Letters for April 26, 2015

• TPP: Vote no on fast track authority for trade agreements  • Breakwaters bad for beaches • The high public cost of income inequality

TPP: Vote no on fast track authority for trade agreements

The TPP would consume American sovereignty in one quick sweep of Obama’s pen if we allow it to be fast tracked. This is our country. Our people have fought and died for this country and our people are working to build it up right now. How can we allow a trade agreement to be discussed in secret, much less be agreed upon in secret? The information regarding the TPP that has been leaked reveals that an international tribunal would be the new law of the land, basically overthrowing American’s judicial system and dismantling our sovereignty altogether.

This is the most dangerous “trade agreement” in the history of our nation. Vote “no” for the fast-track bill, vote no to the TPP, and contact your representatives about this bill today!

Elizabeth Wills


Breakwaters bad for beaches

Thirty years ago, I was among a small group of environmentalists who were meeting in a living room in Huntington Beach, California. Huntington was a small beach town in those days; now it is the fifth-largest city in the state.

We were beach lovers and surfers in our mid-30s and we had been around long enough to see our beaches slowly go to ruin. We named our group the Surfrider Foundation and we set out to educate the public on the harms that were facing our beaches.

One of our major pushes was to stop breakwaters and seawalls. These things have been well known to destroy beaches, but they were still being proposed all over the state.

I remember showing diagrams of the Kekaha Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor to California decision-makers as an example of a beach destroying monstrosity (our Kekaha harbor is in oceanography textbooks as what not to do).

The Surfrider Foundation was able to stop breakwaters in Imperial Beach (San Diego), Seal Beach and Huntington Beach (Orange County). Breakwaters, seawalls, groins and jetties are hugely expensive and almost always paid for by taxpayers. Elected officials, who rarely know anything about beach dynamics and sand transport, when educated, usually make the right decision. It appears our council was uneducated when they approved the subsidy for the Pono Kai owners.

The condo by the Wailua River, Pono Kai, was built too close to the ocean.

Most of the folks who bought there didn’t realize it and now they are stuck. If they get a permit for a seawall, and I hope they don’t, they should pay for it out of their homeowners dues and should leave us taxpayers alone.

Gordon LaBedz


The high public cost of income inequality

Monday the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education released a report which revealed that “Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollees in America’s major public support programs are members of working families.” http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2015/the-high-public-cost-of-low-wages.pdf

Families here and on the Mainland are working three to five jobs to try to make ends meet. They’re not allowed much time to be informed citizens in a participatory democracy.

The representative democracy they have relied on is now openly corrupted by lobbyists and corporate donors.

Only two of our 535 congressmen — U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — financed their campaigns from small contributions of $200 or less. These congressmen are not beholden to the nearly 600 corporations — those corporations which have authored the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement in secret, without congressional input or oversight.

Our Congress is now being directed to grant the president fast-track approval of this binding treaty, which supersedes our local, state and federal laws and regulations and is not subject to judicial proceedings in our courts.

This pernicious piece of propaganda is another betrayal of We The People, following the suspension of our civil rights under the so-called “Patriot Act.” I feel privileged to have lived during and participated in the Experiment of Democracy in America — it was great while it lasted.

Susan Oakley



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