|Open Letter to Hawaii Lawmakers:
|Here's hoping Hawaii's
new generation of office holders is ready to reject polarized,
and polarizing, boomer–style partisan politics.
Impatient to try new ideas. Unwilling to just wait their turn. I.e.
unwilling to just get along by going along with throwing
more money at "tried & true" solutions that cursed us with
the following mountain of Unsolved Problems to begin with.
| (Those already familiar with
Oahu's problems can skip this list. We live them.)
class who tells us they can't find $0.1 billion to A/C school classrooms,
while happily chaining us to Rails supposedly $12.0 billion,
but more likely bottomless, money pit.
inadequate 1930's style road system. A system intentionally left
unmodernized and inadequately maintained to force taxpayer capitiulation to
Rail proponenets. Profits funneled to promoters: Cursing us with
needlessly unpleasant and inefficient roads.
cruelly low high school graduation rate. Surviving graduates with
average standardized national, and international, test scores anchoring
them to the bottom rungs
of that ladder, not competing for the top ones.
100 year–old water and sewer system being overwhelmed by an explosion
of high rise construction. Too often with exemptions from long established
code that seem more purchased than logical.
stadium guaranteed to rust.
magnificent harbor squandered on an inexpensive school dormitory for a
low cost college. One whose success at securing US study visas for
foreign students likely adds to the tuition foreign student
parents, or other financially able backers, are willing to pay.
highest electricity rates in the nation.
set materially higher than the profitable cost of production by
politically appointed, not publicly elected, rate commissioners.
windfall used to pay for creating a new government
subsidy–dependent industry*. An industry of filled with consultants,
experts, lobbyists, and importers who offer our most recent two governors
the legacy of their dreams (at taxpayer expense).
Generality sold as "Sustainability": In Reality, a
cruelly unnecessary cost laid on the backs of Hawaii's working
families and businesses. Inflated costs making Hawaii businesses
less globally competitive and therefore less profitable.
And thereby depressing wages as well.
political end run around legislative processes enacted to
protect citizens from reckless taxation. "Plausible Deniability"
that the governor's dream of a polticial legacy required a huge tax
increase Spun by claiming artificially
inflated rates used solely to pay for a polticial agenda is not a tax.
Logically indistinct from claiming that calling a cow's tail a leg
gives it five legs.
|*Subsidized (i.e. unprofitable)
means the value of the services and goods produced by an entity are
worth less than the goods and services it used up to produce them.
Making less out of more. An economic death spiral.
And ships can deliver oil to Honolulu cheaper than trucks can deliver it to Idaho.
And more reliably, because is can come from many more sources.
||And of course "The Homeless Problem"
whose continued growth the old guard claims requires continued increases in money spent on "tried & true" solutions
whose result has been its continuing growth?
|So for new leaders, here's a new
solution to a festering old problem. A solution unique to Oahu. That starts by recognizing
three separate problems that need three separate solutions.
Mentally Ill Indigents: These are people who need adult supervision to
protect them from predators, free them from the indignity of living in squalor,
provide them with access to minimal medical care, and alleviate isolation
that only drives them deeper in to their mental illness.
Unfortunately the ACLU says they cannot be helped in that
way, because it reads the Constitution to say we have an unalienable Right to roam without
restraint enjoying a life few would deny is
fairly compared to the life
feral cats enjoy when abandoned to fend for themselves in the wild. (A
reading that would surprise its authors I think.)
Regardless, there's no affordable way to further help this group until the
2nd and 3rd problems are solved.
unlucky: These are people whose self-reliance is stolen by
Many use the shelters, food, and training, provided to help, as God
is said to provide help — To those who help themselves. And by doing so
succeed in regaining their independence, dignity, and self–reliance.
But their story little interests today's "It only leads if it
bleeds" media or interests politicians more concerned with good media.
Therefore, this class receives
far less than their
fair share of the millions already taken from
taxpayers and thrown at The Homeless Problem.
Sadly, there are also others in this group who end up permanently
trapped in dependence by
road–to–hell–pavers who claim it their duty to
take them under their own wings, to heal, feed and
care for them (albeit with
someone else's money), till they are unable to care for themselves. Not unlike
Not unlike animals meant to live free lose their ability to do so if kept too
long as pets.
But again, there's no affordable way to address the above injustice or
remaining dependency until we solve the 3rd problem.
These are able-bodied women and men who simply prefer
idleness made possible by our climate, free use of attractive public land,
work–free food, and other free necessities.
Often leaving available services unused, because of the rules, and
drug/alcohol restrictions, that come with publicly provided shelters
that makes the 3rd group the logical place to start.
are the fastest growing group,
members most aggressively engage
in unlawful colonization of public and private land,
members claim, an unfair, share
of money provided in Hawaii's
already over stretched government budget for all three groups.
members create the most wasteful
costs, e.g. Many thousands spent on potted plants to obstruct the
sidewalk opposite the Symphony Hall to produce the illusion
government is doing something without doing anything.
|So here's a response to the problem
of exploding vagrancy in need of champions. One with a list of benefits no other approach
can match. Just set its members
to work terracing the windward side of Oahu's mountains to beautify, protect,
and make them eternally productive? (please see picture above.)
provides work its builders
can proudly claim as a meaningful gift to Hawaii that will last forever.
