Letters to the Editor: 01-20-19

Bad idea to increase council terms

Increasing the terms of office for County Council members from two years to four years is a very bad idea.


All U.S. Representatives in Congress are restricted to two-year terms for a very good reason: they are in Washington, D.C., to represent their constituents and debate/enact legislation. Their performance is carefully watched by their constituents and the two-year term limit requires they regularly seek endorsement and validation of their performance from constituents.

Congressional elections have been conducted every two years through national crises (Civil War, World wars, etc.) The governing principle is the requirement for regular endorsement and performance validation of the legislative branch of government.

The County Council is a legislative body; it is not a group of district mini-executives. Executive governing responsibility resides elsewhere — with the mayor.

Attempts to justify longer terms by citing learning curves on complex issues or the need to continually be in “campaign” mode are spurious rationale. Legislators are expected to be subject to regular and more frequent performance validation. Longer terms are attempts at entrenching political power and reducing accountability to voters’ performance evaluation.

U.S. Representatives — our representatives at the national level — are required to undergo the performance validation process every two years. Why should County Council members — with the same legislative responsibility at a local level — be any different?

Kenneth Beilstein


Kona Village not in line with community development plan

Over a decade ago, the Kona Community Development Plan was designated by the County Council as the rulebook for all developers in the County of Hawaii. It states in its guiding principles that all future villages in North Kona are to be designed around shopping and work centers.

How does the project called Kona Village, proposed by Kona Three LLC for land north of Lako Street, meet this basic concept? Where will the shops be located?

Cheryl Tanguay


Cable providers should keep on Paniolo bankruptcy

Hawaii has three main submarine fiber-optic cables that link all main islands. Two of these cables will be reaching the end of their 25-year lifespan (HICS and HIFN). The third fiber-optic cable is owned by Paniolo Cable Company LLC. Paniolo is an affiliate of Sandwich Isles Communications, the beleaguered rural local exchange carrier serving DHHL homesteads statewide.

The investors who bankrolled the Paniolo cable project, which was ready for service in 2009, initiated involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against Paniolo in late 2018. This legal action, along with Sandwich Isles Communications uncertain future, may force the sale of Paniolo’s assets.

Hawaiian Telcom and Charter Communications (Spectrum) currently use either Hawaii Island Fiber-Network (HIFN), or Hawaii Island Cable System (HICS) for inter-island connectivity. The latter cables don’t support modern standards, which limits the scalability of these networks. Paniolo, on the other hand, is much newer and supports modern standards. I hope either Hawaiian Telcom, or Charter Communications (Spectrum) attempt to acquire Paniolo’s assets if and when they’re put up for sale.

Aaron Stene


Build bridges and understanding

The Wall! Build it or not? Those who are saying to build the wall are mainly citing it as a security issue, that there are immigration problems along our southern border. Some of this is true. There has been a problem with immigration there for decades now. The thing is a wall will not stop that nor will it solve it and it would be an unnecessary cost estimated to exceed $35 billion and that does not take into account the imminent domain lawsuits and settlements that would ensue. Nor would it take into account the impossible terrain or the disruption to wildlife migration. Sorry, but building a wall is not a solution.

What needs to be done is to work on solutions to why people are immigrating from their countries. Make meaningful changes and update immigration laws. Give Border Patrol the tools and manpower it needs to properly do the job along with enough immigration judges to handle the number of asylum entries. Most importantly, stop the separation of families on fake pretenses as a means to discourage immigration. It has obviously failed and the reason is easily seen. If faced with certain enslavement or death where you are you will take jail or separation in order to live, anytime. To those who only think that building a wall will solve the problem, I say build bridges of understanding. Identify the real problems and actually work on the origin of the problem and quit treating the symptoms. Turn off FOX faux news and really learn what the problems are that these people are facing in their countries that is driving them to such extraordinary actions.

Most importantly, open your hearts to their pain and suffering and offer help and support. Show some humanity.


John M. Pierce