Letters for Wednesday, March 7, 2007

• In praise of government

• Big box has rights, too

• Kingdom law 101

• Just the facts ma’am

In praise of government

Our government is often criticized as being corrupt, inept and glacial but I have had a recent experience that makes me proud to be a Hawai‘i taxpayer. Last December, our HMO canceled our health insurance, without notice, claiming that our enrollment was a mistake, “Since we don’t provide insurance on Kaua‘i.” I immediately filed a complaint with the Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Within four days our case had been reviewed, an investigator assigned and a letter sent demanding an explanation from the HMO.

After subsequent negotiation between DCCA and the HMO, our insurance was reinstated but the HMO ignored my requests for payment of covered services during the period of cancellation. Again I turned to DCCA and a second letter went out to the HMO demanding explanation of why this had not been handled as promised. When the HMO ignored that letter, a third letter went out threatening fines and demanding an immediate response. Within one day, I received a call from the HMO and all expenses have now been reimbursed.

I would like to sincerely thank Ms. Carla Chu of the Health Branch of the DCCA and encourage anyone who has a consumer complaint to utilize the services of this valuable governmental agency.

Carl L. Wright


Big box has rights, too

There’s no reason to ban the big box stores. It’s free enterprise and they have just as much right to be there as anyone else. The amount of money that can be saved at Wal-Mart and Costco can mean a big difference to any family.

But that also doesn’t mean not shopping at the local stores. There are some things to get straight here. The local “Mom and Pop” stores haven’t been gouging the public. They don’t have the buying power and volume the big stores have. They’ve been trying to sell goods for a profit but when they buy them, it costs them more than it does Wal-Mart. The local stores can never compete with the big guys on price. They need to compete with them on service. You can’t go into Costco and get someone to answer your questions about TVs, computers, etc. You can ask a local retailer. Some shoppers will understand that and the locals need to market to these types of people.

Costco and Wal-Mart are already in the more urban parts of Lihu‘e. The whole island can’t be paradise when there are 60,000-plus people on it. The county council shouldn’t ban all big box stores but it should zone them appropriately and keep them out of rural areas and the coastline. As a soon-to-be resident of Kaua‘i, I want to make sure it’s affordable while still retaining everything that we all love about Kaua‘i.

Brett Murchison

Temecula, Calif.

Kingdom law 101

Mr. Kenneth Kaumuali‘i Hodges (“Kawananakoa’s rightful legal heirs to throne, Letters, Feb. 28) and Mr. Bradford Punahele Pikini (“Respect the Princess,” Letters, March 6): Genealogy alone doesn’t make someone an heir to the Hawaiian throne.

Here’s Kingdom Law 101 (for beginners): On April 6, 1853, Kauikeaouli named Alexander Liholiho to be his successor according to the constitution which states that the “successor (of the throne) shall be the person whom the King and the House of Nobles shall appoint and publicly proclaim as such, during the King’s life” (Article 25, 1852 Constitution). Before his death, Liholiho failed to name a successor. In this case the law states the Kuhina Nui, who was Kamamalu, takes on all powers of the King. Kamamalu, Queen for a day, promptly proclaimed Lot Kapuaiwa the successor. Prior to that even he was not the “legal heir” to the throne.

The 1864 Constitution states, in regards to a vacancy, “should the Throne become vacant, then the Cabinet Council, immediately after the occurring of such vacancy, shall cause a meeting of the Legislative Assembly, who shall elect by ballot some native ali‘i (chief) of the Kingdom as Successor to the Throne.”

This is why Lunalilo and Kalakaua were elected. Kalakaua named Lili‘uokalani his successor after Leleiohoku passed away. Lili‘uokalani, as Queen, named Ka‘iulani her successor. Obviously, there was no other successor named in accordance with the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The only way a person can become the King or Queen today in this occupied Kingdom of Hawai‘i, is by election of the Legislative Assembly. No one can claim to be the heir to the throne. They can only qualify to be elected. How presumptuous of Kawananakoa to sit on the throne, a seat no one has legal basis to occupy at this time. Does she not understand the laws of her own country? I don’t think that bodes well for her chances to be elected.

Kalani Makekau-Whittaker

Hilo, Hawai‘i

Just the facts ma’am

I would like to encourage the faculty and parents at Waimea Canyon Elementary School to step up their pressure on Syngenta — perhaps by working with the Environmental Protection Agency rather than the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

The HDOA’s claims that the problems back in November were caused by “spider flower” are dubious at best. In reviewing the scientific literature, I am unable to find any examples where this plant has been the cause of symptoms like those seen by the students in Waimea. Furthermore, it is not clear if state officials tested the playground area and outside the building for herbicides and pesticides — places where the toxins sprayed by Syngenta would accumulate. I believe that in the future, the school should ask the EPA to place sampling equipment near the school grounds, ask for larger buffer zones, and parents may want to collect urine specimens if they think their child has been exposed to any harmful chemicals. This approach would provide irrefutable evidence for the presence of these agents. After reading how hard Syngenta has worked to keep toxic pesticides such as Atrazine on the U.S. market, even though the chemical is banned in Syngenta’s home country of Switzerland and the entire European Union, I think we should get some hard data before we accept their words as truth.

John Patterson



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