A true addition to the heritage of those who call Hawaii home.
Not a mega–buck–wasting effort in pursuit of some politicians'
dream of a personal legacy.
And meaningful accomplishment is what gives people the will
to advance. Not meaningless license plate stamping. Not experts promoting
high self-esteem to excuse failure and thereby make it permanent.
It's even a project the post boomer generation will
likely value enough to make a summer spent participating in it the replacement
for the European walking tour traditionally enjoyed by affluent boomers as
post–prep school, pre–college, students.
will produce rice — Hawaii's biggest and most costly food import.
A result that lessens Hawaii's vulnerability to labor or terrorist strikes.
One that also protects Hawaii from runaway costs if overseas production is
ever cut by disease, weather or other calamities, i.e. increase
benefits Tourism. Just Google China's Rice Terraces to see the beauty and
fascination offered by China's terraces. An effort to rival its Great Wall.
And one that was infinitely more beneficial.
will eliminate erosion that daily washes Oahu's mountains into the sea.
Just like erosion washed away 1,500 miles of older islands
that lie beneath the waves to our Northwest.
They did not sink. They weren't swallowed by rising oceans.
They simply slid off the Big Island's island-building vent, as Oahu has.
And immediately began eroding away as Oahu is. With no one
was there to protect their shores, as we should be doing. And easily can.
For example, as anyone whose used Ala Moana beach for the last 17 years will
confirm, the average high tide mark on its protecting rock wall has yet to
rise at all. (Note: 17 years ago is when Al Gore threatened our seas could
rise 20' in 20 years)
Terracing will do for Oahu's mountains, what China terracing did for
its mountains. Keep them unchanged for centuries.
Someday it could even allow harnessing much of Oahu's 2 billion
gallon/day rainfall to produce hydroelectric power. Not as it does today.
Wash Oahu's mountains out to sea to bury and smother
a vast area of coral.
Just find a high vantage point during the next heavy rain to see
how far out to sea Oahu's soil is washed. And how much coral is
smothered under it.
easy to implement. Build clean orderly
tent-based camps at
the top and transport vagrants, who illegally occupying land,
Work and cooperative participation in training classes would earn a diet most
would find familiar. Failure to do so would earn a wonderfully
healthy, but perhaps less enjoyable, vegan diet some might confuse with
Security will be needed to protect those in camp from predators among
them. Otherwise, they'd be free to return to a more indolent life style by
walking the long road back. And of course, being transported back to
the top again if they resume illegal occupation of public use or
The camp's distant location also makes it easier to eliminate drug
costs little. China built their magnificent terraces by hand.
So can Hawaii.
A few 1/100ths of a billion for tent's, hand tools, safety clothing
& equipment, and supervision is all that's required.
Not a mega–buck contract with
overseas "experts" and "consultants" whose contracts always seem
unenforceable and whose costs seem uncontrollable.
And low cost projects attract far less of the corruption guaranteed when mega–millions are thrown on the table,
like blood into a shark filled sea.
is a design China has already
perfected over thousands of years. One that still works
today. An art. Not a central planning committee's dream.
Therefore, it's even a safe bet a small army of women and men
whose families have maintained China's
terraced rice fields for generations would be happy to share their
knowledge with us
for the price of a
visa, plan ticket and vacation in Hawaii.
requires no deadline. This is a forever solution to a
forever problem. China spent centuries building theirs. So can we.
And by eliminating the artificial deadlines imposed by mega–buck
contracts, we eliminate the ability to hide corruption or
extort more money for emergency funding needed to
overcome "unanticipated" problems that prevent them from
delivering on time.
Simple six month contracts with local vendors (who know local people) to
organize, provision, and supervise workers are all that's required.
No more million dollar traps found in multi–million contracts
that often seem to make being fired more profitable
than delivering what was promised.
If a contractor fails to show satisfactory progress, its contract is
not renewed. Hawaii has no shortage of entrepreneurs willing and able
to take over continuation.
a project that proceeds in such tiny daily
increments there is no rational, intelligent, reason that justifies
handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to more overseas
experts for more unreadable multi-thousand page "Impact Studies" President Trump correctly
pointed out no one reads.
Not to say fanatical self-appointed guardians
of the universe won't still agitate for them. Just that their only
arguments will be too silly for a legal system overseen by educated,
experienced, adults to take seriously.
Its tiny daily increments are too small to endanger
anything. That means if mistakes happen they will necessarily
be small and easily corrected as discovered.
Besides the people in China have spent centuries mastering their
art, so it is hard to believe there are any new mistakes to discover.
|So why not?
Just once try a low cost, common sense approach Hawaii
can implement with it's own resources.
Just once not send
millions more overseas to Italy, CA, NY, and elsewhere to buy
Just once not try "tried & true" solutions that failed
in the past ... again.
Just once. Why not?
George L. Berish
for / The American Political Party