, it will become another Waikiki with hotels and condominium lining that stretch of beach. What a horrible nightmare!
ELIZABETH WHITEHEAD, Lahaina
PRESERVE MAUI'S BEAUTY
Is Maui running amok or what?!
We have to realize that our island prevails in this economic pit only because we have something to offer what attracts visitors yearlong to Maui: beauty, and still a lot untouched nature.
We cannot, ecologically as well economically, afford a redirection, or worse, relocation, of Honoapiilani!!
As Gordon says in his letter, this highway originated over a century ago, and that must be conserved — the history of it.
Yes, due to heavy traffic, I concur the notion of having the lanes doubled, so that two lanes lead for every direction — but that ought to be it.
DR. GEORG WOODMAN
INCREASE TAXES FOR THE RICH
IPresident Obama’s latest tax plan is not new. It’s reworded a little, but it all boils down to taxes for the rich and infamous.
President Bush (the worst we ever had) gave the rich tax breaks they didn’t need. Just ask Warren Buffet. Mr. Boehner says the rich create jobs. Yeah... for whom? Ever try to call customer service at your mortgage company and get someone with an accent in India? And how many jobs have been sent to China in the past two years by these same people Mr. Boehner is trying to shield? Thousands upon thousands!
That party that the rich and Boehner belong to should pay their fair share, as the president says. Why shouldn’t they? Just because they are able to contribute more to their candidates than the middle class shouldn’t give them that break. With all their money, they get all the breaks anyway.
It’s time all of us lower class citizens get together and support this tax plan. Write a letter. E-mail your congress person — no matter what state you come from. The news media carries a lot of weight in this country. Use it to get the message across!
GORDON C. COCKETT, Lahaina
BE WARY OF DEVELOPERS' PROMISES
I hate to reiterate... but here I go again regarding promises from Maui Land & Pine about Pulelehua development.
For some of you newcomers — and I mean of 20 years or less — take a hard look at Napilihau. Napilihau was built back in the early ’70s for the displaced Pine workers and the low-income families of Maui.
From day one, ML&P promised us a park and a school with our community of 174 homes. It took over 25 years to get a park that is not even in the designated area first shown to us prospective buyers. The school... oh yes. No school yet — just an expensive private school!!!
Napilihau was fast-tracked through the Planning Department and County Council as a planned unit development. To this day, we are one of two of these PUDs on Maui... because it is totally messed up with common areas, common water bills, common major problems.
Please take a very close look at these so-called promises.
The airport says just a handful of flights a day... all it takes is one plane to crash and cause a massive fire throughout a community.
Let’s leave some open space. I am sure that Maui Land & Pine can find somewhere else to build their expensive homes... you really don’t believe they will build affordable (whatever that means)?
SU CAMPOS, Napili
TRASH CANS NEEDED AT LAHAINA HARBOR
For some reason, the garbage can at Lahaina Harbor has been removed. Rumor has it that it was “officially” removed because too much trash was being dumped in the can. Seems to me that would be a good reason to get an additional can, not remove the only trash can serving the park area.
Now that there is no place to put the trash, people are leaving it on the ground. In an effort to resolve the issue, someone has replaced the missing trash can with a shopping cart... which is now full of trash.
This park is important to the local community and is used daily by residents and visitors. Please bring back the trash can.
WAR ON DRUGS IS FAILING
Why is the U.S. still waging a losing “war on drugs?” Former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, has pleaded with the U.S. legislators to stop the murder and mayhem perpetrated in Mexico and many Central and South American countries caused by the United States’ war on drugs.
Thousands of innocent people are murdered in Mexico alone every year by the drug cartels trafficking illegal drugs into the U.S. The more “illegal” the drug, the more huge the profit.
Many claim that we must keep recreational drugs illegal to prevent people from buying and using them. Actually, countries like Portugal, Holland and England have demonstrated that decriminalizing the drugs actually decreases usage. Many claim that these drugs are illegal because they are harmful to the individual and society. If that were true, the two biggest killers, alcohol and tobacco, would be illegal. Instead, these killer substances, which kill users by the hundreds of thousands and have killed thousands of innocent people (drunk drivers, secondhand smoke, etc.), are promoted, glamorized and taxed. Why? Because the companies that produce and distribute these commodities have paid lobbyists to convince, course and bribe our legislators to keep their product legal and all others illegal. The pharmaceutical companies promote this travesty of justice because they want the populace using their drugs, which they have bribed doctors to “prescribe.”
There are estimates that it costs between $60,000 to $80,000 per year to incarcerate someone. As much as 75 percent of all detainees are due to drugs, with another 10 to 15 percent of detainees for burglary and robbery to buy drugs. Not to mention the fact that all those inmates no longer have productive lives and jobs or pay taxes, and their dependents rely on welfare because the breadwinner is incarcerated.
On-campus counseling like Aloha House struggles for funding to educate young people of the dangers of all drugs, while we spend millions of dollars to send prisoners out-of-state to “corporation prisons.” An article last week claimed that there is a genetic propensity for addiction. Therefore, drug laws are penalizing people based on their genetics. Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine decriminalizing many drugs such as methamphetamine. Back in the ’70s in Berkeley, the saying was “Speed Kills.” Users of meth will use it and subsequently die an early death.
The federal government is bankrupt. It cannot even provide the basic services it is obligated to provide to the taxpaying citizens. Yet it continues to threaten states and counties with financial hardship if they fail to enforce their misguided mandates regarding medical marijuana. An example of the atrocity perpetrated by “our” government in our own backyard is the continuing prosecution of the “patients without time.” As Montel Williams pleaded on the “Dr. Oz” show last week, “How can our government continue to keep approving medical substances as legal?” The answer becomes more obvious every day that they continue waging war on our citizenry. The government has become corrupted by the corporations that elect their puppets into office to perpetrate their greedy agendas.