Letters | 9-9-15

Clean elections and corporate political control

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Clean elections and corporate political control

West Hawaii Today is to be congratulated on its coverage of the County Council decision on Resolutions 266 and 267 (West Hawaii Today, Sept. 3, page 1A). These resolutions place the county on record as supporting a constitutional amendment allowing governments to limit election spending and declaring that money is not speech. These two reforms would go far in restoring faith in our democracy.

As pointed out in the article, this issue strikes close to home. Councilwoman Margaret Willie had to struggle against an influx of $100,000 of dark money from a political action committee opposed to her re-election. And, the same three Councilmen (Greggor Ilagan, Daniel Paleka and Aaron Chung) who opposed to these common-sense resolutions also happened to be the only three councilmen who opposed allowing Earth Justice to provide the county with free legal counsel to support its genetically modified organisms ban, which was being contested by Monsanto.

As far as Chung’s allegation that the resolutions “vilify corporations,” one wonders if he even read them. The notion of corporate personhood was established in the case law, not the constitution. Indeed, the Constitution does not even mention corporations. The resolutions merely ask that the Constitution be amended to clarify that corporations are not entitled to the same rights accorded natural persons. This is a nonpartisan issue. Only someone who wants to maintain the status quo of corporate domination of our political system could oppose these resolutions.

Those wishing to support this effort can contact me through movetoamend.org.

Mahalo to WHT for its fair and thorough reporting of this important debate.

Marvin Feldman,

Chairman, Kona Affiliate of Move to Amend

Captain Cook

Stop solar power developer before it’s too late

Can you imagine 66 acres of land being clear-cut and bulldozed anywhere on the Big Island without any environmental impact study, permission from local residents, or government oversight? It is happening right now in Ka’u.

A large Chinese developer is exploiting a loophole in the state law and hundreds of ohia and mamane trees are about to be cut down with no regard for the wildlife or the residents that live there. These trees are home to our only endemic land mammal of Hawai’ (and now its official state land mammal), the Hawaiian hoary bat, as well as our only native hawk, the Hawaiian hawk (which nests only in ohia trees on the Big Island).

There has been no impact study, so who knows how many other endangered native plants and animals ultimately will be affected. We’ve been told by our elected officials that “we had better hire lawyers” while they have done nothing to stop this sneaky and disgusting move. So much for representation of the people. We have also been told that Hawaii Electric Light Co. is in support of this development — it will result in 22 “solar farms” that will be fenced, guarded, and lighted 24/7 (so much for the natural behavior of the bats at night that help keep the mosquito population in check). We’ve also been told that once it is done, HELCO will no longer buy back solar or wind power from the private residents.

Our residents are fighting it. You might want to consider joining the fight against this. If these developers get away with it here, your neighborhood could be next.

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Jeffrey Hewitt

Ocean View