Letters for Monday, August 1, 2011

Addiction a family disease •

The all-powerful status quo • Controlling

spending depends on agreement

Addiction a family disease

I worked in various children’s services for the state for over 10 years, on Maui and Kaua‘i, and having to place our children in substance abuse treatment centers off-island always caused difficulty. And that was when the state was “flush” with funds and could afford to send family members to the treatment center to participate in treatment with their children.

Now funding has been cut and families are not able to visit their children or participate in treatment. Our children suffer for that.

Addiction is a family disease. The behaviors of the addict effects every family member. Addiction can make the entire family “sick” because it forces family members to act in ways that protect the addict and enable the disease.

When the addict stops using, family members often do not know how to act or how to support the recovering addict. From experience, I know it is vital that the family participate in treatment with the adolescent addict to insure a more successful outcome.

It is time for Kaua‘i to stop living in “denial” about the wide spread use of drugs by our teens. Like it or not, Kaua‘i youth are engaging in drug and alcohol use at an alarming rate. This I know from experience.

Please support a teen substance abuse treatment center on Kaua‘i. Our children and families desperately need it!

Wendy Beckett, Kapa‘a

The all-powerful status quo

The ability of Ed Coll to articulate what he sees the Charter Review Commission doing as a body instead of their primary purpose which, under our Charter section 24.03 states, “… the Mayor with the approval of the Council shall appoint a charter commission composed of seven members to study and review the operation of the county government under this charter,” was extremely refreshing (“No-brainer,” Letters, July 27).

He quotes from a July 23 letter written by Horace Stoessel (a man with expertise on our charter) which said, “… The Charter Commission serves as an arm of the county administrators to ‘tweak’ the charter to their liking is becoming increasingly obvious.”

Ed goes on to talk about the debacle that happened with section 3.07E of our charter, how the ballot issue “duped voters into weakening the robustness of the county charter and broadened the justification for going into Executive Session.” Such words of truth!

There are some good, dedicated people who serve on our boards and commissions but in most cases it takes four votes to pass any issue and with most members not wishing to alienate themselves from the mayor who appointed them (with council approval), they do “serve as an arm of county administrators” as Horace said.

Powerful decision-making bodies like the Planning Commission, the CRC, the Board of Ethics, the Police Commission, and the Cost Control Commission shape the very foundation of the way our island is run.

To take the politics out of the equation or even the appearance of wrong decision-making wouldn’t Kaua‘i be better served by having these positions be elected? Yes, even elected officials can have negatives results but, as the saying goes, to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity.

Maybe, Ed, Horace and other “Nitpickers” on this wonderful island are hoping for a truly representative government with an experienced manager at the helm.

Is it really too much to expect that people are appointed or hired because of what they know and not who they know?

Or is the status quo just too powerful and ingrained and the people who populate our island too busy just trying to survive to speak out and protect some of the core decisions that are being made?

Keep writing, Ed.

Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a

Controlling spending depends on agreement

When Clinton left office the USA was on its way to totally paying off its national debt. What happened?

There are four reasons the USA debt is growing. Unless one acknowledges these four points there is little opportunity for negotiating a solution to the problem.

1) The Bush tax cuts, including the recent extension by Obama, have lost revenue of $2.8 trillion.

2) The two wars that were prosecuted — off the books — by Bush and placed on the books by Obama have cost $1.2 trillion.

3) Medicare Part D was unfunded, the money has to come out of general revenues, another $1 trillion hit. The program will add as much as $16 trillion to our debt by 2030. The government is forced to pay retail prices for the drugs.

4) Wall Street was deregulated which caused the economic crisis in 2008.

When you hear that Obama and Boehner have come to an agreement to cut $4.2 trillion in spending, that is over a 10-year period.

If the four issues listed above had not happened, there would be no need to cut spending. TARP and placing the wars on the books are the main reasons charts showing the rise of federal debt are so steep during Obama’s presidency. It is important to understand that this money has already been spent and must be paid. Not raising the debt ceiling does not control spending. Pretending so is a fraud. Only the budget process can do that.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo

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