When Activists Say Silly Things
Wednesday - August 15, 2007
When ethnic activists say silly things, the rest of us should stand up and loudly challenge them - political correctness be damned.
Case in point: Na Kupuna O Maui and Kuleana Kuikahi claiming that the annual Lahaina Halloween parade through the first capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii is like trampling on John F. Kennedy’s gravesite or the graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.
Give me a break here! If you want to object because the 30,000 people the event draws is disruptive of traffic or creates too much trash or noise, that’s reasonable.
Unreasonable is Uilani Kapu of Kuleana Kuikahi claiming the event never should have been allowed because “it hurts me to sit here and allow my history to be dictated by people who think of money. Go and do it in another area, not in our historical area. I’m sick of it already.”
Unreasonable is Frances Kamakawiwoole saying “move it somewhere else instead of where our alii was born and raised.”
Reason prevailed, and the Maui Cultural Resources Commission voted 5 to 1 to OK the permit again this year, the event’s 10th.
Yep, there’s a group called Let Honolulu Vote (LHV) that is collecting petition signatures to erase the part of the Honolulu Charter which limits taxation power to the City Council. LHV thinks we all should vote on every tax. That’s a movement which pops up from time to time to repeal representative democracy and have town hall governments where everyone supposedly knows what’s best and gets to vote on everything.
But we’re not a town. We’re an island-county of almost a million people. Most citizens haven’t got a clue about most of their city government’s operations. They’re happy to remain clueless. They hire Council members to lift the heavy load.
The LHVers think it should be otherwise. “Rise up! We as taxpayers have reached our limit. It is time to take control over the level of taxation in Honolulu. The City excise surcharge, the yearly increases in assessments and property taxes extracting almost a billion dollars from the pockets of Honolulu taxpayers.”
We do have initiative under the Honolulu Charter, except for tax measures. I can only remember it ever being successfully used once - to kick out three councilmembers who changed parties mid-term, so obviously it’s not a major weapon for most voters.
I’m sympathetic about some taxation complaints and grumble that the City gives in too easily to pleas for this service and that. But we elect people to tax us. Don’t like the tax, change the tax-makers.
I can’t imagine a community where we’d put tax on the ballot. I know Mainland towns that can’t get another 10th of 1 cent per $1,000 of property assessment to increase teacher pay because all the childless voters say to hell with it. I’d vote for more sewer taxes because I’m not on a sewer. We all look out for ourselves.
The current system is not, as LHV claims, “pitting old against young, poor against rich, property owners against renters, residents against landlords, taxpayers against tax exempt, and residential against business.” It’s just an imperfect but workable way of raising the money that our nine council people and the mayor come to agree is needed to run things.
So please take my advice and just say no when one of those LHV folks asks you for a petition signature.
Check out the helmets on those Hawaiian “warriors” shown paddling ashore at Waikiki (photo) on the bags of Timm’s potato chips from a company in Washington state. Is that Kamehameha’s invading army arriving with smiles and leis? Quick, somebody call the Kuleana Kuikahi activist police!
The city plans to install innovative pedestrian-activated flashing lights at two high-volume crosswalks - one in McCully and one in Kalihi - as part of a drive to improve pedestrian safety on Oahu. Gee whiz! You mean maybe somebody’s listened to my many MidWeek suggestions and now calls this “innovative”? But how about “innovating” South King Street?
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