Hurricane Lane

Mahalo for your excellent coverage

I am a former Hawaii resident and just want to say thank you for the live Hurricane Lane footage you shared of Waikiki.

My son rode out the storm alone and it was comforting to see Waikiki in the footage and know what he was seeing too. I am sure that footage gave many locals peace of mind also, especially living low in condos or homes with no views. 

No one else did the live footage to my knowledge, so thank you!

— Debbie Blanton, former Hawaii resident, Orlando, Florida

Fixing Elections

“Banana Republic” style of governance

The title of Tracy Ryan’s recent Community Voice piece (“How To Really Fix Hawaii’s Elections,” Aug. 21) piqued my interest because, although I voted this past primary and will vote in the coming general, just as I’ve always done since turning 18 some 38 years ago, I’m firmly in the camp that elections (and by extension, politics) in Hawaii is a joke.

Well, then why vote? I continue to vote for the same reason I choose to commute daily on my bicycle against a steady sea of carbon spewing vehicles, or stuff my candy wrap in my pocket until I can find a trash receptacle even as our community becomes more littered with trash.

I agree with Tracy that Hawaii’s low voter participation is merely a symptom of a deeper problem. And like Tracy, I identify myself as a Libertarian, but I differ a bit with Tracy’s analysis as to the cause and effect. In my view, the sad state of affairs of Hawaii’s low voter participation is a symptom of Hawaii’s “banana republic” style of government as exemplified by Hawaii’s Democratic Party’s near total control over our democratic process.

How did this come to be? Well, don’t blame Hawaii’s Democratic Party or their politicians. After all, what politician or political party will voluntarily give up power, or act against their own self interest?

No, the fault lies squarely with the voters — the people of Hawaii for allowing the Democratic Party to hijack the democratic process to perpetuate a very undemocratic political system.  

Case in point, Hawaii’s congressional delegation is the most liberal delegation of any state in the nation on issues like abortion, religion, geopolitics, crime, social welfare and even corporate welfare like the Jones Act. Yet, I find most residents in Hawaii to be very moderate politically and even slightly right of center on most of said issues.

Is this really a democratic process at work? No. Why the disconnect? My theory is that for too long, too many of our residents have been “intellectually lazy” and have chosen to vote straight party line for those candidates offered up to them by the Democratic Party — the state’s ultimate purveyor of big government and concentrated power.

So until the people of Hawaii choose to get off their butt, rise up and adopt a more independent and critical mindset to drain the swamp of the Pacific, no number of well qualified candidates is going to “fix” Hawaii’s Democratic Party’s most undemocratic control over our democratic process.

David Jung, Honolulu

Civic Square

Pure propaganda for divisive views

Les Ihara’s “Civic Square” concept is doomed (Community Voices, Aug. 24). Participants will be welcomed only if they prove their “civility” by agreeing that Liliuokalani was a saintly advocate of nonviolence; that ethnic Hawaiians were victimized by a U.S. military invasion and are entitled to reparations; and that Trump must be resisted by any means necessary. But those are core issues in what divides us.

Ihara’s “Civic Square” would exclude as “uncivil” anyone who disagrees. Reminds me of speech codes and safe-spaces on college campuses.

Liliuokalani conspired with Wilcox in 1889 to overthrow her brother in a violent rebellion that failed. She was so vindictive after the 1893 overthrow that she said she would behead the revolution’s leaders rather than agree to pardon them in return for restoring her to the throne. Demanding racial reparations is horribly divisive — there cannot be a debtor race and creditor race if both are to live together peacefully. Resistance to Trump by any means necessary is not a recipe for civility.

I recall similar tactics 20 years ago, with the failed “A Place at the Table” series; and the failed three-dinner be-nice sessions headed by one ethnic-Hawaiian and one non-Hawaiian (who of course was an ally). Ihara’s “Civic Square” is pure propaganda for highly divisive views.  

— Kenneth Conklin, Kaneohe

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