Pervasive Culture Of Silence

We have the right to speak up (May 3, 2018)

Rachael Wong, first let me offer my sympathies for your past troubles and thank you for being brave enough to speak out (“Why No One Wants To Blow The Whistle On Sexual Misconduct”). Neil Abercrombie said when he was governor that Hawaii is a dysfunctional government. I responded and said it was a democracy in name only for the purpose of receiving federal funds.

The three branches do not check each other, therefore there is no justice and the system operates unfairly. The pervasive culture of silence — keep your mouth shut and put up with it — is in direct violation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In the ’60s, the flower children, hippies or the counter culture then and mainstream now had bumper stickers made up that said “Question Authority” and, jokingly, but we meant it, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” They have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay, they are not our friends.

I have an answer many will throw their hands up at and I truly understand the brainwashing that has happened here. The leaders need to know and practice the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights takes priority in every decision-making process.

The people need to know, understand and practice their Bill of Rights. Collectively it is power against the encroachment of government — and the corporations they have the responsibility to regulate — into our personal lives. We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You have to be free to speak in order to pursue happiness.

— Deborah Coleman, Kula

Pedestrian Safety In Chinatown

Don’t assume the bulb-outs won’t be removed (May 3, 2018)

Mahalo for your thoughtful and balanced reporting on Chinatown’s bulb-out controversy (“Chinatown Sidewalk Extensions Please Some But Infuriate Others”).

The article says it is unclear whether the bulb-outs will remain. However, the language of the bill is clear: “no curb extension bulb-outs may be implemented in the core historic precinct of the Chinatown special district.” There is no ambiguity in the actual language of the bill.

A bulb-out in front of The Arts at Marks Garage in Chinatown. Natanya Friedheim/ Civil Beat

My concern is, based on the article, pedestrians may consider the existing bulb-outs safe from removal, and thus may think they needn’t take any action to advocate for their continued safety. This seems to be far from the case. The handful of  merchants gunning for their removal have an ally on the City Council who wants them gone, too. Pedestrians are inherently not an organized constituency, which makes accurate information especially essential.

As one of the thousands of Chinatown residents who lives in Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga’s district and walks daily to shop and eat in Chinatown, I know from personal experience that walking in Chinatown is safer with the bulb-outs (fewer close calls with motorists in bulb-out protected intersections.) Since pedestrians do not appear to be represented by our council member, it is particularly important we are accurately informed about threats to our safety in Chinatown by the removal of the bulb-outs.

— Elizabeth Winternitz, Honolulu

Amending U.S. Constitution

Setting the record straight on Convention of States Project (May 3, 2018)

America’s Constitution preserves our right to express our opinions, but not our own set of facts. Mary McDonald’s April 26 letter, “Beware A Federal Constitutional Convention,” states several falsehoods as fact.

The Convention of States Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of 3.3 million supporters across all 50 states. The Koch brothers are not donors. There is no “dark money.” Instead, over 80,000 contributors, most giving under $5,000 annually, provide the support for this organization driven by We the People.

Nor is the convention associated with the Balanced Budget Amendment or Wolf-PAC groups. Those have separate resolutions that cannot combine with Convention of States.

Worse is the claim our Constitution will be rewritten. No convention authorized under Article V can change our founding document. It can only propose amendments, which afterward must be separately ratified by no less than 38 states.

There is more rewriting of our Constitution by modern nonresponsive congresses, extremist chief executives, and out-of-control supreme courts than from any Article V “convention for proposing amendments.”

What’s best for our country is to return power from Washington, D.C., back to its origins in the states for local decision-making and greater individual freedoms. That was our founders’ intent and its the intent of Convention of States.

— Mark White, Waipahu

Removing Pubic Pavilions

Enforce the law, don’t tear down shelters (May 4, 2018)

I am astonished that Councilman Trevor Ozawa wishes to demolish the much-needed shaded areas (“Are Waikiki’s Public Pavilions Hopelessly Crime-Ridden?”) when really what is needed is a 24-hour HPD presence, removing promptly the offenders.

Isn’t there an HPD sub-station nearby? Why isn’t the HPD more effective, Councilman Ozawa? It was very wrong to remove the roofs at the River Street seating areas. Shaded areas are much needed for protection from the sun. It’s bad for Hawaii to have short-sighted City Council members, mayors and an ineffective Police Department.

— Patricia Blair, Kailua

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