Letters for Monday, March 5, 2007

• I want my path

• Voting must give voice

• Two views, one war

I want my path

Regarding Ms. Lillian deMello’s Letter (“Bike path is a wonder,” Letters, Feb. 23).

I too support the Kaua‘i bike path project, at least in principle. But Ms. deMello’s recent experience is with only a small portion of the path and she used it in spite of the “path closed” signs.

I am an avid cyclist.

For over 12 years I rode the entire path two or three times a week. With no notification, the entire path was shut down over a year ago in January 2006, and remains closed. I am frustrated at the lack of progress of the construction. My frustration was inflamed when in the current Hawaiian Airlines in-flight magazine the County Building Department’s Doug Haigh indicated, “Currently 2.5 miles of the trail is complete around Lydgate Park and another 4.5 miles starts at the Kapa‘a boat ramp and extends north to Kuna Bay … picnic pavilions and comfort stations are in place.” He was also quoted as saying “It’s a great concept but the details get challenging.”

On Feb. 20 I visited various parts of the path to see how construction is proceeding, hoping that Mr. Haigh was not too optimistic.

What I discovered disappointed me.

Of the four major bridges, not one is complete. Paving has only occurred from Kawaihau Road to Malahina Road, at most 15 percent of the path. The comfort station at Kealia is at best, a quarter complete. Of the 14 pavilions observed, only 10 were complete or nearly complete. The majority of the path site remains posted as closed.

I was told in January 2006, that construction would take until November 2006, or January 2007, worst case.

Yes, I am disappointed that the county offices responsible for permitting appear not to be able to get the “details” right on county projects.

Yes, I am disappointed that “details” such as the equestrian use of the path and placement of pavilions could not be ironed out before construction began. However, my major disappointment is how little has been accomplished in over a year, a period during which us folks who formerly used the path have been kept off it.

When are we going to be allowed back on the path? At this pace, how long will the more complex proposed segments take? Perhaps we need new management capable of handling the level of details for this project?

David Stewart


Voting must give voice

There has been a lot of talk recently about changing our election process in the United States to a popular vote system and away from the Electoral College that was set up by our founding fathers.

The problem we have is that it sounds very tempting to be “fair” in our voting; and what could be more fair than having each vote count equally on an individual basis? In my opinion, keeping the electoral system and forgetting about the individual voting concept is actually more fair to each state of our union.

Please let me explain why I feel this way and why we should keep the existing system.

First of all, our Constitution is a document that has weathered the test of time and has proven to be the most amazing document this world has had the opportunity to experience. The individuals who wrote the document had a very unique perspective on life and freedom. Their perspective was one we have not had the chance to develop because of our very comfortable life circumstances, making voting by states hard for our “It’s all about me” generation of individuals to understand.

We are the “United States of America” not the “United Individuals of America.” For those of you who have lived in the Deep South, Midwest, Western, and Northern parts of the U.S. you realize that each state is unique, different, and the needs of those states differ greatly from one another. It is not fair that a small state like Hawai‘i lose its current voting stature to a state like Texas just because there are millions more people who live there. Hawai‘i and other small states must have a meaningful voice that counts, based on each state’s unique environment, situation and needs. If the “popular vote only” were law, our lives would be dictated by the whims of those Americans who live in the big cities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. The popular only vote would skew everything in the direction and will of individuals who, in my opinion, have lost touch with those who farm, raise our cattle, rely on tourism, and the many other unique situations the different states find themselves in. Do you want your life governed by the desire of a downtown New Yorker or San Francisco type individual, or would you rather hear the voice of the native Hawaiian, farmer in Iowa, or rancher in Montana and have them count for something. The Electoral System levels the playing field and is much more fair for the smaller states, like Hawai‘i, that want a voice in this union of states. We do not want to have our freedoms, policy, and future dictated through the out of touch whims of our large city dwellers. Do they really care about our needs here in Hawai‘i, or Montana, or Utah, or Nebraska?

It’s the states that should elect our “United States” National Representatives and not the “It’s all about me” soft generation of individuals this great nation has unfortunately created with their freedom, prosperity, sit behind the desk, no heavy lifting, “easy money,” city dwelling genius.

Our Founding Fathers did not make a mistake.

Gordon Oswald


Two views, one war

View one: In toppling Saddam Hussein, disbanding his army and firing all his bureaucrats, we have managed to give Iran exactly what they were dreaming of — the Middle East.

The bungling of the war on terror by the Bush administration is almost complete. After totally screwing up the hunt for al Qaeda and ignoring the reclamation of Afghanistan by the Taliban, we are faced with Iran as the emerging powerhouse in the Middle East.

The Bushniks are now in a panic. They are ready for the venerable “Hail Mary” play. Send all your receivers deep and throw the ball as far as you can; with the hope that something good will happen. Chances are likely you lose.

View two: The Bush/Cheney presidency is more sophisticated than we ever imagined. From their point of view the Iraq war is now won. We will have as much of their oil as we want until it is gone.

Now it is time to get the same deal from Iran. Back in the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, in the Reagan/Bush/Cheney (RBC) era, we played both sides against each other to our favor. Eventually they punched each other out. Earlier, the same RBC players pulled off Iran-Contra. There no end to the fun when Iran is the goat. Now it’s time to go and get their oil.

War either way: However you see Bush and Co., bet on one thing. More blood for oil. From a number of sources there are rumblings that an event is imminent that will be the excuse needed for an attack on Iran.

It could be that Hezbolla, with ties to Iran, will appear to be the agent. In any case, in order to cause Iran big trouble, lots of U.S. money is now flowing to those who have been our enemies in the Middle East, including those who have supported al Qaeda.

It would be natural for Israel to be the agent for “our side.” They are poised to take out the nuclear capability of Iran (as they did Iraq’s over 20 years ago). Negotiations are underway now for Israeli air rights over Iraq to get to Iran.

Of course, Israel’s actions against Iran will set off a conflagration in the Middle East. And there will be strange bedfellows in this affair. America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and jihadist exremists on one side against Iran, Russia, China and the Shia militia, on the other.

Observers, like Scott Ritter, have been warning us for over a year that the U.S. has been in a covert war in Iran for some time. The strategic shift by the U.S. toward the Sunni and away from the Shia is fully under way.

The Cheney trip this week was likely the last round of “diplomacy” before things get much uglier. The Bush administration is making it clear that it will do whatever is necessary to break Iran … even fund al Qaeda sympathizers. Remember, they were the guys we funded when the Russians were in Afghanistan.

The bottom line is this — It is still about the oil and the money. We have now sealed the deal with Iraq to get 75 percent of Iraq’s oil for 30 years. Bush figures that should keep our Lincoln Navigators and Cadillac Escalades topped off until they can run on flax seed, and if that’s not enough Iran is in the wings, and ripe for the picking.

Juan Wilson



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