All or none? No compromise?

Gary Hooser again picks the low hanging fruit in his Feb. 28 TGI opinion piece. His targets include global corporations causing environmental harm. Is anyone in favor of environmental harm?

The refusal to negotiate with a “profit centered corporation causing harm to people and the environment” is admirable, and fully justified. If that’s the case, legal action is mandated, and the courts continue to address that alleged “harm.”

Agreeing with Gary, we do “need elected officials whose default position is a willingness to push back against the power and influence, rather than simply roll over under the guise of compromise.” This discussion is about the abuse of money and power in the legislative process.

His criticism includes large landowners circumventing public process to “fast track” development. Consider, that same public process is one of the significant causes of the current lack of any housing in the state of Hawaii. And, affordable housing is a stated goal of government action at every level. Why not “fast track” more housing? We need it now.

Gary’s “free enterprise” targets are limited to for profits and large landowners, who add value to products and services and attempt to provide affordable housing. If these “free enterprise” businesses are not profitable, they’re history, and every regulatory cost risks that viability. And yes, jobs!

Natural selection of the market place takes care of these incompetent and ill-timed ventures. Granted, some are not the good neighbors we prefer. The market place renders its decision in those cases, too.

Gary writes of “how the world works when it comes to the intersection of government and free enterprise.” He’s talking about the “sausage production” of legislation. Better to not see the process. The legislative process also applies to “public sector” activity.

The abuse of power and money is of great concern. Undue government and legislative influence is also obvious in the case of private and public-sector labor unions. Gary ignores these past supporters.

The current Legislature was considering what’s called the “Handyman Exemption” law. Currently, a handyman is limited to jobs not exceeding $1,000, in total. Hawaii law requires a licensed contractor for jobs of more than $1,000. The proposed legislation was to raise that limit, which is unreasonably low.

Currently, any competent licensed contractor is turning down jobs, as they’re fully engaged. It’s not worth their while to consider a job less than $10,000. Why not allow unlicensed handymen to serve the needs of “small” jobs?

The proposed legislation made good progress through the legislative process of committee hearings, because it benefits the consumer. Then, the ILWU union representative walked into a hearing. That proposal died an untimely death, as soon as the legislators recognized the union presence.

Consider the United Public Workers (UPW) and Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) premium wage and benefits package. The UPW and HGEA negotiate statewide, and currently enjoy pay and benefits that far exceed those of private sector “free enterprise” businesses. These negotiations are between representatives of labor, and county and state employers.

The disparity can be understood knowing the unions’ exercise of inordinate power and influence in Hawaii. They support many elected officials by endorsement and direct financial contribution, at the expense of the taxpayer.

Have you ever wondered why unions need television ads? They’re on every evening.

There are two ways to influence and address this abuse of power. One is your vote. Another is your spending. Buy from companies who are environmentally responsible. Vote for representatives who will act in your interest.


Michael Curtis is a resident of Koloa.

  1. Lenny for mayor March 5, 2018 2:28 am Reply

    Don’t you worry about hooser. Lenny has the solution and It is just 2 smears away!! Kenny is the one with the knowledge and smarts to help the whole island!!! It’s true!!!

  2. James March 5, 2018 7:33 am Reply

    Why can’t a handyman take the time and effort to become licensed? That way, they need to have a bond that protects the homeowner for shoddy work or abandoning the job. Killing the proposed legislation actually protects the consumer.

  3. manawai March 5, 2018 8:02 am Reply

    We knew Gary was against profit-making corporations because he operated a business for quite a while without making a profit. Good job, Gary! And that’s why he went into politics…to feed from the public trough, i.e. our tax dollars, with no worries about actually having to do or sell something people wanted. Actually, that hasn’t changed for him.

  4. Wil Welsh March 5, 2018 4:31 pm Reply

    Nothing is simple, of course, and nearly any path taken has its limitations. I agree with Mr. Curtis regarding the need for a rise in the amount that can be paid a handy man (or woman). Such work is very important in completing smaller jobs in a timely manner and providing income to those with such talents. Becoming a licensed contractor is a long process. Unions would rightly put energy into raising minimum wages, lobbying for fairer taxes that don’t punish lower-income workers.

    Regarding Gary Hooser, my experience has been that he puts his heart and his energy into doing what he thinks is right and that will benefit the public. That process often invites opposition, but nothing good happens without people willing to work toward solutions and doing what’s right.

  5. Sydney Swetnam March 5, 2018 4:57 pm Reply

    Above you state comments must be civil and in good taste.

    Do you read these posts? If so, why would you allow this manawai to continue these disrespectful posts?

    This person posts anonymously and attacks personally.

    It is the Kauai Garden Island’s responsibility maintain appropriate
    dialogue. Failure of your organization to garner control will lead to eroding of trust and further decline in support for your news service.

    Sydney Swetnam

  6. manawai March 5, 2018 10:54 pm Reply

    My comment was civil and in good taste, Dr. Sydney Swetnam. Since you are mostly likely a progressive liberal like Gary, i.e. a socialist, you find offense and attempt to curtail free speech. Typical of your ilk. Liberal is a misnomer as your do not liberate; instead you attempt to curtail liberties. Aloha!

  7. kauaidog March 7, 2018 12:31 pm Reply

    #1Liberal has nothing to do with liberate. I have always found Gary Hooser to be 2> very approachable when I have bumped into him at this or that place and 3. strikes me as trustworthy and really cares and someone who travels the same roads we do(TRAFFIC)

    1. amused March 8, 2018 8:26 am Reply

      Of course Gary’s approachable. He’s always begging for $ or votes. But make no mistake — he is always looking out for his own interests and ego first! The guy is a total fraud.

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