Letters to the editor: 01-08-20

Letters pinpoint how bad government hurts Kona

The Tuesday, Jan. 7 West Hawaii Today, was a home run in terms of the letter by Robinson and the op-ed by Dierenfield. There was neither a TMT, nor a national political diatribe. As both, a longtime critic as well as a letter submitter, I believe this was a banner day for WHT. Although neither Robinson nor Dierenfield were discussing political issues, both the inanity of Bill 101 and the runaway homeless problem are attributable to bad county politics.

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As Robinson pointed out, the weed containment issue is substantive and his criticism of those who voted for Bill 101 is accurate. There should never be a bill passed without a public analysis of the costs. Why did the council see fit to vote without telling the electorate what the plan was and what were the costs to execute said plan? Mayor Kim’s letter of Dec. 12 is a somewhat reasoned approach, but fails to cite the financial impact. Totally irresponsible action by those who voted in favor — bad county politics.

Dierenfield provided the absolute best analysis of the homeless situation in Kona and the incredibly myopic county leadership.

Perhaps the county’s legal counsel, having lost to the ACLU and assessed $80,000 in a 2015 panhandling case on Kaiwi Street, has advised the council and the Hawaii Police Department to not act to resolve the rampant conditions described in Dierenfield’s column.

If so, it’s time to reverse course and rather than worry about the rights of one individual (the homeless panhandler) and start to worry about the rights of the Kona citizens at large. This means that the mayor, so concerned about those who defy the law on Maunakea, should show some intestinal fortitude and work with the council to enact a law that would protect the citizens of Kona. Anything less, is an abrogation of county responsibility — bad politics by both the Council and Kim.

Without positive steps by the council to reverse Bill 101 and a move to act on the homeless, there should be a massive movement to replace the mayor and the council this November, as non0-responsive to the needs of the electorate. Huge, unidentified outlays due to Bill 101, and costs both financially and to quality of life due to inaction on the homeless, are in our future if we don’t act.

Pete Webber

Kailua-Kona

Conspiracy theorists need to be held accountable

It’s finally time for radio talk hosts, “news” programs, authors, websites and politicians pushing conspiracy theories to be faced with accountability for the people they harm with their unsubstantiated reports of “secret plots” and slander.

Alex Jones of website “InfoWars,” after pushing the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax orchestrated by the government using “crisis actors,” finally admitted under oath in a Texas court last month that it was a real event. Since 2012, families of the 20 children and six adults killed have endured death threats because of his and others’ false claims (as if these families weren’t in enough distress already).

James Fetzer of podcast “The Real Deal” who wrote a book claiming the Sandy Hook massacre never actually happened has been ordered by the courts to pay $450,000.

Alex Jones said in court it was a “form of psychosis” that made him question if the mass shooting was real. He is admitting that an idea in his mind didn’t have to match concrete evidence. Conspiracy theorists know they can play on people’s imaginations to create suspicion and intrigue in such a way as to make their audience question the truth of facts right in front of them.

I suspect our president is perfectly aware that the 24-plus disproved conspiracy theories he has tweeted about and continues to discuss in interviews have no basis in fact. He and the media sources who perpetuate these “stories” are delighted with how it raises anger, indignation and their ratings.

Fake accusations create distrust and hatred toward immigrants, political opponents and government officials. Our president takes no responsibility for any negative effect this has on others. Or perhaps, like Alex Jones, he’ll claim it’s just a “form of psychosis?” I hope the time of accountability for purposely hurting others is arriving.

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Martha Hodges

Kailua-Kona