Letters for Sunday, July 31, 2011

• Shared kuleana • What stuff do you need?

Shared kuleana

While I maintain my respect for retired Judge Alfred Laureta (“KIUC did the right thing,” Letters, July 23), I also respectfully take this opportunity to express my personal resolve in the pursuit of the development of hydropower here on Kaua‘i which allows us to be “pono” in the process.

Having said that, I believe that it is possible to move forward in the format of a forum, as has been suggested, with these  provisions: a.) that neutrality prevails in formatting this proposed forum; b.) that the planning of the forum includes the participation of representation from BOTH sides of the issue bringing the concerns to the table to be prioritized; c.) that the professional expertise of mediation services (such as KEO has) be made available to determine the appropriate language of presenting each item to the public; d.) that clarity, transparency, and accountability prevail in the process.

As has been expressed by individuals on both sides of the issue, the desire to be mindful of our shared kuleana in protecting and preserving our finite resources must supersede conflicting perspectives on the ways in which hydropower is pursued.

I humbly submit this proposal for KIUC and the core group of petitioners to consider the feasibility of this possible approach. 

Jose Bulatao Jr., Kekaha

What stuff do you need?

Mr. Oswald you inspired me, with your July 24 letter (“The truth will set you free”) to research and write. You challenged my own memories of the facts, since yours were so different from my own.

I remember this speech made by Bush to the White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership in 2002. This speech puts the president’s blessings on the deregulation of the mortgage lending system. Following are several quotes from Bush’s speech.

“Freddie Mac recently began 25 initiatives around the country to dismantle barriers and create greater opportunities for homeownership. One of the programs is designed to help deserving families who have bad credit histories to qualify for homeownership loans…”

“If a down payment is a problem, there’s a way we can address that. And when Congress funds the program…”

“You don’t have to have a lousy home for first-time home buyers. If you put your mind to it, the first-time home buyer, the low-income home buyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else.”

Mr. Oswald, what were you saying about giving away “stuff” for votes? Dismantle barriers for people with bad credit history, hmm. Yeah, right, that worked out real well for all involved.

Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, an anti-regulation zealot, worked to see that the risky financial products would be protected and exempt from government regulations.

Under conservative leadership the Securities and Exchange Commission turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the rumblings and warnings and instead allowed the Wall Street investment banks to double the amount of debt they kept on their books.

It was Gramm who while still in the senate slipped in a bill to shield derivatives from financial regulatory oversight, thus adding to the problem. Then he had the gall to call America a “nation of whiners” experiencing a “mental recession.” Remember that? I do.

Alan Greenspan and the Bush administration regulators ignored multiple warnings about the increasing threats of trouble in the mortgage market. Greenspan ignored a fellow Fed, Gov. Ned Gramlich, when he pressed for action to prevent abuses and predatory practices in subprime mortgages. Greenspan also opposed a voluntary code of conduct for mortgage lenders! Greenspan has since confessed to finding a “flaw” in his free market anti-regulation ideology.

Bush’s chairman of Securities and Exchange Christopher Cox sat by and watched the gutting of oversight and regulations as the risky credit market ran wild. In 2004 he defended the loosening of regulations on large banks. Then in 2008 Cox acknowledged to a Senate committee that the derivative market has a “regulatory hole that must be immediately addressed.” The SEC under Bush’s chairman had failed to carry out it’s mission of oversight and ignored the red flags of excessive risk.

So these are the facts that support my memory of Bush’s role in the collapse of the housing market and the banks. It would take another letter to address your comment about blaming Bush for starting the wars. My memory tells me that yes he did invade Iraq and Afghanistan, and by invading these two countries he did indeed start two wars. Not to mention hiding the true cost of these wars, another letter.

So to wrap it up Bush appointed leaders to his cabinet who focused on giving “stuff” to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts, deregulation and incentives for shipping jobs overseas. Incentives for shipping jobs overseas now there’s yet another letter.

So you say Democrats give away “stuff.” I guess that would be social services such as low cost dental clinics, the WIC program, health clinics for the uninsured, lunch programs for kids and “stuff” like that. Yes that’s something to criticize if you live in a castle, sheltered from the reality that the need for this “stuff” can make all the difference in many peoples lives. I realize no one at your cocktail party has any use for any of this “stuff.”

Joy Lee, Lihu‘e

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