Letters to the editor: 09-10-19

Trump a curious constitutional omission

Mikie Kerr writes that we live in a “post-constitutional society” and — how interesting — among the many words in her piece, nowhere does she mention President Trump. She lists several examples of direct violations. Did I miss her referring to the U.S. president?

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Yes, federal officers and Congress members all swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Hmmm, I don’t see any reference to the commander in chief. She says these people then go about their business, ignoring the Constitution. Where is Donald Trump’s name?

Can you spell “emoluments?” Mikie, as a “constitutional enthusiast,” I’m sure you are familiar with the concept that an elected official should not financially benefit from the office. Who wouldn’t agree with your statement that we should “act within the framework of the Constitution.” (Uhhh, wait, let me think …)

At the end of your column, you instruct everyone to “… act within the framework of the Constitution. Uphold your oaths of office or get out of office. We all deserve better.” I couldn’t agree more.

Phyllis Hanson

Keauhou

Show us why General Plan changes needed

Our communities around the island county of Hawaii have a big problem facing us.

The County Charter requires the county to revise the county General Plan every 10 years. The first General Plan was passed in 1989. The first revision of the General Plan was passed in 2005.

The most recent draft General Plan is now being presented by the Planning Department in meet-and-greet sessions around the island to provide information to the public. This is an important process in which all Hawaii County residents should participate because the General Plan is the law that provides the rules and guidelines for natural resources planning, infrastructure planning, economic and opportunity planning, community place-making, land use planning, and implementation of priorities and actions.

The draft General Plan now being presented to the public has two problems. The first problem is it is using a completely different format than the 1989 and 2005 General Plans. This different format in-and-of itself makes it extremely difficult and time-consuming for the average citizen to compare and identify differences and changes between these two important documents.

The second problem was created because the Planning Department, for some unexplained reason, did not follow the Ramseyer Rule to the draft General Plan to show exactly how the proposed General Plan would change the 2005 General Plan. The Ramseyer Rule requires drafters of proposed legislation to show exactly how a proposed bill or resolution would change existing law. The parts of bills to be removed are [bracketed] and additions are underlined. This system has been used by the U.S. Congress and the Hawaii State Legislature, as well as the county of Hawaii for many, many years for good reason.

As they currently exist, these problems make it essentially impossible for the general public, if not members of the Leeward and Windward Planning Commissions and the county council, to see exactly what changes are being proposed from the existing General Plan.

This unexplained rejection of convention begs the question, why has the Planning Department created and presented a proposed piece of legislation that lacks transparency on proposed changes by ignoring tried-and-true methods that would show exactly how the draft General Plan would change the existing 2005 General Plan? Do they not want us to understand or challenge?

Regardless of reason, the Planning Department must immediately take action to provide the public with a Ramseyer version of the draft General Plan. The general public, commissions, and county council can then easily identify what changes have been made, better understand the changes being proposed, and/or be able to ask better questions to help them resolve any issues they may have with the draft General Plan.

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Chuck Flaherty

Captain Cook