It’s funny how far human patience can go. Hawaii residents can be extremely tolerant of the conditions around them. For instance, the cost of living here is high by comparison to the mainland. We call it the “paradise tax.” We just accept it and move on.

Taxpayers have been funding a rail system that was supposed to go from the west side all the way to the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. An increase in sales tax was supposed to cover the cost. The expected cost is now at least $10 billion. The new aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford cost somewhere around $11 billion.

It has been proposed that the general excise tax surcharge be extended far beyond what was anticipated as an end date, and add to it a possible increase to the property tax of all Oahu residents. Seems a bit unfair to residents of the rest of the island since the rail only benefits those on the Leeward side.

Potholes are among the many signs that our public officials are not doing a good enough job.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

The roads on the island are in terrible shape. The road inspectors who bought off on repair jobs on so many of our streets should probably be made to drive on them exclusively for the rest of their lives.  Personally, I think it is a conspiracy between them and garage mechanics who do front-end alignments. Just driving down Farrington and Kamokila boulevards in Kapolei could cause loose fillings to be jostled out of one’s teeth.

A huge project that would benefit residents on the Big Island and science and increase the knowledge of human beings about the universe they live in has been held hostage by a group of people who claim construction of a telescope would be sacrilegious. Not to dispute their right to object, but isn’t it about time we all succumb to change? Didn’t Polynesians use the stars to navigate the ocean long before Europeans? What’s wrong with looking at them?

But being good, quiet and courteous Hawaii residents, we do not say anything bad as it might offend someone. We just accept it and say, “Well, that’s just Hawaii.”

President Obama made it to the White House on two words. One of them was “change.”  Just exactly what does that mean? It has no more meaning than “make America great again” does. Both are empty phrases left up to each of us to fill in the blank with their own interpretation.

So where are the people who should be calling for accountability? Cat got their tongues?

Republican representation in the state House is down to five members and the GOP has no representation in the Senate. I would think this was a huge clue as to their efficacy as a party. Last I heard, their party leadership were more concerned with Roberts Rules of Order. It only validates what a February Civil Beat article said, that is it has become irrelevant. So who is the voice of opposition?  Who is the face of the Hawaii Republican Party?

Are we to depend on Democrats to offer some kind of opposition to their own policies? Go ask Rep. Sharon Har how that works. Removed from her position as vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee for her opposition to the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act, she was told to move to a smaller office. Given this, along with how Rep. Beth Fukumoto was treated, it seems as though many of our public servants haven’t graduated beyond the sand box.

We’ve got serious issues to contend with. A high cost of living, the continuing rise of the cost of housing, homeless people, bad roads, projects that are stymied or over-budget. There are many more, but no one seems to want to step up and be counted. Sure, there will be those who are offended. But there are people in government and business who should be held accountable.

We need to engage in discussion to the point where we the people get some answers and not just lip service. Given the current atmosphere of voter apathy, politicians need to do more than just sandbag criticism and their constituents. We need substance.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Columns generally run about 800 words (yes, they can be shorter or longer) and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to news@civilbeat.com.

About the Author

  • Victor Craft
    Victor Craft is a retired aerospace worker having functioned as an FAA certificated Airframe and Powerplants Technician, Logistician and Quality Assurance director working on several major weapons systems. Vic also served tours of duty with the armed forces in Vietnam, Kenya and the United Kingdom.
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