Gary Hooser again picks the low hanging fruit in his Feb. 28 TGI opinion piece. His targets include global corporations causing environmental harm. Is anyone in favor of environmental harm?
The refusal to negotiate with a “profit centered corporation causing harm to people and the environment” is admirable, and fully justified. If that’s the case, legal action is mandated, and the courts continue to address that alleged “harm.”
Agreeing with Gary, we do “need elected officials whose default position is a willingness to push back against the power and influence, rather than simply roll over under the guise of compromise.” This discussion is about the abuse of money and power in the legislative process.
His criticism includes large landowners circumventing public process to “fast track” development. Consider, that same public process is one of the significant causes of the current lack of any housing in the state of Hawaii. And, affordable housing is a stated goal of government action at every level. Why not “fast track” more housing? We need it now.
Gary’s “free enterprise” targets are limited to for profits and large landowners, who add value to products and services and attempt to provide affordable housing. If these “free enterprise” businesses are not profitable, they’re history, and every regulatory cost risks that viability. And yes, jobs!
Natural selection of the market place takes care of these incompetent and ill-timed ventures. Granted, some are not the good neighbors we prefer. The market place renders its decision in those cases, too.
Gary writes of “how the world works when it comes to the intersection of government and free enterprise.” He’s talking about the “sausage production” of legislation. Better to not see the process. The legislative process also applies to “public sector” activity.
The abuse of power and money is of great concern. Undue government and legislative influence is also obvious in the case of private and public-sector labor unions. Gary ignores these past supporters.
The current Legislature was considering what’s called the “Handyman Exemption” law. Currently, a handyman is limited to jobs not exceeding $1,000, in total. Hawaii law requires a licensed contractor for jobs of more than $1,000. The proposed legislation was to raise that limit, which is unreasonably low.
Currently, any competent licensed contractor is turning down jobs, as they’re fully engaged. It’s not worth their while to consider a job less than $10,000. Why not allow unlicensed handymen to serve the needs of “small” jobs?
The proposed legislation made good progress through the legislative process of committee hearings, because it benefits the consumer. Then, the ILWU union representative walked into a hearing. That proposal died an untimely death, as soon as the legislators recognized the union presence.
Consider the United Public Workers (UPW) and Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) premium wage and benefits package. The UPW and HGEA negotiate statewide, and currently enjoy pay and benefits that far exceed those of private sector “free enterprise” businesses. These negotiations are between representatives of labor, and county and state employers.
The disparity can be understood knowing the unions’ exercise of inordinate power and influence in Hawaii. They support many elected officials by endorsement and direct financial contribution, at the expense of the taxpayer.
Have you ever wondered why unions need television ads? They’re on every evening.
There are two ways to influence and address this abuse of power. One is your vote. Another is your spending. Buy from companies who are environmentally responsible. Vote for representatives who will act in your interest.
Michael Curtis is a resident of Koloa.