Letter for Thursday, April 23, 2015

• David Chang leaves legacy • Leaders need to understand finance • Political spending should be transparent

David Chang leaves legacy

David Chang, a longtime activist in the effort to preserve Mahaulepu, passed away Sunday. He was one of the leaders of a group of residents who fought and stopped the development of Mahaulepu in 1974.

David is quoted as saying: “The coast from Mahaulepu Quarry to Black Mountain is less than one mile long. This is the last of our precious wilderness coastline on the south side. It is worth protecting and preserving.”

We all need to remember David and carry on his legacy by increasing our vigilance and our efforts to preserve and protect Mahaulepu.

Aloha, David. You will be greatly missed.

Linda Estes, Koloa

Leaders need to understand finance

Hawaii’s inefficiencies will be eliminated once our public officials learn theories of finance such as “time value of money” and “idiosyncratic risk.” Our representatives need to learn how to value future cash flows, so they can determine which projects to undertake and which projects to eliminate. The two most important things in finance are 1) knowing how to draw the picture and 2) knowing how to value the picture.

Our representatives need to learn how to perform these financial calculations so they can put our state back on track.

Our representatives also need to minimize the taxpayer “risk” and maximize our “return on investment.”

Theories of finance will improve the grades of our struggling institutions and turn our F’s into A’s. We need to strive to score straight A’s across the board of every committee. The answers are out there, it’s just a matter of us asking the right questions.

Alex Haller, Haiku

Political spending should be transparent

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on the “Citizens United” case has allowed “dark money” to determine the outcome of our elections. Organizations, such as those established by the Koch Brothers, can donate as much money as they want without revealing the source of that money.

The Supreme Court has stated that money is free speech. While you and I have the opportunity to stand on a soapbox and attempt to engage those passing by, our “free speech” doesn’t reach the same audience as “speech” secretly financed by corporations who can, and do, spend billions on TV and print advertising. You and I have no idea who is paying for these ads.

President Obama could help rectify this situation by promulgating an executive order requiring all government contractors to reveal their political spending. For example, using an issue that has recently been in the paper, would you be more or less likely to support anti-marijuana laws if you discovered the primary funder for these laws was Corrections Corporation of America? CCA wants more prisoners so it may charge as much as $100/day per prisoner. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world at over 700/100,000 population.

Does that make you feel safer? Do you think CCA is “people” (as Mit Romney famously said)? Does CCA have the right to silence you by “being thousands of times louder?”

Call your congressional representatives and demand they support an executive order revealing government contractor political activity.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo

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