The Historic Floods

Why were there no evacuation orders? (April 17, 2018)

The thought that initially ran through my mind was, “Why didn’t the folks of the Hanalei area know this much rain was on the way?” (“Kauai Storm: 28 Inches Of Rain Brings Landslides, Floods And Wrecked Homes.”)

Modern weather equipment most likely could see the extent of the impending deluge coming. So should mandatory evacuations have been ordered?

Multiple vehicles and a public bathroom facility were toppled over by flood water and buried in sand near the entrance to Hanalei Pier after flash floods ripped through Kauai’s North Shore. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

If we don’t have the right weather-reading equipment and skilled meteorologists to read this equipment, I suggest we work on getting this for our islands. Twenty-eight inches in 24 hours is an incredible amount of rainfall! This weather event was almost akin to a hurricane system, minus the extreme winds.

Speaking of hurricanes: The season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. This no-name storm that Oahu and especially Kauai just went through seemed to come out of the blue. In my opinion there was not enough warning for residents or tourists to prepare. This is not acceptable.

I hope in the future with approaching severe weather systems the communities most likely to be affected are given enough time to evacuate or better prepare.

— Nancy Manali-Leonardo, Honolulu

Why Lieutenant Governors Matter

Recalling George Ariyoshi succeeding Jack Burns (April 16, 2018)

In reading the article about Kim Coco Iwamoto’s campaign for lieutenant governor (“Ad Watch: Who’s Kim Coco Iwamoto Again?”), it was noted that “Several past LGs have gone on to serve as governor or senator, so the job is important in that sense.”

I would further note that the office is far more important than as merely a way station for its occupants, due to the fact that the lieutenant governor is designated second in the line of succession in our state government. That trigger was pulled once in Hawaii’s history on Oct. 17, 1973, when Gov. John A. Burns — a longtime and habitual cigarette smoker — was declared incapacitated by the lung cancer which would eventually kill him in April 1975.

On that date, Lt. Gov. George Ariyoshi formally assumed the role of state chief executive with the title of acting governor, which was subsequently ratified by our state Legislature. And I believe that because this involved an actual formal transfer of power rather than a mere temporary assumption thereof, as might occur today whenever our governor is physically out of state, any subsequent return to office by Gov. Burns would have likely required the state Legislature’s official concurrence before he could’ve done so.

Governors John Waihee, David Ige and Governor George Ariyoshi stand together before the Democratic Party of Hawaii's Unity breakfast at Dole Cannery ballroom. 14 aug 2016
Former governors John Waihee, left, and George Ariyoshi, right, with Gov. David Ige at the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s Unity breakfast at the Dole Cannery ballroom in August 2016. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

As matters stood, however, Burns’ rapidly declining health was such that he would live out his remaining days as an invalid, and he was never again able to resume his gubernatorial duties. So Ariyoshi effectively served out the remaining 14 months of Burns’ third term, before being subsequently elected to the first of three consecutive terms as governor in his own right in November 1974. And it was Ariyoshi, in his official capacity as acting governor, who advocated for the passage of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act during the 1974 legislative session, which he then signed into law on June 12 of that year.

That was 45 years ago, and I was 13 years old at the time. Now, I’m pushing 60, and there are probably not all that many people still around in Hawaii who recall that particular transfer of power from Gov. Burns to Acting Gov. Ariyoshi. While we generally find the notion of death or physical incapacity to be an unpleasant topic for discussion because we really don’t like to think about such things, nevertheless we ought to always be prepared for the remote possibility that one day our governor might be unable or unwilling to complete his or her current term in office, and the power of that office would have to be transferred at that point to the occupant of the suite of offices on the ewa side of the state Capitol’s fifth floor.

For that reason, we really ought to pay far greater attention than we presently do to the professional qualifications and personal qualities of those candidates who would seek the office of lieutenant governor. After all, life can sometimes be fickle, and you just never know what fate has in store for us.

— Donald R. Koelper, Oahu County Committee, Democratic Party of Hawaii, Honolulu

A Federal Con Con

Let’s have one to kill Citizens United (April 14, 2018)

I disagree with the view that a Senate resolution in support of a federal constitutional convention is dangerous, as expressed by Corie Tanida and Ann Sack Shaver’s April 12 Community Voice (“The Last Thing We Need Is A Federal Constitutional Convention”).

The purpose of the Article V Convention is to overturn Citizens United. Citizens United made it possible for corporations to donate millions to politicians to win races. In return, these politicians are indebted to the ones that gave them the huge donations. These same politicians then turn a blind eye to what most Americans want or don’t want.

For example, the tax cuts and jobs plan that was just passed by Congress and signed by President Trump was hated by most Americans but loved by a few special interests. It’s no wonder that many Americans feel voting doesn’t make a difference, because the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats are in debt to the same special interests like Koch Industries. 

If an amendment were successful, Americans would be able to take millions of dollars out of politics from corporations and wealthy special interests like Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and the National Rifle Association, to name a few.

An Article V Convention will return our government back the American people. In addition, folks like the Kochs and the American Legislative Exchange Council will not be able to buy politicians for their convention goals.

Thank you for letting me share my viewpoints.

— Adrian Lee, Honolulu

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