Letters for Sunday, December 6, 2020

A personal reflection of the word ‘belonging’

My name is Matthew Taeza. I am a junior at Waimea High School. At Waimea High School we have a graduation requirement called our “Personal Transition Plan,” or PTP for short. The PTP is similar to a student portfolio, and it stores documents that we need to graduate.

In that PTP students are required to write reflections for each acronym of the letters in the word “breath.” The “B” in “breath” stands for “belonging,” and is one of the virtues that our teachers at Waimea High School ask us to reflect on. I wanted to share my own personal reflection of what belonging means to me.

Belonging, to me, is that you feel comfortable in the environment you are in. I believe that people should feel that they belong in this world. For example, students should come to school and feel that they belong in their classes.

Students shouldn’t have to be scared or uncomfortable at school. Another example is in their community. People should feel a sense of belonging in their community. It doesn’t matter what race, religion or gender you are, because at the end of the day we are all part of the same community. I feel like I belong in my school community.

When I come to school every morning, I feel like I can be accepted here at Waimea High School. Not only do I feel that only I belong at this school, but I hope other people can also feel the same sense of belonging at Waimea High School.

I know that my actions can affect how other people feel like they belong, and I try to be as nice to my peers because you never know what someone else is going through. Be nice for the sake of being nice, not because you think you will benefit from it. Be nice because it is the right thing to do. You shouldn’t have to need something from someone else just to be nice to them.

This worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, and could have a negative impact on a person. To my fellow students who feel like this virus has made your life miserable and that you can’t be happy anymore, I’m here to tell you that there will come a time when this will all be over and you will be at your best.

You will come out of this pandemic an even-stronger person than you were at the start of this. This pandemic is here to test you, to challenge you that you will not succeed. That is why we must all rise to the challenge and gain strength through unity. I know school is difficult and you can’t enjoy sports or whatever hobbies you have that have been affected by the virus, but trust me. We can do this together.

You all belong in this world, and you all have a purpose. I hope that everyone reading this can accomplish their goals and get through this situation safely.

Matthew Taeza, Waimea

Brun case raises questions for council

The councilmembers got sworn in on Dec. 1, and now they’ll be leading the pathways to our future. Great.

My question to them is simple and, perhaps, requires and warrants an answer. Were you all drug-tested? Was it before or after being sworn in? If not, why? Are you, or will you all be drug-tested soon, and will you all be randomly tested often before you leave office?

Am I too forward, or am I stepping over my boundaries? I feel that I have the right to know about you council people being drug-tested. Don’t you think so?

I don’t feel that we need to have a repeat of what happened earlier this year when a councilman was accused of being involved in a drug ring of about 20 people. And to think that no one knew he ran a drug ring. Didn’t or couldn’t any other council person detect any changes in his behavior, his actions, and the way he acted?

Weren’t there any kind of signs? Didn’t he act stupid? Weren’t his eyes glassy when you looked him in his eyes? Someone must have known that Arthur Brun was a druggy. Maybe not taking drugs, but probably making money on the side. And what happened to his case? Is it still ongoing, or is it done? Haven’t heard anything about him since he got caught.

I called the council office to asked them if the council people were drug-tested, but was referred to the Human Resources office, which was supposed to return my call, but didn’t. It appeared that they knew nothing about the drug-testing. I foretold them that I was going to write a letter to TGI, whether they told me or not, but I guess it didn’t make a difference, because I’ve never heard from them.

As a retired state airport firefighter stationed at the Lihu‘e Airport, I recalled being drug-tested before being hired, and many more times thereafter. As a tour driver/narrator for a reputable tour company, I still am being drug-tested. So, the councilmen, who are part-timers and who will be making a lot of important decisions for mine and our future, I personally would want them to make those decisions with clear — not cloudy — minds.

So, have you been drug-tested? Before or after being sworn in? If not, why, and how soon will you people be drug tested? I’m just curious.

Ray Domingo, Lihu‘e

The mayor gets it

I want to commend Mayor Kawakami and thank him profusely for his fortitude and bravery in once again implementing the two-week quarantine of incoming travelers to Kaua‘i. I use the work “bravery,” as I can only imagine the backlash he is receiving from the “money” on this island.

All I’ve heard for years is “kupuna, kupuna, kupuna. Save the kupuna, revere the kupuna, take care of the kupuna.” And now? “You know what” the kupuna. “We want our MONEY, our businesses, our monetarily-focused lives.”

I’ve lived here 50 years and raised four sons here, and believe me, have seen leaner days than this here.

And you know what you do? You figure it out. You figure out how to feed your family and pay your bills.

Grow some, you demonstrators. Figure it out.

Our local-boy mayor gets it. He is implementing these programs to protect not only the kupuna, but all of us.

Thank you, Mayor Kawakami.

Regina Mears, Ha‘ena

State leaders deserve protest

So one can fly here with a positive test and protest against the mayor? How is it that someone with a positive test can board a plane? To me, this is ridiculous and dumb. Is this because of a lack of common sense?

If so, then I suggest a new and smarter era of un-common sense. Protests are back, and for the most part they are against the mayor. I think that is the wrong direction, and the protests should be pointed towards the governor and lieutenant governor.

It was their leadership that said no to the mayor’s plan to have a second test with a shortened quarantine. That shortened quarantine probably would not have had businesses closing back down.

Mark Perry, Lihu‘e

  1. Barney December 6, 2020 6:30 am Reply

    PCR Test have a 90% false positive rate.

