Letters for Friday — November 18, 2005

• Council should get involved in planning matters

• Preferred definitions

Council should get involved in planning matters

In the latest county council meeting, Chairman Asing basically “dresses down” councilwoman Yukimura for her attempts to reform the way in which new development is carried out on the island. Quite rightly, Councilwoman Yukimura points out that the reason for many of the infrastructure and congestion problems on the island is because of poor or non-existent long-range and “big picture” planning in the past. Asing maintains that the council should “trust” that Public Works and the Planning Department will do their jobs to address the problems that exist, and that the County Council has, or should have, no say in even making RECOMMENDATIONS about how development should proceed.

In the same breath, he states that one of the councilwoman’s recommendations—the construction of underground passageways for bikes and pedestrians in a planned ‘Ele’ele development to make it safer for residents in that area to navigate the neighborhood and to encourage less use of automobiles—would be prohibitively expensive for developers, who would then “just give up.”

My only response to this is “With all due respect, just whom do you represent, Chair Asing? How do you think the problems we face are going to be addressed by doing things the way they have always been done? Do you not understand the NEED for a change?”• I applaud and fully support Councilwoman Yukimura, along with Planning Committee member Aiu, for what I see as genuine efforts on their parts to “think outside the box,” for expecting more from those intending to engage in development on the island, and for their attempts to push for things to be done DIFFERENTLY.

We know that the current/old ways have not worked.

  • Michael Mann

Let the sunshine in

At the Nov. 3, 2005 Council meeting, consideration was given to a resolution that was consciously obscured in the agenda to urge the exemption of the County Council from the provisions of the State Sunshine Law.

The Sunshine laws have been enacted in all states to further the goal of having government affairs conducted openly in the public view. But our Council Chair complained in his comments following the public testimony at the meeting that his hands are being tied. Rather clearly he believes himself above the law which he considers a nuisance.

In a power point presentation Mr. Asing offered numerous misstatements about the application of the state law. In this staged offering he claimed (wrongly) that the law would prevent off-site meetings of the Council such as a viewing of the proposed speed bumps in Hanalei. He railed at the position of the Office of Information Practices in its findings that the law necessitated disclosure of certain matters discussed in Council executive sessions. He complained about the request that Dr. Ray Chuan and I have made for access to minutes of Council executive sessions that should be made available saying that the County incurred costs and used staff time unnecessarily in identifying the materials needed to be disclosed. He ignores, of course, that our request did not seek anything that citizens are not entitled to under the law and only asks that the County meet the obligations that the law imposes.

Fortunately other Council members resisted the urgings by Mr. Asing to adopt the resolution and it was deferred. Congratulations to those who had the courage and judgment to stand for the better government that is provided under Sunshine law standards.

It appears that our Council chair does not believe that the Council should consider openly and debate its agenda of legislative matters and would prefer that these matters should be resolved behind closed doors and out of the public view. It is to be strongly hoped that these archaic views should not be upheld and that the Council’s business can be conducted, as it should be, openly and with public participation.

  • Walter Lewis

Preferred definitions

The ongoing discussion that intelligent design constitutes a “proof” of the existence of God and those who claim that one can only have a “belief” in God, drove me to the extreme measure of dusting off my “Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary” in a search for clarification. Let us define terms: Proof — evidence that compels acceptance; Belief—to accept as true, as in ghosts; the conviction of the truth of something; faith: which implies certitude even where there is no proof, e.g. faith in God.” Some writers, like Dr. Saker, believe that the science of intelligent design constitutes a proof of God; others like “Doc” Smith admit “I cannot prove I am correct on my views (belief) about God.”

Dr. Saker’s science may argue for the existence of God but will never prove it. Why? God does not want to be proved to exist. God wants belief, God wants faith. With proof, out goes faith, belief, and above all, religion; and that would take all the fun out of being God. God wants faith, belief, and the controversy thereby created because faith and belief keep humans intoxicated with interest in God and fighting over the “truth” of their particular belief. If proven to exist, God would lose its mystery, but with belief, God takes on a multitude of personalities, which results in the myriad of religions invented to appease “God.”

God loves the attention that faith and belief inspire. God loves the cathedrals, synagogues, mosques and temples. God loves worship, ritual, and sacrifice. God even loves the bloody conflict of religious war. What greater display of devotion than a man lay down his life for his God. In short, God loves human attention. That’s why we were created, if we were. If God were provable to everyone’s satisfaction, everyone would be good and this world would be very boring for God. Like newspapers that only report good news, no one would pay God much attention.

  • Biff Whiting

Standing up

I’d like to thank Gerald Nakata and Larry Dolan for their excellent articles in The Garden Island. It’s about time that the men in this country started standing up for themselves in this gender-based and Michael Moore culture of ours. Keep up the good work of informing the public.

  • Dr. Peter Saker

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