Letters to the Editor: June 14, 2020

Protesting for change

The First Amendment of the U.S. and Hawaii Constitution gives us the privilege, the right, and the power to protest for change.

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The struggles for land, power, human rights, beliefs, justice, peace, environment, preservation, equity, sovereignty: Save Maunakea, Kahoolawe, Honokahua, Waimanalo, Kahuku, union strikes, save Kalama Valley, Kohanaiki, save Waiahole Valley, save Sandy Beach — all protests for change.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, in my opinion, is one of the most important amendments for the protection of democracy. Because it gives us, as citizens, the right to speak out against the government, when we feel that our liberties, our rights are being violated.

It gives us the right to protest for change.

This right to protest is not universal.

Cuba: Aug. 9, 2018: Raul Gonzalezan of Bohabana Travels — arrested, booked, fined for being my personal travel guide. Raul makes $40 per month as an attorney. His supplemental income, as a personal travel guide, helped him feed his family of 10. Shortly after his arrest, his business cohort, Ruiz, showed up, and completed my tour — as if nothing happened. Ruiz told me that he and Raul are arrested about twice a month, and all they have to do is pay off the police and start over. No protesting for change allowed in Cuba.

Tibet: Oct. 5, 2011. In Tibet, I witnessed “red tanks” all over the streets, standing ready to arrest any Tibetan who showed any allegiance, support or say anything similar to “Long live Dalai Lama.” Tibet is a country forced into submission. No protesting for change allowed in Tibet.

Russia: Oct. 25, 2013. I spoke to young Russian protesters. About 100,000 Russians, between 2011 and 2013, attempted to protest a flawed election and alleged ballot-rigging under Putin. Their protest and chanting of “We are the People” was suppressed as 50,000 police appeared on the scene and thousands were killed, arrested and jailed. No protesting for change allowed in Russia.

Our people, our Hawaii, our America, our world is protesting for change. Change for justice, accountability, transparency, openness in government. And Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death gave us the impetus to use this authority to protest for change in America.

Lei Kihoi

Kailua-Kona

A favor please

Mayor Harry Kim, please do everyone a favor, especially on the west side of the island and withdraw your nomination to run again for mayor.

The reason simply put is that we can’t keep absorbing your reckless tax and spend administration. All you’ve done it seems as well as increase taxes is to take away services especially in the virus epidemic, but you didn’t layoff anyone to save money, in fact you’re hiring more. Fiscal restraint is the word, I know you have reduced TAT income but why discourage vacation rentals reopening and deprive yourself of money, because you really don’t want them, and this is an ideal excuse to prevent having them from reopening.

On another note Councilwoman Karen Eoff, you have showed admirable economic restraint in getting to spend $250,000 on golf subsidies for the few, that really helps people out of work struggling to survive your district.

Mike Bloomfield

Kailua-Kona

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