  2. survivor December 6, 2020 6:53 am Reply

    My guess is you’re comfortably retired? Probably didn’t earn your retirement working in the tourism industry or picking up cocktail napkins at the Nui? For those that are not now independently wealthy it’s a different story. Show a little compassion instead of “Grow some, you demonstrators. Figure it out.” Tourism is, for at least some of your neighbor’s families, their only bread and butter, literally.

    1. Nancy R December 7, 2020 9:59 am Reply

      The Mayor’s looking at data from the areas where we’re drawing the mist tourism, primarily west coast …. and sees what’s going on there.

      We should be mindful of how this disease is spreading everywhere else, says some major prayers for all and be thanking our lucky stars that we have someone in charge who isn’t going to let Covid decimate Kauai.

      See today’s clip from the San Francisco area for instance (cases up 73% in 2 weeks) and everyone on lockdown.


      1. nobody December 8, 2020 6:07 am Reply

        I hope the mayor is looking at the results of the Safe Travel program on the rest of the state.

    2. regina mears December 8, 2020 10:26 am Reply

      Dear Survivor,
      You guessed wrong.
      Regina Mears

  3. Judy C December 6, 2020 6:56 am Reply

    Mathew, your “belonging” letter is absolutely beautiful and a “breath” of fresh air. Thank you for your voice of inspiration and encouragement to all ages! Many are struggling right now and wonder where they belong or feeling they don’t belong! You have hit the nail on the head. And such great advice, “Be nice for the sake of just being nice.” If we could all adopt this in our daily lives, we’d have the peace and kindness we all long for around us! You are an inspiration and I hope many people, especially young people, see your letter!

  4. Kauaidoug December 6, 2020 8:50 am Reply

    Agreed! Send your elected officials both local, state and federal. Google your state and federal representative’s email and send one shirt but respectful note demanding action.

  5. Rev Dr Malama December 6, 2020 9:19 am Reply

    Yes Ray and the other folks that took the time to compose letters of concern for our community….
    The top priority for any body of government NEEDS to be operational by legal definition of the position. Drug testing is absolutely necessary but also the challenge of closing the loopholes that allow a person to retain their government salary while in violation of the County Charter in this case and the fact that NO AUDITOR HAS BEEN HIRED IN MANY YEARS.
    The blatant discrimination and corruption of the individuals and small government agencies are being exposed and still no preventive measures are being implemented….
    We need to huli this system and return to check and balance our economy and correct our priorities.
    I support the return of the Hawai’ian Kingdom government and free healthcare and education for our people.
    Independence is supported by the International community and we are very close to ending the belligerent and unlawful occupation of the military industrial complex who use politicians as their puppets.
    Everyone should and must read the articles and watch/listen to the videos here for a full understanding of the process of SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER:
    A highly recommended source of valuable information on the real SOVEREIGNTY movement.

  6. USAF Brat December 6, 2020 10:27 am Reply

    Mathew Taeza receives an A+ for having courage to pen such a fine letter to TGI and the community, for which obviously, this Opio is paying attention. He is already showing successes and The folks that are raising him have trully been blessed! Keeping a daily journal, observing, Truth and Integrity is key!

  7. USAF Brat December 6, 2020 10:40 am Reply

    We and Counsel knew there was a problem, but make no mistake, this is a case that still needs to be courted, except COK top gun reminds us that by documents reviewed, Brun has been made guilty by osmosis when this was a clear case of a SET-up! I’ld like to have a Z fact checker dispute my opinion. Otherwise, i paid much attention watching Hoike TV views of council meetings and council or audiences body language or the eyes spoke Volumes!

  8. Tes Tost R’Own December 6, 2020 9:46 pm Reply

    Drug Testing, about as valuable as a Covid test, ya see the big boys of the inner cities have been sellin Junk and Crack to the minorities and have never personally used the stuff…ever…but sure make ton$ on it.

    Tulsi make it all legal and free, with free delivery.

  9. D Woods December 7, 2020 9:34 am Reply

    Regina Mears……GREAT LETTER!

    1. regina mears December 8, 2020 1:31 pm Reply

      My thanks and appreciation to D Woods and Joe Public for their posts.

  10. Joe Public December 7, 2020 11:52 am Reply

    Right on spot Regina, totally agree.

  11. Kaaona Kipuka December 7, 2020 12:17 pm Reply

    None of your business Mr. Domingo!!! Sounds like you’ve been occupying your time with this and other nonsense. So you’d know that Mr. Brun’s case was deferred until next year… Worry about your circle of concern…If members of this council team decide to ingest illegal drugs then so be it. That’s their private business not yours… And if their caught they go through the judicial process just like everyone else. Go check into some volunteering opportunities or something to better occupy your time…Seems like you have way to much it for nonsense…”Just curious” lol………….

    1. Peke December 7, 2020 2:20 pm Reply

      When my taxes are paying your salary it is our business if local officials are high on legal or illegal drugs. You have to drug test to clean a rental car. It is time to drug test all public officials, Mayor, city council, police, fire department anyone that is getting paid by our taxes I want to know if they are of sound mind and body.

      1. Kaaona Kipuka December 8, 2020 3:08 pm Reply

        Good luck with that!!! I wouldn’t hold my breath… You’d be amazed at how many people are using illegal drugs these days. Doctors, Judges, business professionals the list goes on my friend… Good luck though…lol……………………………………………………

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.